Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ministries should publish follow-up actions taken on CAG reports: Govt Paper

SHOULD every ministry in its annual report add a chapter giving details about follow-up actions on what Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report said of the ministry? A background paper released by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances on the occasion of the Civil Services Day said “yes”. “It would be a good practice…
for all Departments and Ministries to publish in their annual reports the follow up actions taken based on CAG’s findings for the last two years,” the paper said. It’s an interesting observation in the backdrop of the CAG reports giving sleepless nights to the government of the day.
“In India, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is the body whose mandate is to monitor and ensure public accountability. However, CAG reports are not fully utilised to effect constructive policy changes,” the paper further said.
It was further advised in the note that the Centre and the state governments should also proactively conduct external audits of some of their main spending departments beyond relying solely on audit reports. “Such external audits would supplement the regular internal audit process and are more likely to provide fresh leads for further investigation or improvement. The Central Government should also objectively assess the experience and perception of the general public that civil servants are intended to serve. One way to help encourage accountability is to hold public forums on matters pertaining to the work handled by each department,” it said.
In UK, for example, a three-year ‘Public Service Agreement’ was introduced under which departments publicly state the outcomes which citizens can expect from their spending, and disclose explicit productivity and performance targets.

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