While critically scrutinizing their roles, justify why the Departmentally-related standing committees are called Mini-parliaments? Suggest steps to make their functioning even better.
The parliament is required to carry out voluminous and varied work right from legislating, scrutinising budget to holding executive accountable. Parliament has adopted committee system to scrutinize each work in detail which Parliament cannot under take due to paucity of time.
The departmentally related standing committees (DRSCs), perform three important functions:
- Examine Bills referred to them;
- Select specific topics related to the ministries and examine implementation by the Government;
- Examine the budgetary outlays of the departments.
DRSCs are called mini parliament for following reasons:
- Substantial part of the legislative work like scrutinizing the bill is carried out by committees.
- Their reports are important to hold government accountable and responsible.
- Scrutinize the demand for grants and hence sanction public spending.
DRSCs have an important role to play for the following reasons:
- Committees help Parliament manage its work without getting caught in details of the bills , documents.
- Members can focus on specific details of the bill and come with recommendation.
- It enable inputs from experts as committees invite public comments on different issue.
- Members are generally away from public glare which allows them to discuss issues and reach consensus without worrying about constituency pressures.
DRSCs have been found ineffective many times because:
- They do not generally invite expert comments for example in case of Right to education Act 2008.
- Not all the bills are referred to the committee.
- The recommendations of committees are not binding on Government and Parliament.
- They lack dedicated set of researchers associated with them and have only general support staff.
- Meetings of committees are not in public domain hence issue of transparency arises in their function .
In order to improve their function, their ability for detailed scrutiny of issues which includes mandatory examination of bills, creating research teams, should be increased.
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