Government is considering a proposal to make Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) into a multi-member body, a move that came under sharp criticism from the opposition and civil society.
"It (Shunglu panel's suggestion to make changes in CAG) is under active consideration. The government is actively considering it," Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy told PTI in an interview.
The Minister was replying to a question about a suggestion by former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu that CAG be made a multi-member body.
The Minister sought to retract his comments on making CAG a multi-member body but PTI stands by its story.
Shunglu had suggested that "a three-member body would obtain greater transparency in its operation. One member should possess professional accounting qualifications, Chartered Accountant or its equivalent.
Narayanasamy also said that Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has become "more impatient" and he wants that all constitutional bodies to work within their parameters.
Reacting to Narayanasamy's remarks, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha attacked the proposal as a "very bad idea" and also "unconstitutional".
Making a distinction between Election Commission and CAG, he said the official auditor cannot be treated like a commission and cannot be made a multi-member body.
"It's a very, very bad idea. And I agree it is in order to muzzle the present incumbent and weaken the institution. They are out to destroy the institution of CAG," Sinha said.
Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy said government was trying to dilute the authority and curtail autonomy of CAG because of its reports.
"Vinod Rai (CAG) became much independent. Government is trying to clip his wings. Government made Election Commission a multi-member body to dilute the authority of Seshan (then CEC). The government should not implement Shunglu Committee report," he said.
Civil Society activist Kiran Bedi said, "I think it is Government versus embarrassment which it has faced because of the remarkable work done by the CAG so far.
"The CAG has done outstanding work. It is because of the CAG that the scams got exposed," Bedi said.
Former CVC N Vittal said government's move on CAG will make constitutional bodies weak.
However, former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said CAG will become more powerful if it has more than one member. "I won't comment on timing but making CAG a multi-member body would be better," he said citing the long experience of multi-member Election Commission.