Take audits seriously

An audit is a system to find and point out financial and operational irregularities. It is an assurance that the system functions properly and securely. It is helpful in identifying weaknesses by making departures from procedures, not following regulations and flouting or bypassing instructions from higher authorities. It is, more importantly, an accepted and recognised system to detect, assess and prevent a fraud. Those who dodge or discourage, even despise audit are the most suspected persons and worst those who stonewall queries or questions and do not take action on audit reports could be explicitly encouraging or conspiring to commit a fraud.
At the outset, why should there be any evasive tactics by most of the Government departments in not furnishing Action Taken Notes (ATNs) and replies with cogent proofs to audit remarks and paragraphs. How could even the audit reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India be afforded to be disregarded and not replied in time? In fact, instead of the soft term ‘Action Taken Notes’, the amended response to audit notes should be a detailed “Rectification Certificate” which denotes both point to point reply as also certifying rectification of all mistakes . This certificate must be signed jointly by the departmental head and the next in command within 3 weeks of receiving audit paragraphs. Such submission should be made mandatory instead of cajoling departmental heads to submit routine replies. Not only would there be prompt response and instituting of transparency in the system but most of the frauds and embezzlements shall cease to take place.