The Parliament has to perform complex and varied kind of functions. A committee can be called a Parliamentary committee if it is appointed or elected by the house or nominated by the Speaker or the Chairman; it has a secretariat provided by the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha secretariat.
A Parliamentary Committee can either be a Standing Committees or an Ad hoc Committee. Standing Committees are permanent committees and are constituted for a fixed tenure.
Ad hoc Committees are appointed for a specific purpose and they cease to exist when they finish the task assigned to them after submitting the report. These committees include Advisory Committees and Inquiry Committees. Advisory Committees include committees on Select and Joint Committees on Bills which are appointed to consider and report on a particular bill. The Inquiry Committees are constituted to inquire into a specific issue and report on that, for example, Committee on 2G Scam, Joint committee on Bofors Contract, etc.
The various Standing Committees of the Parliament are mentioned below:
Committee on Public Accounts
This Committee consists of 15 members elected by the Lok Sabha and 7 members of the Rajya Sabha are associated with it. The members are elected through the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote in both the houses. The term of the Committee is one year. The chairman of the committee is appointed by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha from amongst the members of the committee.
The main function of the Committee is to ascertain whether the money granted by parliament has been spent by government within the scope of the demand.
The Estimates Committee consists of 30 members, elected every year by the Lok Sabha from amongst its Members. The members are elected through the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote in both the houses. The term of the committee is one year.
The main function of this committee is to report economies, improvements in organisation, efficiency or administrative reform, consistent with the policy underlying the estimates may be affected.
Committee on Public Undertakings
The committee has 22 members, which include 15 members elected by the Lok Sabha and 7 by the Rajya Sabha. The members are elected through the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote in both the houses.
The main function of the committee is to examine the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on the public undertakings.
Business Advisory Committee
The committee of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha consist of 15 and 11 members respectively. The speaker of Lok Sabha acts as the chairman of committee of Lok Sabha and the Chairman of Rajya Sabha is the ex-officio chairman of the committee of Rajya Sabha
The function of the Committee is to recommend to the government to bring forward particular subjects for discussion in the House and recommend allocation of time for such discussions.
Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions
The function of the Committee is to allot time to bills and resolutions introduced by private members. The committee only exists in Lok Sabha and consists of 15 members with Deputy Speaker is its Chairman. The Committee holds office for a term not exceeding one year.
Committee on Government Assurances
This committee scrutinizes the assurances, promises, undertakings etc. given by ministers from time to time and to report to the respective house and to see whether such implementation has taken place within the minimum time necessary for the purpose. The committee consists of 15 members in Lok Sabha and 10 members in Rajya Sabha.
Committee on Subordinate Legislation
The Committee scrutinizes and reports to the House to know whether the powers are making regulations, rules, sub -rules, by-laws etc. conferred by the constitution or delegated by the parliament are being properly exercised by the executive within the scope of such delegation. The committee in both the houses consists of 15 members.
Committee on Welfare of SCs and STs
The committee consists of 30 members that include 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 members from the Rajya Sabha. The main function of the Committee is to consider all matters concerning the welfare of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, falling within the purview of the union government and the union territories
Committee on Absence of Members
The committee considers all applications from members for leave of absence from the sittings of the Lok Sabha. It examines every case where a member has been absent for a period of 60 days or more, without permission, from the sittings of the house. The committee exists only in Lok Sabha and consists of 15 members.
It considers matters of procedure and conduct of business in the House and recommends any amendments or additions to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the House. The Lok Sabha committee consists of 15 members including the Speaker who is the ex-officio Chairman. The Rajya Sabha committee consists of 16 members including the Chairman as its ex-officio Chairman.
General Purposes Committee
The committee, in each House, consists of the presiding officer (Speaker in Lok Sabha/ Chairman in Rajya Sabha), Deputy Speaker (Deputy Chairman in case of Rajya Sabha), members of the panel of chairpersons (members of the panel of vice-chairpersons in case of Rajya Sabha), chairpersons of all the departmental standing committees of the House, leaders of recognised parties and groups in the House and such other members as nominated by the presiding officer.
The functions of the Committee is to consider and advise on such matters concerning the affairs of the House as may be referred to it by the presiding officer of the House from time to time.
Committee of Privileges
The function of the committee is to examine case involving breach of privilege of the House or of the members of any committee referred to it by the House or by the Speaker and to make suitable recommendations in its report. The Lok Sabha committee and the Rajya Sabha committee consist of 15 and 10 members respectively.
Committee on Petitions
It considers and reports on petitions on bills and on matters of public importance presented to the House The Lok Sabha committee and the Rajya Sabha committee consist of 15 and 10 members respectively.
Joint Committee on Offices of Profit
It examines the composition and character of the committees appointed by the central and state governments and to recommend whether a person holding these offices should be disqualified from being elected as a member of parliament, under article 102 of the Constitution. It consists of 15 members, 10 from Lok Sabha and 5 from Rajya Sabha.
Committee on Empowerment of Women
The committee consists of 30 members that include 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 members from the Rajya Sabha. The main function of the committee is to review and monitor the measures taken by the union government for securing women equality, status and dignity in all fields
Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members
It frames rules for regulating payment of salary, allowances and pension to Members of Parliament. It also frames rules in respect of amenities like medical, housing, telephone, postal, constituency and secretarial facility. The committee consists of 15 members that include 10 members from the Lok Sabha and 5 members from the Rajya Sabha.
Moreover, there are several other committees such as house committee, ethics committee, library committee and consultative committee also.