Comptroller and Auditor General
Context:The off Budget borrowingsmade by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment FundBoard (KIIFB) for critical infra projects have bypassedthe limits set on governmentborrowings under Article 293(1) of the Constitutionand such borrowings do nothave legislative approval,the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of Indiahas said.
Topic in syllabus:Prelims – polity
What is article 293?
- Article 293 of the Indian Constitution mandates that the State Governments in India can borrow only from internal sources. Thus the Government of India incurs both external and internal debt, while State Governments incur only internal debt.
About CAG:The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is the Constitutional Authority in India , established under Article 148 of the Constitution of India.
He is empowered to Audit all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the State Governments, including those of autonomous bodies and corporations substantially financed by the Government.
The CAG is also the statutory auditor of Government-owned corporations and conducts a supplementary audit of government companies in which the Government has an equity share of at least 51 percent or subsidiary companies of existing government companies.
The reports of the CAG are laid before the Parliament/Legislatures and are being taken up for discussion 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.
Article 148 – 151 of the Constitution of India deal with the institution of the CAG of India.
The CAG is ranked 9th and enjoys the same status as a sitting judge of Supreme Court of India in order of precedence.
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 or 6 year term, whichever is earlier or by impeachment process.
Duties of the CAG: the audit of the following
- Receipts and expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India and of the State and Union Territory having a 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).
Context:The Supreme Court onMonday asked AttorneyGeneral K.K. Venugopal tocompile the various issuesbeing raised by States withregard to the application ofa Constitution Bench judgment of 2006 in M. Nagarajcase, which had upheld theapplication of creamy layerprinciple to members ofthe Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe communitiesin promotions.
Topic in syllabus:Prelims – Polity
What is creamy layer?
- Creamy layer is a term used in Indian politics to refer to some members of a backward class who are highly advanced socially as well as economically and educationally. They constitute the forward section of that particular backward class – as forward as any other forward class member.
- They are not eligible for government-sponsored educational and professional benefit programs. The term was introduced by the Sattanathan Commission in 1971, which directed that the “creamy layer” should be excluded from the reservations (quotas) of civil posts.
- The Supreme Court has said that the benefit of reservation should not be given to OBC children of constitutional functionaries—such as the President, Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, employees of central and state bureaucracies above a certain level, public sector employees, and members of the armed forces and paramilitary personnel above the rank of colonel.
- Those from scheduled castes (SCs) and in scheduled tribes (STs) are exempt from this classification, and always receive the benefits of reservation regardless of family income.
- The children of persons engaged in trade, industry and professions such as a doctor, lawyer, chartered accountant, income tax consultant, financial or management consultant, dental surgeon, engineer, computer specialist, film artists and other film professional, author, playwright, sports person, sports professional, media professional or any other vocations of like status whose annual income is more than 800,000 (Rs 8 lakh) for a period of three consecutive years are also excluded.
Context:India is considering raisingimport duties by 5%-10% onmore than 50 items including smartphones, electroniccomponents and appliancesin the upcoming budget,three government sourcesprivy to the discussions toldReuters on Monday.
Topic in syllabus:Prelims – Economy
What is import duty?
- Import duty is a type of tax levied on the import and specific exports of a nation’s customs authorities. The value of goods will generally decide the amount of import duty that will be imposed. Sometimes, import duty is also referred to as customs duty, import tax, import tariff, or tariff.
Effects of import duty:
- Since an import duty increases the import price of the taxed item (the extent of which depends upon various factors including its demand and supply elasticities), it has a protective effect in the form of shielding domestic suppliers from the competition from imports.
- Import duties may also enable the domestic industries to have higher production costs. Thus, due to the protection, the domestic industries are able to expand their output.
- The increase in price of the taxed commodity usually reduces the consumption capacity of the people if the import duty causes an increase in the price of domestically produced goods, it amounts to redistribution of income between the consumers and producers in favour of the producers.
- Moreover, a part of the consumer income is producers. An import duty means increased revenue of the government (unless, of course, the rate of tariff is so high that it completely stops the import of the good) in the sense of protecting the domestic industries from foreign competition which may enable the domestic producers to gain a monopoly power in the domestic industry.
- Import duty by reducing the volume of imports, may help the imposing country to improve its balance of payment position.
Important news in short
- The Supreme Court on Monday said the Union government and the Delhi Policeshould take a call on whether or not protesting farmerscould hold tractor or vehiclemarches on Republic Day inthe national capital.
- The task force set up to takea relook at the age of marriage for women has submitted its report to the PrimeMinister’s Office and the Ministry of Women and ChildDevelopment, it is reliablylearnt. A government sourcesaid the report was submitted either “late December orvery early in January”.
Examples related to Ethics (GS-4) in today’s newspaper
- The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has directedall Ministries/Departments of the Union government tostrictly adhere to the time limits for various stages of disciplinary proceedings in vigilance cases sinceunexplained delay was causing undue advantage or harassment to the charged
officials. (against probity and duty boundedness)