This committee was setup first in 1921 under the provisions of the Government of India Act of 1919 and has since been in existence. At present, it consists of 22 members (15 from the Lok Sabha and 7 from the Rajya Sabha). The members are elected by the Parliament every year from amongst its members according to the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. Thus, all parties get due representation in it. The term of office of the members is one year. A minister cannot be elected as a member of the committee. The chairman of the committee is appointed by the Speaker from amongst its members. Until 1966–67, the chairman of the committee belonged to the ruling party. However, since 1967 a convention has developed whereby the chairman of the committee is selected invariably from the Opposition.
The functions of the Committee are:
- To examine the appropriation accounts and the finance accounts of the Union government and any other accounts laid before the Lok Sabha. The appropriation accounts compare the actual expenditure with the expenditure sanctioned by the Parliament through the appropriation act, while the finance accounts shows the annual receipts and disbursements of the Union government.
- In scrutinising the appropriation accounts and the audit report of CAG on it, the Committee has to satisfy itself that: (a)the money that has been disbursed was legally available for the applied service or purpose; (b)the expenditure conforms to the authority that governs it; and (c)every reappropriation has been made in accordance with the related rules.
- To examine the accounts of state corporations, trading concerns and manufacturing projects and the audit report of CAG on them (except those public undertakings which are allotted to the committee on public undertakings).
- To examine the accounts of autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies, the audit of which is conducted by the CAG.