Parliamentary Committees Current Affairs - 2020

Parliamentary Standing Committee: No Sufficient Checks on genuineness of Fertilizer Subsidy

On March 20, 2020, the Parliamentary Standing Committee that was set up under the leadership of the Lok Sabha Member Kanimozhi Karunanidhi submitted its report. The Committee was set up to check whether genuine farmers are getting fertilizer subsidy.

Highlights

The Report says that until December 2019, 1182.04 lakh metric tonnes of fertilizers have been sold under Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme. Currently, the identity of the buyer or farmer is authenticated through Aadhar-based identification, Kisan Credit Card, biometric or voter ID.

According to the committee, there are chances of misuse of the methodology by retailers. The retailers might collect Aadhaar cards or demand thumb impression for an amount. They are then selling the fertilizers in black market showing false sale.

What is the issue?

Currently, the subsidies are paid to the fertilizer companies based on the receipts of their sales made by the retailers to the beneficiaries. This has created a black market and is hurting farmers badly.

Also, fertilizers subsidies consume 0.5% of GDP which is the second highest after food.

Solution

The GoI in order to curb black marketing of fertilizer introduced Point of Sale machines selling of fertilizers. These machines were directly connected to the central server that captures details of every buyer. Hence, the data collected will help identify the impersonator.

Types of Fertilizers

The three major types of fertilizers used are Urea, Muriate of Potash and Diammonium Phosphate. O all these fertilizers, urea accounts to 86%. Currently, GoI is taking several steps to control the use of urea and replace it with NPK fertilizers.

Vice President unveils 15-point reform on Parliament Functioning

On October 29, 2019, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu unveiled a 15-point reform charter for a new political normal to enable effective functioning of the Parliament and State Legislatures.

The Charter

  • The pre and post Legislative Impact should be assessed
  • The functioning of Department related Standing Committees of Parliament should be ensured through longer tenures instead of reconstitution every year as at present. The recommendations to the committee should be based on academic backgrounds.
  • The minimum number of sittings for both the Parliament and State Legislatures per year should be approximately prescribed
  • The law makers should abide by the rules of the house. The political parties should take responsibility be enforcing a code of conduct
  • Rules should be framed that take automatic effect against erring members in case of interruptions and disruptions
  • The political parties should ensure at least 50% attendance of the members of legislatures everyday to address the issues of lack of quorum
  • The secretariats of legislatures should publish regular reports on the attendance of members during the proceedings.
  • The functioning of anti-defection law and whip system should be reviewed