Estimates Committee: Members, Functions, Chairman | Estimates Committee UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Estimates Committee is a Committee of the Lok Sabha. On April 3, 1950, the Provisional Parliament approved the resolution to elect the first Estimates Committee, and on April 10, 1950, the Committee was chosen. The Committee comprises not more than 30 Lok Sabha members chosen by the House each year using a single transferable vote and the principle of promotional representation. The Speaker may choose the Chairman of the Committee from among its members.

Estimates Committee is one of the standing committees of the Indian Parliament. It consists of members from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The topic of the Estimates Committee is an important one for the UPSC exam, particularly in the General Studies paper. It falls under the section of Indian Polity and Governance of UPSC Syllabus. A sound knowledge of the Estimates Committee is crucial for candidates aspiring to excel in the exam, as it demonstrates their understanding of the parliamentary system and their ability to analyze budgetary matters and financial accountability.

Estimates Committee

Estimates Committee is a parliamentary committee in India that plays a crucial role in the budgetary process. It consists of members from both the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States). The primary function of the Estimates Committee is to examine the estimates of expenditure proposed by the government and suggest any necessary modifications or improvements. This committee is responsible for scrutinizing the budgetary allocations and ensuring that the funds are allocated efficiently and effectively. It also examines the performance of various government programs and projects to ensure accountability and transparency.

Estimates Committee holds a significant position in the parliamentary system as it acts as a watchdog to ensure responsible financial management by the government. It reviews the budget estimates in detail, seeks clarifications from the concerned ministries or departments, and presents its reports and recommendations to the Parliament. Through its deliberations, the committee aims to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government spending and ensure that public funds are utilized for the intended purposes.

Background of Estimates Committee

Estimates Committee has its roots in the pre-independence era, establishing a standing finance committee in 1921. Later, finance minister John Mathai recommended the committee’s foundation during the post-independence period. In 1950, the committee was ultimately created.

It is always important for a country to scrutinize its monetary flow to achieve a sustainable development goal. The Estimates Committee is a governmental approach to monitoring the funds’ flow in different ministries and departments to achieve economic betterment.

  • This committee is appointed by the Indian parliament, and the members of the Parliament elect the candidates to represent it.
  • There are 30 parliamentarians in the committee appointed for one year to perform their duties as a part of the Estimates Committee.
  • The decision to establish the Estimates Committee to promote better scrutiny of fund flow within different ministries was taken under finance minister John Mathai’s recommendation in 1950.

Estimates Committee Members

The Estimates Committee began with 25 Loksabha parliamentarians and was expanded to 30 members in 1956. No Rajya Sabha member is eligible to be a member of this committee. The members of the Estimates Committee are elected on an annual basis. However, no representative of any government ministry can be a part of it.

Chairman of Estimates Committee

The Chairman of the Estimates Committee is Shri Girish Bhalchandra Bapat. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha designates the Chairman of the Estimates Committee from among its members. The chosen chairman is always a member of the ruling party.

Functions of the Estimates Committee

The Estimates Committee has brought numerous beneficial aspects to the Indian economic system, ensuring scrutinized financial flow. This governmental approach is bound to inspect the effects of budget estimates on economic growth. For this reason, the Estimates Committee is also called the Continuous Economy Committee.

There should be a Committee on Estimates for the study of such estimates as may seem appropriate to the Committee or are specifically referred to by the House or the Speaker, according to Rule 310 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha. The Committee’s duties include:

  • Reporting on potential savings, organizational enhancements, efficiency gains, or administrative reform consistent with the policy implied by the estimates;
  • Recommending alternative policies to achieve efficiency and economy in administration, and assessing whether the money is effectively allocated within the parameters of the policy implied by the estimates.
  • Offer suggestions for the format in which the estimates will be delivered to Parliament;

However, the Committee will not exercise its authority over any public undertakings assigned to the Committee on Public Undertakings by these rules or the Speaker. Throughout the fiscal year, the Committee periodically continues to examine the estimates. It may report to the House on the status of its review or when it is finished.

Challenges of Estimates Committee

The Estimates Committee also examines the administrative structure of different ministries, emphasizing the process of fund usage.

  • If the monetary flow violates the governmental policies, the Estimates Committee takes action to improve the administrative structure, thus improving the efficiency of the governmental sectors. Despite having numerous advantageous factors, the Estimates Committee also possesses some limitations that can hinder its efficiency in achieving the optimum goal of economic growth.
  • The Estimates Committee has been given the power to analyze the budget estimates. But this power is applicable only after the budget is attained.
  • The parliament of India has no power in the committee to ask counter-questions about the policies taken by the government. It means the committee gets to take action within the territory of governmental autocracy.

Solution to Challenges for Estimates Committee

Since the estimates committee is one of the most significant finance committees, it should be given more current duties rather than post-mortem work. The estimates committee can keep a better eye on the public coffers and make the government more responsible and transparent about the people’s money by carefully examining the government expenditures proposed in the budget.

  • If the government’s proposed investments are evaluated before voting, the expenditures will be reduced to some amount.
  • The committee’s recommendations and judgments should be binding as it assesses whether the money is fairly distributed.
  • Forming subcommittees under the supervision of the estimate committee’s governing body may be a better way to keep track of the enormous monetary components of several ministries.
  • A professional person should be hired to assist the Estimates Committee in evaluating the budget.

Estimates Committee UPSC

Estimates Committee is a parliamentary committee responsible for examining the estimates of expenditure presented by the government. The topic of the Estimates Committee is covered under the Indian Polity section of the UPSC Syllabus. It is important to study this topic as it provides insights into the functioning of the parliamentary committee system and the financial accountability of the government.

To prepare well, candidates should refer to Polity Books for UPSC, along with studying the reports and reading notes of the Estimates Committee. Studying the Estimates Committee is essential for the UPSC exam as it enables candidates to understand the budgetary process, fiscal governance, and the role of parliamentary committees in ensuring transparency and accountability.

Estimates Committee UPSC Questions

The topic of the Estimates Committee in the UPSC exam falls under the Indian polity section. To understand the type of questions asked, here are some sample questions provided for reference. Aspirants are advised to refer to UPSC previous year’s question paper for comprehensive details on this topic.

Question: Which of the following Parliamentary Committees consists exclusively of members of the Lok Sabha? (A) Public Accounts Committee, (B) Estimates Committee, (C) Committee on Public Undertakings, (D) Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes

Answer: (B) Estimates Committee

Question: Which of the following statements does not reflect the jurisdiction of the Estimates Committee? (A) It suggests alternative policies to bring efficiency and economy to administration, (B) It examines whether the money is well laid out within the policy’s limits implied in estimates, (C) It suggests the form in which estimates are to be presented to Parliament, (D) It helps check Governmental extravagance in making demands as its report is debated in the House

Answer: (D) It helps check Governmental extravagance in making demands as its report is debated in the House

For UPSC Mains

Question: How does the Estimates Committee contribute to financial accountability and transparency in the government’s budgetary processes?

Question: Explain the role and functions of the Estimates Committee in the Indian Parliament.

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