Fed up with the state government’s poor response to its working, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the state legislature decided to quit on Monday.
PAC, which comprises 25 legislators across various political parties in Maharashtra, is an important institution in a parliamentary democracy.
It keeps tabs on government accounts and probes how departments spend the money allocated to it.
State PAC members decided to tender their resignations to the Speaker of the House, Dilip Walse Patil after a futile meeting where two of the state government departments, that for medical education and that for women and child development, failed once again to submit clarifications on an issue raised by the committee.
“Overall there is complete laxity and pathetic response to our working from all government departments. For instance, we sent eight reminders to women and child development department to clarify an issue but they have not done so,” said Nationalist Congress Party legislator and member of PAC, Nawab Malik.
The PAC has the task of going through Comptroller and Accountant General (CAG) audit paragraphs on non utilisation, misappropriation of accounts and fudging of funds of different departments.
The departments are asked to submit clarifications on each paragraph, which is first submitted to the CAG and then the PAC. The PAC discusses the clarification and prepares a report that is submitted to the state legislature.
The government has to prepare an action-taken report on how it has implemented directives of the PAC.
“From 2005 to 2011, we submitted 513 reports to the government. The government has prepared only 171 action-taken reports. We are given frivolous reasons by officials for not attending meetings and not giving clarification. Why should we waste our time if the state is not interested?” said Bharatiya Janata Party legislator and chairman of the PAC, Girish Bapat.
He complained that he had flagged the issue to the chief secretary of state, Ratnakar Gaikwad but there was no response.
Walse Patil is expected to summon department secretaries, the chief secretary and PAC members to discuss the issue next week. He has not accepted the resignations.