Om Birla, Venkaiah Naidu discuss the presence of MPs in Parl panel meeting

New Delhi: After a winter session of Parliament ended on Wednesday in a lively but informal gathering of senior MPs in the chamber of Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, a protracted discussion on attendance at parliamentary committee meetings began, people familiar with the matter said. he said .

Earlier, on Monday, in a rare meeting between the Lok Sabha Speaker and panel chairmen, a similar discussion on attendance led to several views, including a more liberal approach on the attendance of MPs and the quorum or minimum attendance of 10(one). third of the panel) is not being made mandatory for all meetings.

Chairpersons of 16 standing committees related to the department participated in the meeting of the Chairman.

“At least three of the Chairpersons at the Speaker’s meeting suggested that a quorum should not be required for the preparation or adoption of a report. They argued that often witnesses, many of whom come to Delhi from other places, due to lack of quorum. Forced to return without statement,” said a senior leader present at the meeting.

Another leader said Birla assured the members that the proposal would be discussed in the Rules Committee and the General Purposes Committee for approval.

He also suggested that parliamentary committees should be in constant dialogue with state legislative committees for capacity building, and all House panels should be strengthened to ensure accountability of the government.

“The chairman said that all panel heads can also talk to parliamentary committees from other countries to share best practices. He also wanted the panel to call subject experts so that the report could be made more research-based,” said the second leader.

One of the important suggestions given to the Chairman was that Panel Chairmen may be authorized to brief the media to ensure the credibility and veracity of reports on Panel meetings and to avoid leaks. “That way the House panels can put forward an official version of what happened in the proceedings without infringing on parliamentary privilege,” a third leader recalled of the conversation.

Discussions in the committee remain confidential till the report is presented in Parliament.

The chairman of a finance committee demanded that more bills be sent to the panel, while another MP suggested that the human resources available to the committees should be increased to ensure maximum output.

During the winter session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself emphasized on better attendance and criticized members of his own party for ‘poor attendance’ at a meeting of BJP MPs.

For the past few years, both Naidu and Birla keep track of the attendance of MPs in the House committees. A Lok Sabha official said that some MPs were dropped from other panels due to lack of attendance.

Meanwhile, at Naidu’s meeting on Wednesday, “a lot of time was spent on attendance at these meetings after the subject was raised by the leader of the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister Piyush Goyal”, an official said.

Naidu told the leaders that he was closely monitoring the attendance in the meetings of the eight committees of the Rajya Sabha and the attendance had improved significantly in the last three years. He further added that these committees are highly complementary to the functions of Parliament, the official said.