CONTROL OVER EXPENDITURE
The expenditure on railways may be either revenue or capital, chargeable to works demand. The control over expenditure exercised against these heads involves two aspects.
a) Control with reference to sanctions.
i) Delegation of powers i.e. Railway board to General Managers and to lower sanctioning authorities.
ii) In exercise of their financial powers, the sanctioning authority must pay due regard to the “Cannons/Standards of Financial Propriety”.
b) Control over actual expenditure incurred/booked in the books of railways.
i) Control over expenditures against the budgetary allotments.
ii) Control over expenditures against the estimated cost as shown in works, machinery and rolling stock program.
In order to ensure that the budget grants as voted by the Parliament and appropriations as sanctioned by the President are utilized for the purpose they are voted/sanctioned, the control is exercised. The requirements of railways are more as compared to the resources available, hence it is important to exercise control over expenditure. Further, railway is also a commercial organization in addition to Government organization, hence if railway is to earn profit, it is necessary to ensure that control over expenditure is exercised. The control over expenditure is exercised by
1) THE PARLIAMENT. As the sanctioning authority for incurrance of expenditure, the parliament exercises control over expenditure by reviewing the Appropriation accounts and the audit report thereon critically. The scrutiny is done by the Public Account Committee on behalf of the Parliament with a view to satisfy that the amount shown in accounts as having been spent was legally available and was spent for the purpose for which the amount was made available. The control over expenditure is exercised by the Parliament through – i) Railway convention committee. ii) Estimates committee. iii) Discussion on Railway budget. iv) National Railway user’s consultative committee. v) Committee on subordinate Legislation. vi) Committee on Government assurances. vii) Public Accounts Committee.
2) THE EXECUTIVES. Incurrance of expenditure is subject to preparation or prior vetting of the estimates by the Accounts department, sanction of the competent authority being obtained. This is ensured by the executives. He further ensures that the work progresses as per the sanctioned estimate and budget provision. The provisions of Cannons/Standards of Financial Propriety are also to be kept in view, while granting sanctions to the expenditure.
Cannons/Standards of Financial Propriety – In exercise of their financial powers, the sanctioning authority must pay due attention to the following principles –
i) The expenditure should not prima facie be more than the occasion demands and that every Government should exercise the same vigilance in respect of expenditures incurred from public money as a person of ordinary prudence, would exercise in respect of expenditure of his own money. ii) No authority should exercise its powers of sanctioning expenditure to pass an order, which will be directly or indirectly to its own advantage. iii) Public money should not be utilized for the benefit of a particular person or section of a community unless – a) The amount of expenditure involved is insignificant. b) A claim for the amount could be enforced in a court of law. c) The expenditure is in pursuance of recognized policy or custom. iv) The amount of allowances such as travelling allowance granted to meet expenditure of a particular type should be so regulated that the allowance are not on a whole a source of profit to the recipient.
3) THE ACCOUNTS DEPARTMENT. The internal check carried out by the Accounts office on bills, vouchers, estimates and proposals is primarily to ensure that the same are as per codal provisions, however, the end goal is to ensure control over expenditure. On passing of the bills and adjustment of vouchers, the same are entered in subsidiary registers like Revenue allocation register for revenue expenditure and Works register for works expenditure. At the end of the month these registers are closed and Control statements are prepared and submitted to the executives to enable them to know the pace of expenditure. Control over expenditure is exercised by comparison of these statements with budget proportions for the month and to end of the month. Similarly, the totals of works registers are compared with budget grant/proportion and estimates to exercise control over expenditure against budget grant and sanctioned estimates.
4) THE AUDIT DEPARTMENT. The audit department as representative of The Comptroller and Auditor General Of India, scrutinize the Appropriation Accounts with a view to see that the accounts are properly maintained and the figures exhibited in the appropriation accounts are correct as per the books. They also ensure that the expenditure is regular and properly maintained. The scrutinized Appropriation Accounts along-with remarks offered by the audit are submitted to the Railway Board. Railway Board submits the consolidated Appropriation Account to the Parliament.