Functioning of Parliamentary Standing Committees | Om Birla asks Lok Sabha Secretariat to hold review

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. File

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. File   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

This comes in the backdrop of efforts by both LS and RS secretariats to hold online panel meetings after pressure from Opposition parties

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has initiated an exercise to assess the effectiveness of the Parliamentary Standing Committees, from taking stock of the rate of attendance at their meetings to the list of recommendations that have not been accepted by the government.

This comes in the backdrop of efforts by both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats to hold online meetings of the committees, after pressure from the Opposition parties. The Parliament session abruptly ended on March 23. None of the department related standing committees (DRSCs) have met since then.

The Rajya Sabha secretariat had done a similar analysis. Briefing the House, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, on March 1, pointed out that a total of 95 MPs did not attend a single meeting of the eight DRSCs that reviewed allocations for 18 Ministries after the presentation of the 2020-21 Union Budget on February 1.

As per sources, Mr. Birla had given over a dozen directives after a conclave held on May 12-14. He asked the secretariat to “follow up intensely” with the members to ensure that they attended meetings of the panels, the sources said.

Also read: Standing Committees make up for fewer sittings of Parliament: Naidu

The Speaker also asked all the committees to give suggestions to improve the rating/ranking of India in global indices.

Govt orders

In similar orders in March, the government gave blanket instructions to all Ministries to improve Indian’s position on various global tally, including the World Press Freedom Index.

The Lok Sabha secretariat, according to the sources, had been asked to prepare a list of cases where a committee’s recommendations have not been accepted by the government or where required action is pending for more than three months. Mr. Birla also sought a compilation of major recommendations of the all committees that have had a significant impact on common citizens.

Mr. Birla and Mr. Naidu have met twice on the issue of resuming the meetings of the committees. So far at least three panel chairpersons- Shashi Tharoor, Anand Sharma and B. Mahtab have written to the respective presiding officers to hold meetings online. The secretariats had stalled the suggestion, claiming that the confidentiality clause will be violated if a meeting is held via videoconference. However now both, Mr. Birla and Mr. Naidu have acceded the demand and the National Informatics Centre will provide a safe platform for holding meetings.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 8:45:31 AM |

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