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Karnataka's Accountant General - dead or alive?

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Governance

Ever been to the CAG website? Its of interest because it provides useful data on how select government departments are doing with tax payer's money. Look at this report on NAL (National Aero Lab) for example, and see how CAG details NAL's failure to meet its targets. Or see this report on allotment of housing by DDA. Don't we wish Karnataka too had a CAG like body to audit the likes of BDA and BBMP?

Well, I looked around and found that our state too has an Accountant General - see website of AG Karnataka. I looked hard for some recent reports on this website, latest I could find are from 2006.

The website, by the language on its homepage, seems to focus on provident fund and pensions. But I don't think that's all AG Karnataka is supposed to do. Since September 2004, there is an Office of the Principal Accountant General (Civil & Commercial Audit), short form Pr AG (C&CA), and its role includes:

  • Audit of expenditure of the State Government except the Public Works and Forest Departments
  • Audit of State Government Companies, Corporations, Departmental Commercial Undertakings and Autonomous bodies
  • Audit of expenditure of some Central Departments and Offices of the Union Government and Autonomous bodies located in Karnataka which have been assigned to this Office
  • Preparation of Audit Reports on the Civil Departments and Public Sector Undertakings of the Government of Karnataka including Departmental Commercial Undertakings

So now, where are these audit reports? IF AG Karnataka has been preparing them regularly (I bet they do), why are the reports online? And, can we, as taxpaying citizens, request AG Karnataka for audit reports on performance of certain departments or undertakings of state government?

Any idea anyone? Honestly, I don't know this stuff well enough, just trying to learn around.

PS: Reference for Pr AG (C&CA) Karnataka's duties - http://www.agkar.cag.gov....

Comments

ananth.bangalore's picture

In the CAG website, state

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In the CAG website, state audit for karnataka, 2006-2007 is the latest available. THe audit reports looks like took atleast a year to post. The revenue audit was the earliest to be posted(later than Jan 2008), then came the then cam commercial(later than april 2008) and then came civil (later than august 2008). I figured if the file creation dates were that, then these files must have been posted later than that. So i guess one has to wait until august 2009 or later to see any report on 2007-2008, when the next finalcial year will be over.
But there is a decent performance audit of various departments and how they did not perform at most fornts. But what after this audit? Who is bothered? Does anything happen? Anybody knows more?
For e.g., this is what is said about IT systems of BWSSB:

Lack of sufficient monitoring and failure to work out appropriate logisticsfor implementation of Geographical Information System project resultedin expenditure of Rs.10.06 crore remaining unfruitful.(Paragraph 3.3.5)

The revenue billing package did not support reconciliation of collectionsbetween the system and the bankers of the Board, leaving an amount of Rs.121 crore unreconciled.(Paragraph 3.3.6.1)

Absence of well documented User Requirement Specifications resulted innon-provision of critical controls and security in the billing system. (Paragraph 3.3.6)

Poor development and maintenance of the website resulted in improper presentation of the board’s profile to the internet users.(Paragraph 3.3.7)

Lack of strategic IT Plan resulted in non-realisation of optimum benefits of computerisation. (Paragraph 3.3.4)

Limited benefit to consumers was available despite huge expenditure ofRs.4.11 crore on round the clock receipt of water charges.(Paragraph 3.3.8)

Local Area Network and Wide Area Network facilities set up at a cost ofRs.1.33 crore remained under-utilised due to poor planning and implementation. (Paragraph 3.3.9)

Inadequate security arrangements exposed the system to risk of damageto IT assets and misuse of systems.(Paragraph 3.3.10)

Inadequate change control procedures exposed the system to the risk of unauthorised changes.(Paragraph 3.3.11)Absence of well-developed business continuity plan to take care of IT assets exposed the Board to losses in case of disasters. (Paragraph 3.3.12)"

 

 

So how does one know what has been done about it? The audit does not seem to capture what was audit the previous year and the corrective measures taken. Any idea who follows that up in the government?
murali772's picture

wealth of info

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Boy, that's a wealth of info! And, if pursued diligently, can certainly help bring in accountability, eventually at least - task cut out for PRAJA. All the more the need to garner our resources!

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

Publicizing these audits

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Ananth,

If we can publicize these audits, that in itself will be good enough job. Alternatively, if there is anyway to request audits on a specific department, that will be great. After all CAG office too is here to aid and help public, which is us, keep a check on government expenses. So there would definitely be scope for us to mingle and co-operate with CAG.

Good job digging up 2006-2007state audit for KA. Hope members here will take the time to read about their pet government bodies.

-Pranav

ananth.bangalore's picture

Turning the heat on...

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Hi Pranav and others,
I can take up the job of drawing up excerpts from the audit. Can we possibily look at separate sections (or just threads?) for different departments? What i will do is to make a classification of various heads and departments and post it here. We can then decide how to post them so that information does not get lost.
Also, if we can figure out if any government department (CAG?) actually follows up on these short-comings in the performances of various departments, that can give us direction.
The document is huge and is going to take time. Or can a team share work, so we can achieve more and the heat remains on?
Nitinjhanwar's picture

Only mistakes-no remedies.

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This blog post have helped me understand why everybody in the government department likes the red tape. The red tape helps them to share the side effects of responsibility.

Shri Chidambaram in his lok shabha speech after he became the home minister made a statement that he has instructed his officers to be motivated and not to take undue thought in what will the CAG say for actions in case of emergency.

Some examples of the Rajasthan AG-Civil Audit of only finding mistakes and no possible remedies.

http://www.agraj.cag.gov.in/agca/ch5ulb03-04.pdf

1.0 The Contractor of a particular class has been awarded a work of more than his capacity. But what about the performance of his work?

2.0 A bus shelter was built without taking into account the feasibility of it. It is not being used. Ok agreed. But what is the monetary cost that the government has acquired land at throw away price? overall financial loss/benefit.

3.0 Taxes in the form of royalty,sales and excise not deducted properly.Atleast royalty is done at source. Basic idea is that this AG thing is a very constructive enforcement for the really corrupt coterie, but the International Practice of major financial Institutions is to give remedies and to develop a mechanism of continuous evaluation so that remedies are more effective. I think it will need a very big scam et.al Bofors,Chara,Coffin,Land type for the AG to audit to come to that level instead of giving remarks which a normal non-gazetted officer can give.

4.0 Even the CAG has not commented on the findings of CRRI for the CRRI's finding of performance of rural roads. No effort is there to see what grade and amount of bitumen is being used -this is just an example of a scam. Type and Percentage  of 0.001 in bitumen will be a scam of what Cost? 

Maybe we will have some other authority to audit the AG with respect to ITS competence in terms of Manpower and Their relevant knowledge.

I will be gratefull if anybody can post his /her views of the shortcomins of CAG/AG. I intend to give a remedial paper to themwith a methodology of positive auditing.

Thanks!

nJ

-nJ-

919462900144

www.nitinjhanwar.biz

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