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Not Just an Accountant: The Diary of the Nation's Conscience Keeper

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  384 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Not just an accountant is an incisive, no-holds-barred account of Indias eleventh comptroller and auditor general and a symbol of the anti-corruption movement, Vinod Rai.

Through a narrative, rich in anecdote and inside information, Rai sheds light on the major scams that shook the country. Among the case studies-chosen for the diversity of failures they highlight are - the
Hardcover, 1st edition, 288 pages
Published September 2014 by Rupa Publications India (first published January 1st 2014)
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Saiprasad It does, exactly from the point of view of CAG and how the scams unfolded. It names almost everyone of those involved in them. A good read, I was…moreIt does, exactly from the point of view of CAG and how the scams unfolded. It names almost everyone of those involved in them. A good read, I was particularly taken aback at the poor decision making in the Civil Aviation case, and lack of responsibility of our political executive.(less)

Community Reviews

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Anil Swarup
Sep 26, 2014 Anil Swarup rated it really liked it
"I do no respond to every dog that barks" was a statement made by late Rajiv Gandhi in a reply to sundry questions. Vinod Rai quotes him to follow "that statement in toto". However, the book appears to be an attempt to reply to every dog that barked. More than anything else, the book is a response to the severe criticism that he faced in his capacity as CAG. He makes cogent arguments backed with well researched facts. He does convince the reader about the issues raised by the CAG and the logic ...more
Sep 21, 2014 Hrishikesh rated it it was ok
I am actually undecided if I should share my opinion about this book.

One major suggestion: for UPSC aspirants, read the last chapter. Instructive towards GS-4. Even those not interested in this exam, the last chapter gives some important lessons towards better governance and probity in public life.

An important read. Just one strong opinion: do not read the book with any presumptions or set opinions. I know this is hard, keeping in mind the nation's political situation - but keep an open mind wh
VijayaRaghavan S N
Mar 09, 2016 VijayaRaghavan S N rated it really liked it
A book written by the then Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to bring out the glaring discrepancies in carrying out various policies (2G spectrum, XIX CWG, Coal block allocation, Civil Aviation and exploration of hydrocarbons) during the UPA tenure. Through this book, Mr Vinod Rai aims at answering the questions directed at him by the media and the government. He takes a well aimed dig at the government and the media by quoting Rajiv Gandhi "I do not respond to every dog that barks". But in ...more
Surya Teja
Apr 04, 2016 Surya Teja rated it it was amazing
The book gives insights about the official communication between different entities of the governments, how various warning bells have been neglected during the 2g, cwc, gas scams. The CAG also address the criticisms draw towards him while unearthing various malfeasance in the government. They way he address the criticism is impeccable (quoting the duties of CAG from the constitution). The final chapters are must read for every citizen of India.
Nov 04, 2014 Madan rated it it was amazing
Warning: This is NOT light reading. The author's often legalistic turn of phrase and style of presentation (reproduction of govt ministry notes excerpts, for instance) may be off putting for those who are not used to it. Content and not style is paramount here. But the content holds the greatest interest for all citizens of India.

Now, I must admit at the outset that I was always mildly skeptical of the role played by the CAG in unearthing the multitude of scams that have rocked India in the las
Gopal Vijayaraghavan
Much of 2G Telecom scam is documented and widely debated. So are the other scams of UPA 1 & 2 relating to coal, acquisition of Airbuses for Indian Airlines and Commonwealth games. It is to the credit of Shri Vinod Rai, a 1972 Batch of Indian Administrative Service officer and who was holding the post of Comptroller and Auditor General of India during the above period, that what had been circulating as rumours about these big scams were given a stamp of authenticity by way of damning reports ...more
Bharath Ramakrishnan
Mar 05, 2015 Bharath Ramakrishnan rated it really liked it
The book as expected, dwells for the large part on Vinod Rai's term as the CAG. Considering the attention his position attracted, there are detailed notes on each of the prominent cases which were in the limelight. This is a very well written book though very detailed for the most part.
Jan 31, 2016 RustyJ rated it really liked it
Reading Vinod Rai’s Not Just an Accountant. This is NOT the autobiography of the former CAG. Rather, the former CAG walks us through five case studies, or reports, that the office of the CAG came under severe fire for, from the then UPA government. These are: the 2G scam, the coal scam, the CWG scam, the Air India mismanagement, the petroleum scam.
The reports of the CAG in each case were tabled in the parliament, were much debated, caused embarrassment to the then government with much “shooting
Saurabh Goyal
Apr 04, 2016 Saurabh Goyal rated it really liked it
Last Comptroller and Accountant General of India, Vinod Rai, had been in news ever since he raked up policy-pathology underlying our public institutions. One can debate over whether CAG over-stepped his limits or not; but the fact is that he has done a cleansing act which was long-overdue. This book is an answer to all those sceptics who has bashed him over the years for his audacity.

The book explains the working and role of an important public institution of our polity- the CAG. The author uses
Jan 10, 2016 Sumit rated it liked it
Usually when I read accounts by people about all the things they saw and they did, I always think if you have to say it, it probably isn't true, I was quite inclined to do so for this book as well, but this somewhat apologetic account by Ex CAG rang some bells.
Author used some case studies to put forward the case that their is a lot of corruption in the public work and if someone such as CAG who has constitutional powers to audit them and bring them to public's notice, it should be taken with a
Praveen Kumar Mohan
Jan 23, 2015 Praveen Kumar Mohan rated it really liked it
The author dwells on greater probity, transparency and accountability in governance throughout the book and through his case studies he has highlighted how the people in authority, both politicians and bureaucrats, have time and gain exploited their position, moving as far as possible from these three values. The case studies are very interesting and the ones that shook the nation. In all the instances, the government has given preferential treatment to a few corporate bodies with no respect and ...more
Ramalingam Ramakrishnan
Sep 25, 2014 Ramalingam Ramakrishnan rated it really liked it
Couple of books came around the same time this book was released in the 1st half of 2014 written by Indian bureaucrats. This one by Vinod Rai, the Comptroller and Auditor General is by far the best on the role of the CAG as envisioned by the constitution as one of India's towering institutions versus the elected executive towards providing an effective, efficient & an accountable Governance system.

He has picked up a bunch of case studies in detail from where he sat & his team conducted t
Padam Kundu
Jun 22, 2015 Padam Kundu rated it it was amazing
Such a vivid, eye-opening account of the dismal situation our nation is currently trapped in all, ironically, due to the democratically elected legislative assembly and Parliament members. This illuminating piece of forthright commentary by the former Constitutional Position Holder seeks the reader's conscience to believe(& rightly so) in ethical and moral execution of every task with its orientation towards the ultimate goal of nation building. It appeals to the educated lot to practice ...more
Jan 24, 2015 Mukesh rated it it was amazing
One of those books when you finish a read and you feel like giving a standing ovation... The book depicts the calmness and robust thought process of our Ex CAG. The best part of the books remains the clear and straight forward presentation of facts without any story telling.

Such minute details of the auditing process of the biggest scams that came on surface makes me feel empowered about the approach an auditor should have.

2 topics that stand out for me are:

One where the harsh letter written b
Vaibhav Dixit
Jan 03, 2016 Vaibhav Dixit rated it liked it
The book, which is nothing less than words from the horse's mouth give insider view of how various scams, that took away sleeps of administrators and shook the seats of the bigwigs in the government, unearthed in past few years in India.

The book starts with the initial years of a young probationary civil servant in an "alien" state and ends as that young guy retires from the post of financial watchdog of India.

The author has published letters of communications with PMO and other ministries and
Nov 15, 2015 Manny rated it it was ok
The book written by our former CAG during the time of UPA2 and covering 5 "Scams" should have been a lot more interesting. Since most of the facts of the case were already covered by the media, I was expecting more light on the actual process of audit and unearthing the truth but it falls way too short.

Vinod Rai treats this as a defense of his actions and provides us the summary of the cases. The book gets too legalese after a certain point and it feels like reading one of the audit reports itse
Vijay Ivaturi
Nov 24, 2015 Vijay Ivaturi rated it really liked it
This book provides a good summary of all major accounting assignments handled by CAG team while Mr Vinod Rai was at its helm. Note that all content is available in public domain in the form of various reports and newspaper articles. But Mr Rai gives a very personal commentary on the various events which makes it a very interesting read.

Another good aspect of the book is the background information it provides while describing each case. Founding fathers of our nation ensured the Constitution of I
Aug 21, 2015 Mohd rated it liked it
The initial chapters were pretty great. But, beyond the telecom saga, the book got boring. If you are really interested in reading the nitty gritties of the Indian scams, then go for it; even the ending chapters would be intriguing.
Oct 17, 2016 Saiprasad rated it liked it
The title "Not just an accountant: The Diary of Nation's Conscience Keeper" is picked up from a judgement of the Supreme Court, where it mentions that CAG is not just a munim (Accountant) and the position of CAG is said to be a Conscience keeper of the nation for its overarching powers to audit the nation's exchequer of its expenditures and to hold political executive accountable to Parliament through audit along with the Public Accounts Committee.

However, this is not a particularly well-written
Arun Sharma
Sep 28, 2016 Arun Sharma rated it really liked it
India faced public descent and dissidence in the last few years of the previous government, ultimately leading into the change in government with a thumping public mandate. The underlying cause was not the regular question of Roti, Kapda aur Makaan (food, clothing and shelter), but this time it was about corruption, scandals and failure of decision-making. And that was a paradigm shift in the way elections happened in India. This book is about the one agency that provided the public with the ...more
Manikanta Avinash
Oct 24, 2016 Manikanta Avinash rated it liked it
While the content is interesting, the writing is too bland and too "sarkari" to sustain your interest. But, you do learn about the UPA-2 scams in detail.
Oct 14, 2016 Satwik rated it it was amazing
An eye-opener and must read for those who put blind faith in their political leaders. The book makes you aware of the importance of the office of CAG in safeguarding India's democracy.
Sahil Hassan
Dec 27, 2014 Sahil Hassan rated it liked it
This Comptroller and Auditor General of India has undertaken utterly difficult task to objectively document what actually went wrong with the Indian government that resulted in a deluge of scams. Certainly, people are to be remembered either for something worth written or something worth to be read. He has set the template for all the aspiring people of this country with regards to probity, accountability, and transparency in public life.

He has given an interesting narrative on how various scams
Dec 14, 2014 Viju rated it it was amazing
Having seen CAG (just the abbreviation) in a lot news articles ranging from the Commonwealth games 2010 scam to the coal block allocation case, this book ‘Not Just an Accountant’ by Vinod Rai gave a wonderful insight for me into what the office of the CAG actually does. By explaining the duties and tasks of the CAG in common man’s lingo, Mr. Rai sure makes the premise of the book easy to digest in terms of vocabulary. However, the same cannot be said about the premise. For an upper middle-class ...more
Amit Tiwary
Nov 20, 2014 Amit Tiwary rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
This is an important book. Factual and concise. Absolutely must read to understand the failures during UPA 1 and II which resulted in halt in growth of our economy and country. The failures which were designed, the failures which were planned, and the failures which were injected by the government and bureaucracy. There were ample evidences to stop at every level but they were systematically ignored.

Though Vindo Rai consistently paints himself as a hero and nation's conscience keeper in this bo
Megha Sreeram
Jun 30, 2016 Megha Sreeram rated it liked it
Curiosity was what had driven me to pick this up and give it a shot. Being in the same profession as the author himself, I am happy with what the book has given me.

The detailed note about Mr.Rai's initial days in the services and what ensued was very nicely written. He covers the three major scams that shook our country in the past decade. The 2G spectrum, the CWG scam and also the Coalgate.

The book gives a detailed narration of what happened, from Mr.Rai's point of view of course, and also bac
Nanda Kishore
Apr 16, 2015 Nanda Kishore rated it really liked it
'If yet your blood does not rage,then it is water that flows in your veins'.

This famous dialogue from the movie 'Rang de Basanthi' was reverberating through my mind while I was reading this book.Indians have the habit of praising false gods while letting many heroes pass into obscurity whose relentless efforts and conviction is the reason we are enjoying this freedom and leisure today-be it Nani A.Phalkivala,P.V.Narasimha Rao,Vinod Rai...

This author,as the head of supreme audit agency of India-C
Anugrah Nagaich
Apr 20, 2016 Anugrah Nagaich rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book, offering a detailed insight into the life and working of the former CAG Mr. Rai (an IAS), and opens up the details about some of the biggest scams India has seen in recent times (Commonwealth, 2G, Coalgate, Air India). It is very disheartening to see how the political machinery was actively involved or ignorant while these scams took off, and how the government machinery failed to provide support to those officers who were fighting against it.
Nonetheless, what is assuring is th
Anandh Sundar
Apr 24, 2016 Anandh Sundar rated it really liked it
‘Not just an accountant’ captures the angst of the activist C&AG Vinod Rai, at being expected to remain within the scope of financial propriety. Be it industry associations, private sector, politicians or others, none escapes his scathing words-albeit all fact based. He does explain how the C&AG ‘sexed’ up its report for better, and it does give insight into the sheer extent of waste uncovered, despite issues in getting audit responses and tabling of report.

A good read for those who won
Prateek Malhotra
Sep 26, 2014 Prateek Malhotra rated it really liked it
A good, justified explanation of many "follies" done by successive governments in the country. You can see through the simplicity and dedication to duty from every sentence written. Having read immediately after "The Accidental Prime Minister", one thing becomes clear that complicit or not, the PM was powerless, not able to control his own cabinet, and by virtue of just that one issue, Mr. Singh did not deserve to stay in that position. He might be a good human being, an excellent economist and ...more
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