In early 2013, India's then comptroller and auditor general (CAG), Vinod Rai, while delivering a speech at Harvard University's Kennedy School, wondered whether his office should be confined to being “mere accountants.” That this question could be raised in a public forum, and that too outside India, spoke to the transformation in recent times of Rai's stature and the office that he held. The winds of change were reflected in the Indian Supreme Court's rejection in 2013 of a public interest litigation challenging the authority of the auditor general, who is a constitutional authority, to conduct performance audits of the government. Significantly, the Court ruled, the “CAG is not a munim [accountant] to go into the balance-sheets. The CAG is a constitutional authority entitled to review and conduct performance audit on revenue allocations . . . and examine matters relating to the economy and how the government uses its resources.”

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