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Current Affairs

CAG blames Coal India for violating environmental laws

Date: 13 December 2019 Tags: Constitution

Issue

The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on the environmental impact due to mining activities and mitigation measures at Coal India Limited (CIL) and its subsidiaries, has found several discrepancies.

 

Background

The Central government had formulated the national environmental policy in September 2006, but the CIL formulated a comprehensive policy only in March 2012, followed by a revised one in December 2018.

 

Details

  • Although guidelines containing the responsibility and delegation at different levels in environment discipline were formulated by CIL, the same were not dovetailed in their operating manual by the subsidiaries.

  • Shortcomings were noticed in the implementation of prescribed CIL guidelines in 17 of the 28 operating mines selected for scrutiny.

Comptroller and Auditor General

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is an authority, established by Article 148 of the Constitution of India, which audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments, including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government.

  • The CAG is also the external auditor of Government-owned corporations and conducts supplementary audit of government companies, i.e., any non-banking/ non-insurance company in which Union Government has an equity share of at least 51 per cent or subsidiary companies of existing government companies.

  • The reports of the CAG are taken into consideration by the Public Accounts Committees (PACs) and Committees on Public Undertakings (COPUs), which are special committees in the Parliament of India and the state legislatures.

  • His salary is same as that of judge of the Supreme court of India. Neither his salary nor rights in respect of leave of absence, pension or age of retirement can be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.

  • The CAG is not eligible for further office either under the Government of India or under the Government of any State after he has ceased to hold his office.

Appointment and Removal

  • CAG is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.

  • The CAG can be removed only on an address from both houses of parliament on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

  • The CAG vacates the office on attaining the age of 65 years even without completing the 6 years term by impeachment also.

Functions

The duties of the CAG include the audit of:

  • Receipts and expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India and of the State and Union Territory having legislative assembly.

  • Trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts and balance sheets, and other subsidiary accounts kept in any Government department; Accounts of stores and stock kept in Government offices or departments.

  • Government companies as per the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013.

  • Corporations established by or under laws made by Parliament in accordance with the provisions of the respective legislation.

  • Authorities and bodies substantially financed from the Consolidated Funds of the Union and State Governments. Anybody or authority even though not substantially financed from the Consolidated Fund, the audit of which may be entrusted to the C&AG.

  • Grants and loans given by Government to bodies and authorities for specific purposes.

  • Entrusted audits e.g. those of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies under Technical Guidance & Support (TGS).