In anticipation of the enactment of the National Food Security Act, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has made provisions to audit the act, along with several other government food security schemes.
According to the Strategic Audit Plan (2012-17) prepared during former CAG Vinod Rai’s tenure, a copy of which is with dna, the audit of schemes for food security might be completed by 2017. The audit seeks to “review the implementation of the government schemes for food security and study the impact of these schemes on the overall food security of the people,” states the audit plan.
The strategic audit plan, finalised in 2011, identifies specific priorities that the CAG will focus on over the next five years starting 2012, while continuing to discharge other mandatory functions.
One of the reasons of the formulation of the strategic audit plan is to inform and assist the parliament in exercising “better financial control over executives through informed and credible audit reports.”
The Food Security Bill was cleared by the Lok Sabha on Monday, while the Rajya Sabha is expected to take it up in the coming Monday. The ordinance has been moved and the scheme has already been announced in Delhi.
The bill provides augmented and cheap supply of food grains to priority beneficiaries, apart from providing rations or cooked meals to children under 14 and the destitute. The bill also includes women and people on the margins of the society. The government has earmarked Rs1,25,000 crore for the scheme during 2013-2014.
The CAG primarily has three kinds of audits on the basis of compliance, financial and performance respectively.
While the first kind seeks to audit schemes on the basis of the compliance of the scheme’s implementation with the rules laid down, the second kind of audit inspects the financial records of a scheme. The third kind audits schemes on the basis of performance.
The audit of food securities schemes is a part of CAG’s performance audit in order to assess the progress made by the government towards inclusive growth, cutting across different strata of society.
According to government documents, most people are healthier, live longer and educated, “Yet much more remains to be done in expanding choices and improving well-being for all people,” said the audit plan paper.
The bill introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2011, provides for the coverage of up to 75% of the rural population and up to 50% of the urban population, for subsidised food grains.