Deliberations on disputed Bills and State of the Nation report
The National Assembly of Bhutan (NAB) is gearing up for the 10th session of the parliament, set to commence in October. With an estimated duration of approximately 15 days or less, the session aims to finalize pending legislative matters and present the state of the nation, according to the National Assembly Speaker, Wangchuk Namgyel.
The central focus of the 10th session rests upon four crucial bills that have undergone passage in the National Assembly and subsequently been forwarded to the National Council for review, during the 9th session of the Third Parliament.
The bills include the Biological Corridor of Bhutan 2023, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, BIMSTEC Charter, and Agreement on Movement of Traffic-in-Transit between Bangladesh and Bhutan. Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel elaborated that should the National Council (NC) approve all sections of these bills without modifications, they will be expedited for Royal Assent. However, any disparities between the two bodies would lead to joint discussions in the upcoming session.
Additionally, the Speaker stated that the session holds no fresh legislative additions. Its purpose is the resolution of contested bills from prior sessions. Additionally, the session will feature the presentation of the Performance Audit Report of the irrigation system and Cyber Security Preparedness by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The Prime Minister is scheduled to deliver the State of the Nation report, while the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) review report will be presented by the Good Governance Committee.
The 10th session’s timing, occurring in close proximity to the conclusion of the ninth session, aims to promptly address and resolve legislative conflicts. Meanwhile, the impending winter session, which usually convenes in November, is being rescheduled this year due to the impending elections and the government’s transition period in 2023-2024.
Clarifying speculations regarding the inclusion of new Bills, with the grapevine doing the round that Bills such as the Gelephu City Bill would be introduced, the Speaker categorically confirmed that it will not be part of the proceedings. He emphasized that the session’s primary objective is to expeditiously address and resolve deliberations pertaining to the disputed bills, which are not expected to protract.
The speaker mentioned that the 10th session of the Bhutanese Parliament holds the promise of significant developments, focusing on the resolution of legislative disputes and the illumination of the nation’s current status.
Tshering Pelden from Thimphu