The Committee on Public Undertakings consists of 22 members comprising 15 members elected by Lok Sabha every year from amongst its members according to the principle of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote and 7 members elected by Rajya Sabha in like manner and nominated by that House for being associated with the Committee.
The system of election ensures that each party/ group is represented on the Committee in proportion to respective strength of the Houses.
Every year, a motion is moved in the House by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs or the Chairman of the Committee, if in Office, calling upon members of the House to elect from amongst themselves 15 members to the Committee on Public Undertakings.
After the motion is adopted, a programme fixing the dates for filing the nominations, withdrawal of candidatures and the election, if necessary, is notified in Lok Sabha Bulletin Part-II.
On receipt of nominations, a list of persons who have filed the nomination papers is put up on the Notice Board. In case the number of members nominated is equal to the number of members to be elected, then after the expiry of the time for withdrawal of candidature the members nominated are declared elected and the result published in Bulletin Part-II. If the number of members nominated after withdrawals is more than the number of members to be elected, election is held on the stipulated date and result of election published in Bulletin Part-II.
Another motion is moved in the Lok Sabha, recommending to the Rajya Sabha to nominate seven members of that House for being associated with the Committee. After adoption, the motion is transmitted to Rajya Sabha through a message. Rajya Sabha holds election of members to the Committee and communicates to Lok Sabha the names of members elected.
Functions and Scope
The functions of the Committee are to examine the reports and Accounts of the Public Undertakings specified in the Fourth Schedule of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and the Reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon, if any, and to examine, in the context of the autonomy and efficiency of the public undertakings, whether the affairs of the public undertakings are being managed in accordance with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices.
The Committee may also examine such subjects or matters which may be specifically referred to it by the House or by the Speaker.
The Committee is however, barred from examining and investigating matters of major Government policies as distinct from business or commercial functions of public undertakings, matters of day-to-day administration or matters for the consideration of which machinery is established by any special statute under which a particular undertaking is established.
- Constitution of Study Groups/Sub-Committee
- A number of Study Groups are constituted by the Chairman from amongst members of the Committee for carrying out detailed study of various subjects selected by the Committee and for considering procedural and general matters.
- A Sub-Committee is also constituted for scrutiny of Action Taken replies furnished by the Government on the recommendations contained in the earlier reports and to consider the draft ‘Action Taken’ Report.
- Assistance by Comptroller and Auditor General
- The Comptroller and Auditor General assists the Committee in the examination of Public Undertakings selected by the Committee on the basis of audit reports.
- Calling for Information from Government/Public Undertakings
- The Committee calls for, in the first instance, preliminary material from the Ministries/Public Undertakings in regard to the working of the public undertakings selected for examination.
- Subsequently, detailed information covering various aspects of the working of the public undertaking under examination is called for by the Committee from the Government/ Undertaking.
- Memoranda from non-officials
- The Committee may also call for memoranda on the subjects under examination from non-official organisations/individuals etc. who are knowledgeable in the field/subject under examination by the Committee.
- Study Tours
- The Committee undertakes ‘on-the-spot’ study tours/visits of various public undertakings, organisations and units connected with the subjects taken up for examination.
- For this purpose, members of the Committee are divided into Study Groups.
- Each study tour is undertaken with the specific approval of the Speaker.