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Centre owes Rs. 80,000 crore to States, says CAG report

  1. News: The Centre owes the States over Rs. 80,000 crore from its net proceeds of the period between 1996 and 2015
  2. Context: The CAG report on Compliance of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003
  3. It could significantly impact the finances of most States, because most of them could end up getting a few thousand crores each
  4. Article 279 of the Constitution: The CAG is required to ascertain and certify the ‘net proceeds’ (any tax or duty the proceeds thereof reduced by the cost of collection), whose certification shall be final

CAG might audit RBI

  1. Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India said there is a need to consider whether financial regulators need to be audited
  2. Financial regulators of India include the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
  3. CAG mentioned how the Federal Reserve in the US and the Bank of England in the UK had both come under greater scrutiny over the last few years

SC refuses plea for CAG audit of intelligence agencies

  1. Context: An NGO had raised a question mark over the functioning of the IB, RAW and NTRO on the ground that there was no statute to govern them
  2. Model: The intelligence agencies in the United Kingdom were put to independent audit of their accounts
  3. News: The SC refused a plea by an NGO to subject intelligence agencies to audit by the CAG and other independent scrutiny
  4. Reason: The court should refrain from interfering in their functioning, otherwise it can create a dent into our security

Rs. 1.4 lakh crore cess money lies idle : CAG report

The funds collected can be used only for the designated purpose and cannot be diverted.

  1. More than Rs. 1.4 lakh crore of funds collected by the government under various cesses for purposes as varied as higher education, road development are lying unutilised.
  2. It has already levied a 0.5 per cent Swachh Bharat cess and is proposing a 2 per cent regional connectivity cess in aviation and increasing the cess on sugar production.
  3. CAG report has found that a whopping Rs. 64,288 crore collected during 2006-15 under the Secondary and Higher Education Cess (SHEC) is lying unutilised.
  4. The National Clean Energy Fund, the R&D Cess Fund, the Central Road Fund, IT Welfare Fund, Customs & Central Excise Welfare Fund have Rs. 14,500 crore lying unused.

Let’s know more about ECHS?

  1. ECHS is a health scheme, introduced in April 2003.
  2. To providing healthcare on a cashless basis through a network of 426 polyclinics, service hospitals and empanelled hospitals across the country.
  3. It currently has around 47 lakh beneficiaries.

CAG audit finds irregularities in implementation of health scheme

The first ever CAG audit of the ambitious health scheme for ex-servicemen has found serious irregularities and deficiencies in its implementation, resulting in financial loss to the government.

  1. For auditing the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), CAG had selected some units and formations based on a criteria matrix for the years 2012-13 to 2014-15.
  2. The CAG listed several shortcomings in the implementation.
  3. This includes short supply of medicines to the polyclinics, raising of 2 claims for the same patient, irregular payment towards unaccounted bills of empanelled hospitals etc.
  4. The audit report also highlighted unethical practices adopted by the empanelled hospitals, like raising inflated bills.

CAG to audit projects cleared by National Security Council

Making sensitive agencies and organisations more accountable.

  1. CAG is working on a special audit of projects cleared by the National Security Council (NSC), which is headed by the Prime Minister.
  2. This is the first time the CAG would audit the NSC’s projects.
  3. Just like the report for the CAG’s special audit of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), which commenced in 2010.
  4. The NSC audit report would be submitted only to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and not placed in Parliament like routine audit reports.

Make CAG accountable to Parliament: PAC

May recommend amending 1971 Act that governs the CAG.

  1. Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament could recommend legislative changes, a Constitutional amendment for CAG.
  2. PAC suggested that the Committee should be consulted before the appointment of the CAG and it should be part of the legislature like in the U.K. and Australia.
  3. This move may spark a debate on the Constitutional guarantees and autonomy provided to the CAG.
  4. Parliamentarians have always held that Parliament is supreme. But, actually it is the Constitution that is supreme.

‘PAC needs more teeth and transparency’

  1. The Public Accounts Committee “needs more teeth and greater transparency in its functioning,” its Chairman and MP K.V. Thomas said.
  2. The All-India conference would see PAC chiefs from across the country deliberate on issues such as how to make the government implement the recommendations of the committee and whether PAC meetings should be held with the media in attendance.
  3. The PAC is expected to table its final report on the 2G spectrum allocation and the Commonwealth Games scam in the winter session of Parliament.

Can you dig out more about functions of PAC? Why there is need of more power and transparency?

Mid-Day meal scheme draws CAG’s flak

  1. CAG said that Mid-day meals were not served on the prescribed number of days in both primary and upper primary schools.
  2. Besides, the food also lacked nutritive standards.
  3. Service providers did not obtain mandatory licenses and there was non-availability of buffer foodgrain stocks.
  4. CAG recommended strengthening of the monitoring mechanism by regular inspections of schools and kitchens, and yearly review of the status of enrolment of children.

CAG pulls up AERB for not preparing nuclear safety policy

  1. Board is yet to develop 27 out of the 168 safety documents despite recommendations by two panels in 1987 and 1997.

CAG said – “There were no proper mechanisms in place to ensure/verify that: radioactive waste had actually been disposed of safely after utilisation.”

Specifically, the CAG observed that 91% of the medical x-ray facilities in the country were not registered with the AERB.

:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.

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