5th session of the National Council opens

National Council Hall

The opening of the 5th session of the National Council began with traditional ceremony of Marchang before announcing agenda for adoption. It was a moment to express gratitude to His Majesty for the many kidus the people have benefitted from and continue to. The occasion was also befitting to mention the Government’s achievement on successfully hosting the 16th SAARC Summit. Many of us who grew up calling the National Assembly building as SAARC building would remember how long it has taken. The event saw the gathering of the largest number of guests. To also extend best wishes to Hon’ble Prime Minister on assuming the chair ship of SAARC. After some deliberation, the House formally adopted the agenda for the 5th session. Following this introductions to Adoption bill and child protection and child care bill were introduced by the Education Minister. Here are some of my thoughts which I expressed at the sitting; The deferring of the Adoption bill would work allows the Council and designated Social and Cultural Affairs Committee (SCAC) to complete legislative process before presentation for deliberation in the House. The Committee’s present commitments does not allow engagement and therefore, it would become one of it’s assignments for the next session to start work as soon as the session concludes. The process would involve various steps, one of which would be interactions at a larger scale. In order to pass a good law, it is critical enough analysis is done and I completely support this reasoning. While the SCAC’s commitment to other legislative works could not allow Adoption Bill, the House had decided to assign child protection and child care bill to the Legislative Committee to balance work load and therefore, has made it possible to table it for deliberations in the current session. While concerns of expenditure and using child care and protection models from developed countries are valid, emergence of trends of increasing violence among the youth is indicative of the problems inherent in our society today. This piece of legislation would allow for initiation of FOCUS in the matter; a recognition of the need to do something about it. In end, what suits our society is something we will see during deliberations in the days to come, it remains critical to create avenues for intervention at the level we can at the moment. In doing this, we set in motion more than just words but an initiative by a committed agency in trying to discuss such issues by bringing it out for discussion. Deliberations I foresee the balance of practicality and also benefits and in the end, a good and comprehensive law which will help our society and our young ones, in an increasing complex lifestyle, to become a good person. The Civil Service Bill was introduced by the Minister for labour and human resources. In my earlier post I had briefly described the history of the bill which later ended in disagreement, this was re-iterated. The question of validity of recommendations of the last Joint Committee (JC) before the civil service bill became a dead bill saw comments from two members. The recommendations made by the JC then are not binding while discussing the new civil service bill. The minister presenting the bill also concurred and the Chair made it clear that discussions would go ahead as in the case of any new bill. My thought on the matter is that the last discussions which failed to result into a fruitful resolution saw the constitution of an ad hoc JC to work to move forward. These agreements that were referred to today were outcomes of the JC. I wonder if the bill could look too different given that. Additionally, given the largely supported notion of a small society needing one civil service (without fragmenting the civil service structure today too much in the Houses) can discussions happen without coming to the agreed clauses? The new civil service bill will be discussed as a new bill as law prescribes with earnest inputs; the early processes in the Council (as part of the Good Governance Committee working on the bill to be tabled) have followed norms and will view and work on the bill as being a new bill but insights from interactions before today will be useful in the decision to be made in the coming days.


About Sangay Khandu

Elected to Parliament of Bhutan twice. Previously worked with the Central Bank, the largest SoE (power utility) and international organization.
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