Wishing all the readers a very Happy New Year.
The second issue of Journal of Government Audit and Accounts is now with you. The issue brings the highlights of the Accountants General Conference held in October 2014, including the inaugural address of the President of India. The Conference discussed pertinent issues which affect the functioning of the Department and also the strategies to address them. An eminent panel of external stakeholders shared their concerns and suggestions on value and impact of CAG's audit. The present edition of the Journal carries the background paper for this panel discussion as prepared by the Centre of Budget Governance and Accountability.
Data and information is the core and basis of any public administrative activity, whether it is about considering policy options, prioritising decisions, opting for various delivery methods or auditing it. We are presenting two initiatives where the data has been analysed in an effective fashion to support audit designing or supporting policy options. The first one considers how targeted sampling methods, paired with available data, could be used to increase the overall effectiveness of performance audit. Ms. Sarah Oberst, Research Associate, Evidence for Policy Design, Harvard Kennedy School, in collaboration with the Professional Practices Group of CAG of India has analysed the data available in public domain for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and has suggested targeted sampling methods. We hope to learn from this initiative and use similar techniques in our future audit endeavours.
In the second initiative, an analysis of inter-se share of tax devolution as determined by 13th Finance Commission has been attempted for a better appreciation of the working of the devolution model used by the Finance Commission, and in identifying aspects of the model that can be improved upon. This analysis of the horizontal devolution was done through use of Visual Analytics tools (QlikView and Tableau); the e-version of the journal makes available the data visualization in an interactive mode, and the reader can explore additional details of tax devolution.
In the next article, the author examines whether smaller local self-governments ensure greater financial accountability. This issue also carries a brief recap of challenges and criticisms of disinvestment of central public sector entities post year 2009. Under the regular entry- 'featuring an office' the National Academy of Audit and Accounts is being presented. Similarly, the Audit Report on Land management in Kerala has been included as 'featuring an audit report'. The issue also carries information on new policy initiatives, guidance notes and news from the international desk.
I sincerely hope that the readers find the issue interesting and intellectually stimulating. I will be looking forward to your valuable feedback and suggestions.
Professional Practices Group