Estimates Committee was first established during British Era in 1920s but Independent India’s first Estimates Committee was established in 1950. This committee examines the estimates included in the budget and suggests ‘economies’ in public expenditure.
The Estimates Committee has 30 members and all these members are from Lok Sabha. There is no Rajya Sabha member in Estimates Committee. The members are elected by Lok Sabha members from amongst themselves every year by principles of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote, so that all parties get due presentation in it. A minister cannot be elected as member / Chairman of estimates committee. The chairman is appointed by the Speaker and chairman is always from ruling party or coalition.
This committee tries to report economy and efficiency in expenditures. It suggests what changes in policy or administrative framework can be done and what alternative policies can be considered to bring economy and efficiency. Due to this reason, this committee is also called ‘continuous economy committee’. The works of this committee continue throughout the year and it keeps reporting to the house as examination proceeds.
Similarities between PAC and Estimates Committee
- Both are financial committees and both are standing committees of parliament
- Both find their origin in British Era
- Members of both are elected and chairmen of both are nominated by speaker.
- A minister cannot be member or chairman of any of them.
Differences between PAC and Estimates Committee
- While PAC has 22 members, Estimates Committee has 30 members.
- While PAC members belong to both houses of parliament, Estimates Committee members belong to only Lok Sabha
- While PAC chairman is from opposition, Estimates Committee Chairman is always from ruling party or dispensation
- While Estimates committee scrutinizes the Estimates, PAC scrutinizes the appropriation and manner of spending. Thus, work of Estimates Committee is ex-ante analysis while that of PAC is ex post facto analysis.