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Parliamentary Committees in India | UPSC

UPSC Current Affairs for UPSC IAS

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UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II– Polity & Governance

Context: Leaders of opposition have asked Rajya Sabha Chairman and Lok Sabha Speaker to allow virtual meetings of the parliamentary panels (standing committees). Last year similar demand was raised however, it was declined citing the confidentiality clause.

We will venture into the composition and functioning of Parliamentary committees.

Origin: in the British Parliamentary system.

Authorisation: Such committees draw their Authority from the Article 105 (on privileges of Parliament members) and Article 118 (on Parliament’s authority to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business).

Types:

Article is talking about DRSCs: In 1993, 17 Departmentally related Standing Committees (DRSCs), later increased to 24 (16 under Lok Sabha, 8 under Rajya Sabha), were constituted in the Parliament. These committees drew members from both Houses roughly in proportion to the strength of the political parties in the Houses. One committee may work for two or more ministries. For example: committee on science and technology, environment and Forest work for five ministries.

These committees work under the direction of the Speaker/Chairman and take reports from them. They also have dedicated secretariats.

Composition: each committee consist of 31 members (21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha). Minister is not eligible to be a member (i.e., there is not executive participation).

Significance: Inter-ministerial co-ordination, instrument of for detailed scrutiny, act as mini parliament, provides un-biased opinion, uphold parliamentary principle.

However, the main objective of such committees is financial accountability during the budget session.

Issues in such committees:

  1. Only 27% of the bills were referred to such committees in 16th Lok Sabha.
  2. Major and controversial issues were totally surpassed by their scrutiny. For example: deliberation on Article 370 revocation.
  3. Low attendance of MPs.
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