Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

Parliamentary Standing Committees

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CCI

Mains level : deliberation for effective democracy

Parliamentary CommitteesContext

  • In the recent monsoon session of Parliament (July-August) the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 sent to the Parliamentary Committees for detailed examination and a report thereon.

Background

  • Parliament had only limited legislative time this session and could pass only five pieces of legislation
  • Oppositions stand: opposition alleging that the Government has been trying to steamroll various pieces of legislation in the last few sessions.
  • Governments stand: Government worries that so much time is lost in disruptions in Parliament that the legislative process, as it is, becomes unduly delayed and therefore, referring the bills to the Standing Committees.

Parliamentary CommitteesParliamentary Committees

  • Need of parliamentary committees: The functions of the Parliament are varied, complex and voluminous. Moreover, it has neither the adequate time nor necessary expertise to make a detailed scrutiny of all legislative measures.
  • Function: To assist parliament to discharge of its duties.
  • Mandate: To examine various legislations referred to it, the budget proposals of different Ministries, and also to do policy thinking on the vision, mission and future direction of the Ministries concerned.
  • Composition: Members of the Parliament of both the LokSabha and the RajyaSabha in the ratio 2:1,
  • Authority: constituted by the Speaker of the LokSabha and the Chairman of the RajyaSabha, jointly.
  • Classification: Broadly, two kinds–Standing Committees and Ad Hoc Standing Committees are permanent (constituted every year or periodically) and work on a continuous basis, while Ad Hoc Committees are temporary and cease to exist on completion of the task assigned to them.
  • Parliament has 24 Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committees (DRSC).

Relevance of parliamentary committees

  • Withdrawal of farm law bills shows that if bills are not discussed thoroughly, these laws are just bizarre pieces of legislation from point of view consumers and stakeholders.
  • Parliamentary committee’s discussions are held closed door. Members can express their opinion freely.
  • Members of DRSC always try reach to consensus despite political differences. Such practices are essential for healthy democracy.
  • To strengthen the relevance of parliamentarians the parliamentary committees are crucial tools.

Parliamentary CommitteesHow to improve Efficacy of committees?

  • Compulsory process: The Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha have powers to refer Bills to a DRSC of Parliament. Making the process of reference of Bills to these committees compulsory/an automatic process will be useful. An exemption could be made with the specific approval of the Speaker/ Chairman after detailed reasons for the same.
  • No whip: All discussions in the Parliamentary Standing Committee should be frank and free. No whip of the party would apply to them during the discussion.
  • Time bound: fixed timeline to come up with the recommendation and present its report which can be decided by the Speaker/Chairman. In case the committee if fails to give its recommendation within the approved/extended time, the Bill may be put up before the House concerned directly.
  • Inviting filed Expertise: To ensure quality work in the committees, experts in the field may be invited who could bring with them the necessary domain knowledge and also help introduce the latest developments and trends in that field from Some subject matter experts/young researchers could be associated with the committee for a short period would be fruitful.
  • Authority: The Speaker/Chairman should have the right to fix a time limit, sometimes even stringent, if the government of the day asks for it and the demand is found to be reasonable by the Speaker/Chairman.
  • Organized work in the gap: Between two sessions, there is generally enough time to organise committee meetings for discussions on Bills in the parliamentary committees. It is important for the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in collaboration with the committee chairmen to get these parliamentary works organized during the intersessional period, in advance.
  • Other than Budget Proposals: The committees should not limit themselves to discussing just the budget proposals and endorsing them with a few qualifications here or amendments there. They should also come up with suggestions for the Ministry to take up new initiatives and people friendly measures.

Conclusion

  • Discussion is not a stumbling block but an indispensable preliminary of any wise actions.
  • Discussion is soul of democracy.
  • Parliamentary committees are truly democratic institutions in India due to its consensus and bonhomie while functioning.
  • Government of the day should take step to strengthen DRSC and refer more bills to committees. 

Other related information

Parliamentary sessions

  • The president from time to time summons each House of Parliament to meet.
  • The maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament cannot be more than six months.
  • In other words, the Parliament should meet at least twice a year.
  • There are usually three sessions in a year: 1. The Budget Session (February to May); 2. The Monsoon Session (July to September); and 3. The Winter Session (November to December).

Competition Commission of India (CCI)

  • CCI is the chief national competition regulatorin India.
  • The commission was established on 14 October 2003. It became fully functional in May 2009
  • It is a statutory body within the Ministry of Corporate Affairs
  • Responsibility: To enforce the Competition Act, 2002 to promote competition and to prevent activities that effects negatively on competition in India.
  • The CCI looks into cases and investigates them if the same has a negative impact on competition.
  • CCI also approves combination under the act so that two merging entities do not overtake the market.

Mains Question Q.

Evaluate the significance of parliamentary standing committee in parliamentary democracy. Suggest the steps to strengthen the parliamentary committees.

 

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

 

 

 

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments