Parliamentary committees in India are a fundamental part of the legislative process, drawing their authority from the Indian Constitution under articles 105 and 118. These committees consist of Members of Parliament, either elected or appointed, who play a crucial role in shaping the nation’s policies and ensuring transparency and accountability.
1. Structure of Parliamentary Committees:
- Permanent committees established at the beginning of each parliamentary session.
- Deal with various aspects of public policy and administration.
- Examples include the Estimates Committee, Public Accounts Committee (PAC), and Committee on Public Undertakings.
Ad Hoc Committees:
- Temporary committees formed for specific purposes and limited time.
- Typically, they consider specific bills or inquire into matters of public importance.
- Two types: inquiry committees and advisory committees.
2. Role of Financial Committees in Institutionalization:
- The Chairperson of the PAC is the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha.
- Ensures a balanced and non-partisan approach to oversight.
Critique of Inefficient Expenditure:
- PAC scrutinizes the government’s public expenditure, highlighting inefficiencies.
- Promotes public awareness and opinion on fiscal matters.
Efficient Resource Allocation:
- The PAC ensures the prudent allocation of public funds.
- For instance, the examination of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in 2018 highlighted financial irregularities.
Executive Financial Accountability:
- The Public Accounts Committee holds the executive accountable for financial decisions.
- The PAC aims to produce neutral and consensus-based reports, transcending party lines.
Performance Evaluation of PSUs:
- Examines the performance of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), contributing to better governance.
To further strengthen parliamentary committees in India, several measures are necessary:
- Granting committees more independence in their functioning.
- Encouraging increased participation from all political parties.
- Allocating additional resources to enhance their effectiveness.
The scrutiny of significant bills by these committees is vital to maintain the quality of legislation, prevent unnecessary logjams, and ensure the welfare of the nation, as demonstrated by the recent controversy surrounding the farm bills. Strengthening these committees is essential to promote transparency, accountability, and good governance in the Indian parliamentary system.