The government has reinstated the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) four years after the erstwhile committee was dissolved.

CoS comprises the cabinet secretary and the secretaries of 10 ministries and advises the Cabinet on the pros and cons of its decisions.

Speaking with the media yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said, “We have formally reinstated the Committee of Secretaries.” The decision, he said, was taken at a recent Cabinet meeting.

“The secretaries asked for terms of reference so that they would be comfortable to work. I told them no terms of reference was necessary at the secretary level,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that the CoS would work as an advisor to the Cabinet.

“They will not work as Opposition,” he said, adding that most of the members were senior civil servants whose experience and advice would be helpful to the government.

The Prime Minister said that the government was working hard and that it had lined up many programmes that would benefit the people. “I have met with sector heads, including all the secretaries except for two who were out of the country.”

The former government dissolved CoS after surrendering three secretaries, including the cabinet secretary in December 2014 to Royal Civil Service Commission.

Kuensel learnt that the interim government’s (IG) report, had recommended reinstating the CoS or empowering the GNH Commission with similar mandates like the CoS, as all secretaries are members of the GNH Commission.

According to the interim government’s recommendation, doing away of institutionalised decision-making forums within agencies such as GNH committees, sub-committees and rule making committees by the political leadership to pursue their political interests has seriously impeded co-ordination with ministers.

Such forums were recommended to be permanent features so that agencies can follow due process and due diligence when it comes to matters of policies and regulations. These forums are aimed at preventing political leaders from bypassing the head of the agency and departments and will ensure that systems and policies are not undermined.

Such committees are expected to impose checks and balances in the system.

MB Subba