Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament Turns 100

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Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament Turns 100

  • PAC, the oldest parliamentary committee in India, is responsible for ensuring executive accountability.
  • The two-day function to mark its centennial was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind.

About 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.
  • They 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.
  • The main function of the committee is to ascertain whether the money granted by parliament has been spent by government within the scope of the demand.

History of PAC

  • The genesis of the Indian PAC is intertwined with the Government of India Act,1919, under which, India had, for the first time, a bicameral legislature, the Legislative Assembly and the Council of States .
  • Sir Fryderick Whyte-nurtured by the traditions of the British House of Commons-the President of the Legislative Assembly set up the first PAC in the year 1921 and W. M. Hailey was its first ex-officio Chairman, being the Finance Member in the Executive Council headed by the Governor General.
  • The PAC became a parliamentary committee with India becoming a republic, and since then the Chairperson of the Committee is appointed by the Speaker from its 15 members of the Lok Sabha.

Composition of PAC

  • The Public Accounts Committee consists of not more than twenty-two members, fifteen elected by Lok Sabha, and not more than seven members of Rajya Sabha.
  • 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.