The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has recommended enacting a law making it mandatory to do all government transactions electronically, to check any diversion of funds. The proposed legislation will be binding for both the Centre and states.
“We have recommended that even one rupee of the government should be spent only electronically… There will be no chance of hera-pheri (hanky panky) in the electronic transactions,” Rajiv Mehrishi said, speaking to The Indian Express a day before his term as CAG ends. “It will increase transparency, lead to improvement in governance… and help in the audit process.”
Mehrishi, who took over as CAG in September 2017, said they had formally rendered a suggestion for enactment of a ‘Data Accountability and Transparency Act’ to the President two-and-a-half months back.
The law would fall under Article 150 of the Constitution, he said. Article 150 states, “The accounts of the Union and of the States shall be kept in such (a) form as the President may, [on the advice of] the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, prescribe.”
Mehrishi said once the government enacts the law, the change from manual to electronic can be fully implemented within three years. “All government transactions can be shifted to electronic mode within a year. For the PSUs and autonomous bodies one more year can be given and finally local bodies can do so in three years,” Mehrishi said. “We have advised that over a period of time the government should make it compulsory for all government transactions to be on an IT platform. All transactions should be done electronically, 100 per cent.”
He added that while some states already do budget formulations electronically, in others, computerisation happens on the basis of manual entry. “That is not the correct way. The first entry should be electronically. That will ensure the full chain of records electronically.”