Closing: After five weeks of vigorous deliberations on two new bills, seven amendment bills and demarcation of thromdes, the fifth session of the second parliament concluded yesterday.

His Majesty The King graced the closing of Parliament.

Members of parliament from the ruling, opposition and the National Council expressed their appreciation to His Majesty The King for the guidance and support rendered to the people through various initiatives and kidu.  The members also thanked His Majesty The King and the Gyaltsuen for traveling to remote villages in the country to meet the people and cater to their needs.

Members, on behalf of the people, also thanked Her Majesty Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck for starting the People’s Initiative in Celebrating the Sixtieth Anniversary (PICSA) to supplement the government’s initiatives for the 60th birth anniversary celebrations of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.  Members also thanked His Holiness the Je Khenpo and the zhung dratshang for the wellbeing of the country and people.

Labour minister Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, on behalf of the government, expressed his gratitude to His Majesty The King for the guidance and advice to the government in being able to perform their duties without fail. “Keeping in mind the benefit of the nation and the people, the parliament without any hesitation deliberated the laws and passed them accordingly,” lyonpo said.

On the National Council’s behalf, Bumthang’s councillor Nima said one of the challenges in a democracy was to meet the growing expectations of the people.  Similarly, when people strove for wealth, some could be left behind. “In such situations, His Majesty provided them kidu, besides building confidence among the people,” he said. “Whenever people face problems in life and have no one to turn to, it is assured that His Majesty The King would always be there.”

On behalf of the opposition, Drametse-Ngatshang’s representative Ugyen Wangdi also thanked His Majesty The King and said that His Majesty The King had been a source of inspiration for members to serve the nation.

Ugyen Wangdi also said that, while discussing laws in the parliament, the opposition provided full support to the government for the benefit of the people.

Speaker Jigme Zangpo, in his closing remarks, said that the parliament has passed five bills in the joint sitting and the bills have been submitted to His Majesty The King for royal ascent.  The assembly has sent three bills to the council.  The parliament endorsed demarcation of 15 dzongkhag and 18 yenlag thromdes for balanced regional development as prescribed in the Constitution.

“The 24 percent increase in budget for the 2015-16 financial year that the parliament endorsed is expected to benefit the people and country enormously,” he said, thanking the Indian government for generous financial support in the 11th Plan and the timely release of funds. 

The speaker also lauded the efforts of the Election Commission of Bhutan for conducting two parliamentary elections besides the local government elections.

He also expressed the people’s appreciation of the match between Bhutan and China yesterday. “The credit in Bhutan reaching an international level in a short period of time goes to the Bhutan Olympic Committee and HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck,” he said.

The five bills that the joint sitting of Parliament passed are the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Bill, Tenancy bill, Local Government Members Entitlement Bill, Bio-Safety Bill, and the Office of Attorney General Bill.

The 15th session of the National Council that concluded on June 15 endorsed the Entitlement and Service Conditions Act for the Holders, Members and Commissioners of Constitutional Offices of Bhutan (amendment) bill.  The committees also presented reports on tourism, employment and hydropower policies and strategies and on rationalisation of gewogs.

By Kinga Dema