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The unpardonable act of non-tabling CAG reports

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By Sidharth Mishra

That the Delhi Government did not table the reports on its functioning by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in the state assembly for four years in a row shows how legislative functioning has hit a bottomless pit in the national Capital. That the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government, known for its care a damn attitude towards legislative responsibilities, did not table the report is not surprising. What worries is that the opposition benches, constituting of the BJP MLAs, also did not care to demand its tabling. The surprises don’t end there. There is an assembly secretariat, headed by the Speaker, custodian of legislative powers and responsibilities, too went along the government in their devious act to subvert the processes which makes assembly proceedings meaningful. And lastly the role of the former Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal in overlooking this act of subversion of democratic functioning for four continuous years. According to recent newspaper reports, it took four letters from the present L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena’s office for the government to table the 10 reports panning over four years finally in the monsoon session of the Delhi Assembly on July 5 this year.

The news reports mentioned that the CAG reports of the year 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, detailing ‘State Finances Audit Report’, ‘Revenue Economic, Social & General Sectors and PSUs’, ‘Social General & Economic Sectors’, ‘Finance Accounts of GNCTD’ and ‘Appropriation Accounts of GNCTD’, were pending with Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia, since as long as when they were submitted by CAG. What does this indicate, a deliberate attempt to paper over the cracks in governance. 

As per statutory provisions, the CAG submits its report to the state government, who after approval of the Finance Minister and the Chief Minister, sends the same to the L-G with a recommendation for presenting it in the Assembly. That none in the L-G’s office for four years or from the Opposition benches in the assembly bother to ask for the report is just mind wracking.

After tabling of the report, it goes to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the assembly. That none in the PAC ever asked for the report shows how deep the rot runs. It would be interesting to find what were the agenda of the PAC meetings in these four years if the CAG reports were not being discussed.

Our post-Independence history is replete with instances where the CAG reports have nailed malfunctioning and corruptions in government. In the recent times, the CAG report on the 2G Spectrum Allocation, became albatross around the neck of Manmohan Singh government leading to its eventual fall in 2014. Similarly, in states like Bihar the infamous Fodder Scam was discovered through the study of the CAG reports.

Journalists too in the past have known to broken stories carefully scanning through the pages of these voluminous reports. That none among them also realized that a mandatory legislative process was being given a go by for the past four years. Probably there was no desire to write what could be termed as a negative report against the government.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs, which supervises the functioning of the National Capital Territory of Delhi through the office of the Lieutenant Governor, too at no point in the past four years realised that the reports were being thrown into deep dungeons. It all indicates towards the complete collapse of the government machinery which administers NCT of Delhi.

Having discovered what is almost a criminal act on the part of the government, hope the new L-G takes the matter to its logical end. The culpability of people responsible for not tabling the report must be fixed.

(The writer is Author and President, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice)  


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