New Delhi, February 9, 2017

The Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) is creating multiple databases that will help the institution access various sources of information to make audit process more transparent and accountable, the CAG Shashikant Sharma said today.

"We are taking a census of data sources and creating a repository of data dumps that need to be accessed. We are developing a protocol for assessing the information without breaching the integrity and confidentiality of the databases," Sharma said at the inaugural session of ICAI-PIOB conclave here today.

Asked about the intent of creating this huge database, Sharma said it will help the body compare databases and then come to audit finding.

"We are going to use that database for audit. For example, say everyone who has got BPL (below poverty line) card, the person will also get a social security pension. If we compare the social security data with the BPL data, we can find out who got it and who didn't," he added.

Sharma said that sourcing of multiple data will help conduct accurate audit.

Also, it will reduce dependence on sample sizes as 100 per cent of the relevant population can be taken into consideration.

Speaking about the cooperation between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB), he said it will help develop standards, sharing of best practices and promote the auditing profession.

ICAI can also assist PIOB in capacity building in other countries which lack good financial holdings and auditing system, he said further.

However, he also emphasized the need for stricter compliance and implementation of best practices in safeguarding public interest as mere setting up of standards will not work.

"We must build strong disincentives for non compliance to demonstrate the commitment to enforce that we want to be seen working in public interest," Sharma said.

The CAG said transparency and accountability are pillars of good governance in public as well as in private sector.

By adopting newer ways of auditing, risk analysis methodology and audit planning can be made more effective for analysis of big data.

"In recognition to this data revolution and digitisation, the CAG has undertaken a major process of developing capacity building in data analytics including establishing of a centre for data management," Sharma said.

[The Economic Times]