Fewer sittings of Parliament are compensated by the working of department-related standing committees (DRSCs) Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday. He added that during the three week recess between the first and second halves of the current Budget session , the committees have done work worth 30 sittings of Parliament.
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There are a total of 24 department-related standing committees, of which eight are with Rajya Sabha and remaining 16 with Lok Sabha. The eight Rajya Sabha committees consist of 244 members from both the Houses, with 78 from Rajya Sabha and 166 from Lok Sabha. The standing committee system was introduced in 1993 with the panels drawing members from all political parties.
The general impression, Mr Naidu said is that the sittings of Parliament are steadily declining over the years. From 100-150 sittings in the 1950s, the number is down to 60-70 sittings per year.
Giving an account of the functioning of the standing committees, Mr. Naidu, at the beginning of the session, said the eight Rajya Sabha committees held 20 meetings and discussed the budgetary demands of 18 ministries. These meetings lasted total duration of 63 hours.
Equal to 10 House sittings
During a usual sitting of Parliament, the Houses are convened for six hours. Calculating it accordingly, the meeting of these committees amount to 10 sittings of Parliament.
“Proportionately, the work done by the 16 Committees of Lok Sabha amounts to another 20 sittings of the Parliament. In all, the work put in by the total 24 DRSCs in examining the Demands for Grants of all the ministries equals 30 days of functioning of the Parliament, which is quite significant,” Mr Naidu said.
He added that if the working of the committees is taken into account for the entire year, it will amount to significantly higher number of days.
Mr Naidu also ticked off the parliamenterians for being absent from these committees. In case of eight Rajya Sabha committees the attendance was 45.3%. “Four of these eight committees have reported attendance of more than 50% which is welcome. The highest attendance of 65.51% has been in the meetings of the Committee on Health and Family Welfare.” Mr Naidu added. The lowest attendance was in the standing committee of the commerce ministry, which is headed by YSR Congress’s Vijay Sai Reddy.
“While the overall attendance of members of BJP and Congress accounting for a total of 142 members has been much higher than 50%, the attendance of members from other parties accounting for 102 members has been only about 40%,” Mr Naidu said.