President Kovind hails PAC for ensuring accountability at centenary event
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Parliament’s audit watchdog, has ensured more paise out of every rupee of public spending reach the people, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday.
Parliamentary committees, especially the PAC, are crucial to ensure “administrative accountability of the executive towards the legislature,” the President said.
The PAC, which had been chaired by stalwarts such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Murali Manohar Joshi and PV Narsimha Rao, is now led by Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury.
“If more paise out of every rupee coming from honest taxpayers are reaching those in need, and also for nation-building initiatives, the PAC and its members have played a large role in the process,” Kovind said in his speech at the centenary celebrations of the PAC in the Central Hall of Parliament.
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had once said that out of every rupee, only 16 paise goes to the people, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu recalled at the event.
“The Public Accounts Committee, along with the Public Estimates Committee and the Public Undertakings Committee constitute the triad of permanent vigilance over a wide range of governmental activities and the attendant expenditure,” Naidu said.
Without these panels, “parliamentary democracy would be rendered incomplete,” Kovind said. His address assume importance as opposition parties have accused the government in the past two years of trying to push legislation bypassing the review of House panels.
While the President maintained that at the heart of PAC’s functioning is “this aspect of holding the executive to account on behalf of the people”, Naidu suggested the panel should be redesignated as Public Accounts and Audit Committee (PA&AC).
It should reinvent itself to more effectively “handle the complexity of scrutinizing the accounts and audit of expenditure through capacity building, accessing the inputs of experts and information exchanges,” the Vice President said.
Parliamentary committees have contributed significantly in making the government accountable and transparent to the people, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said. “In a developing country like India, the constructive suggestions of PAC not only promoted the optimal use of financial resources, but also helped in improving the policies and programs of the government,” Birla said.
PAC, working on non-party lines, contributes towards maintaining the standard of efficiency and financial propriety in the running of the administration, PAC chairman Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.