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Statement by the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley on the United Kingdom Referendum




Text of the Statement by the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley on the United Kingdom Referendum; FM: We are well prepared to deal with the short and medium term consequences of Brexit;. Our macro-economic fundamentals are sound with a very comfortable external position, a rock-solid commitment to fiscal discipline, and declining inflation. Our immediate and medium-term firewalls are solid too in the form of a healthy reserve position.
Following is the text of the Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley’s Statement on the United Kingdom Referendum:


We have just seen the final vote of the people of the United Kingdom in the referendum on whether to remain or leave the European Union. We respect the referendum’s verdict. At the same time, we are also aware of its significance in the days ahead and also for the medium term.

As I have often said, in this globalized world, volatility and uncertainty are the new norms. This verdict will, obviously, further contribute to such volatility not least because its full implications for the UK, Europe and the rest of the world are still uncertain. All countries around the world will have to brace themselves for a period of possible turbulence while being watchful about, and alert to, the referendum’s medium term impacts.

As regards, the Indian economy, we are well prepared to deal with the short and medium term consequences of Brexit. We are strongly committed to our macro-economic framework with its focus on maintaining stability. Our macro-economic fundamentals are sound with a very comfortable external position, a rock-solid commitment to fiscal discipline, and declining inflation. Our immediate and medium-term firewalls are solid too in the form of a healthy reserve position.

As investors look around the world for safe havens in these turbulent times, India stands out both in terms of stability and of growth. India, as you are all well aware, is amongst the fastest growing major economies in the world today. Our growth and inflation prospects are further improving in the wake of the good monsoons that are now moving well across India.

The government and the Reserve Bank of India as well as other regulators are well prepared, and working closely together, to deal with any short term volatility. Our aim will be to smooth this volatility and minimize its impact on the economy in the short term. At the same time, for the medium term, we will steadfastly pursue our ambitious reform agenda—including early passage of the GST—that will help us realize our medium term growth potential of 8-9% and help achieve our objective of development for all. 

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CAG of India Formulates Big Data Management Policy to Meet Future Challenges 

Shashi Kant Sharma Chairs 1st BRICS SAIs Leaders Meeting 

 
CAG Institution in India has taken several initiatives towards use of latest data analytical tools for audit planning & analysis and is also fine tuning its methodology for audit of environmental issues for better impact.  This was disclosed by Comptroller and Auditor General of India Shri Shashi Kant Sharma in Beijing today. He was delivering a key note address at the 1st Meeting of the Supreme Audit Institutions of BRICS countries in Beijing. Shri Sharma also shared the contributions made by the CAG institution of India in enhancing transparency and accountability in governance and in promoting economic and social development. 
 
 The CAG said that our Governments have taken several initiatives to address the challenges faced by our countries and the people by automating service delivery, choosing partners in development through Public Private Partnership arrangements, opening up economy for foreign direct investments and by focusing on sustainable development. These government initiatives have brought in new challenges to the SAI auditors. This has also placed enhanced Demands for greater objectivity in public dealings and transparency in governance, he added.
 
Shri Sharma said that big strides have been made by Government in automating services rendered by it and in collecting, compiling and reporting data on its programme interventions. This has led to a digital data explosion and opened up an opportunity to the SAIs, which would be one of the few agencies to have access to such vast data held by different government agencies. In the past, SAI auditors were content to analyze the data maintained by the audit agencies. “Big data” has provided a window to the SAI auditors to examine the audited agency data along with related data from other sources.
 
The CAG of India disclosed that “Recognizing this trend, India has formulated a Big Data Management Policy and is in the process of establishing a Data Analytics Centre. Our pilot results on using sophisticated data and visual analytic tools have already produced promising results. I am convinced that use of improved data analytics will enable the SAIs to come up with more incisive audit findings and to assist the Governments in taking appropriate policy decisions.”
 
Shri Sharma said that for SAI India, this meeting assumes greater significance as India has recently assumed Chairmanship of the BRICS. The theme of India’s BRICS Chairmanship is Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions. During India's BRICS Chairmanship, India will adopt five-pronged approach emphasizing on (i)   Institution building to further deepen, sustain and institutionalize BRICS cooperation; (ii)  Implementation of the decisions from previous Summits; (iii) Integrating the existing cooperation mechanisms;(iv) Innovation and  (v)  Continuity.
 
Tomorrow, Shri Shashi Kant Sharma will be conferred the prestigious honour of the Professorship and Scholarship Award at the Nanjing Audit University. Head of Supreme Audit of Institutions of China, South Africa, Brazil and Russian Federation will be present at the time of Award Ceremony


1st BRICS SAIs leaders Meeting: Beijing 24th June 2016
Keynote Address by CAG of India
Mr. Liu Jiayi, Auditor General of People’s Republic of China
Mr. Kimi Makwetu, Auditor-General of South Africa
Mr. AroldoCedraz, President, Federal Court of Accounts of Brazil,
Ms. Tatyana Golikova, Chairperson, Accounts Chamber of the Russian
Federation

Your Excellencies
Distinguished members from Embassies
Colleagues from BRICS SAIs
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good Morning.

It’s my privilege to be here, in the beautiful city of Beijing, for this historic first
meeting of BRICS SAI Leaders. I would like to congratulate Mr. Liu Jiayi and
CNAO for the wonderful initiative in organizing this meeting. The timing for
this meeting could not have been better. Today, more than ever, the world
needs enhanced cooperation between BRICS countries- the five big emerging
economies, which comprise 43% of world population, 37% of world GDP and
17% share in world trade. As a formal group, BRICS may have started recently
but the relations between our countries – whether for trade or culture, have
been centuries old. We may be meeting formally under the aegis of this group
for the first time, but the BRICS SAIs have a long history of mutual friendship, 

cooperation and support on various forums. For instance, we have MOUs with
each of the other BRICS SAIs. If I put it simply, we are old friends meeting
under a new pretext.

For SAI India, this meeting assumes greater significance as India has recently
assumed Chairmanship of the BRICS. The theme of India’s BRICS
Chairmanship is Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions.

During India's BRICS Chairmanship, India will adopt five-pronged approach:
(i) Institution building to further deepen, sustain and institutionalize BRICS
cooperation; (ii) Implementation of the decisions from previous Summits;
(iii) Integrating the existing cooperation mechanisms;(iv) Innovation, i.e.,
new cooperation mechanisms on government-to-government, Track-II,
business-to-business and people-to-people to tap the full potential of BRICS
cooperation; and (v) Continuity, i.e., continuation of mutually agreed
existing BRICS cooperation mechanisms.
Supreme Audit Institutions will have a major role to play to further the BRICS
theme. When our countries move towards greater trade cooperation through
further addition to the financial architecture within the BRICS framework and
carry the New Development Bank (NDB) agenda forward, SAIs cannot remain
aloof to the idea. We, the SAIs of BRICS countries, need a collective voice, an
integrated approach and renewed cooperation and support to further this
agenda.

On International forums, BRICS SAIs have assumed leadership roles which
have already resulted in close cooperation amongst them. For example, in
INTOSAI we area forceful voice. China is the current INTOSAI Chair, India and
South Africa are the Goal Chairs of KSC and CBC respectively, Brazil is the 
incoming Chair of PSC and Russia will be the next INTOSAI Vice Chair.
Perhaps there could not be a more opportune moment to convene the first
BRICS SAI Leaders meeting. I am confident that this meeting will usher much
closer interaction and cooperation among the BRICS SAIs and further
strengthen their role in the international audit community.

Closer interaction among the BRICS SAIs will also enable SAIs to
learn from each other’s strengths. South Africa is one of the few SAIs that
examines the Performance Report of the audited agencies and reports on their
performance reporting. It is a step towards greater transparency and good
governance. SAI Russia leads the Working Group on Key National indicators,
which has assumed an added importance with the implementation of SDGs.
SAI China’s work in real time auditing of infrastructure projects is highly
inspiring and so is their multi phased Golden Audit project, which is perhaps a
unique project in the field of IT audit. SAI Brazil, as the Chair of Performance
Audit Sub-Committee, contributed in a big way to the streamlining of
performance auditing standards and guidelines and is acknowledged as an
expert in this audit stream. In India, we have taken several initiatives towards
use of latest data analytical tools for audit planning &analysis. We are also fine
tuning our methodology for audit of environmental issue for better impact
These initiatives have shown promising results.

Demands for greater objectivity in public dealings and transparency in
governance, need for substantial investments in upgrading infrastructure,
widening income disparities, need to reach out to the most vulnerable
sections of the society, unique challenges posed by diversity in the form of
multi-ethnic/multi-religious groups, the necessity to strike a fine balance
between economic growth and prosperity of today and the interests of future 
generations, achieving regional balance in development are some of the
common challenges confronting our countries. Our Governments have taken
several initiatives to address these challenges by automating service delivery,
choosing partners in development through Public Private Partnership
arrangements, opening up economy for foreign direct investments and by
focusing on sustainable development. These government initiatives bring in
new challenges to the SAI auditors.

In this background, now I propose to share with this august
gathering the contributions made by SAI India in the last several years in
enhancing transparency and accountability in governance and in promoting
economic and social development.

The Government of India has adopted a strategy of allowing the private sector
to play a dominant role in economic activity and to confine itself to licensing
and regulating role. As a result, action was initiated by Government to allocate
the right to the private sector to use resources like telecommunication
spectrum, the rights for oil exploration and to mine coal etc. for a license fee
or fora share in revenue/profit. Our audits of the resource allocation had
highlighted several process weaknesses. Corrective action initiated by the
Government has led to greater transparency in resource allocation and also
enabled Government to mobilize more revenue in the nature of license fees/
share in revenue etc.

Tremendous progress has been achieved in India in the last two decades in
devolving powers to the third tier of Government – the local bodies.
Devolution of power demands a concomitant accountability mechanism.
Accordingly, most of the States have entrusted the CAG with the task of 
providing technical guidance, supervision and support for the audit of urban
and rural local bodies. However, given the vastness of the country, the CAG
will not be able to devote resources to perform a regular and comprehensive
audit at the third tier of Government as done in the case of national and state
governments. We decided that accountability at local bodies could be
strengthened and sustained by empowering the local people to audit.
Accordingly, working closely with the Government and other stakeholders, we
have held national workshops on social audit, successfully developed a
framework for social audit and also facilitated such audits. It is to the credit of
these initiatives, social audit is increasingly becoming a part of all social
programme guidelines.

Big strides have been made by Government in automating services rendered
by it and in collecting, compiling and reporting data on its programme
interventions. This has led to a digital data explosion and opened up an
opportunity to the SAIs, which would be one of the few agencies to have
access to such vast data held by different government agencies. In the past,
SAI auditors were content to analyze the data maintained by the audit
agencies. “Big data” has provided a window to the SAI auditors to examine the
audited agency data along with related data from other sources. Recognizing
this trend, we have formulated a Big Data Management Policy and are in the
process of establishing a Data Analytics Centre. Our pilot results on using
sophisticated data and visual analytic tools have already produced promising
results.I am convinced that use of improved data analytics will enable the SAIs
to come up with more incisive audit findings and to assist the Governments in
taking appropriate policy decisions. 

Rapid economic development cannot be achieved at the expense of
environment degradation or by compromising the interests of future
generations. Pollution of rivers and water bodies, carbon emission,
management of various forms of waste and natural disasters caused by
climate change have attracted the attention of policy makers across the globe.
The adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the period 2015-
2030 marks a watershed in the transition towards comprehensive and wellrounded
development where focus is on the entire gamut of development
action. The SDGs are ambitious as there are 17 Goals and 169 indicators
against which the progress made by the countries is to be measured. Unlike
the Millennium Development Goals, the SDG provides for a robust monitoring
mechanism. The SAIs have a key role to play in the implementation of SDGs.
Besides, carrying out performance audits of various SDG themes, the SAIs
could render valuable service by examining the mechanisms in the country to
collect, compile, analyze and report on the progress made against the 169
indicators.

Recognizing the importance of SDGs, the KSC under the chairmanship of SAI
India has formulated a comprehensive programme on auditing SDGs. The
programme involves formulating Guidelines for Auditing Preparedness for
Implementing the SDGs; a cooperative audit programme covering 40 SAIs
based on the Guidelines; and publishing compendium of audit findings and
lessons learned from the cooperative audit. We are confident that this
programme, in cooperation with INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) will
empower the SAIs to play a decisive role in auditing implementation of SDGs
and eventually to the successful implementation of SDGs in their respective
jurisdictions. 

I notice tremendous focus in our countries on infrastructure development
projects. From highways to power projects under Partnership arrangements
and from extractive industries to telecommunication networks, our countries
are moving ahead in pursuit of better infrastructure. These projects are
resource intensive involving millions and even billions of dollars of
investment for long duration during their development phase. As auditors, it
is our solemn duty to provide assurance to our citizens that these huge
investments are well spent. It is my privilege to inform you that some of our
recent audit reports on construction of new airports, national highway
projects, railway projects, seaport infrastructure and inland waterways have
garnered significant media and public attention.

The increased emphasis on accountability, transparency and
governance have brought SAIs to the public limelight and attracted greater
attention of media, non-government agencies and other stakeholders. It is an
encouraging trend that our reports nowadays form a part of media debates
and even referred at social media platforms. These are healthy signs for a
democracy where citizens take interest in public accountability. No discussion
on ensuring accountability in governance through the work of SAI can be
completed without a focus on public interest. To facilitate these discussions
and debates, the SAIs reports should be simple, clear, timely and easily
accessible. We have recently formulated guidelines for making digest and
podcast of our audit reports to be made available in our website in addition to
the full audit report. We believe this would stimulate further interest in our
reports among the stakeholders.

In addition to sharing our audit findings with our stakeholders, we also
involve them in the audit process. Audit Advisory Boards consisting of experts 
from different walks of life are functioning centrally and in all the provinces.
These Advisory Boards provide valuable inputs in formulating our audit plans
and in identifying focus areas. Further, in few of our important performance
audits (e.g. on water pollution, renewable energy), stakeholders conferences
were held wherein inputs of civil society were obtained.

Any institution, if it has to remain relevant, has to keep itself abreast with the
changes happening around. This requirement has assumed even greater
prominence in the fast and every changing world of today. SAIs cannot afford
to remain immune to their changing work environment and need to invest
significant resources to upgrade the skills and competencies of its technical
staff to cope with the latest developments. Accordingly, we have built large
infrastructure for capacity development in the form of 12 Regional Training
Institutes and Centres, National Academy of Audit and Accounts, two
international Training Centres specializing in Information Technology Audit
and Environment Audit, wherein our employees as well as representatives of
other SAIs undergo induction, career development and specialized training
courses. I am personally convinced that the heavy investments made by us on
capacity development has produced more than commensurate benefits and
enabled us to conduct high quality audits.

As the Supreme Audit Institutions are knowledge driven organizations, there
has been tremendous focus in the international public sector audit fraternity
to improve the technical skills of the auditors. Good progress has been made
in the last decade to enhance the professionalism of SAIs - a framework for
public sector auditors with standards and guidelines has been developed;
several working groups/task forces and sub-committees have been created on
specialized streams of public sector audit; and numerous capacity 
development programmes have been conducted to improve the knowledge
and skills of auditors.

However, attention is being given only now to improve the
managerial/leadership capabilities of SAIs. The focus on SAI leadership will be
more pronounced in the ensuing years as there is a strong expectation from
the stakeholders that SAIs will lead by example and function as effective,
accountable and inclusive organizations as required under Goal 16 of the
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development formulated by the UN. The SAI
Young Leaders Programme is a timely initiative, which will help in identifying
and grooming Young Leaders who can lead SAIs in the future. We hosted the
inaugural symposium on SAI Leaders last year in collaboration with IDI
wherein a framework for developing SAI Leaders was deliberated. It gives me
great pride to inform you that we have been successfully implementing our
own Leadership Programme for six decades wherein 20-25 young auditors
undergo two years induction training programme.

Given the common challenges that the BRICS countries and SAIs face and the
vast opportunity that exists for learning from one another, I am sure that
many more avenues of mutual cooperation, collaboration and support among
BRICS SAIs will emerge as we move ahead in our interactions. According to an
Indian adage, many ordinary blades of grass, when joined together can make a
powerful rope. So, will several small initiatives of mutual interaction and
cooperation amongst us eventually result in building up a strong network. I
call upon you to join hands to build a synergy that will help us and our
countries to move towards enhanced accountability and transparency and
sustained development. We could begin by strengthening mechanisms for
capacity development and knowledge sharing among the BRICS SAIs. 

Let me end by once again applauding Mr. Liu Jiayi and Chinese National Audit
office, our gracious hosts, for their initiative and for the excellent efforts in
organizing this meeting. I am sure, that this meeting will signal the onset of
stronger interaction and cooperation amongst our institutions that will propel
our SAIs to move from strength to strength!

Thank you. 

****

National Pension System (NPS) to observe Service Fortnight from June 27 to July 9, 2016; Fortnight long campaign aims at awareness creation, service orientation and information dissemination along with subscribers registration.
With a view to create awareness about the National Pension System (NPS) and improve subscriber interface, it has been decided to observe NPS Service Fortnight from June 27 to July 9 ,2016 by all the entities/ functionaries in the NPS value chain such as Points of Presence (POPs), the Central Recordkeeping Agency (CRA) etc. across the country. This fortnight-long campaign is aimed at awareness creation, service orientation and information dissemination along with subscribers registration.

The NPS was made available to persons in the private and unorganized sector since May 2009.Currently, the total number of subscribers under NPS and APY together has reached 12.86 million and AUM is more than 120,000 Cr. There is tremendous potential in the private sector which needs to be tapped.

Sample surveys conducted by financial analyst and market intelligence agencies have revealed that the NPS is well-designed and least cost pension product with exclusive tax benefits in the market, marketed and distributed by Points of Presence (POPs) which are the interface between the subscribers and the NPS system entrusted with subscriber registration and servicing. So far 72 POPs (comprising of banks, non-bank financial companies, micro finance institutions etc.) have registered over 55,500 branches/ POP service providers in the NPS system for subscribers interface. During the NPS fortnight the POPs are expected to activate and involve all their registered POP-SPs in subscriber acquisition and servicing. Further, the following activities need to be paid special attention by the POPs/ POP service providers during the fortnight:

• Display of NPS publicity material – posters, banners, flyers, brochures etc. in the branches and their distribution to the prospective subscribers.

• Providing Statement of transactions (SOT) to subscribers.

• Updation of subscriber contact details like mobile number, email id, address, date of birth etc. in the PRAN.

• Updation of nominee details in PRAN.

• Collection of pending NPS contributions and unfreezing of accounts.

• Resolution of subscriber grievances and reflecting it on the CGMS.

PFRDA has engaged an agency to impart training to the front desk staff of the POPs and Central/ State Governments Due and Drawing Officers (DDOs) involved in NPS subscribers interface and have sought suitable nominations, at least one person from each POP-SP/ DDO which can be trained by the agency. These training sessions will be conducted at every district headquarter depending upon the number of participants made available by the POPs/ DDOs for the training. About 75,000 officials are planned to be trained in the NPS architecture during the course of the year.

NPS Trust and CRA (NSDL) will also assist and facilitate the POPs service providers for any assistance that they may require in the successful conduct of NPS service fortnight. 

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