Know your Ministry - No. 44 - Parliamentary Affairs

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs is one of the key Ministries of the Union Government to handle diverse and enormous parliamentary work on behalf of the Government in the Parliament thus serving  as an important link between the two Houses of Parliament and the Government in respect of Government Business in Parliament. The Ministry renders secretarial assistance to the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, which, inter-alia recommends prorogation of both the Houses of the Parliament, Government's stand on Private Members' Bills and Resolutions. It co-ordinates with other Ministries/Departments of the Government in respect of Bills pending in the Parliament, new Bills to be introduced and Bills to replace Ordinances and follows up progress of Bills from the stage of approval by the Cabinet till the Bill is passed by both Houses of the Parliament. In order to ensure smooth passage of Bills, in Parliament, officials of the Ministry have to be in constant touch with the officials of Ministries/Departments sponsoring the Bills and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs which drafts the Bills.

The Ministry constitutes Consultative Committees of Members of Parliament and makes arrangements for holding their meetings both during the session and the inter-session periods. The guidelines regarding the composition and functioning of these Committees are formulated by this Ministry. Notifications in respect of any Sub-Committees/Study Groups set up by the Consultative Committees are also issued by this Ministry. The Ministry pursues with the other Ministries for prompt and proper implementation of assurances given by Ministers in the Parliament. There are also several other items of work allocated to this Ministry which involve liaison between Members of Parliament, two Secretariats of Parliament and the various Ministries and nominates Members on various Committees, Councils, Boards and Commissions set up by the Government. The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs takes follow-up action on matters raised under Rule 377 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and by way of Special Mentions in Rajya Sabha. Also after 'Question Hour' in both the Houses of Parliament, Members raise matters of urgent public importance.With a view to strengthening the roots of democracy and inculcating habits of discipline and tolerance and for enabling the students community to have intimate knowledge of the working of Parliament, the Ministry conducts Youth Parliament Competitions in the schools of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas and Universities/Colleges all over the country.

The Ministry has set up a vision to strive for providing comprehensive and quality services to a Body of Citizens comprising, the Parliament and its Members as well as Ministries/Departments and other Organizations of Government of India and State Governments. It has established a Mission to act as an efficient facilitator to constantly improve Government's interaction with Parliament by:-

  • Planning, coordinating and monitoring Government's business in Parliament.
  • Helping Ministries/Departments to effectively carry out their Parliamentary work.
  • Responding actively and effectively on behalf of the Government in respect of directions, resolutions etc. of a general nature made to the Government by the Houses of Parliament.
  • Constituting and arranging meetings of Consultative Committees of Members of Parliament for Ministries.
  • Taking initiatives through organizing of conferences, programs, etc. for increasing awareness about the Parliamentary system with a view to strengthening the roots of democracy.
  • Administering policies relating to Salaries, facilities and welfare related matters of Members of Parliament.
  • Coordinating Ministries/Departments for implementation of assurances given by Ministers in both the Houses of Parliament-culling out of assurances from the debates; monitoring the state of fulfillment thereof and laying of Implementation reports before the Houses to propagate ideas of democracy.

REALTIME UPDATION – The Official Website of the Ministry publishes:

  • Bills –Status of List of Total Bills (Date of Introduction and Passing in Lok Sabha(LS) and Rajya Sabha(RS)).
  • Assurance list related to various Ministries
  • Details of composition Consultative Committees related to various Ministries
  • Status of Rule 377 list related to various Ministries
  • Status of Special Mention list (since 2012) related to various Ministries.
  • Registration Request details of National youth Parliament Scheme (NYPS) – Kishore Sabha and Tarun Sabha.
  • eOFFICE -  list of Electronic files created and physically closed.
  • CPGRAMS- Status of list of grievance petitions received and closed

FUNCTIONS OF THE MINISTRY

Functions assigned to the Ministry under the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 made by the President under Article 77(3) of the Constitution of India:-

  • Dates of summoning and prorogation of the two Houses of Parliament, Dissolution of Lok Sabha, and President’s Address to Parliament.
  • Planning and Coordination of legislative and other official business in both Houses.
  • Allocation of Government time in Parliament for discussion of motions given notice of by Members.
  • Liaison with Leaders and Whips of various Parties and Groups represented in Parliament.
  • Lists of Members of Select and Joint Committees on Bills.
  • Appointment of Members of Parliament on Committees and other bodies set up by Government.
  • Functioning of Consultative Committees of Members of Parliament for various Ministries.
  • Implementation of assurances given by Ministers in Parliament.
  • Governments stand on Private Members Bills and Resolutions.
  • Secretarial assistance to the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.
  • Advice to Ministries on procedural and other Parliamentary matters.
  • Coordination of action by Ministries on recommendations of general application made by Parliamentary Committees.
  • Officially sponsored visits of Members of Parliament to places of interest.
  • Matters connected with powers, privileges and immunities of Members of Parliament.
  • Parliamentary Secretaries - functions.
  • Organisation of Youth Parliament Competitions in Schools/Colleges throughout the country.
  • Organisation of All India Whips Conference.
  • Exchange of Government Sponsored Delegations of Members of Parliament with other countries.
  • Determination of Policy and follow up action in regard to matters raised under rule 377 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and by way of Special Mentions in Rajya Sabha.
  • Manual for Handling Parliamentary work in Ministries/Departments.
  • The Salaries and Allowances of Officers of Parliament Act, 1953 (20 of 1953).
  • The Salary, Allowances and Pensions of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 (30 of 1954).
  • The Salary, and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 (33 of 1977).
  • The Leader and Chief Whips of Recognised Parties and Groups in Parliament (Facilities) Act, 1998 (5 of 1999).

NEED FOR PARLIAMENTARY REFORMS

  • A Statute is required to ensure that Parliaments and Legislative Assemblies function regularly in strict terms of Holiday Rules of Central & State Governments.
  • Introduction of staggering period of sessions to ensure that Houses function under the stipulated business hours from 10.00 AM onwards till 9 P.M. on daily basis in two sessions to ensure maximum attendance of members.
  • A specific law should mandate conducts of Debates and Discussions for prescribed period and that need to precede for issues of National Importance and tabling of proposed Bills for enactment.
  • Statutory stipulation for number of sittings of houses and Time lost due to disruptions should be covered by conduct of sessions for extended hours.
  • Need for explicit provisions in the Representation of Peoples’ Act required to check members’ absenteeism, causing disrupt to the dignity of house, pending criminal cases, violation of Parliamentary Regulations and Procedures resulting in paralyzing of the house, etc.
  • Ministry should review the performance of parliamentarians in terms of their elected responsibilities towards their constituencies and publish individual reports in its website for information in public domain.
  • To set up a Committee to regularly review the performance examine the powers of Speaker and his discretionary powers especially in his discharge of constitutional duties and functions.
  • Ministry should appoint an High Power Constitutional Committee engaging the member representatives of all major political parties to build a better image of houses of Parliament by proposing suitable reforms to Improve the quality of members, Codifying Parliamentary Privileges, etc to envisage high moral standards in our temples of democracy.
  • To take up advanced technology initiatives in conducting virtual parliamentary sessions engaging members to be streamed live to sessions sitting from their respective constituencies.
  • To make suitable laws take up Reforming the responsibilities and role functions of Parliamentary Parties and enhance personal accountability towards their electorate.

 

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