The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is now giving his opinion on the giveaway controversy that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘revdi culture’ stunt sparked, which has already caught the attention of the Supreme Court and the Electoral Commission . This ongoing free debate has come to the attention of CAG Now, where discussions are underway to address this issue.
Is free a threat to development?
To address the issue of gifts, the electoral commission called on members of each legitimate political party to help create standards for gifts mentioned in election manifestos.
According to election officials familiar with the situation, political party leaders reacted angrily at the meeting, saying it would be a violation of their rights. However, encouraged by the Supreme Court’s decision in Subramaniam Balaji v. Government of Tamil Nadu, the Electoral Commission went ahead and in February 2014 added a new charter to its model code of conduct. This gave the commission the power to hold a party accountable if its manifesto did not justify a specific promise or specify how the necessary funds would be raised to fulfill it.
Read more:- https://indianexpress.com/article/inde/after-ec-now-cag-works-to-red-flag-freebies-state-largesse-8225594/
The EC’s ability to tackle freebies remained unclear and limited. The EC has only used its authority in a few circumstances. The gifts controversy resurfaced in the High Court nine years later. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment that revdi culture was a danger to the nation’s progress in mid-July brought the problem to light.
CAG on Gift Debates
Freebie refers to something that is distributed for free. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), the terms “free” and “irrational free” are subjective and subject to interpretation and do not have a precise meaning.
During election season, politicians frequently promise voters freebies and growth in exchange for their support. But when Prime Minister Narendra Modi denigrated opposition parties and threatened the public, it was brought to light.
According to the Indian Express, the GAC seeks to create criteria that will “exposed” the burden of grants, off-budget borrowing, rebates, and write-offs that could be problematic for states’ economies.
Sources say that during the meeting of the Audit Advisory Board (AAB) earlier this week, the topic of states’ “financial sustainability” was discussed. The body receives “suggestions” from the board, which is headed by CAG Girish Chandra Murmu, on matters relating to “the audit, including audit coverage, scope and prioritization”.
Why is it necessary to address the gift debate?
On Tuesday, Nirmala Sitharaman, finance minister, said the topic of freebies needed more discussion. She also discussed the effectiveness of Indian institutions, saying that while there was any justification for the creation of a fiscal council, current institutions have excelled in times of crisis, especially during the latest COVID-19 pandemic. 19.
Sitharaman said there was a need to broaden the debate on the issue. She was addressing a discussion on the book ‘Recalibrate: Shifting Paradigms’ by Finance Committee Chairman NK Singh and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister PK Mishra at the Delhi School of Economics. Speaking outside the event, Mishra said that although there is a lot of discussion about the gifts, it is important to discern between what is necessary for the well-being and the improvement of people’s economic situation. .
Asked about the inflation rate, Mishra replied that it cannot be viewed from a one-dimensional perspective and that a comprehensive approach must be taken for political reasons.
Who is working on the issue of gifts?
The highest authority responsible for conducting internal and external audits of federal and state government expenditure is the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. Currently, AGC consists of 10 external members make up the 21-member board, which is led by Murmu: agricultural economist Ashok Gul, Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, president and chief executive of Narayana Health, retired IAS officer HK Dash , Academic Makarand R. Paranjape, Chairman of Team Lease Services Manish Sabharwal, Retired Indian Army Officer Maroof Raza, TERI Fellow Nitin Desai, Economist Ravindra H. Dholakia, Commissioner for central vigilance Suresh N Patel and retired IAS officer SM Vijayan.
According to sources, the meeting discussed how most governments are facing a “revenue shortfall” due to the pandemic and how these states are unable to control their spending with their financial resources.
The leading auditing organization is also looking at the states’ upcoming repayment obligations over six years. “We have seen that the majority of States
However, the proposed mechanism will also focus on off-budget borrowing, forgiveness and write-offs. The CAG highlighted problems with grants and other expenditures in state budgets.
The auditing agency has accumulated information on the “relative position of debt, loans, grants – whether free or not”, guarantees and their sustainability, according to sources.
“We’re going pretty rigorously from the current year,” the person said. We say this cannot continue. Whatever you do, your financial management will become chaotic. You will not be able to continue like this, and the state will face difficulties.
Currently, auditing agencies review grants, although discounts and flexibilities are not included in grants. For example, the CAG “sometimes but not routinely” records aspects such as loan waivers, money paid to discoms, and loan interest subsidy.
Solution for the giveaway debate?
Asked about the possibilities of the ACG, the insider replied, “We plan to raise a red flag. We sometimes refine our observations, and once this audit advisory committee submits its recommendations, we will consider what else we can do.
The meeting also included a request to investigate the variety of gifts available. States donate items like televisions, laptops, bicycles, grinders and blenders. There are some things that the grant doesn’t take into account. Therefore, we must establish criteria on how to capture them, according to the source. States’ financial resources were also mentioned.
We learn that “the atmosphere percent of the work on the accounts for the 2022-23 financial year has already been done”, said a source. “So we’ll see what we can do at this point.