- Committee on Public Accounts
The Committee on Public Accounts is constituted by Parliament each year for examination of accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by Parliament for expenditure of Government of India, the annual Finance Accounts of Government of India, and such other Accounts laid before Parliament as the Committee may deem fit such as accounts of autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies (except those of Public Undertakings and Government Companies which come under the purview of the Committee on Public Undertakings).
The Committee consists of not more than 22 members comprising 15 members elected by Lok Sabha every year from amongst its members according to the principle of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote and not more than 7 members of Rajya Sabha elected by that House in like manner are associated with the Committee. The Chairman is appointed by the Speaker from amongst its members of Lok Sabha.
A Minister is not eligible to be elected as a member of the Committee. If a member after his election to the Committee is appointed a Minister, he ceases to be a member of the Committee from the date of such appointment.
With the coming into force of the Constitution of India on 26th January, 1950, the Committee became a Parliamentary Committee under the control of Speaker. Its Secretarial functions were transferred to the Parliament Secretariat (now Lok Sabha Secretariat).
Functions of the Committee
The Examination of the Appropriation Accounts relating to the Railways, Defence Services, P&T Department and other Civil Ministries of the Government of India and Reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India thereon as also the Reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General on Revenue Receipts mainly form the basis of the deliberation of the Committee.
In scrutinising the Appropriation Accounts and the Reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General thereon, it is the duty of the Committee to satisfy itself:
- That the money shown in the accounts as having been disbursed were legally available for and, applicable to the service or purpose to which they have been applied or charged.
- That the expenditure conforms to the authority which governs it.
- That every re-appropriation has been made in accordance with the provisions made in this behalf under rules framed by competent authority.
One of the duties of the Committee is to ascertain that money granted by Parliament has been spent by Government within the scope of the demand. It considers the justification for spending more or less than the amount originally sanctioned. If any money has been spent on a service in excess of the amount granted by the House for the purpose, the Committee examines with reference to the facts of each case, the circumstances leading to such an excess and makes such recommendations as it may deem fit.
The Committee examines cases involving losses, nugatory expenditure and financial irregularities.
- Committee on Estimates
The Estimates Committee, constituted for the first time in 1950, is a Parliamentary Committee consisting of 30 Members, elected every year by the Lok Sabha from amongst its Members.
The Chairman of the Committee is appointed by the Speaker from amongst its members. A Minister cannot be elected as a member of the Committee and if a member after his election to the Committee, is appointed a Minister, he ceases to be a member of the Committee from the date of such appointment. The term of office of the Committee is one year.
The functions of the Estimates Committee are:
- To report what economies, improvements in organisation, efficiency or administrative reform, consistent with the policy underlying the estimates may be effected.
- To suggest alternative policies in order to bring about efficiency and economy in administration.
- To examine whether the money is well laid out within the limits of the policy implied in the estimates.
- To suggest the form in which the estimates shall be presented to Parliament.
The Committee calls for preliminary material from the Ministry/Department, statutory and other Government bodies in regard to the subjects selected for examination and also memoranda from non-officials connected with the subjects for the use of the Members of the Committee.
The Committee, from time to time, appoints one or more Sub-Committees/Study Groups for carrying out detailed examination of various subjects.
- Committee on Public Undertakings
The Committee on Public Undertakings is a Parliamentary Committee consisting of 22 Members—fifteen elected by the Lok Sabha and seven by the Rajya Sabha, from amongst their Members, according to the principle of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
The Chairman is appointed by the Speaker from amongst the Members of the Committee. A Minister is not eligible to become a Member of the Committee. If a Member after his election to the Committee is appointed a Minister, he ceases to be a Member of the Committee from the date of such appointment. The term of the Committee does not exceed one year.
The functions of the Committee on Public Undertakings are:
- To examine the reports and accounts of Public Undertakings specified in the Fourth Schedule to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.
- To examine the reports, if any, of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on the Public Undertakings.
- To examine, in the context of the autonomy and efficiency of the Public Undertakings whether the affairs of the Public Undertakings are being managed in accordance with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices.
- To exercise such other functions vested in the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee in relation to the Public Undertakings as are not covered by clauses (a), (b) and (c) above and as may be allotted to the Committee by the Speaker from time to time.
Departmentally Related Standing Committees
A full-fledged system of 17 Departmentally Related Standing Committees came into being in April, 1993.
These Committees cover under their jurisdiction all the Ministries/ Departments of the Government of India. These Committees are as under:
- Committee on Commerce
- Committee on Home Affairs
- Committee on Human Resource Development
- Committee on Industry
- Committee on Science & Technology,
- Environment & Forests
- Committee on Transport, Culture and Tourism
- Committee on Agriculture
- Committee on Information Technology
- Committee on Defence
- Committee on Energy
- Committee on External Affairs
- Committee on Finance
- Committee on Food, Civil Supplies and
- Public Distribution
- Committee on Labour and Welfare
- Committee on Petroleum & Chemicals
- Committee on Railways
- Committee on Urban and Rural Development
Out of the 17 Committees, 6 Committees (Sl. No. 1 to 6) are serviced by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat and 11 Committees (Sl. No. 7 to 17) by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
Each of these Standing Committees consists of not more than 45 members—30 to be nominated by the Speaker from amongst the members of Lok Sabha and 15 to be nominated by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha from amongst the members of Rajya Sabha. A Minister is not eligible to be nominated to these Committees.
The term of members of these Committees is one year. With reference to the Ministries/Departments under their purview, the functions of these committees are:
- Consideration of Demands for Grants.
- Examination of Bills referred to by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha as the case may be.
- Consideration of Annual Reports.
- Consideration of national basic long term policy documents presented to the House and referred to the Committee by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha, as the case may be.
These Committees do not consider matters of day-to-day administration of the concerned Ministries/Departments.