Rajya Sabha panels improve performance, Venkaiah Naidu writes to chiefs to enhance attendance

Mr. Naidu wrote the chairpersons of all eight parliamentary standing committees detailing outcomes and detailed appraisals of the analysis of functioning of these committees since September 2017

Rajya Sabha Chairman M.Venkaiah Naidu has urged chairpersons and members of eight parliamentary standing committees to work towards ensuring attendance at over 50% as he highlighted that the panels have shown improvement in working hours.

The functioning of the eight Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committees of Rajya Sabha has improved substantially with 15% increase in attendance and more than 16% improvement in the average duration of meetings since their reconstitution in September, 2019 over that of the previous two years.

Appreciating the improved performance, Mr. Naidu urged the chairmen and members of the panels to work towards ensuring over 50% attendance, besides targeting a minimum duration of two-and-half hours in each meeting given the efforts and costs involved in holding the meetings.

Mr. Naidu wrote the chairpersons of all eight committees detailing outcomes and detailed appraisals of the analysis of functioning of these committees since September 2017.

The Committee on Education, Women, Child, Youth and Sports reported the highest average attendance of 65.30%, followed by the Committee on Health and Family Welfare (52.46%) and the Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture (50.42%), an internal report said.

Since September 2017, the eight committees of Rajya Sabha have held a total of 355 meetings — 134 in 2017-18, 49 in 2018-19 and 172 since September 2019 — according to an analysis conducted by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.

These committees are reconstituted in September every year by the Chairman of Rajya Sabha. Each Committee has 10 members from Rajya Sabha and 21 from Lok Sabha. Attendance of 11 of the 31 members of each committee constitutes the quorum.

The eight committees of Rajya Sabha clocked average attendance of close to 50% (49.34%) in 172 meetings held since September 2019, marking 15% increase over the average attendance of 42.90% for the previous two years (2017-19), sources said.

While no committee recorded average attendance of 50% during the two-year period of 2017-19, three committees clocked more than 50% attendance in the meetings held since September 2019, according to the data compiled by the secretariat.

The average duration of meetings of these eight committees held since September 2019 improved to two hours and seven minutes, an increase of over 16% over the average duration of the meetings held during the previous two years (2017-19), sources said.

The Rajya Sabha chairman, on the concluding day of the first part of the Budget Session, urged the members to ensure effective functioning of these committees during the recess when committees examine the Demands for Grants of various departments/ministries as proposed in the General Budget for 2021-22.

“The Department Related Standing Committees of the Parliament, introduced in 1993 have come to be acknowledged as instruments of effective functioning on behalf of the Parliament given their bipartisan consideration of various major issues, policies, Demands for Grants and legislative proposals as chosen/referred to them.โ€

“The functioning of these Committees, particularly, during non-session periods highlights that Parliament functions not only during the sessions but round the year,” Mr. Naidu said in his letters.

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