Improvement in meeting time of Rajya Sabha panels; pandemic pulls down attendance

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New Delhi, Nov 2 (PTI) The eight department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees (DRSCs) of the Rajya Sabha have reported a marked improvement in their functioning during 2019-20, clocking the best performance of the last three years, officials said on Monday.

According to sources, on an average each meeting of these panels lasted for an average of two hours and 10 minutes 2019-20, thus crossing the two-hour mark for the first time.

They said this marks an improvement of 55 per cent over that of 2018-19 and a 25 per cent increase over the average of the previous two years. The average duration has been one hour and 51 minutes during 2017-18 and one hour and 25 minutes during 2018-19.

The average attendance in the total 117 meetings of these eight committees comes to 49.20 per cent during 2019-20, again the best of the last three years. The average attendance crossed the halfway mark with 50.73 per cent for the first time during the first half of 2019-20, officials said.

It however, came down to 41.15 per cent in the meetings held in the second half of 2019-20 during the pandemic, marking a decline of over 9.50 percentage points. However, the committees met for an average duration of two hours and 23 minutes during the pandemic.

The secretariat has analysed the functioning of the committees of the Rajya Sabha during the last three years on the directions of Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. He has been regularly reviewing the functioning of these committees and shared some of his concerns with the chairmen of these committees.

During this year, the number of meetings held with attendance of 50 per cent or more members in each committee increased to 46.15 per cent of the total as against 14 per cent and 30 percent during the previous two years.

The number of meetings held without the required quorum has declined to 10 per cent this year, the lowest of the last three years.

These eight committees met for a total duration of 254 hours 27 minutes this year, the longest of the last three years. In the 2017-20 period, the eight panels of the Upper House held a total of 300 meetings over a duration of 571 hours 22 minutes.

The three-year average duration of meetings has been one hour and 54 minutes and the average attendance being 45.35 per cent.

During 2019-20, the Committee on Home Affairs met for the longest duration of 47 hours and 27 minutes followed by the Committee on Health and Family Welfare for 42 hours 22 minutes and the Committee on HRD for 40 hours and 44 minutes.

During 2017-20, the Committee on HRD met for the longest duration of 100 hrs 05 minutes followed by Home Affairs - 87.17, Transport, Tourism and Culture - 80.11, Health and Family Welfare - 76.15, Commerce - 70.17, Science and Technology and Environment, Forests and Climate Change- 68.47, Pensions, Public Grievances, Law and Justice - 52.19 hours and Industry- 36 hours 11 minutes.

Each DRSC has 10 members from the Rajya Sabha and 21 from the Lok Sabha and are reconstituted in September every year. While eight committees are headed by members of Rajya Sabha, 16 are led by Lok Sabha members. PTI SKC NSD NSD