The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) refers to both the Supreme Audit Institution of India (SAI) as well as the individual who heads the institution. Established in 1858 under the British Raj, it functions as the auditor of the executive branches of the central and state governments. This audit mandate includes government coffers, ministries, departments, autonomous bodies, and government corporations, among others. The office of CAG makes policy decisions and oversees and directs the Indian Audit and Accounts Department (IAAD). With more than 40,000 employees, CAG is a prolific institution that carries out comprehensive audits of the extensive Indian bureaucracy. Its mostly scathing performance and audit reports are considered unbiased and some also receive fair media coverage. Although perceived as generally effective, it lacks prosecutorial and enforcement powers. CAG is dependent on parliamentary review for further action on its reports. Moreover, its prolificacy coupled with the apathy of Indian politicians means that only the more controversial reports submitted to the legislature are acted upon, leaving routine financial and performance lapses unchecked. Political and personal calculations also play a role in who and what gets investigated. This greatly limits the impact of the CAG in the fight against corruption. While not afraid to cause controversies through it reports, the 2G spectrum scandal reveals the institution’s susceptibility to political interference. These intrinsic difficulties coupled with the potential of the CAG to be a truly effective organization has resulted in calls for specific reforms.

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