Parliamentary Fora in India
The Parliamentary Fora or Forums provide a platform to members of the house to have interaction with the Ministers concerned, experts and key officials from the nodal Ministries with a view to have a focused discussion on critical issues facing the country so as to enable them to effectively raise these issues on the floor of the House and in the meetings of the Departmentally Related Standing Committees.
History of Parliamentary Forums in India
The first Parliamentary Forum was constituted by the Lok Sabha Speaker on Water Conservation and Management on 12 August, 2005. Subsequently, the four Parliamentary Forums were constituted namely, Parliamentary Forum on Youth, Parliamentary Forum on Children, Parliamentary Forum on Population and Public Health, and Parliamentary Forum on Global Warming and Climate Change. On 21 January, 2010, during the 15th Lok Sabha, the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha has re-constituted all the above five Parliamentary Forums.
Composition of Parliamentary Forums
Each Forum consists of 31 Members (excluding the President and the ex-officio Vice-Presidents) out of whom not more than 21 are from Lok Sabha and not more than 10 are from Rajya Sabha. Members, other than the President and Vice-Presidents, are nominated by the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha and the Hon’ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha, as the case may be, from amongst the Leaders of Parties and Groups, or their nominees who have special knowledge/keen interest in the subject. The Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha is the President of all the Forums except the Parliamentary Forum on Population and Public Health wherein the Hon’ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha is the President and Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha is the Co-President. Secretary-General, Lok Sabha is the Secretary to the Forums.
Difference between Parliamentary Forums and Parliamentary Committees
Unlike Parliamentary forums which are constituted with objective of equipping members with information and knowledge on specific issues of national concern and for assisting them to adopt a result-oriented approach towards related issues, Parliamentary Committees are appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker to give a close consideration to all the legislative and other matters that come up before the house. It works under the direction of the Speaker and presents its report to the House or to the Speaker and the Secretariat for which is provided by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.