Auditing reforms: PAC wants NGOs, PPPs to come under its purview

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he Hindu Business Line, May 01, 2016

Powers to audit NGOs, summon ministers and former secretaries and a monitoring mechanism for following up the effective implementation of the recommendations are some of the proposals of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the auditing reforms.

?PACs felt the CAG mandate extends to conduct of audit of NGOs, any enterprise or programme where government funding is involved, including in government operated agencies such as District Rural Development Agencies (DRDAs) and Public Private Partnership projects,? the report said.

Apart from the suggestion that the PAC proceedings should be open to media except in sensitive cases, the report demands that the PAC could consider collection of information through social audit agencies, NGOs, public and a website dedicated to PAC. The report, based on the outcome of the deliberations at a conference held in September 2015 of PAC chairpersons and members of Parliament and Assemblies, says if implemented, it will go a long way in enhancing the effectiveness of both the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the PACs.

Mandatory tag

The panel also wants to go beyond its recommendatory status and wants to make the implementation of PAC?s suggestions mandatory.

The report, submitted to the Speaker recently, seeks that the recommendations are to be implemented in right earnest and any exception should be explained at the level of Minister. A PAC member said ministers cooperating with PAC?s proceedings will further help improve the transparency of the governance.

Chairman KV Thomas had told BusinessLine recently that the PAC will soon start a procedure to bring clarity on auditing PPPs.

Citing the examples in Britain, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the report adds the CAG should be functioning under the supervision of Parliament and Assemblies. The panel demanded an amendment to the CAG Act of 1971 to bring the CAG under Parliament. It also wants that the PAC Chairman should be a member in the panel to select the CAG.

?Chairpersons of Centre/State PACs should be given the status of Union Cabinet/State Cabinet Minister,? the report adds.

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