Ex­cept for the Tourism Ex­emp­tion Levy Bill, Na­tional Coun­cil amended all the other bills

Bhutan Times - - Home - Sonam Pen­jor

In the 20th ses­sion of Na­tional Coun­cil, ex­cept for the Tourism Ex­emp­tion Levy Bill, Deputy Chair­per­son Tsh­er­ing Dorji said that the coun­cil en­dorsed all the other bills with amend­ments.

The house en­dorsed the Anti-Money Laun­der­ing and Coun­ter­ing Fi­nanc­ing of Terrorism Bill 2017, In­for­ma­tion, Com­mu­ni­ca­tion & Me­dia Bill 2016, Nar­cotic Drugs, Psy­chotropic Sub­stance and sub­stance Abuse Bill, and re-de­lib­er­ated the Au­dit Bill of Bhutan 2017; and Tourism Ex­emp­tion Levy Bill.

Deputy Chair­per­son said dur­ing the press con­fer­ence last Thurs­day that the last ses­sion de­lib­er­ated six leg­isla­tive is­sues, four pol­icy re­lated is­sues and pub­lic ac­counts re­ports in the joint ses­sion.

Be­sides that, the house also adopted a set of rec­om­men­da­tion on two pol­icy is­sues that was pre­pared and pre­sented to the house by the re­spec­tive com­mit­tees, added the deputy chair­per­son.

First, on the le­gal aid ser­vices and le­gal aid pol­icy is­sue which was submitted by the Leg­isla­tive Com­mit­tee, the house adopted the fol­low­ing res­o­lu­tions. For in­stance to for­mal­ize the pro­vi­sion of le­gal aid ser­vices and le­gal aid to in­di­gent per­son in the coun­try as top pri­or­ity that to en­sure the le­gal aid ser­vices is pro­vided to both the civil and crim­i­nal cases; en­sur­ing that in the case of civil mat­ters, due cau­tion be ex­er­cised right from the be­gin­ning to pri­or­i­tize the na­ture of cases such as those con­cern­ing fam­ily (mat­ri­mo­nial), chil­dren, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, mon­e­tary mat­ters, land/prop­erty is­sues and is­sues aris­ing from in­fringe­ment of con­sti­tu­tional rights for the pur­pose of pro­vid­ing le­gal, en­sur­ing that the le­gal aid ser­vices and le­gal aid to in­di­gent per­son is avail­able from the time the ac­cused is held in the cus­tody to fa­cil­i­tate suf­fi­cient means to fairer ju­di­cial de­ter­mi­na­tions;

The house also adopted con­sid­er­ing an­nual in­come of a per­son to be el­i­gi­ble for le­gal aid as an in­di­gent per­son un­less a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive is found out that be­low Nu 39,000 in a year based on na­tional min­i­mum wage of Nu.125 per day (Nu.3, 250/month), or be­low Nu 69,648 in a year for ur­ban ar­eas and Nu 39,012 in a year for ru­ral ar­eas based on the mean monthly per capita house­hold ex­pen­di­ture in 2012.

The deputy chair­per­son said that, the house had adopted le­gal aid ser­vices to en­sure the pro­vi­sion of ad­e­quate bud­getary sup­port and cre­at­ing op­tions to re­ceive do­na­tions, grants, sub­si­dies, fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from other le­gal sources and also con­sid­ered draft­ing a sep­a­rate leg­is­la­tion on le­gal aid, and, un­til such leg­is­la­tion is en­acted, make ap­pro­pri­ate ar­range­ment to de­liver le­gal aid ser­vices and le­gal aid to in­di­gent per­son.

The house also de­lib­er­ated on the re­view re­port on the As­sess­ment of Ac­cess to and use of G2C ser­vices pre­sented by the Spe­cial Com­mit­tee and adopted some rec­om­men­da­tions for con­sid­er­a­tion which in­cludes ini­ti­ate an an­nual aware­ness pro­gram on avail­able G2C ser­vices with min­istries con­cerned to ed­u­cate pub­lic on the avail­abil­ity of ser­vices that are not com­monly used; make use of ra­dio, tele­vi­sion, so­cial me­dia and other plat­forms to reach mass au­di­ence in ru­ral and ur­ban set­tings; con­duct G2C on­line aware­ness pro­grams at the Com­mu­nity Cen­ters fo­cus­ing on women and farm­ers in par­tic­u­lar.

Be­sides that, the house de­lib­er­ated on re­view the ba­sis of TAT de­ter- mi­na­tion in view of dis­parate time taken as op­posed to the stan­dard TAT for sev­eral ser­vices; ad­dress hin­drances that pre­vent the G2C ser­vices to be de­liv­ered as per the Turn-Around-Time stan­dard; equip com­mu­nity cen­ters (CC) and in­ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas in re­mote com­mu­ni­ties with re­li­able in­fo­com net­work con­nec­tiv­ity and power sup­ply; and pro­vide com­mu­nity cen­ters op­er­a­tors with pe­ri­od­i­cal train­ings by agen­cies con­cerned on avail­able G2C ser­vices.

Mean­while, the house also rat­i­fied the Mul­ti­lat­eral Agree­ment for the Estab­lish­ment of an In­ter­na­tional Think Tank for Land­locked Coun­tries.

The House also passed two mo­tions on is­sues per­tain­ing to leave en­cash­ment to LG mem­bers; and omis­sion of bud­get al­lo­cated for black-top­ping of Chu­zomsa-Bay­lan­dra road in Wang­duepho­drang Dzongkhag.

The Na­tional Coun­cil en­dorsed the Anti-Money Laun­der­ing and Coun­ter­ing Fi­nanc­ing of Terrorism Bill 2017, In­for­ma­tion, Com­mu­ni­ca­tion & Me­dia Bill 2016, Nar­cotic Drugs, Psy­chotropic Sub­stance and sub­stance Abuse Bill, and re-de­lib­er­ated the Au­dit Bill of Bhutan 2017; and Tourism Ex­emp­tion Levy Bill. Ex­cept for the Tourism Ex­emp­tion Levy Bill, the Na­tional Coun­cil passed all the other bills with amend­ments.

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