The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was established in 1962 and functioned as an executive body headed by a Secretary under the Kashag(Cabinet), the Executive Head. In 1991, as per the Charter of the Tibetans in exile, this office was commissioned as an autonomous body, accountable directly to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. According to the Charter and the Regulation of the Office of the Auditor General, the OAG has the power and responsibility to audit the accounts of all the CTA Departments and its subsidiaries, autonomous institutions that are fully or partly funded by CTA and self-funded autonomous institutions like co-operative societies, trading concerns, educational institutions, public health centre and hospitals and so forth that comes under the purview of CTA. Since the Office of the Auditor General is the Supreme Audit Institution of CTA, its scope of audit is not restricted to financial audits only. It also has the power to conduct a value-for-money audit, systems audit, management audit, etc., as and when deemed necessary. So far, due to short of manpower and lack of specialisation in other fields of audit, we have been concentrating on financial and regulatory audits.
The Office of the Auditor General is headed by an Auditor General, who is directly appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, till his devolution of power recently. The next Auditor General was appointed by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile as per the 2011 amended Charter. The Auditor General holds the office for a term of ten years or until he/she attains the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
The OAG carries out its responsibilities through its four offices. The Head Office is at Dharamshala and covers the audit units in and around Dharamshala up to Manali. The Bylakuppe branch established in 1990 looks after the audit of south and central India audit units. The eastern India branch established in 1993 covers the audit units that are in Nepal and some units of eastern India. The Dehradun branch established in 2003 looks after the units in Uttarkhand, Sirmur District of Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Ladakh and some units in eastern India. The office also deputes its staff to audit the accounts of 9 Offices of Tibet in foreign countries. The overall administration of the OAG is headed by a Secretary and each branch is headed by one Deputy Secretary. For uniformity of audit, we have brought out an audit manual and a dictionary of accounting terms.
As of today, the office has 47 well-educated and experienced staff for the job, allocated to the above four offices. OAG has to audit about 305 audit units, mainly based on the law of the host nation, laws and regulations passed by the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, executive orders of CTA, resolutions of the audit institutions, etc. At the head office, audit work has been bifurcated into two sections, i.e. civil account audit (audit of expenses and income of Paljor Office budget section) and outside audit (Mostly audit of Non-Profit Organisations). At branches, it is all NPO and Co-operative audit. Accordingly, financial statements were drawn and an audit report was prepared by the field auditor and he/she then discuss it with the management of the unit. The field auditor has to present his financial statement and report in the presence of Deputy Secretary, Joint Secretary, Secretary and the Auditor General. They will cross-examine him/her for the audit he/she has done. Thereafter, the financial statement and audit report will be checked by the concerned Deputy Secretary and Joint Secretary. The audit Report will be further checked by Secretary and the Auditor General. After completing all these processes only then the main copy of the financial statement and audit report signed by the Auditor General is submitted to the concerned audit unit and a copy to the office of the Cabinet Secretary and Head Office of the concerned audit unit for information and further action. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile reviews the audit report and makes the final decision on audit reports not complied with by the management. PAC is a committee of the Tibetan Parliament in exile and all its members must be members of the Tibetan Parliament.
The Regulation of the Office of the Auditor General specifically requires that 50% of the staff of OAG must be Bachelor in Commerce graduates and should have training in an audit. Therefore, with the kind approval from the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, New Delhi this office has conducted audit training for its new staff for 3 to 6 months 6 times under the Office of the Accountant General, Shimla Himachal Pradesh and once under the Office of the Accountant General, Bangalore Karnataka. Since there are 15 Co-operative Societies under CTA, the office has also conducted co-operative audit training for its staff at Sanjay Gandhi Regional Co-operative Training Centre, Chandigarh and under the Regional Institute of Co-operative Management, Bangalore. As we have to comply with the Income Tax Law of the host nation, it has become necessary that we know the basics of Indian Income Tax Law. For that also, so far, at different points in time, we have deputed our six staff for one-year Income Tax Practitioner (ITP) training under K.N.Chandla & Co. Chartered Accountants, Shimla. This enabled us to help and guide our audit units in Income Tax related matters and filing their Annual Income Tax Returns. Since there always is development in the accounting and audit field of study, to keep our staff updated on the latest development, we organise a one to two weeks workshop mostly at the interval of two years gap.
Audit work starts where accounting work ends. Therefore, as the financial year of CTA is from 1st April to 31st March next year, to chalk out a one-year audit program and to discuss where to emphasis during current year’s audit, a meeting of three branch heads and their assistant along with the Under Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries, Joint Secretaries, Secretary and Auditor General from Head Office is held every year in the month of March. The two Deputy Secretaries of the Head Office and the respective branch head prepare the audit schedule for each office and get it passed from Secretary. Also, a meeting of all the audit staff is held after every two years, to discuss how efficiently and effectively the audit work could be done and the administrative functioning of the office. Any suggestion on the general functioning of CTA is forwarded to Cabinet Secretary.