The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Thursday decided to prepare draft reports on the CAG findings with regard to gas-pricing and coal-block allocation. The task is part of the unfinished business of the previous committee. The reports would have got a quiet burial had the PAC not decided to go ahead with this task.
The PAC decision came as Chairman K V Thomas (belonging to the Congress) accepted a suggestion to this effect from a member, Bhartruhari Mahtab of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), at a committee meeting, convened for the selection of subjects for detailed examination during 2015-16.
A total of 26 Entire Reports of the CAG have been pending with the PAC since 2009-2010.
The CAG report on the “Performance of Hydrocarbons Production Sharing Contracts” had stated that Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) had breached some terms of a production-sharing contract with the Government for one of its more lucrative blocks and had blamed the Petroleum Ministry and one of its arms for their failure to provide an adequate oversight of the process. The previous PAC (formed by the 15th Lok Sabha) had deliberated on the CAG report and had obtained oral evidence from all sides. The committee secretariat has to prepare a draft report now, which would be followed by its circulation among members for its final consideration and adoption.
In its report on coal blocks, the CAG had said that private firms were likely to gain Rs 1.86 lakh crore from coal blocks that were allocated to them on a nomination-basis, instead of a competitive bidding, which results in a huge loss to exchequer. Mahtab argued that the CAG had brought to light systemic failures of various government organisations or departments. The PAC was designed to ensure that executive was made accountable to the legislature.