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Parliamentary Affairs Ministry hits out at criticism on delay in forming Standing Committees

A view of the Parliament House in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

Reacting to The Hindu’s news story on the delay in the formation of Parliamentary Standing Committees (PSC), in a clarification, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has attacked the Opposition for its low attendance in the meetings, specifically pointing at the Trinamool Congress (TMC).

The Ministry in a statement here said that the, “15-day delay was due to the discussions that were going on whether to nominate MPs who have not attended even one meeting of the Committees in the previous term and also whether they should be re-nominated to the same Committees”.

Also Read: Why are parliamentary standing committees necessary?

Specifically, pointing out the TMC’s dismal record in participation in the PSCs, the Ministry said that the TMC’s leader in the Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien, had only attended two of the 27 meetings of the Committee of Transport, Tourism and Culture of which he is a member. Mr. O’Brien headed this committee in the last Lok Sabha and in 2019, based on the TMC’s reduced strength, the party was given only one committee to chair — Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution.

The Ministry said: “This is a very dismal performance of a leader of his [Mr. O’Brien’s] stature. Further, AITC’s (All India Trinamool Congress) Deputy Leader and Chief Whip in Rajya Sabha and 2 other members of AITC attended no sittings of DRSCs (Department-related Standing Committee) during 2020-21. Furthermore, average attendance of AITC Members in committee meetings is approximately 23%. This shows their seriousness towards Parliament and its instruments.”

Hitting out at Mr O’Brien, the Ministry pointed to “the obstruction of Parliamentary proceedings when it [the Parliament] is in session”.

The Ministry’s statement said: “AITC leader in Rajya Sabha says delay in constitution of committees is subversion of democracy. When the parliament is in session you don’t allow it to function. When committee meetings are held you and your Members do not attend committee meetings. Isn’t that a subversion of democracy? How can you now take to twitter to criticize the government.”

It further claimed that there have been similar delays in the constitution of Parliamentary panels during the Congress led United Progressive Alliance era, too. Though, as The Hindu’s coverage points out, in 2019, the committees were formed in October, nearly five months late. In 2014, similarly, they were notified in September. In contrast, in 2009, the panels were notified on August 31, and in 2004 on August 5.

Currently, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla is in Rome on an official tour, and Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu is visiting northeast India.


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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 1:01:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliamentary-affairs-ministry-hits-out-at-criticism-on-delay-in-forming-standing-committees/article36899288.ece

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