Discuss the role of Public Accounts Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people.

The Public Accounts Committee is a committee consisting of selected members of parliament which are constituted by the Parliament of India. The main objective of the committee is the auditing of the revenue and the expenditure of the Government of India. The tenure of the committee is 1 year.

Role and working

  • The primary duty of the committee is to examine the audit report prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India after it is laid in the Parliament.
  • The accounts of State corporations, Manufacturing units, trade are examined by the committee.
  • Accounts of autonomous or semi-autonomous bodies are also examined by PAC.
  • It checks the presence of illegal money, details of the expenditure based on the report of CAG.
  • It checks whether all re-appropriation has followed the prescribed rules or not.

Limitations

The committee is vested with a lot of responsibilities, but there are some limitations that sometimes create problems while practicing the duties.

  • The committee has no authority to question any policy.
  • It acts as a curative measure and not as a preventive measure. Its monitoring power on expenses starts only after they are incurred. It has no authority to put a cap on the expenses.
  • It has no role in direct administration.
  • It only gives advisory recommendations. The authority is not bound to take up the recommendations.
  • It can only find the irregularities. The ultimate power to take a final decision on its findings is vested with the Parliament.

Comment

Despite having many limitations, the report published by the committee plays a significant role to influence the public opinion. Providing a little more power will definitely ensure the efficient delivery of duties.

Question for UPSC Mains:
What are the powers and functions of Public Accounts Committee? Discuss its key findings and their implications on recent issues such as CWG, 2G, Agusta-Westland and KG basin.

Published: January 11, 2017 | Modified:September 3, 2020

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