India has been elected as the ‘External Auditor to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’ for a period of six years from 2022 to 2027 after beating countries like Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey among other nations.
India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) GC Murmu has been elected as the external auditor of IAEA – a prestigious institution that promotes peaceful use of nuclear energy. GC Murmu’s candidature received majority support of the IAEA general conference.
In an official communique, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that the election is a “recognition” of India’s standing in the international community and global acknowledgment of the CAG’s credentials, professionalism, and experience. “The CAG’s bid received majority support of the IAEA General Conference for the position for which several competing bids were submitted from different countries,” MEA mentioned in the statement.
How India won the voting arithmetic
In the first round of voting for IAEA external auditor, Germany got 36 votes, India 30, Egypt 20, Russia 11, Turkey 9, the UK 8, Philippines 7, and Republic of Korea 2 votes. The second round boiled down to the race between India and Germany although India managed to beat the European country.
Russia and the United Kingdom along with China, France, and the United States are the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) with India among the 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.
In total, 123 ballots were cast as there were 2 abstentions, and voting with the required majority was 62. India was the IAEA external auditor from 2012 to 2015.
G C Murmu: A competent comptroller
G C Murmu, who took over the charge of the external auditor of IAEA, is the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India from August 8, 2020. Before that, he served as the first Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
Murmu has also served in various capacities in the Government of India, such as secretary of the department of expenditure, special and additional secretary in the department of financial services, and department of revenue.
Understanding IAEA’s significance
Created in 1957, IAEA was established in response to the fears and expectations generated by the discoveries and diverse uses of nuclear technology. The Agency’s genesis was U.S. President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on 8 December 1953.
In October 1957, the delegates to the First General Conference decided to establish the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Presently, IAEA has also two regional offices located in Toronto, Canada (since 1979) and Tokyo, Japan (since 1984), as well as two liaison offices in New York City, United States of America (since 1957), and Geneva, Switzerland (since 1965).
IAEA is the world’s central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the nuclear field. The agency works for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, contributing to international peace and security and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The 65th Annual Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference was held in Vienna from September 20 to 24. In the week-long event, the organisation held 80-plus events in the domain of the nuclear universe.