New Delhi: Rajiv Mehrishi, who took charge as the 13th Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Monday, will aim to expand the statutory auditor’s ambit to include auditing the social impact of public spending.

Mehrishi, 62, who retired as home secretary last month, has a three-year tenure till August 2020, a statement from the President’s secretariat said on Monday.

The new CAG will guide the constitutional body’s evolution, paying attention not just to the effectiveness of public spending but also to whether it serves goals of equity, a person privy to the auditor’s plans said on condition of anonymity.

“The effectiveness of IT systems of various regulatory and implementation agencies as well as environmental and social impact of various schemes are the emerging areas of statutory audit of the government," the person said.

CAG will access data on subjects such as public distribution and tax filings from various implementing agencies and regulators and analyse impact of the IT systems’ effectiveness using data analytics, the person added.

Mehrishi’s appointment comes at a time when the government is keen to improve the effectiveness of funds transferred to various central and state agencies implementing welfare schemes in improving job creation and raising income levels.

Towards this end, the finance ministry advanced presentation of budget 2017-18 to 1 February from the customary last day of the month. The move has helped in “front-loading" public spending, leading to the revenue deficit in the April-July period exceeding the full-year forecast of Rs3.2 trillion.

A finance ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that revenue deficit touching 131% of budgeted estimate in the first four months itself was not surprising considering the early commencement of spending while tax and other receipts usually peak only in the latter part of the year. Economists have been pitching for the government to focus not just on growth in the economy, but also on faster job creation.

Mehrishi, a 1978 batch retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Rajasthan cadre, succeeded Shashi Kant Sharma, who demitted office on Friday. Before his appointment as home secretary, Mehrishi had worked as economic affairs secretary and chief secretary of Rajasthan.

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