Pvt sector in service delivery throws challenge to public auditors: CAG

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015,22:09 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | Comptroller and Auditor General of India Shashi Kant Sharma today said increasing role of private sector in service delivery with the use of public resources has changed the public auditing paradigm that existed decades ago.
Delivering a lecture on ‘Good goverance and Auditing’ here, organised by State Planning Board, Sharma said the definition of public resources has changed now and so also the responsibiity of auditing. Now we are mandated to audit the books and accounts of private parties that utilise public resources and the revenue generated is shared with government, he said.
In the new changed public-private partnership scene, he said many of the corporate tycoons were accused of making fortunes by rent seeking. This happens in industries which were vulnerable to monopoly, or which involved licensing or heavy state involvement. Some are mining, telecom spectrum, utilities, oil and gas, public infrastructure, he said.
He wanted to further strengthen regulatory and law enforcement agencies and step up awareness and sensitise all stakeholders. Law enforcement agencies will have to adopt quicker and more sophisticated investigation methods so that allegations are sorted out quickly, and they are not prolonged unnecessarily hindering normal activities, he said.
In this regard, he said during auditing of private parties evidences were found that in certain cases private players were trying to distort competition, upset free market fairness and cause loss to both public exchequer and competitors. Capitalism based on rent seeking was not just unfair, but also bad for long term growth.
In such an environment, resources were mis-allocated, competition repressed and dynamic new firms are stifled by better connected players, he said. And if linked to the financing of politics, rent heavy capitalism sets a tone at the top that can also let petty corruption flourish, he added. As private public interface grow I am reasonably certain that the role of CAG and regulators would also expand.
He expressed reservation over ignoring of CAG suggestions and recommendations by Parliament and State Assemblies. Many reports of CAG do not see light of the day, he said, adding CAG was yet to find an answer on how to handle this. State Finance Minister K M Mani inaugurated the function.