CABINET COMMITTEE

CABINET COMMITTEE

 

FEATURES OF CABINET COMMITTEES
  • The Cabinet Committee are institutional arrangements to reduce the workload of the Cabinet.
  • They are Extra – Constitutional (Not mentioned in the constitution) in emergence. However, the Rules of Business provide for their establishment
  • The executive in India works under the GoI Transaction of Business Rules, 1961.
  • These Rules emerge out of Article 77(3) of the Constitution, which states: “The President shall make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the GoI, and for the allocation among Ministers of the said business”.
  • They are of two types –
    • Standing (Permanent)
    • Ad-Hoc (Temporary)
  • The Prime Minister constitutes Standing Committees of the Cabinet and sets out the specific functions assigned to them. He can add or reduce the number of committees (E.g. added two committees in 2019). Hence, their number, nomenclature, and composition varies from time to time.
  • Their membership varies from three to eight. They usually include only Cabinet Ministers. However, the non-cabinet Ministers are not debarred from their membership.
  • They not only include the Ministers in charge of subjects covered by them but also include other senior Ministers.
  • They are mostly headed by the Prime Minister. Sometimes other Cabinet Ministers, particularly the Home Minister or the Finance Minister, also acts as their Chairman.
  • In case the Prime Minister is a member of a committee, he invariably presides over it.
  • They not only sort out issues and formulate proposals for the consideration of the Cabinet, but also take decisions. However, the Cabinet can review their decisions.

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF CABINET COMMITTEES
  • They are an organizational device to reduce the enormous workload of the Cabinet.
  • They also facilitate in-depth examination of policy issues and effective coordination.
  • They are based on the principles of division of labour and effective delegation.
  • Committees facilitates efficient utilization of time and human resources.

 

 

LIST OF CABINET COMMITTEES AT PRESENT (2019)
1

Cabinet Committee on Appointments

2

Cabinet Committee on Accommodation

3

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs

4

Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs

5

Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs

6

Cabinet Committee on Security

7

Cabinet Committee on Investment

8

Cabinet Committee on Employment and skill Development

 

ADVANTAGES OF CABINET COMMITTEES
  • Saves the valuable time of cabinet
  • Facilitate inter-governmental and inter-departmental coordination
  • More effective deliberation due to smaller size
  • It checks arbitrary actions by ministers.
  • Cabinet committees are established to reduce the workload of the Cabinet Ministers.
  • These committees facilitate deep examination of the policy issue and effective coordination.
  • Such committees are based on the principal of division of labour – efficient utilization of human resource
  • They help in safeguarding principle of collective responsibility
  • It helps in facilitation of utilization of ministerial expertise.
  • The number and nomenclature of cabinet committees is the prerogative of PM
  • 1947 –> 2 Cabinet Committees
  • 2019 –> 8 Cabinet Committees

 

FUNCTIONS OF CABINET COMMITTEE

CABINET COMMITTEE ON APPOINTMNET

  • Head of the Committee – Prime Minister
  • This panel makes appointments to posts of three service chiefs, Director General of Military Operations, chiefs of all Air and Army Commands.
  • It also makes appointments to the posts of –
    • Director General of Defence Intelligence Agency
    • Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister
      Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services
    • Director General of Ordnance Factories
    • Director General of Defence Estates
    • Controller General of Defence Accounts
    • Director of Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
    • Solicitor-General
    • Governor of the Reserve Bank of India
    • Chairman and Members of the Railway Board
    • Chief Vigilance Officers in Public Sector Undertakings
    • Secretariat posts of and above the rank of Joint Secretary in the Central Government
  • It also decides on all important empanelment’s and shift of officers serving on Central deputation.

 

CABINET COMMITTEE ON ACCOMODATION
  • The committee is composed of cabinet ministers from various ministries with one of them as the head.
  • This determines the guidelines or rules with regard to the allotment of government accommodation.
  • It also takes a call on the allotment of government accommodation to non-eligible persons and organisations, and decides the rent to be charged from them.
  • It can consider the allotment of accommodation from the General Pool to Members of Parliament.
  • It can consider proposals for shifting existing Central Government Offices to locations outside the capital.

 

CABINET COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
  • Head of the Committee – Prime Minister
  • This panel is supposed to review economic trends, problems and prospects.
  • The objective is to evolve a consistent and integrated economic policy.
  • Committee coordinates all activities requiring policy decisions at the highest level.
  • Deals with fixation of prices of agricultural produce and prices of essential commodities
  • Committee considers proposals for investment of more than Rs 1,000 crore
  • Committee deals with industrial licensing policies
  • Committee reviews rural development and the Public Distribution System
  • To consider issues relating to disinvestment
  • To consider and decide on issues pertaining to the World Trade Organization.

 

CABINET COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
  • Head of the Committee – Union Home Minister
  • This draws the schedule for Parliament sessions and monitors the progress of government business in Parliament.
  • It scrutinizes non-government business and decides which official Bills and resolutions are to be presented.
  • To review legislations undertaken by State Legislatures from an all-India point of view.
  • To consider proposals to summon or discontinue the Houses of Parliament.

 

 CABINET COMMITTEE ON POLITICAL AFFAIRS
  • Head of the Committee – Prime Minister
  • Committee often described as “Super cabinet” as it is the most important of all.
  • Political affairs committee deals with all policy matters pertaining to domestic and foreign affairs.
  • CCPA is also deal with policy matters concerning foreign affairs that do not have external or internal security implications, as matters with such implications are required to be dealt with by the Cabinet committee on Security(CCS).
  • To deal with problems relating to centre-state relations.
  • To consider economic and political issues which have to be judged with a wider perspective.
  • After coming in power second time in May 2019, Shri Narendra Modi Govt. reconstituted the political affairs committee.

 

CABINET COMMITTEE ON SECURITY
  • Head of the Committee – Prime Minister
  • Cabinet ministers of Finance, Defense, Home Affairs and External Affairs are its members.
  • The Committee deals with issues relating to law and order, internal security and policy matters concerning foreign affairs with internal or external security implications.
  • To consider all matters relating to atomic energy.
  • It also goes into economic and political issues related to national security.
  • It considers all cases involving capital defence expenditure more than Rs 1,000 crore.
  • It considers issues related to the Department of Defence Production and the Department of Defence Research and Development, Services Capital Acquisition plans and schemes for procurement of security-related equipment.

 

 

CABINET COMMITTEES RECONSTITUTED IN 2019

Recently in 2019, the central government has reconstituted eight key cabinet committees including creation of two new committees.

 

 CABINET COMMITTEE ON INVESTMENT AND GROWTH
  • Head of the Committee – Prime Minister
  • The Cabinet Committee on Investment will “identify key projects required to be implemented on a time- bound basis”, involving investments of Rs 1,000 crore or more, or any other critical projects, as may be specified by it, with regard to infrastructure and manufacturing.
  • It will prescribe time limits for giving requisite approvals and clearances by the ministries concerned in identified sectors. It will also monitor the progress of such projects.

 

 CABINET COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT AND SKILL DEVELOPMENT
  • Head of the Committee – Prime Minister
  • The Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development is supposed to provide “direction to all policies, programmes, schemes and initiatives for skill development aimed at increasing the employability of the workforce for effectively meeting the emerging requirements of the rapidly growing economy and mapping the benefits of demographic dividend”.
  • It is required to enhance workforce participation, foster employment growth and identification, and work towards removal of gaps between requirement and availability of skills in various sectors.
  • The panel will set targets for expeditious implementation of all skill development initiatives by the ministries and to periodically review the progress in this regard.
Prime Minister is part of six panels except for the Committee on Accommodation and Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.

 

 

CRITICISM OF CABINET COMMITTEES
  • Some of the time they are established on very trivial issues
  • Junior ministers are rarely appointed
  • Meetings are not held regularly
  • Memberships depend more on political considerations.
  • Involvement of PM in every CC is not good.

 

GROUP OF MINISTERS (GoM)
  • In addition to cabinet committees, several Groups of Ministers (GoMs) have been constituted to look into different issues / subjects.
  • Some of these GoMs have been empowered to take decisions on behalf of the Cabinet whereas the others make recommendations to the Cabinet.
  • In the past two decades, the institution of GoMs has become a viable and effective instrument of coordination among the ministries.
  • These are ad hoc bodies formed to give recommendations to the cabinet on certain emergent issues and critical problem areas.
  • Ministers heading the concerned ministries are inducted into the relevant GoMs and when the advice is crystallized they are disbanded.

 

SECOND ARC ON CABINET COMMITTEES
  • The Commission observed that the constitution of a large number of GoMs has resulted in many GoMs not being able to meet regularly to complete their work thus leading to significant delays on many major issues.
  • The Commission felt that more selective use of the institution of GoMs would perhaps lead to more effective coordination particularly if they are empowered to arrive at a decision on behalf of the Cabinet with time limits that are prescribed for completing the work entrusted to them.
  • The Commission recommended that there is need to ensure that the existing coordination mechanism of GoMs function effectively and helps in early resolution of issues. Selective, but effective use of GoMs with clear mandate and prescribed time limits would be helpful.