CAG holds International Seminar on Accountability & Governance
On the eve of formal launch of celebrations of 150 years of the Institution of Comptroller and Auditor General of India, an international seminar was organized here today to flag issues which define the current debate on accountability and governance. In his welcome address, the CAG of India, Shri Vinod Rai, stated that all stakeholders have to work together in creating an ecosystem of governance that enables innovation and use of technology in transforming public delivery systems so as to ensure that the benefits of growth become more inclusive. This would require a new paradigm of accountability and governance.
Some of the major conclusions of the seminar were:
a. Need to democratize information and programme design by involving people, creating integrated delivery systems across Governments/agencies.
b. Automation should be an integral part of design of any programme. Need to change Government processes, behavior of public functionaries and involve the private sector and civil society in public service delivery.
c. Social audit has evolved as an effective mechanism for evaluating programme delivery and ensuring quality of outcomes.
d. Corruption free Governance is the responsibility of the Government. Oversight agencies cannot alone ensure a corruption free atmosphere.
e. Success of a regulator depends not just on its independence but also on clear mandate, core competence, strong leadership, a strong sense of identity and the capacity to deliver. Conflicting jurisdictions of regulatory bodies should not erode accountability.
f. Greater goal of Government interventions is improvement in peoples’ lives. Focus should be on results and outcomes and not processes. Decentralized and Participative evaluation entails use of knowledge and skills of Civil society.
g. Auditors can play a constructive role in communicating best practices prevailing in any one organization to others.
h. For auditors to facilitate use of technology and innovation they should accept errors and inadequacies during the project and early implementation phase.
i. CAG should engage systematically with stakeholders in performance audits.
j. Audit should re-align its objectives and processes in accordance with the goals of larger society. For instance in Bhutan, focus is on Gross National Happiness and SAI Bhutan has accordingly changed its focus.
The panelists from abroad included Auditors General of Bangladesh and Bhutan, Deputy Auditor General of Denmark and representatives of the World Food Programme and International Maritime Organization. The Seminar was attended by Chief Secretaries, Secretaries to Government of India, CEOs of Public Sector Enterprises, Auditors General of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and India, representatives of Word Bank, ADB, & United Nations Agencies, NGOs etc.