Parliament has less time but a lot of work. In such a situation, parliamentary committees come in action for proper execution of the work.
In this article, we will discuss the parliamentary committees of India in a simple and easy way. and try to understand concept, So read this article till the end and read other related articles also;
What are Parliamentary Committees?
The government has a vast and advanced administrative machinery and organization available to do its work, with the help of which all its work is done, but it is not so in the case of Parliament.
On the one hand, Parliament operates for 70-80 days in a year and on top of that its functions are of such diversity, complexity and comprehensiveness that it is unable to even effectively deal with the subjects brought before it.
That is, Parliament does not have enough time, nor the necessary expertise to do a thorough investigation of all legislative measures and other matters, that is why much of the work of Parliament is dealt with by committees of the House, which are called parliamentary committees.
Features of Parliamentary Committees
Parliamentary committees are not mentioned in the constitution separately but as a reference. That is why only the rules made by both the Houses of Parliament are effective with respect to the constitution, tenure and work etc. of these committees.
The characteristics of these committees are;
1. These committees are appointed or elected by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, that is why these committees work according to his instructions.
2. After finishing their investigation, these committees submit their report to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
3. These committees have a secretariat, which is managed by the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha secretariat.
Remember one thing here that the Consultative Committee is also constituted from the members of the Parliament, but it is not a parliamentary committee because it does not fulfill the above conditions. Such as the Advisory Committee.
What are the types of parliamentary committees?
Broadly speaking, there are two types of parliamentary committees – standing committees and ad hoc committees .
Standing committees are permanent and regular and they work on a continuous basis. It is constituted every year or from time to time.
Ad hoc committees are temporary and irregular. It is abolished as soon as the purpose for which it is formed is fulfilled.
With the help of this chart, we can see how many committees come under Standing and Ad-hoc committees-
|standing committees||ad hoc committees|
|Based on the nature of the work, it is mainly divided into 6 parts –||The ad-hoc committee is broadly divided into two parts –|
|1. Finance Committees |
2. Departmental Standing Committees
3. Inquiry Committees
4. Committees constituted for examination and control
5. Committees dealing with the day-to-day affairs of the House
6. House Committees or Service Committees
|1. Inquiry Committees |
2. Select or Joint Committees
Standing committees are very broad whereas ad-hoc committees are formed and disbanded. Let us first understand the ad hoc committee
| Ad hoc Committees
Ad-hoc committees are broadly divided into two categories – (1) Inquiry committees and (2) Select or Joint Committees .
◼ Inquiry committees are constituted from time to time by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, it is constituted to investigate and report on a specific matter.
Such as the committee constituted to inquire into the conduct of members during the President’s address, Committee constituted for Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), etc.
◼ Select or joint committees are formed to consider and report on specific bills. These committees differ from other ad-hoc committees in the sense that they are concerned only with bills and the procedure or rules adopted by this committee are based on the directions given by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or the Chairman.
When a Bill is brought up for general discussion in a House, the House may refer it to the Select Committee of the House or to the Joint Committee of both the Houses. The Select Committee is made up of members of only one House, that is, the Select Committee consists of members of only one House. On the other hand, if we talk about joint committee , then its members are from both the houses.
How is the bill sent to these committees?
Any bill is sent to the Select Committee or Joint Committee in the following three ways –
(1) When a Minister moves a motion in the House that his Bill be examined by a Select or Joint Committee of the House,
(2) If the minister does not make any such motion, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha decides whether to send the bill to the Select or Joint Committee or Departmental Standing Committee.
(3) Even if a bill is passed by one house, it can be referred to a select committee by the other house.
Advantages of being sent to these committees –
The committee considers the bill provision by provision in the same way as a bill is considered by both the houses.
It invites comments and suggestions from experts, stakeholders and citizens and also considers the views of the Government. This happens that the possible errors of that bill are removed.
After this the report is prepared, in which amendments on various provisions can also be proposed by the member of the committee. However, its reports are not binding, so they may or may not be considered. It usually has to submit its report in 3 months.
some ad hoc committee
|S.No.||name of committee||tenure|
|1.||railway convention committee||for the term of one Lok Sabha|
|2.||Committee on Providing Computers to Members of Parliament and Officers of Lok Sabha Secretariat||for the term of one Lok Sabha|
|3.||Member of Parliament Local Area Development Planning Committee||1 year|
|4.||ethics Committee||Not intended. It will continue till the reorganization.|
|5.||Committee on Food Management in Parliament House Complex||1 year|
|6.||Committee on Installation of Statues/Photographs of National Leaders and Parliamentarians in Parliament House Complex||during the term of a Lok Sabha|
|7.||Joint Committee on Security in Parliament House Complex||1 year|
|8.||Committee to examine the constitutional and legal position relating to office of profit||Till the submission of the report.|
|9.||Committee on Inquiry into the Misconduct of Members of Lok Sabha||not fixed|
|Lok Sabha: Role, Structure, Functions||Hindi||English|
|Rajya Sabha: Constitution, Powers||Hindi||English|
| Standing committees
Based on the nature of the work, the Standing Committees have been divided into the following 6 parts, which we are going to discuss one by one.
1. Finance Committees
2. Departmental Standing Committees
3. Inquiry Committees
4. Committees constituted for examination and control
5. Committees dealing with the day-to-day affairs of the House
6. House Committees or Service Committees
1. Financial committees
This Committees of Parliament carry out a detailed scrutiny of the expenditure and performance of the government so that the accountability of the government to the Parliament in financial matters is ensured. There are three such financial committees which bring to light the inefficiencies and wastage in the implementation of the policies and programs made by the Parliament.
(1). Public Accounts Committees
This committee was first formed in 1921 and has been in existence since then. At present it has 22 members out of which 15 are from Lok Sabha and 7 are from Rajya Sabha.
The main object of the Public Accounts Committee is to ascertain whether money has been spent as authorized by Parliament and whether it has been spent for the purpose for which it was granted. If during any financial year an additional amount has been spent on any service than the amount provided by the House for its purpose, the Committee examines the circumstances which have led to the additional expenditure.
This committee not only detects technical irregularities, but also brings to light if there has been any wastage, corruption etc. in the conduct of financial matters.
The members of the Public Accounts Committee are elected annually by the Parliament from amongst its members according to the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The term of the members is one year. No minister can be a member of this committee.
The chairman of the committee is appointed by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha from amongst the members of the Lok Sabha. There is a tradition since 1967, according to which the chairman of the committee is elected from the opposition party itself.
Some of the important functions of the committee are as follows:-
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) submits three reports to the President – (1) Audit report on appropriation account, (2) Audit report on finance account and ( 3) Audit Report on Public Enterprises.
The President presents these three to the Parliament. Out of this, the Public Accounts Committee examines the report (1) and the report (2), Apart from this, if any other account has been given to it by the Lok Sabha, then it also examines it.
◼ To examine the accounts of State Corporations, Business Institutions and Manufacturing Projects and the Audit Report of the CAG thereon.
◼ Audit of accounts of autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies, which are audited by the CAG.
(2). Estimate Committee
In 1950, the first Estimates Committee was formed on the recommendation of the then Finance Minister John Mathai. Then it had only 25 members but in 1956 its membership was increased to 30. Its thirty members are from the Lok Sabha , that is, there is no representation of the Rajya Sabha in this committee.
Its members are elected annually according to the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The tenure of the committee is one year and no minister can be a member in it. The chairman of the committee is appointed by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha from amongst the members of the Lok Sabha and belongs to the ruling party.
This committee works in the form of ‘ Permanent Economy Committee ‘, its main objective is to check government extravagance.
️ This committee examines the annual estimates in detail and suggests – what alternative policies can be adopted to bring about efficiency and economy in administration;
It examines whether proper provision of amount has been made according to the policy contained in the estimate and also gives suggestions about the form in which the estimate should be presented in Parliament.
Apart from this, it also tells whether the assumptions being made from the policies made by the Parliament can bring about relevant economy, organizational reforms or administrative reforms.
Remember – 1. It can scrutinize the budget estimates only when the Parliament has voted for it, not before 2. It cannot question the policies laid down by the Parliament and its recommendation is in the form of consultation i.e. Not binding on the ministries.
(3). Public Enterprises Committee
This committee was first constituted in 1964 on the recommendation of Krishna Menon Committee. At that time there were 15 members, however in 1974 its strength was increased to 22 (15 from Lok Sabha and 7 from Rajya Sabha). The members of this committee are also elected in the same way as the other two committees above. Its term is also for one year and its member cannot become a minister. Its Speaker is also appointed by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha from amongst the members of the Lok Sabha.
You may recall that CAG submits three types of reports to the President, out of which two are examined by the Public Accounts Committee while its third report (Audit Report on Public Enterprises) is examined by this committee.
Apart from this, it also examines such other works related to public enterprises which are given by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. It also examines whether public enterprises are being managed in accordance with sound business principles and reasonable business practices.
Limitations of the Committee – 1. It cannot investigate matters relating to major government policies that are not connected with the business or business functions of public enterprises.
2. Cases for the consideration of which any machinery has been set up under any particular statutory provision, or under which a particular public enterprise has been established, cannot be investigated.
3. It cannot take up investigation cases of more than twelve public enterprises within a year
4. It cannot investigate technical matters as its members are not technical experts.
5. Its recommendation is for consultation i.e. not binding on the Ministries.
2. Departmental standing committees
As the name suggests, these committees are attached to any department of the ministry. On the recommendations of the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha, 17 departmental standing committees were constituted in the Parliament in 1993, which were increased to 24 in 2004.
The main objective of these standing committees is to make the executive more accountable to the Parliament, especially its financial liability. These committees help in a more meaningful discussion on the budget of the Parliament. Apart from this, it examines the bills of the concerned Ministry or Department and also considers its annual reports.
All the ministries and departments of the central government come under the purview of these 24 standing committees. Each Standing Committee consists of 31 members (21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha).
The members of the Lok Sabha are elected by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, while the members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by the Speaker. The tenure of this committee is 1 year and no minister can be a part of this committee. The recommendations of these committees are also like consultations i.e. they are not binding on the Parliament.
Out of these 24 standing committees, 8 committees work under the Rajya Sabha and 16 committees under the Lok Sabha. To these twenty-four committees? You can see it from Wikipedia.
3. Inquiry committees
Petition or application committee – Whenever a bill is brought, many people have some complaints about it. Some people want to suggest, some people want to change some provisions. Similar petitions and applications filed on matters of general public importance are considered by the Inquiry Committee. Both the houses have their own separate committees, out of which the Lok Sabha committee consists of 15 members while the Rajya Sabha committee consists of 10 members.
Privileges Committee – Members of Parliament enjoy certain privileges individually and collectively. When the question of breach of these privileges arises, it is referred to the Committee of Privileges to investigate and report thereon.
Both the Houses have their own Committee of Privileges which is constituted every year by the Presiding Officer. The function of the committee is quasi-judicial in nature, yet if it ever makes complaints, it is usually not ignored.
Ethics Committee – This committee was formed in the Rajya Sabha in 1997 and in the Lok Sabha in 2000. This committee enforces the code of conduct for the members of parliament. It investigates cases of misconduct of MPs and recommends appropriate action.
4. Committees for Testing and Control
Government Assurance Committee – This committee examines the assurances, promises and promises given by the ministers from time to time in the house and gives a report on the extent to which it has been implemented.
Subordinate legislative committee – The main function of this committee, which came into force in 1953, is to investigate and submit a report about whether the powers conferred by the constitution on the executive by the Parliament to make regulations, rules, bye-laws and rules are being properly used or not. There are separate committees in both the houses, whose strength is 15 members.
Committee of documents – The main work of this committee is to study all the documents laid on the table of the house and see whether they are in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, act or rules. This committee was constituted in 1975. Both the houses have their own committee, out of which the Lok Sabha committee consists of 15 members while the Rajya Sabha committee consists of 10 members.
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare Committee – The main work of this committee is to consider the reports of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and discuss all matters related to the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. To investigate, this committee consists of 30 members – 20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha.
Women Empowerment Committee – The main function of this committee is to consider the reports of the National Commission for Women and examine the steps taken by the central government for the status, dignity and equality of women in all fields. This committee was constituted in 1997. It has 30 members – 20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha.
Joint Committee on Profit Posts – This committee examines the constitution and character of various committees and bodies constituted by the Centre, States and Union Territories. This committee consists of 15 members. 10 from Lok Sabha and 5 from Rajya Sabha.
5. Committees relating to the day-to-day business of the House
Work advisory committee – The main work of this committee is to keep the programs and timetable of the house regular. It fixes the time for discussion on legislative and other business brought before the House by the government. Both the houses have their respective advisory committees, out of which the Lok Sabha committee consists of 15 members and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha is its chairman. The Rajya Sabha committee consists of 10 members and the chairman is its chairman.
Committee for Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions – The main function of this committee is to classify the bills and to fix the time for discussion on the bills and resolutions presented by the members at private or individual level. . This 15-member committee is a special committee of the Lok Sabha and is headed by the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha. There is no such committee in Rajya Sabha.
Rules Committee – This committee considers matters related to the functioning and conduct of the House and also suggests necessary amendments in the rules of the House. Talking about the Lok Sabha, it consists of 15 members and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha is its ex-officio Speaker. Similarly, the Rajya Sabha committee consists of 16 members and the Chairman is its ex-officio chairman.
Committee on Absence of Members – As the name suggests, this committee considers all applications for leave of absence of members from the sittings of the House and examines the cases of members who are without Permission has been absent from the House for 60 or more days. This committee is a special committee of Lok Sabha consisting of 15 members. There is no such committee in Rajya Sabha.
6. Housekeeping Committees
General purpose committee – This committee deals with such ad-hoc matters relating to the House which do not come under the jurisdiction of other parliamentary committees. Each House has a General Purposes Committee and its presiding officer is its ex-officio Chairman. The members of this committee include the Deputy Speaker or the Deputy Chairman, the Chairman of all the Standing Committees of that House, leaders of recognized parties or groups and such other members as may be nominated by the Presiding Officer.
Housing committee – The work of this committee is to provide residential and other facilities to the members of parliament, such as food, medical aid, etc., which are provided to them in their residences or hostels. It has 12 members in the Lok Sabha.
Library Committee – This committee looks after the matters related to the library of the Parliament and helps the MPs to avail the library service. This committee consists of 9 members, 6 Lok Sabha and 3 Rajya Sabha.
Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members – This committee works under the Salaries, Allowances and Pensions of Members of Parliament Act 1954. It has 15 members (10 from Lok Sabha and 5 from Rajya Sabha). It makes rules regarding regularization of salary, allowances and pension of the members.
These committees are constituted by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. Guidelines regarding the constitution, working and functioning of these committees are given by the concerned ministry. It is an informal discussion forum where the policies and programs of the government and the modalities of their implementation are discussed between the ministers and the members of parliament.
It consists of members from both the houses and is attached to the various ministries of the central government. The Advisory Committee of a Ministry is headed by a Minister or Minister of State in charge of that Ministry.
The membership of these committees is voluntary and is left to the interest of the members of Parliament and the leaders. The maximum number of members of the committee can be 30 and minimum 10. These committees are automatically dissolved with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha and they are also constituted again after the constitution of the new Lok Sabha.
Overall, this is the standing committees, hopefully it is understandable.