September 2023 : Yojana Magazine GIST : Micro Notes or Revision Notes : Yojana Magazine Summary


Accountability and Financial Administration

Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India

  • Established in 1860, gained constitutional status in 1950 (Article 148).
  • Independent of legislature and executive.
  • Plays a key role in public financial management.

CAG’s Functions

  • Advises government on maintaining accounts.
  • Audits accounts of Union and State Governments.
  • Submits audit reports to President, Governors, and UT administrators.
  • Audit jurisdiction includes:
    • Union Government
    • State/UT Governments
    • Local bodies
    • Attached & subordinate offices
    • Autonomous bodies
    • Statutory authorities
    • Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs)

Types of CAG Audits

  • Financial attest audit: Ensures accuracy of financial statements.
  • Compliance audit: Checks adherence to rules and regulations.
  • Performance audit: Assesses efficiency and effectiveness of systems.

Significance of CAG Audit

  • Reports significant observations to Parliament and state legislatures.
    • Union Government Appropriation and Finance Accounts
    • State Finances Audit Reports
    • General Purpose Financial Reports on PSUs
    • Compliance and Performance Audit Reports
  • Provides macro fiscal analysis of key indices.
  • Promotes good governance through recommendations.
  • Identifies under-assessment of taxes and ensures recovery.
  • Audits government companies and highlights financial irregularities.

Recent Steps

  • CAG audits use Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) for digitalisation.
  • Established framework for digital audit of GST revenues.
  • Conducted audits of financial systems in government schemes.


  • CAG upholds trust of taxpayers and investors.
  • Contributes to robust financial administration.
  • Institutional values, professionalism, and social awareness are key to CAG’s legacy.


 Parliamentary Committees – Strengthening Scope and Role

Parliamentary Committees: Strengthening Scrutiny

  • Parliament functions in two ways: on the floor of the House and in Committees.
  • Committees scrutinize specific issues and inform Parliament debates.
  • They build consensus, develop expertise, and consult with stakeholders.

Types of Standing Committees

  • Four main categories:
    • Department-related/Subject Committees (24 committees)
    • Financial Committees (Estimates, Public Undertakings, Public Accounts)
    • Accountability Committees (Government Assurances, Subordinate Legislation, Petitions)
    • Administrative Committees (e.g., Business Advisory Committee – manages daily agenda)

Department-related/Subject Committees

  • Oversee each ministry (Minister cannot be a member).
  • 31 members (21 Lok Sabha, 10 Rajya Sabha).
  • Proportional membership based on party strength in Parliament.
  • Review proposed laws, select subjects for examination, and scrutinize ministry budgets.

Financial Committees

  • Estimates Committee: Examines pre-budget ministry estimates.
  • Committee on Public Undertakings (COPU): Examines functioning of public undertakings.
  • Public Accounts Committee (PAC): Reviews government’s spending statement.
  • Ministers cannot be members of these committees.

Areas for Improvement

  1. Referring All Bills to Committees:
    • Currently, referral is discretionary (Speaker/Chairman’s decision).
    • Automatic referral would ensure minimum level of scrutiny for all laws.
  2. Attendance of MPs:
    • Low attendance (average 47% for subject Committees in 17th Lok Sabha).
    • High absenteeism noted by National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2002).
  3. Shortage of Technical Staff and Experts:
    • Limited technical support for Committees (scheduling, note-taking).
    • Other democracies (e.g., Canada) provide research staff to Committees.
  4. Public Transparency:
    • Committee meeting minutes are included in reports (measure of transparency).
    • National Commission (2002) recommends discussing major reports in Parliament, especially in case of disagreements.


Parliamentary Committees play a vital role in scrutinizing government work, improving bills, and facilitating expert/stakeholder consultations. Further reforms can enhance their effectiveness.


Direct Tax Reforms

Importance of Tax Collection

  • Funds government spending on education, healthcare, housing, etc.
  • Improves quality of life and addresses poverty, unemployment, and slow development.
  • Needs to be balanced to avoid impacting trade and industry growth.
  • Every citizen should pay their fair share.

Tax Reforms in India

  • Goal: Increase tax collection in a non-adversarial manner through a stable and predictable regime.
  • Four Pillars of Reform:
  1. Removing Exemptions/Deductions and Reducing Tax Rates
  • Reduces complexity and encourages investment (study by IMF, OECD, UN, World Bank).
  • Corporate tax rates reduced (2019):
    • 17% for existing companies (no exemptions/deductions).
    • 16% for new manufacturing companies (certain conditions).
  • Similar reforms for personal income tax (2020 with option for new tax regime).
  • Reduced tax rates in the new tax regime (Finance Act, 2023).
  • Lower tax rates with fewer deductions are showing positive results.
  1. Widening and Deepening Tax Base
  • Introduced new TDS/TCS provisions:
    • Rent payments by individuals/HUFs.
    • E-commerce operations.
    • Cash withdrawals above a threshold.
    • Large payments by individuals/HUFs.
    • Purchase of goods.
    • Benefits/perquisites received during business/profession.
  • Removed arbitrage in specific areas (debt mutual funds, business trusts).
  • Capped long-term capital gains tax benefit from real estate investment.
  • Higher surcharge for high-net-worth individuals.
  • Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income & Assets) Act, 2015.
  • Strengthened third-party information collection for undeclared income/assets.
  • Encouraged use of digital transactions over cash transactions.
  1. Using Technology to Increase Efficiency
  • Pre-populated tax returns with third-party information (AIS).
  • E-verification scheme for filing tax returns.
  • Faceless assessment and appearance system for convenience.
  • End-to-end technology-driven services for taxpayers and tax processing.
  1. Reducing Litigation by Providing Tax Certainty
  • Tax litigation wastes time and resources for taxpayers, government, courts, and tribunals.
  • Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) have reduced transfer pricing disputes.

Results of Reforms

  • Significant increase in direct tax collection with buoyancy exceeding 1 for several years.
  • Direct tax growth consistently outpaces GDP growth.
  • Direct tax collection grew 160% from 2013-14 to 2022-23, compared to 140% GDP growth.
  • Tax buoyancy of 1.15 signifies efficient tax administration and successful reforms.

Future Challenges

  • Continuous tax policy reform is needed.
  • Further reforms required to reduce tax litigation and ensure early tax certainty.
  • Maintaining ease of doing business through tax policies.
  • Ensuring everyone pays their fair share of indirect taxes.


Protecting Interests of Consumers and Businesses

Competition Law: Balancing Interests

  • Protects consumers and businesses by fostering competition and preventing unfair practices.
  • Creates a level playing field, encouraging innovation and efficiency.
  • Enforced by Competition Commission of India (CCI) for fair competition and consumer welfare.
  • Complements Consumer Law (different angles, same goal: consumer wellbeing).

CCI: Role and Tools

  • Established in 2003 to promote healthy competition in the Indian economy.
  • Acts as a watchdog for fair competition conditions.
  • Uses various tools to enforce competition laws and protect consumer interests:
  1. Advocacy:Educates stakeholders (businesses, consumers, policymakers) on competition principles.
  2. Anti-Competitive Agreements Detection:Investigates agreements that may violate the Competition Act (cartels, price-fixing, etc.).
  3. Abuse of Dominance Assessments:Ensures dominant firms don’t misuse market power to harm competitors.
  4. Digital Tools and Data Analytics:Uses technology for evidence-based decision-making.
  5. Fines and Penalties:Deters violations through penalties on those who break competition laws.
  6. International Cooperation:Collaborates with other competition authorities for cross-border issues and best practices.
  7. Market Studies:Identifies areas requiring market correction and informs policy formulation.
  8. Merger Control:Reviews mergers, acquisitions, and amalgamations efficiently (e.g., Green Channel for ease of business).
  9. Leniency Programmes:Offers reduced penalties to parties who report involvement in anti-competitive practices.
  10. Remedies:Requires companies to take corrective actions (divestment, structural changes) to address competition concerns.

Relationship Between Competition and Consumer Protection

  • Both aim to correct market failures and ensure effective market functioning.
  • Consumer laws (demand-side) focus on consumer rights.
  • Competition laws (supply-side) ensure consumer choice and affordable prices.
  • Fair competition is a pillar of consumer welfare by offering diverse products and services at lower costs.

Relationship Between Competition and Business

  • Competition creates an environment for businesses to improve, innovate, and meet consumer needs.
  • Increased competition leads to greater productivity, growth, and international competitiveness for domestic businesses.
  • A distorted market with anti-competitive practices harms businesses and the economy.


Competition law benefits both businesses and consumers. It helps businesses identify consumer needs and develop products/services, while consumers gain access to better choices.


 Administrative Reforms in India (2014-2023)


  • Administrative reforms aim to improve the relationship between bureaucracy and citizens.
  • India has undertaken e-Governance initiatives to simplify citizen-government interactions.
  • Government aims to create a “Digitally Empowered Citizen” and “Digitally Transformed Institutions.”

Effective Grievance Redressal

  • Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS):
    • Allows citizens to file complaints online.
    • 17 lakh registered users, 84,449 grievance officers mapped on the platform.
    • In 2022:
      • 2 million grievances received.
      • 7 million grievances redressed.
      • Average redressal time for central ministries improved from 32 days (2021) to 19 days (Jan-June 2023).

Benchmarking Governance

  • Assessing governance at state and district levels:
    • Good Governance Index (GGI) – 10 sectors, 58 indicators.
    • District Good Governance Index.
    • National e-Services Delivery Assessment (NeSDA).

Secretariat Reforms

  • Initiatives to improve efficiency and decision-making:
    • Delayering and delegation of financial powers.
    • Adoption of e-office (89.66% adoption rate in June 2023).
    • Special Campaign 2.0 for file review, grievance redressal, and cleanliness.

Chintan Shivir

  • Internal deliberations within ministries to improve governance models.

Civil Services Day

  • Celebrated on April 21st to rededicate civil servants to public service.
  • 2023 theme: “Viksit Bharat – Empowering Citizens and Reaching the Last Mile.”

Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration

  • Recognize innovative work by districts, governments, and organizations.
  • 2022 award categories:
    • Promoting Swachh Jal (clean water).
    • Promoting Swastha Bharat (health and wellness).
    • Promoting quality education.
    • Holistic development through Aspirational District Programme.

Replication of Good Governance Practices

  • National Good Governance Webinars to share award-winning initiatives.

National Conferences on e-Governance and National e-Governance Awards

  • Annual conferences for collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  • 25th National e-Governance Conference emphasized open digital platforms for affordable technology access.


  • India has implemented various administrative reforms (2014-2023) to improve governance and public service delivery.



 Women Empowerment Recent Reforms

Importance of Women Empowerment

  • Empowering women benefits entire generations, not just individuals.

Government Initiatives

  • Focus on empowering women as equal partners in society.
  • Addressing domestic and professional abuse, ensuring security.

Key Areas of Reform

  • Combating Domestic Violence:
    • Legal frameworks, awareness campaigns, support services for survivors (helplines, safe houses, counseling).
  • Ending Child Marriage:
    • Enforce laws, promote girls’ education, raise awareness about negative consequences.
  • Political Empowerment:
    • Affirmative action policies (quotas) for women in decision-making.
    • Encourage parties to nominate women, provide leadership training, address systemic barriers.
  • Economic Empowerment:
    • Promote equal pay, maternity leave, childcare, access to finance and entrepreneurship training.
    • Encourage women in male-dominated sectors, dismantle barriers to career advancement.
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights:
    • Comprehensive sex education, family planning services, safe abortion services.
    • Invest in healthcare infrastructure, address stigmas to reduce unintended pregnancies and empower women.
  • Land Rights:
    • Legislation for equal access to land, property rights, and inheritance.
    • Strengthen land tenure systems, provide legal assistance, promote awareness campaigns.
  • Gender Budgeting:
    • Allocate resources to address women’s needs and challenges.
    • Implement transparent and accountable systems for progress.

Overall Goal

  • Achieve gender equality through these reforms.

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