l Kinzang Namgay, Thimphu
National Council (NC) members in last five years have done a commendable job by deliberating on six legislative issues and four policy related issues apart from adopting various recommendations in the House.
In a press conference after the concluding the 20th session, the deputy chairperson of the NC, Tshering Dorji, informed the nation that the House tried everything to live up to the aspirations of His Majesty The King and the people.
“Apart from successfully deliberating on six legislative issues and four policy related issues, we adopted eleven recommendations submitted by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) reports in the joint sitting,” said the deputy chairperson.
He mentioned that 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.
“Except for the Tourism Exemption Levy Bill (TELB), we passed all the other bills with amendments,” he said.
“Besides, the House also adopted a set of recommendation on two policy issues that were prepared and presented to the house by the respective committees,” he added.
First, he said, was on the legal aid services and legal aid policy issue which was submitted by the Legislative Committee.
“The House adopted the resolution to formalize the provision of legal aid services and legal aid to indigent person in the country as top priority by ensuring that 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 and 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,” he said.
The House also deliberated on the review report on the Assessment of Access to and use of G2C services presented by the Special Committee. “We adopted recommendations to 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, and conduct G2C online awareness programs at the Community Centers focusing on women and farmers in particular,” said the chairperson.
He mentioned that the House also adopted recommendations to review the basis of TAT determination 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 and inaccessible areas in remote communities with reliable infocom network connectivity and power supply; and provide Community Centers Operators with periodical training by agencies concerned on available G2C services.
“The House also ratified the Multilateral Agreement for the Establishment of an International Think Tank for Landlocked Countries,” he said.
In the AoB, the House also passed two motions on issues pertaining to leave encasement to LG members; and omission of budget allocated for black-topping of Chuzomsa-Baylandra road in Wangdue Phodrang Dzongkhag.