What are Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs)?

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The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India recently said that Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) must inevitably prepare themselves for auditing AI-based governance systems and look for opportunities to adopt AI into their audit techniques.

About Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs):

  • They are public oversight institutions which audit a government’s use of public funds.
  • They are a critical link in a country’s accountability chain.
  • By scrutinizing public financial management and reporting they provide assurance that resources are used as prescribed .
  • Most SAIs derive their mandate from the constitution and/or legislation.
  • SAIs undertake financial audits of organizations’ accounting procedures and financial statements, and compliance audits reviewing the legality of transactions made by the audited body. 
  • They also conduct performance audits to scrutinize the efficiency, effectiveness or economy of government’s undertakings.
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is India’s SAI.

INTOSAI – International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions:

  • It is an autonomous, independent and non-political organization.
  • It operates as an umbrella organization for the external government audit community.
  • It has special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.
  • It works to promote auditing standards, good governance of SAIs, and SAI independence, among other work.
  • Structure:
    • The International Congresses of Supreme Audit Institutions (INCOSAI) is the supreme organ of INTOSAI and is composed of all the members. On a triennial basis, it holds regular meetings, which is chaired by the hosting SAI.
    • The INTOSAI Governing Board meets annually to provide strategic leadership, stewardship, and continuity of INTOSAI activities between INCOSAI.
    • The CAG of India is a member of the Governing Board of the INTOSAI.



Q1) What is auditing?

By definition, auditing is an official inspection and verification of the credibility of financial reports. Audits can be conducted by either a business’s management as an internal control process or by the government, in case they notice suspicious financial activity.

Source: Supreme Audit Institution plays crucial role to play in audit of Blue Economy, Responsible Artificial Intelligence: Amitabh Kant