The apex auditor of the country should ensure that social sector programmes’ audits are not subjected to the process of tendering for appointing auditors, ICAI President Amarjit Chopra has said.
“The tender process for auditing social sector schemes has led to deterioration in the quality of audit. Audit firms quote too low a price for procuring the auditing work of such schemes. However, low prices certainly are a cause of concern for us keeping in mind that the actual cost of such audits is higher,” Chopra said while expressing concern over the social sector audit in the country. He said that the institute would probe the reasons why audit firms quote such low prices in the tenders.
The president said the Sarva Shiksha Abhhiyaan has been awarded for abnormally low prices and has raised the alarm in the institute as low prices, directly or indirectly, translate into poor quality. Similarly, highway project audits have also been awarded for a very low price. The president said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) should fix a minimum price for tendering so as to stop the practice.
As per the current practices, CAG floats tenders for auditing government programmes such as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, NREGA, JNNURM and audit firms, which meet the criteria for such audits, apply and those who quote the lowest price are awarded the exercise.