NC committees reviewing 12 major legislative and policy issues
The seven committees of the National Council (NC) of Bhutan are currently reviewing the 12 relevant major legislative and policy issues.
A press conference held by the Deputy Chairperson and spokesperson of NC, Tshering Dorji on 10 August 2016 provided an update on the status of committee works.
The joint committees are established by an Act of Parliament or by concurrent resolution of the National Council and the National Assembly comprising both the houses for the work to be done expeditiously and with reasonable care.
Accordingly, a special committee has been constituted to review issues related to the quality of education while the Economic Affairs Committee has been constituted to review the remaining period of the 11th Five-Year Plan (FYP) which has been reviewed by government. It will also help implement the 12th FYP based on past experiences.
The Legislative Committee has been constituted to review customs bill of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2015 and motor vehicle agreement of the passengers, cargo and vehicular agreement between the Bangladesh, Kingdom of Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) to facilitate and regulate the cross-border movement of vehicles.
The Natural Resources and Environment Committees were formed to review agricultural-related issues and the Social and Cultural Affairs Committee was formed to study socio-cultural issues.
The Foreign Relations committee has been formed to review civil aviation bill 2015 and the Good Governance Committee has been constituted to review the performance audit report of Gewog Development Grant, issues related to policy formulation protocol, financial security of Anti-corruption Commission, and Public procurement system.
Besides, the NC is reviewing issues related to consolidation and harmonization of law records of implementation of Acts, teenage pregnancy and sexual harassment, and penal code provision related to consensual sex and statutory rape among other related issues.
Tshering Dorji said the relevant committee meetings and fortnightly plenary sessions will continue to hold consultation meetings and field visits with relevant stakeholders on the issues that have been as- signed to them.
The final review reports of various committees will be deliberated in the 18th session and another press conference will be held prior to the forthcoming winter session.
During the closing ceremony of the 17th session, all the committees were delegated to undertake various issues for review. “Since then, the committees have been conducting series of meetings with ministers concerned, agencies and stakeholders to have a deeper understanding of the issues at hand,” he said.
The committees of the National Council have been exhaustively preparing to present the issues to the House in the 18th session.
The formal session of the Parliament concluded months ago. However, he said the NC is always in session as parliament in general and it conducts most of its business through the committees.
The spokesperson said that the committees have been periodically reporting on the status and progress of their works to the House. Chaired by Chairperson of the National Council, the plenary convenes at least twice a month.
Some Committees have moved a motion for amendment of some laws and drawn attention of the house on certain issue that have impacted the public, other sought further directives and guidance on their ongoing assignments from plenary.
The Deputy Chairperson reported that three plenary meetings and 48 committee meetings have been conducted with various stakeholders since the conclusion of the formal sitting of the 17th session of the NC.