Article 266 of the Constitution defines the Public Account as being those funds that are received on behalf of the Government of India.
Money held by the government in a trust — such as in the case of Provident Funds, Small Savings collections, income of government set apart for expenditure on specific objects like road development, primary education, reserve/special Funds, etc — are kept in the Public Account. Public Account funds do not belong to the government and have to be finally paid back to the persons and authorities that deposited them.
Parliamentary authorisation for such payments is not required. However, when money is withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund with the approval of Parliament and kept in the Public Account for expenditure for a specific purpose, it is submitted for a vote in Parliament.
There are five major heads of accounts under the Public Account — (i) Small Savings, Provident Fund and Other Accounts (ii) Reserve Funds (iii) Deposits and Advances (iv) Suspense and Miscellaneous and (v) Remittances.