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Documents, data, files sought by CAG should be provided: PM Modi to govt departments

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday (November 16) that the government departments should provide documents, data, and files sought by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

Speaking at the Audit Diwas event of the CAG, the Prime Minister said that data is information and it will dictate history in the future as he exhorted for strong and scientific audits to make systems strong and transparent.

PM Modi said, “History was written through stories. But in the 21st century, data is information and in coming times our history will be looked through and understood using data. In the future, data will be dictating the history.”

He went on to list reforms such as contactless customs, automatic renewals, faceless assessments and online applications for service delivery, that have ended unnecessary government interventions, adding “When transparency is brought in the system, results are visible.”

According to the Prime Minister, India is the world’s third-largest ecosystem for startups and already has 50 unicorns.

He said that strong, scientific audits will make the system strong and transparent, adding “his government has taken CAG’s concerns on fiscal deficit and state expenditure in the right spirit.”

Appreciating the CAG’s new practice of sharing preliminary findings with government departments before the beginning field audits, PM Modi said the combination of the two will give better results.

He said, “There are very few institutions that become stronger, more mature and more relevant with the passage of time. Most institutions lose relevance after some decades, but the CAG is a heritage and every generation should cherish it. It’s a huge responsibility.”

“While assessing the work of the Govt, CAG has the advantage of an outsider viewpoint. We make systematic improvements with the help of whatever you tell us, we see it as cooperation,” PM Narendra Modi added.

He said, “There was a time when the audit was seen with suspicion and fear. CAG vs Govt became the common mindset of our system. Sometimes officials used to think that CAG sees faults in everything. But today mindset has been changed. Today audit is considered an important part of value addition.”

The Prime Minister further said, “due to the lack of transparency in the country’s banking sector earlier, various practices used to take place. As a result, banks’ NPAs kept increasing. You know very well the work done to brush the NPAs under the carpet earlier.”

“But we presented the reality of the previous governments, the actual situation, honestly before the nation. We will be able to find out a solution only if we identify the problems,” said PM Modi, adding “We took brave decisions of monetising unused and under-used elements. As a result of those decisions we have a reviving economy – that is being discussed & welcomed across the world.”