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Introduction. What are Parliamentary committees?
Body. Role and importance of Parliamentary committees.
The Parliamentary committees are established to study and deal with various matters that cannot be directly handled by the legislature due to their volume. They monitor the functioning of the executive branch and provide legislature with various policy input, playing an important role in Indian democracy.
Role and Importance of Parliamentary Committees in Indian democracy:
- Due to large the volume of legislature, discussion of all the bills in parliament in detail is not possible.
- Committees do a detailed discussion and analysis on a proposed law, thus enabling that every law is for benefit of citizens.
- Executive accountability:
- Parliamentary committees ensure executive accountability through scrutiny of public spending and various laws.
- The Public Accounts Committee is concerned with the manner and results of spending public funds. It scrutinise the accounts and the report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, thereby ensuring accountability of any misspending.
- Better informed discussions: Committee allows members for a more meaningful exchange of views as against discussions in open Houses where party positions take precedence. This allows them to take better decisions on policies.
- Committees allow use of input and suggestions of various expertise on subject matter of law thereby helping to formulate better policies and laws.
- Changes in technology and the expansion of economy bring new policy challenges that require the assistance of experts in dealing with such situations. It is through these committees that such expertise is involved in lawmaking.
- Help in Economic growth: The Estimates Committee do a detailed examination of the budget estimates. It suggest alternative policies to bring about efficiency and economy in administration.
- Scrutiny of public funds: The Public Accounts Committee scrutinise the government accounts and the report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India. Thus reduce chance of misspending and also validate government’s spending statistics.
- Ensure better laws and rules: The Committee on Subordinate Legislation scrutinise and report to the house about regulations, rules, sub-rules, bye-laws, etc., conferred by the Constitution being properly exercised within the limits of various provisions.
- Ensure answerability:
- The Committee on Government Assurances committee scrutinise the various assurances, promises, undertakings, etc., given by ministers, from time to time report on the extent to which such assurances have been implemented.
- This ensure answerability of government to public enabling democracy in true spirit.
- Ensure participation of MPs:
- The Committee on Absence of Members considers all applications from members for leave of absence from the sittings of the House and examine every case where a member has been absent.
- This ensure participation of each member in constructive lawmaking process and various debates and discussions.
Although parliamentary and cabinet committees are not a part of the Constitution they ensure healthy democracy and governance through scrutiny and better policies. They enable the cabinet and Parliament to take difficult decisions.