Standing committees down

In the ongoing spat of JPC vs PAC, and the resultant political stalemate, there has been widespread discussion on the nuances of the committee system. But there has been little space for analytical thinking about the reasons for the current stalemate, no reflection on the weaknesses of our existing committee system, and the systemic issues that may need a relook. More importantly, the legislature does not seem to recognise the serious imbalance in the powers of the executive and the legislature.

Typically, after standing committees are reconstituted each year, there is a formal meeting of committees to decide the agenda for the year. The bulk of the business they transact is decided by the policy priorities of the government and they have little time to proactively take up important issues of policy and oversight. This naturally reduces the power of the committees, which largely become a clearing house for government business.