Appropriation Bills

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    In News

    • Recently, the Opposition slammed the Central Government during continued discussion on the Appropriation Bills in Rajya Sabha.

    About

    • Issues raised by the Opposition: 
      • Funds: 
        • Gross miscalculation of expenditure in the Budget.
        • There was misplaced focus when the funds were allocated.
      • Women:
        • Focused attention on Gender budgeting to address concerns of women impacted by the Covid pandemic. Private as well as Government initiatives like MGNREGA are impacted.
        • The Covid phase is over now but those women who were pushed into domestic spheres, data shows, suffered domestic violence.
        • There should be more budgetary allocation for women.
        • There should be a multi-fold increase in funds to tackle violence against women.
    • Case to learn from:
      • In West Bengal, one in every four MSMEs is led by women.

    About Appropriation Bill

    • It is a money bill that allows the government to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet its expenses during a financial year.
    • As per Article 114(3) of the Constitution, no amount can be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund without the enactment of such a law by Parliament.
    • The whole process beginning with the presentation of the Budget and ending with discussions and voting on the Demands for Grants requires a fairly long time.
    • The Lok Sabha is, therefore, empowered by the Constitution to make any grant in advance in respect of the estimated expenditure for a part of the financial year pending completion of procedure for the voting on the demands.
    • However, if during the course of the financial year, the funds so appropriated are found to be insufficient, the Constitution provides for seeking approval from the Parliament or State Legislature for supplementary grants.

    Key Features

    • The exclusive feature of the Appropriation Bill is its automatic repeal clause, whereby the Act gets repealed by itself after it meets its statutory purpose.
    • Amendment:
      • No amendment can be proposed to an Appropriation Bill which will have the effect of varying the amount or altering the destination of any grant so made or of varying the amount of any expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India, and the decision of the Speaker as to whether such an amendment is admissible is final
      • An amendment to an Appropriation Bill for the omission of a demand voted by the House is out of order.
    • In other respects, the procedure in respect of an Appropriation Bill is the same as in respect of other Money Bills.

    Procedure

    • The Appropriation Bill is first passed by Lok Sabha and then sent to Rajya Sabha.
    • Rajya Sabha has the power to recommend any amendments to this Bill.
    • However, it is the prerogative of the Lok Sabha to either accept or reject these recommendations.
    • An Appropriation Bill is passed by the Parliament/state legislature and then it is presented to the President/Governor.
    • After the assent by the President/Governor to the bill, it becomes an Act.

    Way Ahead

    • There is a need for better planning on agricultural spending. Too little agriculture research and sustainable agriculture expenditure is happening when sustainable agriculture is the need of the hour for climate crisis mitigation.
    • When there is stagnation, the government spending should go up and the interest rates should come down.

    Consolidated Fund of India

    • It is the most important of all government accounts.
    • This fund was constituted under Article 266 (1) of the Constitution of India. All revenues received by the government by way of direct taxes and indirect taxes, money borrowed and receipts from loans given by the government flow into the Consolidated Fund of India.
    • All government expenditure is made from this fund, except exceptional items which are met from the Contingency Fund or the Public Account. Importantly, no money can be withdrawn from this fund without the Parliament’s approval.
    • The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India reports to the Union and State Legislatures any discrepancies that occur between the amounts appropriated for a particular head of expenditure and what was actually spent at the end of the financial year.
    • These reports provide an indication of unrealistic budget estimates made by various departments. Any expenditure in excess of what was approved requires regularization by the Parliament/State Legislature.

    Source: IE