New Delhi, Jan 20 (UNI) Parliamentary committees which do the real legislative work and analyse the working of the various ministries have no setup for carrying out research.
''The research in these committees is a joke, just making files of newspaper clippings, while in the USA this job is taken very seriously and senators are given wide facilities,'' says former Union Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi.
He feels that Parliament can do its job much better if members of the committee are given more staff and better facilities.
Dr Joshi said that it would, however, be erroneous to believe that these committee just gossip, as they really do some work.
Dr Joshi expressed his views while speaking at an orientation course for journalists covering Rajya Sabha.
He said the number of committees over the years had gone up with the increase in the work of government leading to creation of more ministries. Besides the statutory Public Accounts Committee, the Estimates Committee, the Public Undertakings Committee and the Committee on Scheduled Castes and Tribes, there are joint committees and joint select committees and department-related standing committee which keep an eye on the working of various ministries.
These committee came into existence about 10 to 12 years ago but in other countries they have been in existence much earlier.
Though members of the department related standing committee work in advisory capacity, and they cannot do anything if the government rejects their views, still if they work properly and support their views with research and cogent reason, they can make the government accept the recommendations of their committee, feels Mr Joshi.
Pointing out that there were frequent demands for allowing the media to attend the proceedings of the committee, and also to call the minister along with the secretary of the ministry, but it has been decided with consensus that the atmosphere prevailing at the moment was not conducive for such a step.
''The problem is that the facts that we at present can get from the Secretray would be difficult to get once he speaks in the presence of the Minister,'' he said.
And far as the media was concerned, it was today more inclined to put out spicy news, so it would tend to see the Parliamentary proceedings in the same light, he added.
''May be at some point of time, we may allow these demands, but for the time being it was not feasible to accept them,'' said Dr Joshi.
The four-day orientation course was organised by the Rajya Sabha secretariat this week.
UNI NAZ YA GC