MB Subba

A joint committee comprising members from both the Houses of Parliament would be formed to study and carry out research on the benefits and possibility of conducting three sessions a year.

A plenary session was held on November 20 and 21 attended by cabinet members and MPs from both the ruling party and the Opposition. The idea emerged from the National Assembly.

Deputy Speaker Tshencho Wangdi said that the National Assembly would forward the proposal to the National Council (NC). “The idea needs to be discussed properly,” he said.

NC member from Bumthang, Nima, said if having three sessions in year would address the current issues needed to be studied.

“We also need to study if having three sessions would create inconveniences to members in managing constituency visits and committee meetings.”

National Assembly Secretary General Sangay Duba said that the proposal had come from the opposition at a meeting held on November 5 to reflect on the parliament’s first year.

“Pros and cons need to be discussed. The discussion is at a raw level,” Sangay Duba said.

According to the proposed idea, there will be a short budget session between the spring and the fall sessions. The objective is to give more time for discussion on bills and better management of constituency visits by MPs.

Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel in an earlier interview with Kuensel said that the need to conduct three sessions in a year was strongly felt among National Assembly members and that it was a good idea.

According to the proposal, the   spring session would be held from mid-March to the end of April and the fall session from mid-October to the end of November. Both sessions have been proposed to last 45 days.

The budget session, the Opposition proposed, would be held from the second week to the third week of June, for 10 days. The total number of days allotted for the three sessions would come 100.

Currently a parliament session lasts about 40 to 45 days or up to 90 days in a year. The idea is to enable more exhaustive debates and deliberations on bills.

The Constitution states that both the National Council and the National Assembly should meet a minimum of two times in a year.

The proposed arrangement is expected to give more time for legislative bills and Question Hour. Lack of time for deliberations and question and answer sessions have been a major constraint for the parliament.

Some MPs hail the Question Hour as the most beautiful part of democracy where MPs get to quiz ministers. But they add that the required importance was not accorded to it.