Auditors have an important role in strengthening e-government systems by providing inputs to the government in how it manages the three Ps - Privacy, Performance, and Participation. 

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Girish Chandra Murmu, while inaugurating a virtual seminar as the chair of International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Working Group on IT Audit (WGITA) here on Monday, said the three Ps are the touchstone of e-government systems.

If the principal beneficiary of e-governance is the people of the country, then the gains of advancement in technology are shared equitably. “In India, we have consistently followed the principle of Antyodaya, which means no one is left behind,” the CAG said.

Digitalisation in the 21st century

The unprecedented digitalisation in governance in the 21st century has transformed the way governments work. More importantly, it has re-defined people’s participation by means of e-governance. 

“While e-government systems improve the ease of life, they also raise concerns of data privacy, national information security and associated risks of providing information technology services; creating new challenges and opportunities for Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs),” Murmu said. 

These advancements have provided opportunities to audit as well. SAI India has embarked on its enterprise-wide audit process automation and knowledge management system. An ambitious project is the One IAAD One SystemProject implemented in SAI India.

Embedding data analytics

In addition, Murmu said that his organisation is increasingly embedding data analysis using advanced tools and techniques into its audit domain. It is supported by institutional arrangements within the organisation. 

The Centre for Data Management and Analytics of SAI India plays an advisory and facilitating role to CAG field audit offices in the use of Data Analytics and audit of IT systems and fostering a data-driven culture in the institution. 

The International Centre for Information Systems and Audit, the premier training centre of CAG of India, promotes capacity building on technology-related areas within SAI as well as internationally. The Centre of Excellence in Digital Audit of Revenue is the National Centre of Excellence of SAI India, which is designed to facilitate data analytics and digital audit of revenue.

Working Group on Information Technology Audit

Murmu lauded the achievements of the Working Group on Information Technology Audit (WGITA).This included development of a Global Curriculum for IT Audit. 

Set up in 1989, the INTOSAI WGITA has membership of about 63 SAIs worldwide. It is mandated to support SAIs in developing their knowledge and skills in the use of information technology-related audits by setting standards and guidance and facilitating exchange of experiences, sharing best practices, and encouraging bilateral and regional cooperation among its members.

The WGITA of INTOSAI is building a rich body of IT audit professionals to ensure effectiveness, accountability and transparency. The Working Group reviewed the progress of ongoing projects on various IT-related topics, namely, Cyber Security and Data Protection Challenges, IT governance, Performance Evaluation of IT Systems. It also reviewed existing products it has developed besides webinars, creation and maintenance of a Global IT Audit Database and Global Curriculum for IT Audits. 

“As technology makes deep inroads into public administration, creating its own complexities, it calls for continuous upgradation of not only infrastructure but also the skill and knowledge among auditors. WGITA gains increasing relevance and importance in this context, to help understand and master the challenges through exchange of innovations across SAIs,” Murmu said.

WGITA, under the leadership of the CAG, has been instrumental in placing a high-level guidance document on Information Systems Audits in the INTOSAI Framework for Professional Pronouncements. Apart from this, in recent years WGITA has also brought out many other guidance materials on topics such as Data Analytics Guideline and on capacity building requirements for IT Audits.