Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- CAG Report
- Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill, 2019
- Rajasthan to Scrap Educational Criterion
- Second Longest Rail Tunnel
1 . CAG Report
Context : Amid new revelations that anti-corruption clauses in the Rafale deal with France were waived by the government, official sources have said the audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) is likely to be tabled in the Lok Sabha
- In a democracy, those holding power and positions of responsibility must be answerable for their actions.
- For this purpose the Constitution has mandated several institutional mechanisms like the Judiciary, Vigilance bodies and an independent Supreme Audit Institution (SAI).
- The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and the Indian Audit and Accounts Department (IAAD) functioning under him, constitute the Supreme Audit Institution of India.
- The Constitution of India has mandated CAG as the auditors to the nation. Articles 149-151 of the Constitution prescribe the unique role of the CAG.
Independence of CAG
The Constitution enables the independent and unbiased nature of audit by the CAG by providing for:
- His appointment by the President of India
- Special procedure for removal (like a Supreme Court Judge)
- Salary and expenses Charged (not Voted) to the Consolidated Fund of India
- Disallowing his holding any other Government office after his term expires
As envisaged in Article 149 of the Constitution, the Parliament enacted a detailed legislation called the CAG’s Duties, Powers and Conditions Act in 1971 which describes his mandate and puts almost every spending, revenue collecting or aid/grant receiving unit of the Government (the Centre and the States) under his audit domain. His duties are to audit and report upon:
- All receipts into and spending from the coffers (called the Consolidated Fund) of the Union and State Governments.
- All transactions relating to the Emergency expenses (called Contingency Funds) and relating to the monies of the public held by the Government e.g. Postal savings, Vikas Patras (called Public Accounts) at Central as well as State levels.
- All trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and other subsidiary accounts kept in any Government department.
- All stores and stock accounts of all Government offices and departments.
- Accounts of all Government companies and Corporations e.g. ONGC, SAIL etc.
- Accounts of all autonomous bodies and authorities receiving Government money e.g. municipal bodies, IIM’s, IIT’s, State Health societies.
- Accounts of any body or authority on request of the President/Governor or on his own initiative.
The Act also provides for compilation of accounts of the State Governments from the subsidiary accounts maintained by the State Governments.
In order to carry out his wide audit mandate in an unfettered manner the Act provides for:
- Power to inspect any office or organisation subject to his audit.
- Power to examine all transactions and question the executive.
- Power to call for any records, papers, documents from any audited entity.
- Power to decide the extent and manner of audit.
Who all comes under CAG Audit
The organisations subject to the audit of the CAG are:-
- All the Union and State Government departments including the Indian Railways,Defence and Posts and Telecommunications.
- About 1500 public commercial enterprises controlled by the Union and State governments, i.e. government companies and corporations.
- Around 400 non-commercial autonomous bodies and authorities owned or controlled by the Union or the States.
- Bodies and authorities substantially financed from Union some of the local bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions which are critical grass root agencies for implementation of developmental programmes and delivery of services.
- The reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India relating to the accounts of the Union shall be submitted to the president, who shall cause them to be laid before each House of Parliament.
- The reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India relating to the accounts of a State shall be submitted to the Governor of the State, who shall cause them to be laid before the Legislature of the State.
Types of Audit performed by CAG
- Compliance Audit – Compliance Audit focuses on whether a particular subject matter is in compliance with the criteria. Compliance auditing is performed by assessing whether activities, financial transactions and information are, in all material aspects, in compliance with the applicable authorities which include the Constitution, Acts, Laws, rules and regulations, budgetary resolutions, policy, contracts, agreements, established codes, sanctions, supply orders, agreed terms or the general principles governing sound public sector financial management and the conduct of public officials.
- Financial Attest Audit – Financial Attest Audit focuses on determining whether an entity’s financial information is presented in accordance with the applicable financial reporting and regulatory framework. This is accomplished by obtaining sufficient and appropriate audit evidence to enable the auditor to express an opinion as to whether the financial information is free from material misstatement due to fraud or error.
- Performance Audit – Apart from these traditional audits, CAG has successfully done a number of audits of Information Technology (IT) Systems and on Environmental issues
2 . Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill, 2019
Context : In a bid to counter growing incidents of exploitation of Indian women by NRI (Non Resident Indian) spouses, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday introduced a Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
- The introduction of the Bill was necessitated by the Ministry of External Affairs due to numerous complaints received from Indian nationals, mostly women deserted or harassed by their Non-Resident Indian spouses
About the Bill
- The Bill, which has been championed by the MEA, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD), Ministry of Home Affairs (MoEA) and Ministry of Law and Justice (MoLJ) is aimed at prevent victimisation of Indian nationals in fraudulent marriages
- According to the new Bill, a marriage between an NRI and an Indian citizen will have to be registered within 30 days from the date of marriage. Necessary legal provisions have been created in the criminal code and the Passports Act, 1967, to initiate action against erring NRI spouses
- If an NRI man fails to register his marriage within 30 days of date of marriage, his passport can be impounded or revoked.
- It allows courts to attach properties, movable and immovable, of “proclaimed offenders” or people who fail to appear before courts despite warrants being issued against them.
- The proposed law will be applicable to NRIs marrying Indian women within or even outside India
3 . Rajasthan to Scrap Educational Criterion
Context : The Rajasthan Assembly on Monday passed two bills which seek to end the minimum education criterion for panchayat and civic polls candidates.
- The previous government had introduced education criterion in 2015 which required a candidate to pass class 10 for contesting zila parishad, panchayat samiti and municipal elections.
- For contesting elections for Sarpanch of a panchayat in scheduled and other than scheduled areas, it was mandatory to pass class 5 and 8, respectively.
- The logic underlying this rule was that a school-educated person makes for a better elected representative
Arguments for Scrapping the Law
- It is based on the assumption that less schooled person is less intelligent and less capable of being a leader and, conversely, that a school-educated person is more capable of discharging the responsibilities of representing the interests of the people. This is not necessarily the case
- Moreover, the education criterion for being a candidate in elections is undemocratic as it excludes people from exercising their right to contest elections
Extra Points for Mains Answers
- In his memorandum to the Simon Commission in 1928, the father of the Indian Constitution B.R. Ambedkar said, “Those who insist on literacy as a test and insist upon making it a condition precedent to enfranchisement, in my opinion, commit two mistakes. Their first mistake consists in their belief that an illiterate person is necessarily an unintelligent person…Their second mistake lies in supposing that literacy necessarily imports a higher level of intelligence or knowledge than what the illiterate possesses
4 . Second Longest Rail Tunnel
Context : A 10.7-km railway line, including a 9.02-km tunnel, has been proposed to connect the upcoming Vizhinjam International Multipurpose Deepwater Seaport to the railway network. The 9.02-km tunnel, mooted by Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) from near the Balaramapuram station on the Kanyakumari-Thiruvananthapuram railway line, will be the second longest railway tunnel of the country on completion.