New Delhi [India], October 5 (ANI): In the recent re-constitution of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees (2022-2023) on Tuesday, Vice President and Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Jagdeep Dhankhar appointed V. Vijayasai Reddy as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture.
Reddy is the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSR) Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh, who has been given the committee that covers the highest number of ministries.
"I will surely replicate this performance in my new role as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture," V. Vijayasai Reddy told ANI.
"My efforts will be focused on identifying and addressing subjects having social, economic and cultural relevance for the nation as a whole," he said.
The coveted Committee has the mandate to scrutinise the functioning of the five prominent Ministries of Culture, Civil Aviation, Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Road Transport and Highways, and Tourism, having a combined budget of more than Rs 2.17 lakh crore.
Each of the five ministries under this Committee is of utmost relevance in increasing connectivity, preserving culture and promoting tourism all across the country.
Important institutions that will fall under the jurisdiction of this Committee include the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Airports Authority of India (AAI), Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDP) and all major ports.
The Committee also has the mandate of examining the implementation of crucial schemes and projects such as Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Regional Connectivity Scheme - UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), and PRASHAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive).
The Committee holds special significance, especially at a time when the Prime Minister is pushing for the creation of hard infrastructure through the construction of national highways, airports and multi-modal ports in the country.
The promotion of diverse streams of tourism in the post-pandemic context and the preservation of monuments and historic sites across the country also find great relevance under this Committee.
The development came amidst a major reshuffle that took place in the Parliamentary panels on Tuesday as Congress lost the Home and the crucial Information Technology and Communications panels among others.
According to an official notification, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi who headed the Home panel was replaced by BJP Rajya Sabha MP and former DGP of Uttar Pradesh Brij Lal who has been named as the new chair.
Another loss for the old party was to lose the committee for IT chaired by Lok Sabha MP Dr Shashi Tharoor. The Eknath Shinde-led faction of Shiv Sena now has its chairmanship in three-time Lok Sabha MP Prataprao Jadhav.
The Standing Committee for Environment and Forests is currently with the Congress party. Jairam Ramesh remains its chairman.
Ram Gopal Yadav from the Samajwadi party, who had been holding the post for a long time as chairman of the Health Committee, has been replaced by BJP MP Bhubaneshwar Kalita.
It will be the gain of a committee for DMK as the party has the chairmanship of the Industry Committee with Tiruchi Siva as chief.
YSR Congress which had earlier had Commerce has swapped for the big Transport Tourism and Aviation Committee with Vijaysai Reddy as chief.
The panel on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports will now be chaired by BJP MP Vivek Thakur after its earlier chairman Vinay Shahastrabuddhe retired.
Senior Member of Parliament Jagdambika Pal is now the Chairman of the Energy panel whereas JDU leader Lallan Singh will head Urban Development.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) which had one chairman in the form of Lok Sabha MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay will have no chairmanship.
Reacting to the development, TMC MP Derek O'Brien said, "NEW Standing committees announced. Third largest party in #Parliament, @AITCofficial also 2nd largest opposition party, DOES NOT GET EVEN ONE chairmanship. Also, largest oppn party loses two crucial chairmanships of Parliament committees. This is the stark reality of New India".
The chiefs of two more panels which were reportedly offered to the Congress party including Commerce and Chemical Fertilisers are yet to be announced because the Congress party, as per sources, has still not given their party MP names.
Several vacancies were created in various committees in addition to the ending of the terms of the standing committees with more than 100 MPs retiring from the Upper House recently. (ANI)