The standing committees of the cabinet, which were reconstituted by the Prime Minister, were Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation (CCA), the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) and the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
The composition and functions of various cabinet committees are mentioned below:
1. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet
The committee is headed by the Prime Minister. The Minister of Home Affairs and Minister in-charge of the concerned Ministry are the members of this committee. The important functions of the committee are:
(i) To take decision regarding all higher level appointments in the Cabinet Secretariat, public enterprises, banks and financial institutions.
(ii) To decide all cases of disagreement relating to appointments between the Department or Ministry concerned and the Union Public Service Commission.
(iii) To consider and decide representations, appeals and memorials from officers of the rank or pay equivalent to or higher than a Joint Secretary in the Central Government.
2. Cabinet Committee on Accommodation
The committee is composed of cabinet ministers from various ministries with one of them as the head. The important functions of the committee are:
(i) To determine the guidelines or rules and terms and conditions to govern out-of-turn allotment of government accommodation and allotment of accommodation to the members of the parliament
(ii) To decide upon the allotment of government accommodation to various categories of non-eligible persons and organizations and the rate of rent to be charged from them
(iii) to consider proposals regarding shifting of the existing Central Government Offices to places outside Delhi and the location of new offices in Delhi.
3. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
The Prime Minister is the head of this committee. Cabinet ministers of various ministries are its members. Its important functions are:
(i) To direct and coordinate the governmental activities in the economic sphere.
(ii) To review economic trends and evolve consistent and integrated policy framework in the country.
(iii) To review progress of activities related to rural development including those concerning small and marginal farmers
(iv) To deal with industrial licensing cases involving proposals from the Ministries for the establishment of Joint Sector Undertakings
(v) To consider issues relating to disinvestment
Other functions which have been allotted to the committee are:
(i) To consider and decide on issues pertaining to the World Trade Organization.
(ii) To consider issues relating to the Unique Identification Authority of India
(iii) To monitor general prices, assess availability and export of essential and agricultural commodities and to take measures for efficient Public Distribution System
4. Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs
The committee is headed by the Prime Minister. Cabinet ministers of various ministries are its members. Its important functions are:
(i) To deal with problems relating to Centre-State relations
(ii) To consider economic and political issues which have to be judged with a wider perspective
(iii) To deal with policy matters concerning foreign affairs which do not have external or internal security implications
5. Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs
This committee is composed of cabinet ministers from various ministers. The Union Home Minister is the head of the committee. The functions of the committee are:
(i) To watch the progress of Government business in Parliament and to give directions necessary to secure smooth and efficient conduct of such business
(ii) To scrutinize and to consider the attitude of the government on non-official bills and resolutions to be presented to Parliament
(iii) To review legislations undertaken by State Legislatures from an all-India point of view
(iv) To consider proposals to summon or discontinue the Houses of Parliament
6. Cabinet Committee on Security
The Prime Minister is the head of this committee. Cabinet ministers of Finance, Defense, Home Affairs and External Affairs are its members.
The important functions of the committee are:
(i) To deal with all Defence related issues
(ii) To deal with issues relating to law and order, and internal security
(iii) To deal with policy matters concerning foreign affairs on security related issues
(iv) To deal with economic and political issues impinging on national security
(v) To review the manpower requirements relating to national security
(vi) To consider all matters relating to atomic energy
7. Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure
The committee is headed by the Prime Minister with various cabinet ministers as its members. The functions of the committee are as follows:
(i) To consider and take decisions in respect of all infrastructure related proposals costing more than rupees three hundred crores
(ii) To consider and decide measures to facilitate private sector investment in specific projects
(iii) To lay down annual parameters and targets for performance and review the progress of infrastructural projects
(iv) To consider cases of increase in the firmed up cost estimates/revised cost estimates due to various reasons
Features of Cabinet Committees
1. The cabinet committees are an extra-constitutional body, which means they are not mentioned in the constitution.
2. The Prime Minister sets up different cabinet committees with selected members of the Cabinet and assigns specific functions to these committees. The Prime Minister may even change the numbers of committees and modify the functions assigned to them.
3. If the Prime Minister is a member of any such committee, he acts as the head of the committee.
4. The membership varies from three to eight. Usually, only cabinet ministers are the member of these committees. But, sometimes non- cabinet ministers may also be the member or may be special invitees to the committee.
6. They solve issues and formulate proposals for the consideration of the cabinet and take decisions on matters assigned to them. However, the cabinet is empowered to review such decisions.
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