Selective transparency: CAG Reports on Defence

17 Mar

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India audits the accounts and performance of government ministries, departments, and various schemes that are being run in the country.  It is a body set up under the Constitution of India (Article 148), and its reports have to be tabled in Parliament (Article 151).  A report or document tabled in Parliament is a public document i.e. any document tabled in Parliament cannot be classified as confidential.

Interestingly, a perusal of the CAG website shows that while Compliance Audits (Audits showing whether the department has bees used as authorised, and in compliance with laws, regulations etc.) of the Ministry of Defence are available, Performance Audits (“to see that Government programmes have achieved the desired objectives at lowest cost and given the intended benefits.”)  are not put up on the website.  This is weird, considering most government departments have access to the hard-copies.  Moreover, any foreign government wishing to procure one of these can simply subscribe to the same.  Consequently, the only loser in the process are common citizens.  Making a recent attempt to procure one of these, I was told to get a letter from the govt. department I was from (they presumed I was from one) and then I might be handed the available copies over.  Additionally, though some of the older audits mention a price of Rs. 65, they had no idea of where I could buy one from!!

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