Public Accounts Committee (India)

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Public Accounts Committee
Financial Standing Committee
16th Lok Sabha
Founded1921; 98 years ago (1921)
(pre-independence)
1950; 69 years ago (1950)
(post-independence)
Country India
Leadership
ChaipersonMallikarjun Kharge
Chairperson partyHand INC.svgIndian National Congress
AppointerLok sabha Speaker
Structure
Seats22
Lok Sabha : 15
Rajya Sabha : 7
Political Parties  BJP (12)

  INC (3)
  AITC (2)
  TDP (1)
  BJD (1)
  SAD (1)
  AIADMK (1)

  Shiv Sena (1)
Election criteriaThe members are elected every year from amongst its members of respective houses according to the principle of proportional representation.
Tenure1 Year
Jurisdiction
PurposeAuditing the revenue and the expenditure of the Government of India
Examine the audit report of Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG)
Sub-committees
  • Non Compliance in timely submission of Action Taken Notes(ATN) on the non-selected audit paragraphs & excess expenditure
  • Direct and Indirect Taxes
  • Implementation of Recommendations of PAC
  • Railways
Rules & Procedure
Applicable rulesRule 308 & 309 (page 112 - 113)

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is a committee of selected members of parliament, constituted by the Parliament of India, for the purpose of auditing the revenue and the expenditure of the Government of India. The check that parliament exercises over the executive stems from the basic principle that parliament embodies the will of the people. This committee along with the Estimates committee (EC) and Committee on Public Undertakings (COPU) are the three financial standing committees of the Parliament of India.

It serves as a check on the government especially with respect to its expenditure bill and its primary function is to examine the audit report of Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) after it is laid in the Parliament. C&AG assists the committee during the course of investigation. None of its members are allowed to be ministers in the government.

The Public Accounts Committee consists of not more than twenty-two members, fifteen elected by Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament, and not more than seven members of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament. The members are elected every year from amongst its members of respective houses according to the principle of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. The chairperson is appointed by the Lok Sabha speaker. The term of office of the members is one year.

At present, the 16th Lok Sabha has no designated leader of opposition,[1] however the Indian National Congress (INC) being largest opposition party has gotten the responsibility of heading the PAC. The current PAC is headed by Mallikarjun Kharge, who is leader of INC in the Lok Sabha. He was re-appointed to a second term in May 2018.[2]

History[edit]

The committee was first conceived in the year 1921 in the wake of Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms. During the initial days of British colonial government in India, the finance member of the executive council was the chairperson of the committee.

Post independence, till 1950 the chairperson of the committee was the finance minister. However, in 1950, the country became republic and the committee became a parliamentary committee functioning under the control of the Speaker of Lok Sabha with a non-official chairperson. From 1950 to 1967, the chairperson was selected from the ruling party. Since 1967, the chairperson of the committee is selected from the opposition, usually the leader of opposition.[3]

Prior to the year 1954–55, the committee consisted of 15 members who were elected by Lok Sabha from amongst its members. But with effect from the year 1954–55, 7 members from the Rajya Sabha have also been elected to the committee.[4]

Scope and working[edit]

As stated earlier, the primary function of the PAC is to examine the audit report of Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) after it is laid in the Parliament. The audit by the C&AG is comprehensive and manifold. It involves among others, (a) accountancy audit, (b) regularity audit, (c) appropriation audit, (d) discretionary audit and (e) efficiency-cum-performance audit.

At the beginning of its term every year, the committee makes a selection of audit paragraphs included in the various reports of C&AG for in-depth examination. After holding deliberations and taking note of the time available at its disposal, the committee selects the most important paragraphs from the audit reports for detailed examination and submits its reports to the House on them.

Current composition[edit]

Keys:   BJP (12)   INC (3)   AITC (2)   TDP (1)   BJD (1)   SAD (1)   Shiv Sena (1)   AIADMK (1) = 22 members

Party-wise membership of Public Accounts Committee

  BJD (4.55%)
  AIDMK (4.55%)
  TMC (9.09%)
  TDP (4.55%)
  SS (4.55%)
  INC (13.64%)
  SAD (4.55%)
  BJP (54.55%)
Members from 16th Lok Sabha; tenure – May 2018-19
Sr. No. Portrait Name Constituency, state Party
1 Mallikarjun Kharge[a] Gulbarga, Karnataka INC
2 Subhash Chandra Baheria Bhilwara, Rajasthan BJP
3 Ramesh Pokhriyal.jpg Ramesh Pokhriyal Haridwar, Uttarakhand
4 Riti pathak Riti Pathak Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh
5 Gopal Shetty Mumbai North, Maharashtra
6 Janardan Singh Sigriwal Maharajganj, Bihar
7 Abhishek Singh Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh
8 Kirit Somaiya Kirit Somaiya Mumbai North-East, Maharashtra
9 Anurag Thakur Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh
10 Shivkumar Chanabasappa Udasi Haveri, Karnataka
11 Bhartruhari Mahtab Cuttack, Odisha BJD
12 Sudip Bandyopadhyay Kolkata Uttar, West Bengal TMC
13 Prem Singh Chandumajra Anandpur Sahib, Punjab SAD
14 Gajanan Kirtikar Mumbai North West, Maharashtra SS
15 Ponnusamy Venugopal Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu AIDMK
Notes
  1. ^ Chairperson of the committee for the current year.
Members from the Rajya Sabha
Sr. No. Name State Legislature Party
1 Rajeev Gowda Karnataka INC
2 Bhubaneswar Kalita Assam
3 Shwait Malik Punjab BJP
4 Narayan Lal Panchariya Rajasthan
5 Bhupender Yadav Rajasthan
6 Sukhendu Sekhar Roy West Bengal TMC
7 C. M. Ramesh Andhra Pradesh TDP

Sub-committees[edit]

Currently there are 4 sub-committees within the PAC. They are as follows.

Sub-Committees of Public Accounts Committee India
Sr. No. Sub-committee Date constituted Convenor Alternate convenor
1 Sub-Committee – I (Non Compliance in Timely submission of Action Taken

Notes on the Non-selected Audit Paragraphs & Excess Expenditure)

26 July 2018 Bhubaneswar Kalita Prem Singh Chandumajra
2 Sub-Committee - II (Direct and Indirect Taxes) 26 July 2018 Shivkumar Chanabasappa Udasi Rajeev Gowda
3 Sub-Committee – III (Implementation of Recommendations of PAC) 26 July 2018 Bhartruhari Mahtab Subhash Chandra Baheria
4 Sub-Committee – IV (Railways) 26 July 2018 Sukhendu Sekhar Roy Ponnusamy Venugopal

Probes in recent years[edit]

The C&AG report on the 2G spectrum case stated a loss of ₹1.76 trillion (US$25 billion), based on 2010 3G and BWA spectrum-auction prices.[5] The ensuing differences resulting from the then opposition party BJP's demand to set up a joint parliamentary committee in addition to the PAC's inquiry into the 2G spectrum allocation case led to a complete freeze between the government and opposition in the winter session of parliament of 2010. The then PM Manmohan Singh stated that he was willing to appear before the committee.[6] This brought the committee to the forefront of the public's attention. Some of the probes since then are listed below :

2G spectrum case (2008)[edit]

The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) laid out in its report a seething inquest of the case, showing how then telecom minister A Raja and bureaucrats allegedly colluded to show undue favour to companies that lied or misrepresented basic information in their applications for 2G licenses. The C&AG report on the 2G spectrum case stated a loss of ₹1.76 trillion (US$25 billion). The initial estimate of loss was 57,000 crores but was revised upward of 1.76 lakh crores.[7] The committee, on 4 April 2011, summoned Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata group; and Niira Radia, a corporate lobbyist, regarding the case.[8] The then PAC chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi asked Congress members to apologise to Comptroller and Auditor General of India for making allegations against it.[9][10]

Commonwealth Games case (2010)[edit]

The 2010 Commonwealth Games hosted by India was subject of multiple allegations of corruption. The Public Accounts Committee has faulted the then Congress-led UPA government for taking the games management out of the government machinery leading to a "number of errors" that almost resulted in the "biggest management failure". The report was tabled in Parliament in April 2017.[11]

Adarsh housing case (2011)[edit]

In 2011, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (C&AG) said, "The episode of Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society reveals how a group of select officials, placed in key posts, could subvert rules and regulations in order to grab prime government land – a public property – for personal benefit."[12]

Coal block allocation case (2012)[edit]

The C&AG in its report estimated undue benefits to the tune ₹1.86 trillion (US$26 billion) to private players on account of coal blocks allocation to them without resorting to auction.[13][14] The essence of the C&AG's argument is that the Government had the authority to allocate coal blocks by a process of competitive bidding, but chose not to.[14] As a result, both public sector enterprises (PSEs) and private firms paid less than they might have otherwise.

VVIP Helicopter acquisition case (2013)[edit]

Chairperson K V Thomas said in 2016 that the PAC was willing to take up the VVIP case again, although PAC, when it was headed by his predecessor and senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, had examined the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in 2013.[15]

Demonetisation of November 8, 2016[edit]

On the eve of November 8, 2016, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi announced "Notes of 500 (US$7.20) and 1,000 (US$14) will not remain a legal tender by midnight". Being an unprecedented step it was much highlighted in the national and international news with a number of people criticizing the move and government acclaiming it as a surgical strike against black money. But then PAC head K. V. Thomas, member of INC, took a serious note of the move and started probing the move wherein it decided to call RBI governor Urjit Patel, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das. The decision was taken unanimously by all the members of the committee to call the bureaucratic officers.[16]

Chairpersons[edit]

Pre-independence[edit]

Sr. No. Name Term of office No. of Terms
1 W. M. Hailey 1922 1
2 Sir Basil P. Blackett 1922–27 6
3 Sir Bhupendra Nath Mitra 1928 1
4 Sir George Schuster 1929–31 3
5 Sir Alan Parson 1932 1
6 A. H. Lloyd 1933 1
7 Sir James Grigg 1934–36 3
8 J. C. Nixon 1937 1
9 Sir James Grigg* 1938 1
10 Sir Jeremy Raisman 1939–41 3
11 C. E. Jones 1942 1
12 Sir Jeremy Raisman* 1943 1
12 Sir Cyril Jones 1944 1
13 Sir Archibald Rowlands 1945 1
14 Sir Eric Coates 1946 Last pre-independence

committee

15 John Mathai
16 Liaquat Ali Khan

* Served second non-consecutive terms

After independence[edit]

Sr. No. Portrait Name Term of office Terms Political party
(Alliance)
1 R. K. Shanmukham Chetty 1947–48 1 INC
2 John Mathai 1948–49 1
3 B. Das 1950–55 5
4 V. B. Gandhi 1955–57 2
5 T. N. Singh 1957–58 1
6 N. G. Ranga 1958–59 1
7 P. Subbarayan 1959–60 1
8 Upendranath Barman 1960–61 1
9 C. R. Pattabhiraman 1961–62 1
10 Mahavir Tyagi 1962–63 1
11 R. K. Khadilkar 1963–64 1
12 R. R. Morarka 1964–67 1
13 Minoo Masani 1967–69 2 Swatantra
14 Atal Bihari Vajpayee 2002-06-12 Atal Bihari Vajpayee 1969–71 2 BJS
15 Era Sezhiyan 1971–73 2 DMK
16 Jyotirmoy Basu 1973–75 2 CPI(M)
17 Hirendranath Mukherjee 1975–77 2 CPI
18 C. M. Stephen 1977–78 1 INC
19 Pumapaparti.N.rao P. V. Narasimha Rao 1978–79 1
20 T. A. Pai 1979–80* partial
21 R. Venkataraman 1979–80* partial
22 Chandrajit Yadav 1980–81 1 JNP(S)
23 Satish Chandra Agarwal 1981–83 2 BJP
24 Sunil Maitra 1983–85 2 CPI(M)
25 E. Ayyapu Reddy 1985–87 2 TDP
26 Amal Dutta 1987–89 2 CPI(M)
27 P. Kolandaivelu 1989* partial AIDMK
28 Santosh Mohan Dev 1990–91 1 INC
29 Atal Bihari Vajpayee 2002-06-12 Atal Bihari Vajpayee 1991–93 2 BJP
30 Bhagwan Shankar Rawat 1993–95 2
31 Ram Naik 1995–96 1
32 Murli Manohar Joshi 1996–98 2
33 Manoranjan Bhakta 1998–99 1 INC
34 Ex Uttarakhand CM ND Tiwari.jpg N. D. Tiwari 1999–2002* 2 partial
34 N. Janardhana Reddy 2002* partial
35 Buta Singh 2002–04 2
36 Vijay Kumar Malhotra 2004–09* 4 partial BJP
37 Santosh Gangwar 2009* partial
38 Jaswant Singh 2009–10 partial
39 Gopinath Munde 2010 partial
40 Murli Manohar Joshi MP.jpg Murli Manohar Joshi 2010–14 4
41 KV Thomas.jpg K V Thomas 2014–16 2 INC
42 The Union Minister for Labour and Employment, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge addressing the G 20 Labour Ministers Conference, at Paris, France on September 27, 2011.jpg Mallikarjun Kharge 2016–Incumbent 2

Denotes the year 1967–68 from when the chairman of the PAC was member of the main opposition party, usually the leader of opposition.

Longest serving chairpersons of PAC[edit]

Longest Serving Chairmen of PAC - Post Independence
Sr. No. Name Terms Years Party
1 Murli Manohar Joshi 6 1996–98, 2010–2014 BJP
2 B. Das 5 1950–55 INC
3 Atal Bihari Vajpayee 4 1969–71, 1991–93 BJP

Reports Published[edit]

As part of its oversight process the committee has published quite a number of reports over the course of its existence post declaration of republic in 1950. The committee has published a total of 1596 reports from 1950 to April 2018.

1596 Reports published till April 2018
Lok Sabha Tenure Reports Presented
1st Lok Sabha 1952–57 25
2nd Lok Sabha 1957–62 43
3rd Lok Sabha 1962–67 72
4th Lok Sabha 1967–70 125
5th Lok Sabha 1971–77 239
6th Lok Sabha 1977–79 149
7th Lok Sabha 1980–84 231
8th Lok Sabha 1984–89 187
9th Lok Sabha 1989–91 22
10th Lok Sabha 1991–96 119
11th Lok Sabha 1996–97 24
12th Lok Sabha 1998–99 11
13th Lok Sabha 1999–04 63
14th Lok Sabha 2004–09 84
15th Lok Sabha 2009–14 100
16th Lok Sabha 2014– continuing 102

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "No Leader of the Opposition in the 16th Lok Sabha: Sources". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  2. ^ India, Press Trust of (2018-05-01). "Kharge re-appointed PAC Chairman". Business Standard India. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  3. ^ "PAC: watchdog for govt spending; panel of consensus, controversy". The Indian Express. 2017-01-11. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  4. ^ "Public Accounts Committee: Historical Background, Composition, Function and Procedure". Your Article Library. 2014-01-06. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  5. ^ "Performance Audit Report on the Issue of Licences and Allocation of 2G Spectrum" (PDF). Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  6. ^ "PM says willing to appear before Public Accounts Committee (PAC)". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  7. ^ "Did Public Accounts Committee influence 2G loss figure?". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  8. ^ "Tata was candid, Radia evasive on 2G, says PAC chief Joshi - Indian Express". IndianExpress.com. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  9. ^ Reporter, B. S. (23 November 2011). "Cong members should apologise to CAG: PAC". Retrieved 27 February 2017 – via Business Standard.
  10. ^ "Public Accounts Committee Chairman asks members to apologise for remarks against CAG Vinod Rai". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  11. ^ "2010 Commonwealth Games A 'Complete Management Failure': Parliamentary Panel". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  12. ^ "Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society, Mumbai" (PDF). Comptroller and Auditor General of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  13. ^ "Coal-gate: Govt to place views before PAC by Sept 14". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  14. ^ a b ""Draft Performance Audit, Allocation of Coal Blocks and Augmentation of Coal Production by Coal India Limited" Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (Union Government (Commercial))" (PDF). Comptroller and Auditor General of India (Union Government (Commercial)). Retrieved 8 September 2012. Hereafter Draft CAG Report.
  15. ^ "Public Accounts Committee To Examine Chopper Deal: Chairman KV Thomas". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  16. ^ "Demonetisation: Public Accounts Committee to call RBI Governor in January to review economic impact - The Economic Times on Mobile". EconomicTimes.com. Retrieved 27 February 2017.