New Delhi: Legislative business is taking precedence over party politics in Parliament. While the just concluded monsoon session has been a success for both the government and the opposition, with several key issues raised and discussed, it is also interesting to note that just one bill was referred to a parliamentary committee for further consultations.
On Thursday, the government gave in to the demands of the opposition parties and sent The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to a joint parliamentary committee for detailed examination. The bill, which seeks to help refugees from neighbouring countries in getting citizenship, was the only bill in this session which was referred to a parliamentary committee.
The development is interesting because it points to the larger trend of a reduced number of bills being referred to parliamentary committees. According to data from the New-Delhi based PRS Legislative Research, in a little over the two years, in the current 16th Lok Sabha, only 31% of the bills introduced have been referred to parliamentary committees; this number stood at 71% in the 15th Lok Sabha and 60% in 14th Lok Sabha.
Parliamentary committees are of two types—ad hoc committees and standing committees. Ad hoc committees, which includes select and joint committees, are “appointed for a specific purpose and they cease to exist when they finish the task assigned to them and submit a report".
Separately, each house of Parliament has standing committees like the business advisory committee, the committee on petitions, the committee of privileges and the rules committee, among others.
A fewer number of bills being sent for scrutiny by parliamentary committees, coupled with a high productivity rate in terms of bills passed, is being seen as an indicator of legislative cooperation by the opposition on bills being introduced by the government.