Polity

Cabinet Committees

Cabinet Committees

Cabinet Committees

Cabinet Committees
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Important Features

Members

The Prime Minister sets up the Cabinet Committees in India according to the exigencies of time and requirements of the situation. The members of the Cabinet Committees are the Cabinet Ministers, however, the non-cabinet ministers are not debarred from becoming a member of these committees. These Committees include senior ministers and the ministers in charge of the subjects covered by them.

The Prime Minister usually heads the Committees, and in some instances, the Cabinet Ministers, mainly the Home Minister or the Finance Minister act as their chairman. However, if the Prime Minister is a member of the Committee, he invariably presides over it.

Constitutional Status

The Cabinet Committees are extra-constitutional in nature, which means that provisions regarding their establishment and functioning are not mentioned in the Constitution. However, the rules of business provide for their establishment.

Types

There are two types of Cabinet Committees, standing and ad-hoc. The Standing committees are permanent while the ad-hoc committees are constituted from time to time to deal with special problems, and are disbanded once their objective is fulfilled.

Objective

These Committees are based on the principles of division of labor and effective delegation. The main objective of setting up the Cabinet Committees was to reduce the pressure of workload on the Cabinet and facilitate serious deliberations on policy issues and effective coordination.

Cabinet Committees
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The Cabinet Committees sort out issues and formulate plans and proposals for the consideration of the Cabinet. Moreover, these committees can also take decisions, however, the Cabinet has the power to review their decisions.

List of Cabinet Committee
  1. Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs
  2. Cabinet Committee on Natural Calamities
  3. Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs
  4. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet
  5. Cabinet Committee on Accommodation
  6. Cabinet Committee on Foreign Investment
  7. Cabinet Committee on Drug Abuse Control
  8. Cabinet Committee on Prices
  9. Cabinet Committee on Minority Welfare
  10. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
  11. Cabinet Committee on Trade and Investment
  12. Cabinet Committee on Expenditure
  13. Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure

In 2013, there were 10 Cabinet Committees in existence, they were:

  1. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
  2. Cabinet Committee on Prices
  3. Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs
  4. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet
  5. Cabinet Committee on Security
  6. Cabinet Committee on World Trade Organization (WTO) Matters
  7. Cabinet Committee on Investment
  8. Cabinet Committee on Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) related issues
  9. Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs
  10. Cabinet Committee on Accommodation

8 Cabinet Committees were functional in 2019

  1. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
  2. Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs
  3. Cabinet Committee on Security
  4. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet
  5. Cabinet Committee on Accommodation
  6. Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth
  7. Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs
  8. Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development
Functions of the Cabinet Committees

Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs

The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs deals with policy matters relating to domestic and foreign affairs.

Appointments Committee of the Cabinet 

The Appointments Committee deals with the higher-level appointments in the Central Secretariat, Public Enterprises, Banks, and Financial Institutions.

(click here to read about Bad Banks)

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs directs and governs governmental activities in the economic sphere.

Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs

The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs looks after the progress of Government Business in the Parliament.

(click here to read about the Parliamentary Forums)

Cabinet Committee on Security

Cabinet Committee on Security deals with matters relating to law and order, internal security, and also political and economic issues relating to national security. Moreover, its also concerned with the functions of the Department of Defence Research and Development, Services Capital Acquisition Plans, and the Department of Defence Production.

Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth

Cabinet Committees
Image by- The Economic Times

The Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth is concerned with the implementation of projects in a time-bound manner, which involves investments of INR 1000 crores and more, or any other specific and important projects related to infrastructure and manufacturing. Moreover, it also prescribes the time limit for the implementation of such projects and monitors their progress.

(Click here to read about India’s Disinvestment Policy)

Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development 

The Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development is concerned with the policies, programs, and schemes related to skill development and enhancement of employability of the workforce. It prescribes the targets and implementation of these policies and programs and effectively monitors their progress.

Important Points about the Cabinet Committees
  • All the Cabinet Committees are headed by the Prime Minister of India except the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation and Parliamentary Affairs. The Cabinet Committee on Accommodation is headed by the Home Minister and Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs is headed by the Defence Minister.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs is the most powerful Cabinet Committee which is also known as the Super-Cabinet.
Group of Ministers
Image by- The Economic Times

Objective

The Group of Ministers (GoMs) are set up in addition to the Cabinet Committees. Their main objective is to look into the different issues concerning the country. They are also an instrument of coordination among the different ministries. They are basically ad hoc bodies formed to give recommendations to the Cabinet on certain emergent issues and critical problem areas. The GoMs are disbanded when their objective is fulfilled. Certain GoMs are empowered to make decisions on behalf of the Cabinet whereas others make recommendations to the Cabinet.

Observations of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission

According to the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2005-2009), the formation of a large number of GoMs has led to many GoMs not being able to meet regularly to complete their work which causes significant delays on many major issues.

In order to solve this problem, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission recommended more selective use of the institution of GoMs would ensure more effective coordination particularly if they are empowered to arrive at a decision on behalf of the Cabinet within time limits that are prescribed for completing the work entrusted to them.

The Commission also recommended that there is a need to ensure that the existing coordination mechanism of GoMs functions effectively and helps in the early resolution of issues. Selective but effective use of GoMs with a clear mandate and prescribed time limits would be helpful.

 

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