Rajesh Rai  

The Eighth Session of the Third Parliament, which commenced on November 4, concluded yesterday.

The session will be remembered for some historic deliberations.

The session deliberated on and endorsed the historic Gyalsung Bill of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2022.

Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel said: “It has been an immense honour and pride for the Parliament that His Majesty The King also granted Royal Assent to the Bill.”

He said: “The historic Gyalsung Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2022 is a precious gift to the Bhutanese people and to the youth in particular. As we receive this precious gift from His Majesty the King, it is an opportunity for us to rededicate ourselves in the service of the country’s security, sovereignty, well-being, and unity.”

Parliament also deliberated the Civil Service Reform Bill and the Pay Structure Reform Bill of Bhutan.

“The deliberation and passing of the Bills was a blessing for the Parliament to take part in the transformation,” the Speaker said.

He said that one of the greatest achievements of this Parliament was successful deliberation on the 30-year-old property tax policy and the enactment of the Property Tax Act.

The Assembly ratified the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (TIP Protocol).

The House also deliberated on and adopted the Civil Liability Bill of Bhutan 2022 and presented it to the National Council for re-deliberation. The bill originated from the National Council.

The House also re-deliberated on the Forest and Nature Conservation Bill of Bhutan 2021. There were 30 disputed clauses between the two Houses, which will be deliberated in the Summer Session after the Royal Assent.

The question hours saw 48 questions to the government covering social, policy, and developmental issues.

A lone Motion of the Session was moved to hand over the management of the Gewog Centre (GC) roads to the Department of Roads (DoR) or to provide the Local Governments (LG) with an adequate budget.

The motion was not passed but the Assembly endorsed the alternative motion to provide the LG with an adequate budget. The Joint Sitting of the Parliament deliberated and adopted the recommendations made by the Public Account Committee (PAC)—Review Report for Performance Audit Report on Performance Audit Report on Farm Road Development and Management in Bhutan and the Review Report on Performance Audit of Safe and Sustainable Road Transport System.

On the Review Report on Performance Audit Report on Farm Road Development and

Management in Bhutan, the House decided that DoR, as a national authority, must review strategic master plan, institutional arrangement, road classification system, including GC, chiwog and farm road development, inventory management, maintenance, and oversight role to ensure quality management system of the farm roads in the country.

The LG was not able to maintain the roads due to lack of required technical competence and resources.

The PAC recommended that the construction and maintenance of GC roads must be taken over by DoR.

According to the recommendations of the Review Report on the Performance Audit Report on Safe and Sustainable Road Transport System, the government to improve the efficiency and reliable urban public transport system should implement Bus Rapid Transit System and improve bus and taxi stops infrastructure and information boards for travelers at the bus terminals or stops.

The government will also have to come up with policies and measures for a safe and quality public transport system.

The Annual Audit Report 2021-22 and Performance Audit Report on Irrigation Systems were tabled and referred to the PAC for review and deliberation in the summer session.

Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel said: “Lastly, due to the blessings of the Triple Gem, cooperation and support from the Members of Parliament and merits of the people of Bhutan, parliament session was successfully concluded.”

The National Council deliberations also concluded on December 8.