Chapter 8
Assurances

Definition

8.1 During the course of reply given to a question or a discussion, if a Minister gives an undertaking which involves further action on the part of the Government in reporting back to the House, it is called an ‘assurance’. Standard list of such expressions which normally constitute assurances and as approved by the Committees on Government Assurances of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, is given at Annex 3. As assurances are required to be implemented within a specified time limit, care should be taken by all concerned while drafting replies to the questions to restrict the use of these expressions only to those occasions when it is clearly intended to give an assurance in these terms.

 

8.2 When an assurance is given by a Minister or when the Presiding Officer directs the Government to furnish information to the House, it is extracted by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs from the relevant proceedings and communicated to the department concerned normally within 10 working days of the date on which it is given.

Deletion from the list of assurances

8.3.1 If the administrative department has any objection to treating such a statement as an assurance or finds that it would not be in the public interest to fulfil it, it may write to the Lok/Rajya Sabha Secretariat direct with a copy to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs within a week of the receipt of such communication for getting it deleted from the list of assurances. Such action will require prior approval of the Minister.

 

8.3.2 Departments should make request for dropping of assurances immediately on receipt of statement of assurances from the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and only in rare cases where they are fully convinced that the assurances could not be implemented under any circumstances and there is no option left with them but to make a request for dropping. Such requests should have the approval of their Minister and this fact should be indicated in their communication containing the request. If such a request is made towards the end of the stipulated period of three months, then it should invariably be accompanied with a request for extension of time. The department should continue to seek extension of time till a decision of the Committee on Government Assurances is received by them. Copy of the above communications should be simultaneously endorsed to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.

Time limit for fulfilling and assurance

8.4.1 An assurance given in either House is required to be fulfilled within a period of three months from the date of the assurance. This time limit has to be strictly observed.

Extension of time for fulfilling an assurance

8.4.2 If the department finds that it is not possible to fulfil the assurance within the stipulated period of three months or within the period of extension already granted, it may seek further extension of time direct from the respective Committee on Government Assurances under intimation to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs as soon as the need for such extension becomes apparent, indicating the reasons for delay and the probable additional time required. Such a communication should be issued with the approval of the Minister.

Registers of assurances

 

 

8.5.1 The particulars of every assurance will be entered by the Parliament Unit of the department concerned in a register as at Annex 4 after which the assurance will be passed on to the concerned section.

 

8.5.2 Even ahead of the receipt of communication from the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, the section concerned should take prompt action to fulfil such assurances and keep a watch thereon in a register as at Annex 5.

 

8.5.3 The registers referred to in paras 8.5.1 and 8.5.2 will be maintained separately for the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha assurances, entries therein being made session wise.

Role of Section Officer and Branch Officer

 

8.6.1 The Section Officer incharge of the concerned section will:

(a)  scrutinise the registers once a week;

(b)  ensure that necessary follow-up action is taken without any delay whatsoever;

(c)  submit the registers to the branch officer every fortnight if the House concerned is in session and once a month otherwise, drawing his special attention to assurances which are not likely to be implemented within the period of three months; and

(d)  review of pending assurances should be undertaken periodically at the highest level in order to minimise the delay in implementing the assurances.

 

8.6.2 The branch officer will likewise keep his higher officer and Minister informed of the progress made in the implementation of assurances, drawing their special attention to the causes of delay.

Procedure for fulfilment of an assurance

8.7.1 Every effort should be made to fulfil the assurance within the prescribed period. In case only part of the information is available and collection of the remaining information would involve considerable time, an implementation report containing the available information should be supplied to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in part fulfillment of the assurance, within the prescribed time limit. However, efforts should continue to be made for expeditious collection of the remaining information for complete implementation of the assurance at the earliest.

 

8.7.2 Information to be supplied in partial or complete fulfilment of an assurance should be approved by the Minister concerned and 15 copies thereof (bilingual) in the prescribed proforma as at Annex 6, together with its enclosures, along with one copy each in Hindi and English duly authenticated by the officer forwarding the implementation report, should be sent to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. If, however, the information being furnished is in response to an assurance given in reply to a question etc., asked for by more than one member, an additional copy of the completed proforma (both in Hindi and English) should be furnished in respect of each additional member. A copy of this communication should be endorsed to the Parliament Unit for completing column 7 of its register.

 

8.7.3 The implementation reports should be sent to the Ministry of the Parliamentary Affairs and not to the Lok/Rajya Sabha Secretariat. No advance copies of the implementation reports are to be endorsed to the Lok/Rajya Sabha Secretariat either.

Laying of the implementation report on the Table of the House 

8.8 The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, after a scrutiny of the implementation report, will arrange to lay it on the Table of the House concerned. A copy of the statement, as laid on the Table, will be forwarded by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to the member as well as the department concerned. The Parliament Unit of the department concerned and the concerned section will, on the basis of this statement, make a suitable entry in their registers.

Obligation to lay a paper on the Table of the House vis-à-vis assurance on the same subject

8.9 Where there is an obligation to lay any paper (rule/order/notification, etc.) on the Table of the House and for which an assurance has also been given, it will be laid on the Table, in the first instance, in fulfilment of the obligation, independent of the assurance given. After this is done, a report in formal implementation of the assurance indicating the date on which the paper was laid on the Table will be sent to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in the prescribed proforma (Annex 6) in the manner already described in para 8.7.2.

Committees on Government Assurances
LSR 323,324
RSR 211-A

8.10 Each House of Parliament has a Committee on Government assurances nominated by the Speaker/Chairman. It scrutinises the implementation reports and the time taken in the fulfilment of Government assurances and focuses attention on the delays and other significant aspects, if any, pertaining to them. Instructions issued by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs from time to time are to be followed strictly.
Reports of the Committees on Government Assurances 8.11 The department will, in consultation with the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, scrutinise the reports of these two committees for remedial action wherever called for.
Effect on assurances on dissolution of the Lok Sabha 8.12 On dissolution of the Lok Sabha, all assurances, promises or undertakings pending implementation are scrutinised by the new Committee on Government assurances for selection of such of them as are of considerable public importance. The Committee then submits a report to the Lok Sabha with a specific recommendation regarding the assurances to be dropped or retained for implementation by the Government.