NC Session Concludes with Adoption of Key Reports and Budget Bills

NC Session Concludes with Adoption of Key Reports and Budget Bills

The 33rd session of the National Council (NC) drew to a close on 5th July, marked by the adoption of significant legislative measures and policy recommendations aimed at advancing governance and socio-economic initiatives across Bhutan.

The session culminated in the adoption of three pivotal review reports and the passage of crucial budgetary bills for the upcoming financial years. Among the notable outcomes, the National Council embraced the Budget Appropriation Bill for the Financial Year 2024-2025, alongside the Supplementary Budget Appropriation Bill for the Financial Year 2023-2024.

Review Reports

  1. Satoong and Gungtong Review Report: The Council endorsed all 12 recommendations outlined in the review report on Satoong and Gungtong. Recommendations included the formulation of a national rice policy, strategies for land use and exchange, and various initiatives to support youth and farmers. Additional proposals, such as those suggested by MP Jamyang Namgyal and Sonam Tobgyel, focused on enhancing credit access for the youth.
  2. State of Persons with Disabilities Review Report: Recommendations from the Social and Cultural Affairs Committee were approved, highlighting measures like housing allocations, disability allowances, and the recruitment of Special Educational Needs teachers. The report also advocated for reserving government positions for persons with disabilities and improving affordable transportation beyond Thimphu.
  3. Compensation Policies for Human-Wildlife Conflict and Crop Damage: The Council adopted recommendations pertaining to compensation policies for human-wildlife conflicts and crop damage due to natural calamities. Key suggestions included harmonizing existing policies, establishing a dedicated budget, launching an insurance scheme, and implementing sustainable compensation annually. The report also stressed on scientific farming practices and the relocation of isolated settlements to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.

Budget Bills and Five-Year Plan

In addition to the review reports, the National Council endorsed the 13th Five-Year Plan after incorporating recommendations from the Economic Affairs Committee. Key recommendations centered on sector-specific plans for agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing, bolstering human resources in local governance, ensuring timely completion of hydropower projects, and integrating the Economic Stimulus Plan.

Forward Steps

The adopted review reports and budget bills will now be forwarded to the National Assembly for further deliberation and approval. Throughout the session, the Council engaged in seven question hour sessions with ministers, including the Prime Minister, underscoring its commitment to transparency and accountability in governance.

The conclusion of the 33rd session signifies a pivotal moment in Bhutanese legislative efforts, reflecting the Council’s dedication to addressing diverse socio-economic challenges and advancing national development agendas.

By Nidup Lhamo, Thimphu