A series of adverse comments from Parliamentary committees on the government’s working and below par participation on these panels of its lawmakers, are adding to the struggles of the ruling BJP, which already has its hands full countering a belligerent opposition bent on disrupting legislative agenda in both Houses.
The latest in the line of fire is the environment ministry and its pollution watchdog the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which have been criticised by a parliamentary panel for poor progress in controlling pollution and failure to create infrastructure to monitor air, water and noise pollution.
The report of the standing committee on science & technology and environment & forests indicts the ministry for failing to utilise funds allocated to control pollution.
Also, lawmakers of the ruling BJP have been found “aloof ” in proceedings of these parliamentary panels, said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu at a meeting of party legislators from both Houses on Tuesday.
He warned that reports with adverse remarks or recommendations are a matter of concern and asked BJP lawmakers to improve their participation in the committees, which are called mini parliaments and are mandated to scrutinise the working, policies and legislations of different government departments.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present when Mr Naidu brought the matter up at the meeting, and he stepped in underscoring the importance of participation in parliamentary panel proceedings.
He said he had started meeting the heads of various parliamentary panels, which are made up of lawmakers from different parties, to get feedback on issues and problems faced by them.
In March this year, the BJP had axed 12 MPs assigned to the different Parliamentary Standing Committees and whose participation was found wanting, following a report that red-flagged the issue.
Prominent among those dropped were actor turned politician and former minister Vinod Khanna, Kirti Azad, Om Birla, Dushyant Singh and Varun Gandhi.
In the last few months, the panel on home affairs has rapped the government for slashing funds for Delhi Police; committees have also pulled up the culture ministry on vacancies and the railways on rail movement issues.
The health ministry and the chemicals ministry are the other departments that have faced criticism.