Lack of allowance had no effect on house panel attendance: Study

NEW DELHI: Absence of financial incentives does not adversely affect the attendance of MPS in the meetings of parliamentary standing committees, a study conducted by Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu has revealed.

The report studied the withdrawal of special allowance given to MPS for attending the meetings of the House Panel. The special allowance, 25% of the air travel expenses, was abolished by the then Finance

Minister Arun Jaitley from April 2018 as part of an effort to streamline expenses.
The study also showed that during the past five years, parliamentary panels have spent more time in their meetings, even as sessions have often faced prolonged disruptions or washouts over political skirmishes. It pointed out that there is a difference in the presence of MPS in the eight Parliamentary Standing Committees under Rajya Sabha-
Allies fell from 2016-17 levels due to the COVID situation.

“During 2016-17 (mid-September to mid-September), when allowance was available for the whole year, the average attendance in 119 meetings of 8 Department Related Standing Committees (DRSCs) was 47.64% and increased to 119 during 2019-20 48.79% for meetings, when such allowance was not allowed,” the report said.

“During 2017-18, special allowance was available for 6 months. During 2018-19, all 8 committees of Rajya Sabha reported low attendance, probably, due to general elections to the Lok Sabha in the first half. As of 2019, 2016-17 was taken as the reference year to assess the impact of sitting allowance to MPS on attendance during 2019-20 and 2020-21.

While the average attendance increased from 47.64% in FY16-17 to 48.79% in FY19-20, it declined to 44.59% in 2020-21 due to covid.