Manmohan Singh on role of Comptroller and Auditor General organization

New Delhi, Nov.17 (ANI): The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has said to ensure transparency in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) be permitted to look into the books of these infrastructure schemes.

Addressing the gathering at the inaugural function of the celebrations of 150th anniversary of the institution of Comptroller and Auditor General of India in the national capital, Dr. Singh said: "The reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General are taken very seriously by the media, by the public, by the government and by our Parliament. This casts a huge responsibility on the institution to ensure that its reports are accurate, balanced and fair."

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil inaugurated the celebrations. She released a commemorative stamp to mark the occasion.

Dr. Manmohan Singh also said that concerns regarding the inadequate and delayed response to the reports of the CAG, the Ministry of Finance has taken a number of initiatives which will lead to an improvement in this area.

The Prime Minister also said the benefits of detailed propriety audit cannot be under-estimated.

"There is a case for allocating limited time and resources in a manner that big and systemic issues get due attention and we get much greater value for money spent," said Dr. Singh.

President Patil, speaking at the function, asked the Government auditor to gain expertise in reviewing infrastructure sector projects being implemented under the PPP mode.

Her comment came on the sidelines of debate over allowing CAG to audit Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) projects.

President Patil also emphasised that public financial accountability and probity were essential for rooting out corruption.

"As on now it (auditing PPP projects) is still a grey area for public auditors. Therefore, auditors should gain expertise for preparing reviews on issues relating to infrastructure projects under the PPP mode, which may involve change in audit methodology and approaches," said Patil.

Patil said that delay in implementation of infrastructure projects was a matter of concern.

"There are projects that have time over-run or remain incomplete or abandoned halfway, which deprive nation of the full benefits of investment. It is necessary to assess whether such projects are indeed, in public interest," said Patil.

President Patil also pointed out public financial accountability and probity are essential for rooting out corruption. (ANI)

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