A rejoinder to Manish Tewari

August 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm 6 comments

A rejoinder to Manish Tewari on ‘Why the CAG is wrong’(The Indian Express-28th Aug)I am neither a lawyer nor an MP nor a member of any political party but just on ordinary citizen who has an opinion.
A perusal of the article brought out the fact that the Hon’ble MP wants to circumvent the powers of the CAG and makes a case of it falling back on the Constitution Article 149 simply because it suits his party. He also falls back on the absence of the word ‘policy’ It has been the habit of the Congressmen/women to shout down or to sweep away that which is distasteful and inconvenient to it under the carpet and pretend that everything is right about them and the wrong is on the other side.
Today the Congress is so very sensitive of federalism-starting from the PM right down they want to be democratic and uphold what the non-Congress ruled States demand. Why this sudden enlightenment on federalism to accede to the demands of the non Congress States? Will the same be extended to the non Congress States in other areas? Or is this sudden love for upholding federalism exclusive only to the Coalgate?
Manish Tewari has taken pains to quote the Article 149 and brings out the relevant provisions wherein the CAG’s powers have been circumscribed only to such duties and powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and the States….The author points out the emphasis on ‘accounts and the clear absence of a remit to audit policy. I am reminded of an episode where in a man went for confession and confessed his sin. The penitent was repentant and was very much worried etc. When the priest asked what his sin was he stated that he stole a rope. The priest was flabbergasted and asked him why he was so worried-after all his offence was a very minor one-stealing a rope. The man was still fumbling and would not let go. He told the priest that he was very upset and sorry and had lost his peace of mind.etc. So the priest further probed him and said after all it is only a length of a rope-that’s a minor offence and so not to worry too much about it. Then the penitent came out with the fact that it was not just a length of rope because at the end of the rope was tied a cow. Now that makes all the difference stated the priest .Similarly Manish Tewari wants us to believe that the CAG is only a copywriter-He has to transfer accounts from pieces of paper –consolidate it and present it as one sheet credit- debit account That the word ‘policy is missing does not mean that the CAG‘s task is only to copy down the accounts.
The Founding Fathers would not have envisaged us to be so narrow and forget the very spirit and the need of a CAG. Look who is talking when it suits the Congress it reads what is not in the Constitution-defeats its very goal and aim. And in case this is not sufficient it amends the Constitution. A typical example is the affirmative action. Was it envisaged by the Founding Fathers to have a reservation policy permanently in place? Is it not a violation of the Constitution to bring in religion as a parameter to measure and ghetto people?So everything is read and performed according to the Congress’ perception-towards its own vested interest.
To get back to the rope and the cow in the context of the CAG’s mandate I think that when the work of the CAG is in relation to accounts-that can mean a whole area that abuts on accounts. If there has been an absence of the word ‘Policy’ that does not go to mean that the policy of the Union cannot be looked into or mentioned because of the need to justify or not justify the loss of 1.86lakh crores of rupees. It is for a sensitive and sensible CAG to point out why this huge loss to the exchequer. It is for the ruling party to clarify and to make its point clear. If the huge mentioned amount is not correct then what amount is correct?
Coming to the Office Memorandum Manish Tewari has made a distinction between a performance audit and states that it is “an independent assessment or examination of the extent to which an organization, programme or scheme operates economically, efficiently and effectively. If one goes by the three Es. Mark the emphasis on organization, programme or scheme, not policy”. This is a narrow way of reading the OM. Any accounts must impinge on the three Es-effectiveness, efficiency and economics of the scheme-As far as the CAG is concerned it must direct its scrutiny of the government’s on the three Es in the coalgate scam. Otherwise it will be like the man who confessed that he only stole a rope-if the priest had just accepted that and sent him away without probing its further and finding out that there was a cow tied at the end of the rope. So any loss to the GOI must take into account the three Es-Let us not argue over the linguistic juggling but look at the end result. Why a CAG at all if it is only to copy down accounts from one sheet to the other? Let us not interpret the Constitution according to our whims and fancies to suit out own vested interest.
If the NDA government also followed the same path what was the Congress in the Opposition doing then? Let not wrongs be repeated and validated and justified because someone else has committed the same wrong. It becomes clear that the UPA government is one of scams and this is no exception but prodding the MPs to be on the offensive or taking to the roads the Congress President is not righting the wrong but only exposing its own weakness . By the way where is Rahul Gandhi in all this?
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
Vadodara

A rejoinder to Manish Tewari on ‘Why the CAG is wrong’(The Indian Express-28th Aug)I am neither a lawyer nor an MP nor a member of any political party but just on ordinary citizen who has an opinion.
A perusal of the article brought out the fact that the Hon’ble MP wants to circumvent the powers of the CAG and makes a case of it falling back on the Constitution Article 149 simply because it suits his party. He also falls back on the absence of the word ‘policy’ It has been the habit of the Congressmen/women to shout down or to sweep away that which is distasteful and inconvenient to it under the carpet and pretend that everything is right about them and the wrong is on the other side.
Today the Congress is so very sensitive of federalism-starting from the PM right down they want to be democratic and uphold what the non-Congress ruled States demand. Why this sudden enlightenment on federalism to accede to the demands of the non Congress States? Will the same be extended to the non Congress States in other areas? Or is this sudden love for upholding federalism exclusive only to the Coalgate?
Manish Tewari has taken pains to quote the Article 149 and brings out the relevant provisions wherein the CAG’s powers have been circumscribed only to such duties and powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and the States….The author points out the emphasis on ‘accounts and the clear absence of a remit to audit policy. I am reminded of an episode where in a man went for confession and confessed his sin. The penitent was repentant and was very much worried etc. When the priest asked what his sin was he stated that he stole a rope. The priest was flabbergasted and asked him why he was so worried-after all his offence was a very minor one-stealing a rope. The man was still fumbling and would not let go. He told the priest that he was very upset and sorry and had lost his peace of mind.etc. So the priest further probed him and said after all it is only a length of a rope-that’s a minor offence and so not to worry too much about it. Then the penitent came out with the fact that it was not just a length of rope because at the end of the rope was tied a cow. Now that makes all the difference stated the priest .Similarly Manish Tewari wants us to believe that the CAG is only a copywriter-He has to transfer accounts from pieces of paper –consolidate it and present it as one sheet credit- debit account That the word ‘policy is missing does not mean that the CAG‘s task is only to copy down the accounts.
The Founding Fathers would not have envisaged us to be so narrow and forget the very spirit and the need of a CAG. Look who is talking when it suits the Congress it reads what is not in the Constitution-defeats its very goal and aim. And in case this is not sufficient it amends the Constitution. A typical example is the affirmative action. Was it envisaged by the Founding Fathers to have a reservation policy permanently in place? Is it not a violation of the Constitution to bring in religion as a parameter to measure and ghetto people?So everything is read and performed according to the Congress’ perception-towards its own vested interest.
To get back to the rope and the cow in the context of the CAG’s mandate I think that when the work of the CAG is in relation to accounts-that can mean a whole area that abuts on accounts. If there has been an absence of the word ‘Policy’ that does not go to mean that the policy of the Union cannot be looked into or mentioned because of the need to justify or not justify the loss of 1.86lakh crores of rupees. It is for a sensitive and sensible CAG to point out why this huge loss to the exchequer. It is for the ruling party to clarify and to make its point clear. If the huge mentioned amount is not correct then what amount is correct?
Coming to the Office Memorandum Manish Tewari has made a distinction between a performance audit and states that it is “an independent assessment or examination of the extent to which an organization, programme or scheme operates economically, efficiently and effectively. If one goes by the three Es. Mark the emphasis on organization, programme or scheme, not policy”. This is a narrow way of reading the OM. Any accounts must impinge on the three Es-effectiveness, efficiency and economics of the scheme-As far as the CAG is concerned it must direct its scrutiny of the government’s on the three Es in the coalgate scam. Otherwise it will be like the man who confessed that he only stole a rope-if the priest had just accepted that and sent him away without probing its further and finding out that there was a cow tied at the end of the rope. So any loss to the GOI must take into account the three Es-Let us not argue over the linguistic juggling but look at the end result. Why a CAG at all if it is only to copy down accounts from one sheet to the other? Let us not interpret the Constitution according to our whims and fancies to suit out own vested interest.
If the NDA government also followed the same path what was the Congress in the Opposition doing then? Let not wrongs be repeated and validated and justified because someone else has committed the same wrong. It becomes clear that the UPA government is one of scams and this is no exception but prodding the MPs to be on the offensive or taking to the roads the Congress President is not righting the wrong but only exposing its own weakness . By the way where is Rahul Gandhi in all this?
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
Vadodara

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chithra  |  August 29, 2012 at 7:50 am

    In the absence of #AMS (Abhishek Manu Singhvi who was never flustered by any scam however big), it is left to Manish Tewari to defend the government. He had to tender a written apology to Anna for slurring him. His legal acumen doesn’t seem to help him.
    Regards,

    Reply
    • 2. Hilda Raja  |  August 30, 2012 at 2:42 am

      Dear Chitra-thank you for your comment.With no efficient spokespersons the Congress has no other choice but to fall back on those who suffer from foot in the mouth disease-one such is Manish Tewari-and what do you say about that wooly headed Renuka Chowdary?Where is Rahul Gandhi the PM in waiting-if he has no opion of his own he could be at least given some coaching by Diggy and the likes.Imagine he taking over the ‘gaddi’In his student days he had not passed a single exam.Poor India.Don’t we deserve better than this playboy?.
      HR

      Reply
  • 3. S.Raguraman  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Dear Madam : As you rightly pointed out, why does not Congress show the same concern for federalism in the case of the anti- terrorism Bill passed by the Gujerath assembly – not once but twice? To my knowledge, it is still awaiting the President’s nod, who is of course to act only on the recommendations of the Central Govt.

    Reply
    • 4. Hilda Raja  |  August 30, 2012 at 2:50 am

      Dear Raguraman.
      You are cent percent right-the Congress is not fall back on its Federalism.Is it taking the people for a ride and thinking that all are fools.Not only anti-terrorism bills even for ordinary allocation of funds-there is a vast difference between the Congress ruled and the Non Congress rules States when it comes to allocation.And the Planning Commission is not accountable to anyone.
      Now in the proposed FDI why has the Congress not taken into consideration the opinion of the States?When it came to the President’s election why had the Congress not discussed the matter with the Opposition and gracefully acccepted the candidature of Jaswant Singh in lieu of the BJP voting for Pranab Mukherjee?Where has there been consultation on vital matters-and now it talks of Federalism.Thank you for your response.All the best to you Raguraman.
      HR

      Reply
  • 5. Chithra  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:32 am

    About Renuka Choudhry some one said on Twitter that a spokesperson should have “au minimum” gone to school.
    Regards,

    Reply
    • 6. hilda raja  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:17 am

      Yes Chitra you are sharp to remember that-HR

      Reply

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