Departmentally Related Standing Committees
A full-fledged system of 17 Departmentally Related Standing Committees came into being in April, 1993. These Committees cover under their jurisdiction all the Ministries/ Departments of the Government of India. These Committees are as under:
- Committee on Commerce
- Committee on Home Affairs
- Committee on Human Resource Development
- Committee on Industry
- Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests
- Committee on Transport, Culture and Tourism
- Committee on Agriculture
- Committee on Information Technology
- Committee on Defence
- Committee on Energy
- Committee on External Affairs
- Committee on Finance
- Committee on Food, Civil Supplies and Public Distribution
- Committee on Labour and Welfare
- Committee on Petroleum & Chemicals
- Committee on Railways
- Committee on Urban and Rural Development
Out of the 17 Committees, 6 Committees (Sl. No. 1 to 6) are serviced by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat and 11 Committees (Sl. No. 7 to 17) by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
Each of these Standing Committees consists of not more than 45 members—30 to be nominated by the Speaker from amongst the members of Lok Sabha and 15 to be nominated by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha from amongst the members of Rajya Sabha. A Minister is not eligible to be nominated to these Committees.
The term of members of these Committees is one year. With reference to the Ministries/Departments under their purview, the functions of these committees are:
- Consideration of Demands for Grants.
- Examination of Bills referred to by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha as the case may be.
- Consideration of Annual Reports.
- Consideration of national basic long term policy documents presented to the House and referred to the Committee by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha, as the case may be.
These Committees do not consider matters of day-to-day administration of the concerned Ministries/Departments.
Business Advisory Committee (Lok Sabha)
The Business Advisory Committee of Lok Sabha consists of 15 members including the Speaker who is the ex-officio Chairman. The members are nominated by the Speaker.
Almost all sections of the House are represented on the Committee as per the respective strength of parties in the House.
The function of the Committee is to recommend the time that should be allotted for the discussion of such Government legislative and other business as the Speaker, in consultation with the Leader of the House, may direct to be referred to the Committee.
The Committee, on its own initiative, may also recommend to the Government to bring forward particular subjects for discussion in the House and recommend allocation of time for such discussions.
The decisions reached by the Committee are always unanimous in character and representative of the collective view of the House. The Committee generally meets at the beginning of each Session and thereafter as and when necessary.
Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions (Lok Sabha)
This Committee consists of 15 members and the Deputy Speaker is its Chairman when nominated as a member of the Committee.
The Committee is nominated by the Speaker.
The functions of the Committee are to allot time to Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions, to examine Private Members’ Bills seeking to amend the Constitution before their introduction in Lok Sabha, to examine all Private Members’ Bills after they are introduced and before they are taken up for consideration in the House and to classify them according to their nature, urgency and importance into two categories namely, category A and category B and also to examine such Private Members’ Bills where the legislative competence of the House is challenged.
The Committee, thus, performs the same function in relation to Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions as the Business Advisory Committee does in regard to Government Business.
The Committee holds office for a term not exceeding one year.
Committee on Subordinate Legislation (Lok Sabha)
This Committee consists of 15 members nominated by the Speaker. A Minister is not nominated to this Committee. The Committee scrutinizes and reports to the House whether the powers to make regulations, rules, sub-rules, by-laws etc. conferred by the Constitution or delegated by Parliament are being properly exercised by the executive within the scope of such delegation.
Committee on Government Assurances (Lok Sabha)
This Committee consists of 15 members nominated by the Speaker. A Minister is not nominated to this Committee.
While replying to questions in the House or during discussions on Bills, Resolutions, Motions etc., Ministers at times give assurances or undertakings either to consider a matter or to take action or to furnish the House further information later.
The functions of this Committee are to scrutinize the assurances, promises, undertakings etc. given by Ministers from time to time and to report to Lok Sabha on the extent to which such assurances etc. have been implemented and to see whether such implementation has taken place within the minimum time necessary for the purpose.
Committee on Absence of Members from the Sittings of the House (Lok Sabha)
The Committee consists of 15 members who hold office for one year. The members are nominated by the Speaker.
This Committee considers all applications from members for leave of absence from the sittings of the House and examines every case where a member has been absent for a period of 60 days or more, without permission, from the sittings of the House.
In its report it makes recommendations with respect to each case as to whether the absence should be condoned or leave applied granted or whether the circumstances of the case justify that the House should declare the seat of the member vacant.
Rules Committee (Lok Sabha)
The Rules Committee consists of 15 members including the Speaker who is the ex-officio Chairman of the Committee.
The members are nominated by the Speaker. The Committee considers matters of procedure and conduct of business in the House and recommends any amendments or additions to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha that are considered necessary.
Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
The Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes consists of 20 members elected by the Lok Sabha; and 10 members of the Rajya Sabha are associated with it.
The term of the Committee is one year.
A Minister is not eligible for election to this Committee.
The main functions of the Committee are to consider all matters concerning the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, falling within the purview of the Union Government and the Union Territories, to consider the reports submitted by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and to examine the measures taken by the Union Government to secure due representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in services and posts under its control.
General Purpose Committee
The General Purpose Committee shall consist of the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman, Members of the Panel of Vice-Chairmen, Chairmen of all Standing Parliamentary Committees of Rajya Sabha, Leaders of recognised Parties and Groups in Rajya Sabha and such other Members as may be nominated by the Chairman. The Chairman shall be the ex-officio Chairman of the Committee. The Committee nominated shall hold office until a new Committee is nominated.
In order to constitute a sitting of the Committee, the quorum shall be, as near as may be, one third of the total number of Members of the Committee.
The functions of the Committee shall be to consider and advise on such matters concerning the affairs of the House as may be referred to it by the Chairman from time to time.
A record of the decisions of the Committee shall be maintained and circulated to members of the Committee under the direction of the Chairman
The Committee may, if it thinks fit, make a special report on any matter that arises or comes to light in the course of its work which it may consider necessary to bring to the notice of the Chairman or the House, notwithstanding that such matter is not directly connected with, or does not fall within or is not incidental to, its terms of reference.
The Report of the Committee shall be presented to the Council by the Deputy Chairman or in his absence, by any Member of the Committee.
The Committee may with the approval of the Chairman make detailed rules of procedure to supplement the provisions contained in the rules in this Chapter.
Committee of Privileges (Lok Sabha)
This Committee consists of 15 members nominated by the Speaker. The function is to examine every question involving breach of privilege of the House or of the members of any Committee thereof referred to it by the House or by the Speaker. It determines with reference to the facts of each case whether a breach of privilege is involved and makes suitable recommendations in its report.
Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament
Its function is to make rules, after consultation with the Central Government to provide for travelling and daily allowances, medical, housing, telephone, postal, water, electricity, constituency and secretarial facilities etc. to members of both Houses.
Its role is to deal with all questions relating to residential accommodation for members of the Lok Sabha and also exercise supervision over facilities for accommodation, food, medical aid and other amenities accorded to members in members’ residences and hostels in Delhi.
Committee on Petitions
Its role is to consider and report on petitions presented to the House. Also, it has to consider representations from various individuals, associations etc. not covered by the rules relating to petitions and give directions for their disposal.
Its function is to consider and advise on such matters concerning the Library as may be referred to it by the Speaker from time to time.
It also has to consider suggestions for the improvement of the Library and assist members of both Houses in fully utilising the services provided by the Library.
Committee on Empowerment of Women
This Committee came into being on 29th April, 1997, as a consequence of identical Resolutions adopted by both the Houses of Parliament on the occasion of International Womens’ Day on 8th March, 1996.
The Committee consists of 30 members, 20 nominated by the Speaker from amongst the members of Lok Sabha and 10 nominated by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha from amongst the members of the Rajya Sabha. The term of the Committee is of one year.
The Committee have been primarily mandated with the task of reviewing and monitoring the measures taken by the Union Government in the direction of securing for women equality, status and dignity in all matters.
The Committee would also suggest necessary correctives for improving the status/condition of women in respect of matters within the purview of the Union Government.
Besides, another important function of the Committee is to examine the measures taken by the Union Government for comprehensive education and adequate representation of women in Legislative bodies/services and other fields. The Committee would also consider the report of the National Commission for Women.
The Committee may also examine such other matters as may seem fit to them or are specifically referred to them by the Lok Sabha or the Speaker and the Rajya Sabha or the Chairman, Rajya Sabha.