(Last Updated on : 30/04/2013)
Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs is responsible for efficiently handling diverse and enormous parliamentary work on behalf of the Government of India
in the Parliament. In a Parliamentary form of Government, the day-to-day working of the Parliamentary system makes large claims on time and resources of the various Ministries/Departments. Over a period of time, Parliamentary programme covers numerous intricate matters-financial, legislative and non-legislative-concerning various Ministries/Departments of the Government. The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, though small in size, is one of the key Ministries of the Union Government. It helps the Parliament to efficiently deal with its workload. As such, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs serves as an important link between the two Houses of Parliament and the Government in respect of Government Business in Parliament. Created in May, 1949 as a Department entrusted mainly with the above function, it is now a full-fledged Ministry.
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. The Ministry keeps a close contact with the Ministries/Departments of the Government in respect of Bills pending in the Parliament, new Bills to be introduced and Bills to replace Ordinances. The Ministry keeps a watch over the 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. At present there are 29 such Committees attached to various Ministries which were required to hold about 180 meetings in a year. 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.
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. Looking after the welfare and amenities of the Members is also an important function assigned to this Ministry. The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs nominates Members on various Committees, Councils, Boards and Commissions set up by the Government. The Ministry also administers the Salaries and Allowances of Officers of Parliament Act, 1953, the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act 1977 and the Leaders and Chief Whips of Recognised Parties and Groups in Parliament (Facilities) Act, 1998.
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.
Thus a comprehensive list of the role and function of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs includes setting the dates of summoning and prorogation of the two Houses of Parliament: Dissolution of Lok Sabha
, 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; 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.