The functioning of the eight Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committees (DRSCs) of Rajya Sabha has improved substantially with a 15 per cent increase in attendance and more than 16 per cent improvement in the average duration of meetings since their reconstitution in September 2019.
“Appreciating the improved performance, Rajay Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had urged the Chairmen and members of the eight committees to endeavour 50 per cent attendance in the meetings of these committees besides targeting a minimum duration of two and half hours per each meeting given the efforts and costs involved in holding the meetings,” the sources said.
Naidu wrote detailed letters on February 12 in this regard to chairmen of all eight committees sending therewith outcomes of the analysis of the functioning of these committees in September 2017. A detailed appraisal of the working of each of the eight committees was given in the letters of Chairman. Naidu had assumed the office of Chairman of Rajya Sabha in August 2017.
Notably, since September 2017, the eight Committees of Rajya Sabha have held a total of 355 meetings including 134 in 2017-18, 49 in 2018-19, and 172 since September 2019.
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 per cent (49.34 per cent) in 172 meetings held since September 2019 marking 15 per cent increase over the average attendance of 42.90 per cent for the previous two years (2017-19),” said the sources.
“While no committee recorded an average attendance of 50 per cent during the two year period of 2017-19, three committees clocked more than 50 per cent attendance in the meetings held since September 2019. The Committee on Education, Women, Child, Youth and Sports reported the highest average attendance of 65.30 per cent followed by the Committee on Health and Family Welfare (52.46 per cent) and the Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture (50.42 per cent),” they added.
They further said that the average duration of meetings of these eight committees held since September 2019 improved to 2 hours 07 minutes per meeting marking an increase of over 16 per cent over the average duration of the meetings held during the previous two years (2017-19).
“For the 355 meetings held since September 2017, the average attendance comes to 46.01 per cent with an average duration of 1 hour 55 minutes. The Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports emerged as the best performer of the 8 Committees of Rajya Sabha since September 2017 with an average attendance of 54.19 per cent and an average meeting duration of 2 hours 20 minutes for the 50 meetings held during this period. The Committees on Transport, Tourism and Culture and Health and Family Welfare came second and third,” they said further.
Presenting the details of the performance of the lead performers as evidence of scope for further improving the working of the committees, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, in his letters urged the Chairmen and members of all the eight committees to endeavour to ensure 50 per cent attendance and meeting duration of 2 hours 30 minutes.
It may be recalled that the Rajya Sabha Chairman, on the concluding day of the first part of the Budget session, urged the members to ensure the effective functioning of these committees during the recess when the committees examine the Demands for Grants of various departments/ministries as proposed in the General Budget for 2021-22.
Naidu in his letters to the Chairman of the committees said, “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. The functioning of these Committees, particularly, during non-session periods highlights that Parliament functions not only during the sessions but round the year.”