Vice President pushes for attendance at Standing Committee meetings

Nominate members only based on their participation and interest, Venkaiah tells parties

Ahead of the reconstitution of the 24 Department-Related Standing Committees (DRSC), Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu sent a detailed record of participation by the members in committee meetings over the past year to the political parties, calling them to nominate members only based on their participation and interest. Only 16 members of the Rajya Sabha (out of 243 MPs) attended all the scheduled 361 meetings held in 2020.

Six of these 16 members are Chairpersons of their respective committees. Opposition parties have routinely slammed the government for bypassing Parliamentary scrutiny by not sending key legislations to the Standing Committees.

On direction from Mr. Naidu, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat collated details on the participation by 243 members of the Rajya Sabha from 32 political parties, as well as Independents and nominated members, in 361 meetings of these Committees held in the period of September 2020-August 2021.

The report notes 115 other members clocked attendance of 50% or more. In all, 131 members, accounting for 54% of the House, reported attendance of 50% or more in the meetings of DRSCs. The attendance of about one third members of the House has been below 30%.

The data shows that the average attendance of 92 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members of the Rajya Sabha in these meetings has been 56% while the same for 38 Congress members is 42%.

For the parties with 5 to 13 members, the average attendance of the YSR Congress has been 66%; the Biju Janata Dal is a close second at 62%. The attendance of Trinamool Congress MPs, who have been at the forefront of the protests by the Opposition on the Pegasus spyware and other issues, is only 24%. Janta Dal (United), though, has the lowest tally with just 16% attendance.

Rajya Sabha sources said that the attendance of members in various committees was sent to leaders of the respective parties to gauge the interest of members in various committees and factor in the same while nominating them to different committees.

Eight committees of the Rajya Sabha and 16 of the Lok Sabha are recast in September every year by both the Presiding Officers of Parliament in consultation with the respective parties and the government. Each committee has 11 members from Rajya Sabha and 20 from Lok Sabha.

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