Committee system
Committee system
The Parliament is assisted by a number of committees in the discharge of its duties.
Some of the prominent committees of the Lok Sabha are as follows
Business Advisory Committee
1.Business Advisory Committee: It consists of 15 members with the Speaker as its chairman.
It plans and regulates the business of the house and renders advice regarding the allocation of time for discussion of different matters.
It also decides when the sessions of the Parliament should be called.
Committee on Private Members Bills and Resolutions
2.Committee on Private Members Bills and Resolutions: It consists of 15 members.
The committee classifies the bills submitted by members of the House according to their importance.
The Deputy Speaker acts as chairman of this committee.
Select Committees
3.Select Committees: These committees are constituted for the consideration of different kinds of bills.
These Committees collect information and submit reports on bills referred to them.
Committee on Petitions and Rules Committee
4. Committee on Petitions: It consists of 15 members . The committee examines the petitions submitted to it and suggests remedial measures.
5. Rules Committee: The committee comprises 15 members with the Speaker as its ex-officio chairman. It considers matters of procedure and the conduct of business in the House and makes suggestions for the improvement of procedure.
Committee on Privileges, subordinate Legislation
6. Committee on Privileges: The committee comprises 15 members who look into the cases regarding the violation of privileges of members of Parliament and recommends appropriate action.
7. Committee on Subordinate Legislation: This committee examines rules and regulations enacted by the executive to fill the gaps in the laws enacted by Parliament and ascertains how far these rules are within the limits prescribed in the main law.
Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
8. Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes: The committee comprises 30 members, 20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha.
The committee considers the report of the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and reports to the Parliament, the measures which should be taken by the government to implement the same.
The committee also ensures effective implementation of the constitutional safeguards for the backward communities.
Committee on Government Assurances, Absence of Members
9. Committee on Government Assurances: This committee has 15 members who examine how far the assurances and undertakings given by the ministers on the floor of the House have been implemented within the stipulated period.
10. Committee on Absence of Members: This committee examines the leave applications of members. It also looks into cases where members have been missing from the House without permission for more than six months.
It can condone the absence of such members or declare the seat vacant and ask for a by-election to fill up the same.
Financial committees
Financial committees
In addition to the above committees there are three financial committees.
The Estimates Committee
The Public Accounts Committee
The Committee on Public Undertakings.
These committees act as watch dogs of Parliament and make recommendations to tone up the administration for economy, efficiency and speedy execution of the policies and programmes.
Estimates Committee
11. Estimates Committee: This committee consists of 30 Lok Sabha members and is constituted on the basis of proportional representation.
The committee examines the annual estimates and suggests alternative policies to the government to ensure efficiency and economy in the administration.
Public Accounts Committee:
12. Public Accounts Committee: This committee consists of 22 members, 15 from the Lok Sabha and seven from the Rajya Sabha.
It is assisted by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
It ensure that expenditure has not exceeded the grants made by the Parliament and the money has been spent for the purpose for which it was sanctioned.
In short, the committee ensure regularity and economy in expenditure .
Committee on Public Undertakings, Joint committee
13. Committee on Public Undertakings: The committee comprises of 15 members, 10 from the Lok Sabha and 5 from the Rajya Sabha. This committee examines the working of public undertakings, including their accounts and finances.
14. Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances: This committee comprises of 15 members- 10 nominated by the Speaker of Lok Sabha and 5 nominated by the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
The committee frames rules for regulating the salaries and amenities like housing, telephone, postal, secretarial and medical facilities.
Joint Committee on Offices of Profit
15. Joint Committee on Offices of Profit: This committee comprises of 15 members-10 from the Lok Sabha and 5 from the Rajya Sabha.
This committee examine the composition of the various committees and bodies constituted by the union and state governments, and recommends whether persons holding these polices should be disqualified from being elected as members of Parliament or not.
Parliamentary Subject Committees
16. Parliamentary Subject Committees in addition to the above committees, in April 1993, 17 parliamentary committees were constituted to scrutinise the grants of various ministries before presenting them to Parliament for approval.
The committees are expected to make a deeper scrutiny of the Budget on behalf of the Parliament.
Standing committees
Standing committees
The 17 standing committees are as follows:
(1) Commerce-for Commerce and Textiles
(2) Home Affairs-for Home Affairs, Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
(3) Human Resources Development-for Human Resource Development, Health and Family Welfare
(4) Industry-for Industry, Steel and Mines
(5) Science and Technology-for Environment and Forests, Science and Technology, Electronics, Space, Ocean Development and Biotechnology
Standing committees
(6) Transport and Tourism-for Civil Aviation, Surface Transport and Tourism
(7) Agriculture-for Agriculture, Water Resources and Food Processing
(8) Communications-for Communications, Information and Broadcasting
(9) Defence
(10) Energy-for Coal, Power and Atomic Energy
(11) Finance-for Finance, Planning and Programme Implementation
Standing committees
(12) External Affairs
(13) Labour and Social Welfare
(14) Petroleum and Chemicals-for Petroleum, Natural Gas sand Fertilizers
(15) Railways
(16) Urban and Rural Development
(17) Parliamentary Affairs.
A committee on Empowerment of Women of both houses was constituted in 1997, while that of the Ethics Committee was constituted in 2000, and of the Rajya Sabha in 1997.
Standing committees
Of the 17 standing committees,
Six committees are constituted by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha 11 by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
Some of these committees are joint committees. By the 14th Lok Sabha (2004) the number of the standing committees has risen from 17 to 24.
New seven standing committees
The new seven standing committees are committees on
(i) Chemicals and Fertilizers,
(ii) Coal and Steel,
(iii) Water Resources,
(iv) Health and Family Welfare,
(v) Personnel etc.
(vi) Social Justice etc,
(vii) Urban Development.
Each standing committee comprises 45 members (30 from Lok Sabha and 15 from Rajya Sabha).
These committees work during the recess of the Parliament and discuss individual demands for grants for each ministry or department and submit their report to the Parliament. The Parliament discusses these demands in the light of these reports.
Consultative Committees
17. Consultative Committees: These are 32 in number, as per the 14th Lok Sabha, attached to various ministries. For every ministry, a consultative committee is provided by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
The members of these consultative committees are drawn from both the houses.
They maintain regular contacts with the members, ministers and officials and hold discussions with them regarding the problems and working of the government policies.
Legislative Procedure
Legislative Procedure
A bill has to pass through numerous stages before it becomes law. There is a slightly different procedure for the passage of ordinary bills and money bills.
1. Ordinary Bill: An ordinary bill can be introduced in either house of the Parliament and has to pass through the following stages in each house, before it is submitted to the President for his assent.
First Reading: At this stage the title of the bill is read and a brief speech regarding the aims and objective of the bill is made. Opponents of the bill also make a brief speech at this stage and after a formal vote, the bill is published in gazette.
Second Reading
Second Reading: At this stage the general principles of the bill as a whole are discussed and decision regarding reference of the bill to the appropriate committee is taken. No amendments are possible at this stage.
Committee Stage: After the second reading, the bill is referred to the appropriate committee where its provisions are thoroughly discussed. The committee can also make suitable suggestions for improvement of the bill and suggest necessary amendments.
Report Stage: The committee submits its report to the House, where it is thoroughly discussed. The members of the House hold a clause-by-clause discussion and vote thereon . At this stage, they can also propose fresh amendments, which are accepted by majority vote.
Third Reading
Third Reading: A general discussion on the bill takes place and formal voting for the acceptance or rejection of the bill is held. No amendments can be proposed at this stage.
After a bill has been passed by one house it is transmitted to the other house, where it goes through all these stages once again.
After the bill has been passed by the other house, it is sent to the President for assent.
However, if the other house proposes certain amendments which are not acceptable to the originating house, it may lead to a deadlock. The deadlock is resolved by convening a joint-sitting of the two houses where the decision is taken by majority vote.
The President can either accord his assent or return the bill for reconsideration of the Parliament. But if the Parliament repasses the bill, the President has to accord assent to it.
Money Bill
2. Money Bill: A money bill deals with the imposition or abolition of tax, borrowing of money by the Government of India, custody and maintenance of the Consolidated Fund or Contingency Fund or the Public Accounts of India and the audit of the accounts of the union and state.
The final decision, whether a bill is a money bill or not, rests with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
Passage of Money Bill
The procedure for the passage of a money bill is quite different from the procedure for enactment of an ordinary bill.
A money bill can originate only in the Lok Sabha on the recommendation of the President.
After a money bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha, it is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha.
The Rajya Sabha is given 14 days to make its recommendations. If it fails to make recommendations within this period, the bill is considered to have been passed by both houses and is transmitted to the President for his assent.
Passage of Money Bill
If the Rajya Sabha returns the bill within 14 days with its recommendations, it is up to the Lok Sabha to accept or reject the recommendations.
Even if the Lok Sabha does not accept the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both houses in the form in which it was transmitted to the Rajya Sabha.
Thus, with regard to money bills, the final authority rests with the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha can delay its enactment for a maximum period of 14 days.
Annual Financial Statement
Annual Financial Statement: At the beginning of every financial year, the President causes to be laid before both houses of Parliament, a statement of estimated receipt and expenditure of the Government for the ensuing year. This is known as budget or annual financial statement.
Broadly speaking, the expenditure of the Government of India falls in two categories
(i) the expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India which is not subject to vote of the Parliament even though it can be discussed by the two Houses of Parliament, and
(ii) the expenditure proposed to be met out of the Consolidated Fund with the approval of the Parliament.
Estimates of this category of expenditure are submitted before the Lok Sabha in the form of demands for grants. The Lok Sabha can approve or refuse such demands.
The Lok Sabha can also reduce the amount of grant.
Appropriation Bill
Appropriation Bill: After the demands for grants are approved by the Lok Sabha an appropriation bill is introduced in the House.
Appropriations out of the Consolidated Fund of India can be made only after the passage of the appropriation bill. It may be noted that the introduction of such bill is never opposed in the Lok Sabha.
As the grants have already been approved by the house, the discussion is confined only to the administrative policy or matters of public importance. No changes in the amount or destination of the grant can be made at this stage. As regards the procedure for the passage of the Appropriation Bill, it is identical with any other money bill.
This quiz has been prepared with questions related to Indian Polity-Commmitties. These question were asked in various competitive exams across India. You can practice these questions to gain more knowledge.

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