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Venkaiah Naidu Pulls Up MPs for Low Attendance in Parliamentary Panel Meetings

After holding a meeting with chairpersons of parliamentary panels, Venkaiah Naidu said only 18 members each from both Houses attended meetings of eight Rajya Sabha committees since being reconstituted in September this year.

Payal Mehta | CNN-News18

Updated:December 5, 2019, 5:07 PM IST
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Venkaiah Naidu Pulls Up MPs for Low Attendance in Parliamentary Panel Meetings
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu conducts proceedings of the House during the Winter Session of Parliament in New Delhi. (Image: RSTV/PTI)

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday expressed concerns over the low attendance in meetings of parliamentary standing committees and urged the leaders of all political parties to ensure "quantitative and qualitative functioning" of these panels.

After holding a meeting with chairpersons of these panels, Naidu said only 18 members each from both Houses attended meetings of eight Rajya Sabha committees since being reconstituted in September this year.

"The thrust is to be regular in attendance and focus on quality debates. Parliamentary committees are mini-Parliaments and have a huge responsibility," Vice-President Naidu said.

“Each member of the department-related standing committee represents 25 members of Parliament while deliberating in the committee. If one member is absent, the voice of 25 MPs would not be heard. Hence, I appeal to leaders of all parties and members of this august House to ensure quantitative and qualitative functioning of these committees in whom the Parliament has vested an important responsibility of functioning on its behalf,” he added.

Naidu said eight department-related standing committees (DRSCs) of the Rajya Sabha, which were reconstituted in September, had held a total of 41 meetings since then. An analysis of attendance in these meetings revealed a "disturbing trend", he added.

On these eight committees, a total of 80 members of Rajya Sabha are represented. Out of these 80 members, 18 members have attended all the meetings of respective committees since September, he said. Similarly, 18 of the total 168 Lok Sabha members represented on these eight committees have also attended all the meetings.

The Standing Committee for Home Affairs clocked the worst attendance at 39, while the Standing Committee for Human Resources Development had the best attendance at around 65%.

Some of the suggestions made to boost attendance include committees firming up the schedule of meetings in advance and keeping records of authorisation of absence.

Naidu said he would share the details of attendance in the meetings of 8 DRSCs of the Rajya Sabha with the Speaker of Lok Sabha and will have the benefit of similar assessment regarding the functioning of the 16 DRSCs that are with the Lok Sabha.

Naidu added that if the situation does not improve, he would be forced to take the last resort and remove MPs who miss two or meetings in a row.

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