Public Accounts Committee : Functions and History of PAC
India is a democratic country. The functioning of a democratic country thrives on a system based on transparency and efficiency.
To make the system more transparent and efficient; a committee was designed named as Public Accounts Committee. Its main task is to keep a strict vigil on the government expenditure.
It is a committee of selected members of parliament which is constructed by the parliament members itself. Its main function is the auditing of the revenue and expenditure of the government of India.
The controller and Auditor general of India is responsible for the auditing of Government’s accounts and ensuring appropriate expenditure of the government.
Yet to keep a vigil on Auditor General of India and Government too; this committee had been constituted.
History of PAC
In 1921, this committee came into existence under Montague Chelmsford Reforms. At that time, the responsibility of the committee was to examine the government accounts and to find irregularities in them at central and provincial levels.
Later on 1935 it was revised and it also included the provision of submission of audit reports to the legislature.
After independence this tradition faced a little change to accommodate into the new system, rules and regulations, post independence.
The auditor General of India audits the government accounts and expenditure. He then submits a detailed report to the President of India.
He further lays down the report before each house of parliament. Then parliament members together appoint the Public accounts Committee to further examine the report laid by the President of India.
The PAC (Public accounts Committee) has a strength of 22 members in total, 15 members belong to Lok Sabha whereas 7 members are from upper house of Parliament Rajya Sabha.
All the members are elected for a term of one year only. The term cannot be exceeded. This provision was brought into existence so as to ensure that no corruption takes place against the country.
Also, when people work longer on certain powerful positions, they gain power over others. So, the contribution prescribes a term of one year only for the members of this team.
The chairman of PAC was elected by the speaker of Lok Sabha. But from 1967, to ensure more transparency it has been made mandatory to elect from the opposition party. He is elected by the neutral speaker of Lok Sabha.
None of the members of PAC should be serving as a minister in government.
Functions of PAC
The main function of PAC is to examine the accounts and reports of the Auditor General of India. They also need to ensure that the appropriate sanctioned are made by the parliament to meet the demand which means
The expenditure has been properly utilized for which it was sanctioned.
Expenditure should not exceed the appropriate limited grant by the parliament.
The amount should only be spent by the authorized executive or official.
The PAC also checks that whether the executive who is appointed to spent money is not partial to any party or interest or concern.
They also make sure that the reporting executive has not overlooked the vote of parliament. It is their duty to see if the expenditure has not been made in access of a grant commissioned by the government.
The committee not only examines the report but also keeps out a strict eye out on the policies for which funds have been sanctioned.
They make sure that funds are properly implemented by the executive in terms of efficiency and economy both. All this is done in accordance with the rules and regulations; they are bound to follow, as per the constitution.
The third function of the committees is to check whether the proper technical strategies are employed in maintaining the accounts or not.
The PAC has the authority to ask documents, reports, person and evidences from the concerned departments. It further points out errors and gives opinions on them.
But the committee has no authority to cut down the expenses as this department comes under the purview of other departments of the government.
Further there are few more functions of the PAC under as according to the circumstances.
They are also required to examine the accounts of stores and stocks where the audit report has been done by the Controller general of India.
They have to properly examine the Audit report of public corporations. In India more than 30,000 crores of money is invested in public corporations. So it becomes necessary to keep a vigil on the accounts of these corporations.
Not only does it examine the public corporation accounts but also keeps a check on the accounts of ministries for better working of the Government.
It pin points out the shortcomings of the administrative ministry and also criticizes the Public Corporations for their inappropriate functioning.
The committee serves one of the most important functions which are to run the organizations effectively.
They have to keep reviewing and checking the books of accounts of various organizations which comes under its complete or partial control.
The PAC plays an important role in India’s economy and administration. It keeps the employees and the Government on toes.
So that they work effectively and efficiently. Each and every action of every official is thoroughly examined and checked to see that they do not cross their limits.
Because of its importance, both the government and opposition are trying to take control over the PAC. But the opposition always has an advantage.
The present PAC is headed by Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge. He is a senior congress MP from Gulbarga, Karnataka.
Kharge replaced Congress leader K V Thomas on April 30. Although it is headed by the opposition party but most of its members belong to the NDA.
Only two new faces have been added this year, erstwhile rest of the members was re-nominated for the membership again. Since January 26,150 it has summitted around 1571 reports.
It was headed by many famous parliamentarians of their times like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, P V Narasimha Rao and R Venkataraman.
All of them are examples of great leaders and who had a very considerable and lasting impact on their lives.