Public accounts committee member from BJP Kirit Somaiya
wanted finance secretary and economic affairs secretary’s briefing before the panel on demonetisation
on January 20 postponed as they were busy with the Budget, but the suggestion was tossed out by the committee. BJP is Bharatiya Janata Party.
According to sources, the BJP member made the suggestion at the PAC
meeting on Friday. However, other members said the briefing by the officials was earlier scheduled for January 6 but postponed on their request.
These members further noted that the officials had been informed of the PAC
decision in advance and it was for the chairman K V Thomas
to decide and not for committee members.
These members pointed out that the official concerned could have intimated any inconvenience to the chairman who would have taken a decision in the matter. But no such request has come from the officials, the sources said, adding that the briefing will be held on January 20.
The Budget is set to be presented on February 1, and the date has been advanced by the Centre to enable it to roll out the goods and services tax
from April 1.
The Opposition had petitioned the Election Commission not to allow the government to advance the Budget session of Parliament from January 31.
The government has refused to give in to the opposition’s demand.
The officials of the finance ministry will brief the PAC
on the impact of demonetisation, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
on November 8, 2016, on the Indian economy.
Another BJP member Nishikant Dubey wanted chairman KV Thomas to withdraw his statement that PM can be called by the panel over the demonetisation
issue. Many members cited rules to argue that ministers and PM cannot be called before the panel.
Thomas clarified that he said it could be done if the panel decided on the issue unanimously and the same was approved by the Lok Sabha Speaker.
When Thomas cited a precedent saying in 1966, then heavy industries minister C Subramaniam had been called by the PAC, Dubey pointed out that it was done because a personal remark against Subramaniam had been made and it had become a privilege issue.
finally issued a statement saying rules prevented PM and ministers from being called by the panel. However, the chairman can meet the minister concerned informally after the panel has completed deliberations over the issue.