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Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Complete Details

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) is the highest authority responsible for internal and external audits of the national and state governments’ expenses. The current CAG of India is Girish Chandra Murmu, who has held the position since August 8, 2020. He is assisted by five Deputy Comptrollers and Auditors General, one of whom is the chairperson of the Audit Board. Check Out Details on Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in this article.

Comptroller and Auditor General of India

Under Article 148 of the Indian Constitution, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India is an independent body. He oversees the Indian Audit and Accounts department. He oversees the whole financial system of the nation at both the federal and state levels as the keeper of the public purse. Along with the Supreme Court, the Election Commission, and the Union Public Service Commission, the CAG is one of the pillars of India’s democratic system of government.

Comptroller and Auditor General of India
Role Independent constitutional authority responsible for auditing government expenditure and ensuring financial accountability
Appointment Appointed by the President of India
Independence Operates independently of the government
  • Auditing accounts related to expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India and state/UT governments
  • Submitting audit reports to the President/Governors
  • Conducting performance and compliance audits
Reporting Reports submitted to the President/Governors, who then present them to the respective legislatures
Audit Types Financial audit, performance audit, compliance audit
Impact Ensures financial discipline, transparency, and accountability in government operations
Importance Contributes to good governance by holding the government accountable for its financial actions

Comptroller and Auditor General of India Constitutional Provisions

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is a constitutional office created under Articles 148 to 151 of the Constitution of India. Here’s an overview of the constitutional provisions related to the CAG:

Constitutional Provision Description
Article 148 Establishes the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and specifies the method of appointment by the President.
Article 149 Outlines the duties and powers of the CAG, including auditing the accounts of the Union, States, and other authorities or bodies.
Article 150 Specifies the form in which the accounts of the Union and States are to be kept, in consultation with the CAG.
Article 151 Deals with the submission of audit reports to the President, who then lays them before each House of Parliament.

Structure of Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) Office

The structure of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) office in India is hierarchical, with various levels of authority and responsibility. Here’s a breakdown of the typical structure:

  • Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG): The head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department, responsible for overseeing all audit and accounting functions at the national level.
  • Deputy Comptroller and Auditors General (Deputy CAGs): Assists the CAG in the management and coordination of audit activities. One of the Deputy CAGs usually serves as the chairman of the Audit Board.
  • Additional Deputy Comptroller and Auditors General (Additional Deputy CAGs): Further assists in the management and coordination of audit activities, providing support to the Deputy CAGs.
  • Directors General: These officials oversee specific directorates or divisions within the CAG’s office, focusing on areas such as financial audits, performance audits, and compliance audits.
  • Principal Directors: Senior officials responsible for managing larger directorates or divisions within the CAG’s office, providing strategic direction and guidance.
  • Directors/Deputy Directors: These officials lead individual audit teams or units, conducting audits, analyzing financial records, and preparing audit reports.

Additionally, at the regional level, there are Accountants General who act as representatives of the CAG, overseeing audit functions within specific states or regions. This hierarchical structure ensures efficient coordination, supervision, and execution of audit activities across various levels of government and public sector entities.

Comptroller and Auditor General Powers and Duties

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has many powers and duties, including:
  • Auditing: The CAG audits accounts related to the Consolidated Fund of India, the Consolidated Fund of each state, and the Consolidated Fund of each Union Territory with a Legislative Assembly. The CAG also audits transactions related to the Contingency Fund of India, the Public Account of India, and the Contingency Fund and Public Account of each state.
  • Preparing accounts: The CAG prepares annual accounts that show the receipts and disbursements for the Union, each state, and each Union Territory with a Legislative Assembly.
  • Ensuring financial accountability: The CAG audits government receipts and expenditures to ensure financial accountability.
  • Scrutinizing government expenditure: The CAG examines the efficiency, effectiveness, and economy of government expenditure.
  • Conducting performance audits: The CAG conducts performance audits to check the effectiveness of government policies and programs.
  • Verifying compliance: The CAG verifies whether government departments and agencies have complied with financial transaction regulations.
  • Examining revenue collection: The CAG examines the government’s revenue collection. 
The CAG’s duties also include auditing trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets, and other subsidiary accounts kept in government departments. The CAG also audits accounts of stores and stock kept in government offices or departments, government companies, and corporations established by Parliament. The CAG’s role and responsibilities are described in Chapter V of Part V of the Indian Constitution. 

Roles of Comptroller and Auditor General of India

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) is an independent constitutional body that audits the finances of the Indian government. The CAG’s role is to ensure that public funds are managed properly, and to promote transparency and accountability in the governance system.  The CAG’s responsibilities include:
  • Auditing the receipts and expenditures of the Central and State governments, as well as other government-funded bodies
  • Auditing the accounts of government-owned corporations, and government companies with at least 51% government equity
  • Auditing the Lokpal
  • Compiling accounts for the Union and States
  • Preparing and submitting accounts to the President, State Governors, and Administrators of Union territories
  • Providing information and assistance to the Union and States
  • Reporting to the President or State Governors on Union or State accounts
  • Auditing accounts requested by the President or Governor
  • Submitting audit reports to the President for the Central Government, and to the Governor for State governments
  • Certifying the net proceeds of taxes and duties 
The CAG is appointed by the President of India and serves a six-year term or until they reach the age of 65, whichever comes first. They can only be removed from office by impeachment in Parliament, on the same grounds as a Supreme Court Judge. 

CAG Reports

The three CAG Reports outlined cover distinct aspects of public audits. Let’s delve into a concise overview of each:

  • Audit Report on Appropriation Accounts: These accounts demonstrate how the money allocated by the legislature to various grants and expenditure heads has been utilized. The report assesses whether funds designated for specific purposes were indeed spent accordingly.
  • Audit Report on Finance Accounts: These accounts detail the annual receipts and expenditures throughout the year.
  • Audit Report on Public Undertakings: This report scrutinizes the financial operations and expenditures of various Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).

In essence, the audit reports encapsulate instances of financial irregularities, losses, frauds, and wasteful expenditure. They also evaluate budgeting control accuracy, expenditure savings, etc. The reports, featuring audit “paras,” scrutinize public expenditures, with finalized paras presented to Parliament for review by relevant parliamentary committees.

The format of these reports undergoes periodic revisions while maintaining the primary objective of preventing financial loss. They spotlight transactions deemed financially unviable, keeping departments vigilant to avoid adverse publicity.

The procedural steps for creating and submitting an audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office include:

  1. Conducting audits and preparing “Inspection Reports” for each unit/organization, totaling about 72,000 annually. Copies are sent to the respective entities for corrective action, with significant matters included in Annual Audit Reports.
  2. Subjecting audit reports to rigorous quality assurance and counter-signing by the CAG before submission to the President.
  3. Submitting reports to the legislature, which delegates examination duties to relevant parliamentary committees, such as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Committee on Public Undertakings (COPU).

Since 1989, the CAG has also published Annual Activity Reports for each department, offering insights into their functioning and aiding in future planning.

The functions of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India encompass:

  1. Audit of Expenditure: Ensuring all expenditure from union and state revenues is audited, focusing on financial aspects and adherence to prescribed laws and procedures.
  2. Audit of Government Undertakings: Auditing commercial ventures of union and state governments, including departmental undertakings, statutory corporations, and government companies.
  3. Audit of Appropriation: Verifying that grants are utilized for intended purposes, detecting discrepancies, and ensuring adherence to legislative intentions.

Comptroller and Auditor General Significance and Criticism

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is a constitutional authority in many countries responsible for ensuring the government’s financial accountability and transparency. Its significance lies in its role as an independent body tasked with auditing government expenditures and revenues, ensuring they are in line with laws and regulations. Here’s a breakdown of its significance and criticism:


  • Financial Oversight: The CAG plays a crucial role in examining government finances, ensuring that public funds are used efficiently and effectively.
  • Transparency: By auditing government accounts and reporting irregularities, the CAG promotes transparency and accountability in public financial management.
  • Checks and Balances: The CAG acts as a check on the executive branch’s financial decisions, providing an independent assessment of government spending and revenue collection.
  • Recommendations: Through its audit reports, the CAG often makes recommendations to improve financial management practices, enhance efficiency, and prevent fraud and corruption.
  • Parliamentary Accountability: The CAG submits its reports to the parliament or legislature, which can then review its findings and take appropriate action, including holding government officials accountable.


  • Timing and Delay: Critics argue that audit reports often take too long to produce, sometimes rendering them less relevant as the issues they highlight may have already been addressed or evolved.
  • Limited Scope: Some critics suggest that the CAG’s focus is primarily on financial aspects, which may not capture broader aspects of governance, such as policy effectiveness or social impact.
  • Resource Constraints: The CAG’s effectiveness may be limited by budgetary constraints and staffing shortages, hindering its ability to conduct thorough and timely audits.
  • Political Interference: There are concerns that political pressure may influence the CAG’s independence, potentially compromising the integrity of its audits and reports.
  • Limited Enforcement Powers: While the CAG can highlight financial irregularities, it often lacks direct enforcement powers, relying on other institutions to take action based on its findings.

Comptroller and Auditor General UPSC

According to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the CAG will be the most significant officer under the Indian Constitution. Compared to other positions and offices named in the Constitution, the CAG office has received less attention, although being one of the most vital and pertinent. It is past time to implement the necessary changes to improve the CAG’s efficiency and transparency.

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Comptroller and Auditor General of India FAQs

How is the independence of the CAG ensured?

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 etc.

Who is the current Comptroller and Auditor General of India?

Shri Girish Chandra Murmu is India's current Comptroller and Auditor General.

Who was the first Auditor General of India?

The first Auditor General of India was Edmund Drummond.

What is Article 149?

Article 149 of the Constitution establishes the legal foundation for the Parliament to regulate the tasks and powers of the CAG in connection to the accounts of the Union, the States, and any other authority or entity.

What is the Tenure of CAG?

The CAG serves for six years or until he or she reaches the age of 65, whichever comes first

How does CAG perform his role?

The CAG is assisted by the Indian Audit and Accounts Department (IA&AD) to discharge his constitutional role.

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