Covid, economy, unemployment, China in Parliament panels’ radar

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on October 13, 2020

The reconstituted panels have a packed year ahead as they look into diverse issues

With the reconstituted Parliament panels having started functioning, the agenda for the coming year includes management of the economy post Covid-19, border disputes with China, suspension of internet and telecommunication services across the country and security of women in the digital space.

The Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas has selected issues such as pricing, marketing and supply, litigation involving oil PSUs, energy security, CSR activities, disinvestment, mergers and acquisitions in the sector and alternative sources of energy.

The Committee on Rural Development has decided to review a range of schemes and critically evaluate the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, and study the role of banks in financial inclusion of rural population.

IT panel

The Committee on Information Technology, headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, will examine the ethical standards in media coverage. Its members had also demanded a discussion on the Mumbai TRP scam. The matter is likely to be taken up for discussion this year.

The panel will also look at the problems and challenges of the film industry, review the functioning of Central Board of Film Certification and outreach of Doordarshan channels.

Issues such as citizens’ data security and privacy, digital payment and data protection, misuse of social/online news media platforms “including special emphasis on women security in the digital space” and the suspension of telecom services/internet and its impact will also be studied by the panel.

Policy issues in Information Technology including cross border data flows, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things , real estate management in the Department of Posts, a review of functioning of TRAI and issues confronting Telecom Sector including Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) are also there on the panel’s radar.

National Highways

The Estimates Committee will look at the functioning of National Highway projects including Bharatmala Projects. “Requirement of human capital and physical infrastructure to meet the growth of civil aviation sector in India and development of airports in various parts of the country” is also in the agenda for the top Finance panel of Parliament.

The impact of Covid-19 pandemic on budget allocation and utilisation on the various sectors such as tourism, aviation, hospitality, power, etc. and steps for employment generation will also be monitored by the Estimates Committee, headed by BJP MP Bhalchandra Bapat.

Border roads

The Public Accounts Committee headed by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has selected 113 issues pertaining to about 20 Ministries and Departments for scrutiny. Most of the issues are taken from audit reports submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor General. It includes a review of the Performance Audit on Construction of Indo China Border Roads by the Border Roads Organisation.

Published on October 13, 2020

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