GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
The Public Accounts Committee, headed by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, is going on a four-day tour of Srinagar, Kargil, Leh and Drass.
What’s the issue?
The committee visit is in connection with a 2019 report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on “high altitude clothing, equipment, ration and housing” for the Army personnel.
- The CAG report had pointed out delays in the procurement of high altitude clothing and equipment items of up to four years, leading to acute shortage of essential clothing and equipment.
- The PAC is formed every year with a strength of not more than 22 members of which 15 are from Lok Sabha and 7 from Rajya Sabha.
- The term of office of the members is one year.
- The Chairman is appointed by the Speaker of Lok Sabha. Since 1967, the chairman of the committee is selected from the opposition.
- Its chief function is to examine the audit report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) after it is laid in the Parliament.
Limitations of the Public Accounts Committee:
- Broadly, it cannot intervene in the questions of policy.
- It can keep a tab on the expenses only after they are incurred. It has no power to limit expenses.
- It cannot intervene in matters of day-to-day administration.
- Any recommendation that the committee makes is only advisory. They can be ignored by the ministries.
- It is not vested with the power of disallowance of expenditures by the departments.
- Being only an executive body; it cannot issue an order. Only the Parliament can take a final decision on its findings.
Did you know that the Committee on Public Accounts was first set up in 1921 in the wake of the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms? Reference
- Difference between Parliamentary vs Cabinet committees.
- Standing vs select vs finance committees.
- Who appoints chairperson and members of these committees?
- Committees exclusive to only Lok Sabha.
- Committees where the Speaker is the chairperson.
What are Parliamentary Standing committees? Why are they necessary? Discuss their roles and functions to bring out their significance.
Sources: the Hindu.