CAG-ICAI initiative to create pool of certified accountants for local bodies: G C Murmu

NEW DELHI, Feb 28: CAG Girish Chandra Murmu on Wednesday said that skill development initiative being taken by the apex auditor in association with ICAI will help create a pool of certified accountants in rural areas whose services can be availed by local bodies, and also small businesses for filing GST returns.
Supreme Audit Institution of India or CAG has partnered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), to develop a set of online courses, pitched at the required level of knowledge and skills for maintaining the accounts of different categories of local Governments.
This would help create a pool of certified accountants whose services can be used by local Governments in maintaining complete and standardised accounts.
Talking to reporters, CAG Murmu said those who have passed the Senior Secondary School Examination under the 10 + 2 scheme of recognised board can undertake the diploma certificate course of ICAI.
“It is a certificate course. It is professionally done by ICAI and has a lot of value. In fact my idea was that if these people learn accounting, they will have lot of jobs outside also. In the GST regime they can also help small businesses,” Murmu said.
Efforts will be made to upgrade the courses in due course of time, he said adding right now the courses are only for the Government accounting.
“We can add some courses. This is like a parallel skill development — the accounting skill,” the CAG said.
He also informed that a vertical for local bodies audit has been created in the CAG office, and efforts are on to strengthen it.
India has large number of urban and rural local bodies, particularly at rural level, 2,62,000 such bodies exist. The third tier of governance is dealing with many schemes and projects concerning Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Earlier in the day Murmu addressed the International Conference on Strengthening of Grassroots Democracy.
“Grassroots democracy is the cornerstone of a vibrant and inclusive society. It is at this level that the aspirations, concerns, and needs of the people are most acutely felt and addressed. It is here that local level planning of developmental programmes should be undertaken ensuring increased participation in activities,” he said in the inaugural address.
Recognizing that governance challenges at the grassroots may be unique to contiguous geographic areas, Murmu said SAI India has embarked on audit of local governments focusing on districts – administrative divisions encompassing multiple villages and cities.
“As the third tier of the Government touches peoples’ lives like no other does, the primary focus of District Centric Audit is on service delivery – the last mile connecting Government with its people,” he said.
The objective of the audit is to assess how well local Governments are discharging the functions which have been devolved as per the Constitution and legislations, he said.
“As we dwell upon accountability frameworks of local governments around the globe and audit interventions to improve local governance, I urge you to explore innovation and technology as catalysts for change,” the CAG said.
In an increasingly interconnected world, audit methodologies must evolve to keep pace with the complexities of modern governance.
“By harnessing the power of data analytics, artificial intelligence, and digital platforms, we can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our audit processes, ultimately delivering greater value to society,” Murmu said.
The 3-day conference is being attended by SAIs of 10 countries — Georgia, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Poland, South Africa, and Uganda. India is the host country. (PTI)