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Context: According to the data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA), in the first five months of the 2023-24 financial year, the Centre's fiscal deficit was 36% of the full-year target. In the same period of the previous financial year (2022-23), the fiscal deficit was 32.6% of the Budget Estimates (BE). This suggests an increase in the deficit compared to the previous year.
- In the Union Budget for 2023-24, the government aimed to limit the fiscal deficit to 5.9% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is a reduction compared to the previous financial year when the fiscal deficit was 6.4% of the GDP.
- A fiscal deficit is the difference between the total expenditure and revenue of the government. It serves as an indicator of the total borrowings required by the government to meet its expenditure.
- The data was released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA).
Controller General of Accounts (CGA)
- The Office of the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) plays a crucial role in the financial management of the Government of India.
- It serves as the Principal Accounting Adviser to the Government of India, providing advice on accounting matters.
- It prepares monthly and annual analyses of expenditure, revenues, borrowings, and fiscal indicators for the Union Government, facilitating informed decision-making.
- The CGA submits the Annual Appropriation Accounts (Civil) and Union Finance Accounts to Parliament based on the advice of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, as mandated by Article 150 of the Constitution.
- It formulates policies related to accounting principles, procedures, and practices for both Central and State Governments.
- It administers the process of payments, receipts, and accounting in Central Civil Ministries/Departments, ensuring accuracy and efficiency.
- It prepares, consolidates, and submits monthly and annual accounts of the Central Government through a robust financial reporting system, supporting the effective implementation of government fiscal policies.
- It coordinates and assists in the introduction of Management Accounting Systems in Ministries/Departments, promoting efficient cash management and an effective Financial Management Information System (FMIS).
- Through Internal Audit Units in Ministries/Departments, the CGA maintains technical standards of accounting and monitors the financial performance and effectiveness of various programs, schemes, and activities.
- It administers banking arrangements for government expenditures and receipts, ensuring smooth disbursements and collections. It also reconciles cash balances with the Central Bank.
- It is responsible for coordinating and monitoring the progress of corrective/remedial actions based on recommendations from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) reports, utilizing a web-based Audit Para Monitoring System (APMS).
- The Office of the CGA plays a pivotal role in maintaining the financial integrity of the Government of India through its responsibilities in accounting, financial analysis, policy formulation, internal audit, and coordination with parliamentary bodies.
Q. What are the key responsibilities and functions of the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) in the financial management of the Government of India, and how does it contribute to maintaining the financial integrity of the government?