Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma (Cong) said out of 51 new bills brought by the government, 43 have not been sent to any standing committee.
"If bills are not going through the scrutiny of standing committees, what does the government proposes to do with standing committees? ... Standing committees have to continue, legislative scrutiny cannot be bypassed," he said. Sharma said departmental standing committees are made up of 10 members of the Upper House and 21 from the Lok Sabha. "They do useful work," he said.
He charged the government with bypassing these panels by introducing all bills in the Lower House, where it has a "brute majority". "It is a matter of concern that standing committees are being virtually made worthless and irrelevant," he said.
"Government must come clean on this. Why are you avoiding parliamentary scrutiny?" As almost the entire opposition associated with the Sharma's mention, Naresh Agarwal (SP) said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a member of the Standing Committee on Finance while senior BJP leader L K Advani too is a member of one of the panels.
Observing that there was a difference between a standing committee and a select committee, to which bills like insurance amendment bill was referred, he said standing committees comprise of both Houses while select committee belongs to only one House.
Terming the standing committees as "mini Parliament", Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said the sittings of Parliament were getting reduced. "It is difficult to build institutions and easy to demolish them," he said. While the Opposition members wanted the government to respond, none of the ministers present including Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley chose to reply.