ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Legislative Control of Public Spending

Legislative Control of Public Spending K P Joseph Much of the Central budget during the last three years has been voted without any discussion in parliament and over 4 per cent of all Central government expenditure is incurred in the last three months of the financial year. There is no systematic examination of budget proposals by expert select committees. Legislative control over the budget is becoming progressively illusory IN round numbers government spends about Rs 2,00,000 crore a year, out of which half is spent by the Central government and the other half by ail the State governments combined. More than a third of the resource of the State governments comes from the Central government. The Centra] government itself keeps its accounts. The accounts of the State governments are for the most part kept by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), who also audits the accounts of the Central and State governments and presents his audit reports to the legislatures. Theoretically, the Indian taxpayer is well served and should have no grounds for unhappiness over the way government is handling public money, as the legislatures have complete control over public spending, first through approving the budget which covers all spending proposals and later through examining the annual accounts and audit reports. The CAG enjoys complete independence under the Constitution to audit all transactions without fear or favour. He has more independence than his counterparts in other countries.

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