Committee on Public Undertakings

The Committee on Public Undertakings examines the reports and accounts of Public Sector Undertakings (PSU.) The functions of this committee are mentioned in the fourth schedule of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha. The topic ‘Committee on Public Undertakings’ is important for IAS Exam and its three stages – Prelims, Mains and Interview.

This article will mention in detail about the Committee on Public Undertakings, chairman of the Committee on Public Undertakings, its members and, its functions. These details are important for UPSC Mains GS-II paper and also for Political Science Optional papers. Aspirants can also download the notes for the same.

Committee on Public Undertakings – Indian Polity Notes:- Download PDF Here

What is Committee on Public Undertakings?

Introduced in 1964, Committee on Public Undertakings is a type of Financial Committee which came into existence on the recommendations of Krishna Menon Committee. It is a one of the Parliamentary Committees (Standing Committee) in the Indian Constitution which was introduced to expand the parliamentary control over the PSUs.

The table briefly mentions everything about Committee on Public Undertakings, details of which will be given after it:

Committee on Public Undertakings
Year of Establishment 1964 (On the recommendation of Krishna Menon Committee)
Members 22
Election of Members By Parliament every year with proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote
Term of Office One Year
Chairman Speaker appoints him/her from amongst the members

Note: Member from Rajya Sabha is not chosen as Chairman

Function To examine the reports and accounts of the Public Sector Undertakings

Questions from this section have been asked in the prelims stage, and in UPSC Mains examination.

Who are the members of the Committee on Public Undertakings?

This financial committee has 22 members. All the members are taken from the Indian Parliament. Out of 22 members, 15 are elected from Lok Sabha (Lower House) and 7 members are elected from Rajya Sabha (Upper House.) (The difference between Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha can be read in the linked article.) When the committee was introduced in 1964, it has 15 members (10 from Lok Sabha and 5 from Rajya Sabha.)

Mode of the election of Committee on Public Undertakings’ members:

The members of the committee are elected annually by the Parliament from amongst its members. The principle of Proportional Representation (PR) by means of Single Transferable Vote (STV.) This election method gives equal representation to all the members of the Parliament.

Term of the office of members of the Committee on Public Undertakings:

Every member elected by the Parliament from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are a part of the committee for a year. After a year, a new election takes place and members are changed or re-elected.

Note: Similar to Public Accounts Committee, a minister cannot be elected as the member of the Committee on Public Undertakings.

Chairman of the Committee on Public Undertakings:

Lok Sabha speaker has the authority to appoint the chairman of the committee. The Chairman of Committee on Public Undertakings is appointed from amongst the members of Lok Sabha. Hence, there is no representation of Rajya Sabha members as a chairman of the committee.

What are the functions of the Committee on Public Undertakings?

This standing committee performs various functions. They are given below:

Functions of Committee on Public Undertakings
S.No Type of Functions
1. Reports and Accounts of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) are examined by the committee
2. Comptroller and Auditor General’s reports on PSUs is also taken up by this committee
3. The committee checks upon the credibility of the business of public sector undertakings.
4. It checks the efficiency and autonomy of PSUs
5. It performs those functions related to PSUs that are given to it by the Lok Sabha speaker

There are a few functions that the committee on public undertakings is not to perform:

  • The committee cannot examine any reports of government related to policies which are not concerned with PSUs.
  • It has no role in matters of day-to-day administration.
  • The committee also cannot take up reports of any such public sector undertakings which are established by a special statute and for which another machinery is responsible to report.

The given points are important for UPSC 2020 and aspirants shall keep in mind the facts about the committee to score in prelims and mains both.

Limitations of the Committee on Public Undertakings

The limitations of the Committee on Public Undertakings are given below:

  1. There is a cap on the number of PSUs it can examine reports of. The committee cannot take upon reports of more than 10-12 PSUs in a year.
  2. It only examines the reports. It has no role in deciding the functioning of PSUs. Hence, its work is only in the nature of a post-mortem.
  3. The committee is not concerned with any technical matters of PSUs as there are no technical experts as members of the committee.
  4. All the recommendations put forward for by the committee are advisory in nature and ministers are not bounded by any of those.

Committee on Public Undertakings – Indian Polity Notes:- Download PDF Here

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