Parliamentary Committees, with their origins in the British Parliament, derive authority from Article 105 and Article 118 of the Indian Constitution. They serve as essential components of the legislative process, contributing to the effective functioning of Parliament.
Parliamentary Committees work collaboratively with various Ministries, promoting inter-ministerial coordination. These committees are chaired by members of either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha, depending on their respective jurisdictions.
Several Standing Committees, like the Business Advisory Committee and the Privileges Committee, exist for each House. The nomination of members to these committees is the responsibility of the Presiding Officer of the respective House.
Decisions to refer matters to Parliamentary Committees are made by Presiding Officers in consultation with party leaders.
The convention dictates that the main Opposition party’s leader becomes the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The chairperson presides over committee meetings and has the authority to summon witnesses for testimonies.
Typically, MPs serve on Parliamentary Committees for one year, and the composition of the Committees remains relatively stable in terms of party representation.
Functions of Estimates Committee:
The Estimates Committee, as per loksabhadocs.nic.in, has several critical functions:
Identify potential areas for economies, improvements in organization, efficiency, and administrative reforms in line with the policy underlying the estimates.
Propose alternative policies to enhance efficiency and economy in administration.
Evaluate whether the allocated funds are utilized effectively within the limits of the policy implied in the estimates.
Recommend the appropriate form in which the estimates should be presented to Parliament.
The reports of departmentally related standing committees are not legally binding on the government but hold significant influence. Governments have historically accepted committee suggestions and incorporated them into bills during subsequent consideration and passage in the House.
Select Committees and Joint Parliamentary Committees (JPCs), often comprising a majority of ruling party MPs, see a higher acceptance rate of their suggestions. Their influential role plays a crucial part in the legislative decision-making process.