Taking up the issue of CAG audit for PPP model projects, Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has called the Comptroller and Auditor General Shashi Kant Sharma before it on Wednesday.
“It is for the first time the PAC has taken up this issue formally. The panel will examine two aspects — the right of the CAG to audit every account of PPP and who will decide the auditors for a PPP model. We will examine whether the government should decide the auditors for PPP projects or private parties can continue to engage their own auditors,” PAC chairman K V Thomas told The Indian Express.
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Private parties have time and again opposed the idea of the national auditor examining accounts of PPP projects. The move is significant coming in the wake of corruption allegations in various PPP projects in the past.
Sources said the PAC will discuss in detail the mannerism that could be evolved to ensure the CAG can examine the entire gamut of transactions in PPP projects – investment, expenditure and profit – and how it can be technically empowered to do so.
Private parties argue that only the ministry can look into the PPP projects. Some also feel the move to involve CAG will discourage foreign investment. The only concession some private parties were willing to make is that at best the CAG can look into the profit part of PPP projects.
Thomas said that while so far, the projects under PPP model are not audited by the CAG, the panel feels that since in PPP projects, the money is spent from the consolidated fund of India, the expenditure on and income from such projects should be audited by the CAG.