- Parliamentary committees are of two kinds- standing committees and adhoc committees. standing committees are elected or appointed every year or periodically and their work goes on, more or less on a continuous basis.
- The adhoc committees are appointed every year or periodically and their work goes on, more or less on a continuous basis.
- The adhoc committees are appointed on an adhoc basis as the need arises and they ceases to exist as soon as they complete the task assigned to them. Adhoc committees may be broadly classified into the inquiry committees and select or joint committees on bills.
- The Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha recommended sitting up of 17 Department related Standing Committees (DRSCs). According to 8th April 1993, 17 DRSCs were set up. In July 2004, rules were amended to provide for the constitution of seven more such committees, thus raising the number of DRSCs from 17 to 24. Each committee consists of 45 members (30 from Lok Sabha and 15 from Rajya Sabha).
- Members of all Financial committees, the committee on welfare of Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes and the Joint committee on offices of profit are elected every year by members, according to the system of proportional representation by a means of the single transferable vote.
- If the speaker or presiding officer himself is a member of the committee then he becomes the Chairman. If he is not a member but his deputy is, then later is appointed as chairman.
- Ministers can neither become members of the Financial committees nor can they be asked to appear before them for the purpose of giving evidence.
Important Parliamentary Committees:
1. Committee on Estimates
- The first estimates committee in the post-independence era was constituted in 1950 on the recommendation of John Mathai, the then finance minister.
- This committee consists of 30 members only, all the members of Lok Sabha. Originally it had 25 members, but in 1956 its membership was raised to 30. A minister cannot be appointed as its member.
- The function of this committee is to examine whether the money is well laid out within the limits of the public policy implied in the estimates. It may suggest changes if it thinks so.
- The committee of estimates as the continuous economy committee.
2. Committee on Public Accountants
- The committee on public accountants was constituted in 1964 on the recommendation of Krishna Menon committee. Originally it had 15 members (10 from Lok Sabha and 5 from Rajya Sabha). However, in 1974, its membership was raised to 22 (15 from Lok Sabha and 7 from Rajya Sabha). A minister cannot be elected as a member of this committee.
- The speaker appoints the Chairman of this committee from amongst its members. Until 1966-67 the chairman of the committee belongs to ruling party but since 1967 the Chairman of the committee is selected invariably from the opposition.
- The function of this committee is to examine the Annual Finance accounts and to examine the reports of CAG of India on revenue reports.
3. Committee on Public Undertaking
- The committee on public undertaking composition is similar to that of Committee on Public Accountant.
- Only Lok Sabha member can become the chairman of the committee.
- This committee function is to examine the reports and accounts of public undertakings & to examine their autonomous, functioning.
4. Committee on the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
- The committee on welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes consists of 20 members from Lok Sabha and 10 members from Rajya Sabha. The chairman is appointed by the Speaker, but a minister cannot be a member of the committee.
- Its function is to examine the presentation of the Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes in various services and the implementation of welfare.
5. Business Advisory Committee:
6. Rules Committee:
Each house has such one committee. In Lok Sabha, it consists of 15 members, including the speaker who is the ex-officio chairman of the committee. Rajya Sabha committee has 16 members including the chairman of Rajya Sabha is the ex-officio chairman of the committee.
Committee on petitions, a committee of Privileges, Committee on Government Assurance are in each house of parliament. Each of the above committees in Lok Sabha has 15 members, while in Rajya Sabha they have 10 members.