No place for CAG interfering into private cos books: Ficci

Tags: CAG, Ficci, News
Amidst accounts of private firms in power and telecom business coming under scrutiny of CAG, industry body Ficci said there is "no place for CAG interfering into a private company's books" as the official auditor was set up to examine accounts of government firms.

"As far as audit through CAG is concerned, we believe the CAG was constituted to be answerable to Parliament in respect of businesses which are owned by the government. So therefore to my mind, there is no place for CAG interfering into a private company's books," Ficci President Sidharth Birla said at a conference here.

In a significant ruling, the Delhi High Court today held that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) can audit the accounts of private telecom operators under the relevant provisions of the law.

A bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and V Kameswar Rao permitted the top accounting body to conduct audit of private telecom companies under the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act.

Besides, the Delhi Government has also warned private power distribution companies that their licences may be cancelled if they do not cooperate with the CAG which is scrutinising their finances.

Birla also called into question the efficacy of the UPA government's flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), saying it had drawn people away from productive or industrial employment, leading to fall in capital assets.

"When NREGA was originally conceived and passed in Parliament, the expectation or the suggestion was that assets would be created. That has not happened," he said.

Besides, industry body Ficci unveiled the Economic Agenda for long-term growth, with a focus on growth of enterprise and job creation.

"Accelerating investments in the industrial sector is central. There is a need to nurture and maintain a positive state of mind amongst existing and potential entrepreneurs. A healthy macro-environment is a precondition for higher investments," Birla said on the Economic Agenda.

"Hard decisions are a must to keep the fiscal deficit under check. Planned capital expenditure should not be compromised for revenue spending. A permanent solution lies in linking social spending to asset creation and skill building. Appropriate linkage of NREGA with productive work would meet inclusivity objectives, while adding to growth," Birla said.

Pointing out that in the current environment, decision making had totally slowed down, Birla said: "We must be seen as a nation inviting capital. Clarity in policy formulation, certainty in legislative interpretation besides time-bound, transparent implementation of policies with minimal discretion is what business relentlessly seeks."

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