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PAC pulls up Finance, Defence Ministries over excess expenditure above House’s approval

New Delhi | Updated on February 09, 2021 Published on February 09, 2021

The excess amount was incurred in five cases under four grants/ appropriations during the period

The Centre has spent about ₹99,610.31 crore in 2017-18 without the approval of Parliament, according to a report of Public Accounts Committee tabled in both the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday.

The PAC, headed by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said the excess amount was incurred in five cases under four grants/ appropriations during the period.

Contributory factors

Analysing the reasons for excess expenditure, the panel said lack of proper monitoring of the progress of expenditure, inadequate review and analysis of the financial requirement and non-observance of the prescribed financial rules were the main contributory factors towards excess expenditure of such a high magnitude.

The panel checks that the money shown in the accounts as having disbursed were legally available for and the expenditure conforms to the authority which governs it. The panel cited Constitutional provisions such as Articles 114 (3) to say that no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India except under appropriations authorised by Parliament.

“Scrutiny of four appropriation accounts (2017-18) revealed that there was an excess disbursement of ₹99,610.31 crore over the authorisation freom the CFI during 2017-18 out of which an excess disbursement of ₹ 92,461.31 crore occurred in two grants/ appropriations in Civil Ministries/ Departments and ₹7,149 crore in three segments of two grants operated by Ministry of Defence,” the report said.

Reasons

The panel appreciated Posts and Railways departments for not incurring any excess expenditure. The Centre has given reasons such as higher amount withdrawn by State governments in the last dates of financial year and higher amount of pensions due to voluntary retirements as the reasons for increase in civil expenditure. The Defence Ministry cited reasons such as high prices of oil for its additional expenditure.

“The incidence of excess expenditure of such a high magnitude is least justifiable given the provisions for obtaining Supplementary Grants three times in a financial year,” the report said.

The committee took a serious view of the casual approach of the Ministry of Finance and said the Ministry should have functioned as a role model for others in the matter of framing budget and supplementary provisions.

Pulling up the Defence Ministry, the panel said despite several recommendations, warding off excess expenditure remains a distant goal for the Defence Ministry. It asked the Ministry to introduce progressive and effective methods of budgetary control.

“The Ministry of Defence should adopt good practices of other Ministries/ Departments and stride towards reporting a ‘nil’ report on excess expenditure in future,” the report said.

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Published on February 09, 2021
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