The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is a committee of selected members of Parliament, constituted by the Parliament of India, for the auditing of the expenditure of the Government of India.
The PAC is formed every year with a strength of not more than 22 members of which 15 are from Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament, and 7 from Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament. None of the 22 members shall be a minister in the government.
The present PAC is headed by Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi.
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:
(a) 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
(b) that the expenditure conforms to the authority which
governs it; and
(c) 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 functions of the Committee extend however, “beyond, the
formality of expenditure to its wisdom, faithfulness and
economy”. The Committee thus examines cases involving
losses, nugatory expenditure and financial irregularities.
While scrutinising the Reports of the Comptroller and
Auditor-General on Revenue Receipts, the Committee examines
various aspects of Government’s tax administration. The Committee,
thus examines cases involving under-assessments, tax-evasion,
non-levy of duties, misclassifications etc., identifies the loopholes in
the taxation laws and procedures and makes recommendations in
order to check leakage of revenue.