Chimi Dema

The National Assembly (NA) endorsed the recommendation on the supplementary budget appropriation bill for this financial year proposed by Economic and Finance Committee yesterday.

To cover the expenditure incurred by the salary revision and allowances for the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP), Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) and JSW school of Law, and revision of stipend and subsidy to Stated-Owned Enterprises (SoEs), the government initially tabled a supplementary budget of Nu 898.277 million.

However, the committee recommended supplementary budget for a sum not exceeding Nu 903.277M, adding Nu 5M to cover the expenditure on account of Parliamentary committees and secretariat services of the NA.

Athang-Thedtsho Member of Parliament and also the Chairperson of the committee, Kinley Wangchuk, while presenting the recommendation, said that a new committee for sustainable development was formed in addition to nine existing committees.

Of the total supplementary budget, Nu 684.752M was accounted for covering pay and allowance revision for RBP, Nu 35.445M for revision of pay and allowances for staffs and revision of stipend for trainees with KGUMSB.

While for JSW School of Law, Nu 8.961M was recommended for revision of pay and allowances for staffs and revision of stipend for students.

To cover revision of stipend and other expenditures for students with education ministry and dzongkhags, Nu 114.409M was recommended.

Meanwhile, for scholarship students funded by government of India (GoI), Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said that the government had referred to GoI regarding revision of stipend.

“They had agreed to explore the possibility,” he said.

Considering inadequate stipend for some students in the country, Lyonchhen said that the government is also looking into how enough stipend could be provided.

While the government would provide Central School freebies to only about 11,000 needy and disadvantaged students from this academic session, Lyonchhen said that resources would be directed in providing better and nutritious meals.

“Boarding schools were provided beddings and would be given three nutritious meals a day,” he said.

About Nu 54.7M was recommended as subsidy for SoEs to support revision of pay and allowances.

With the revised budget with the supplementary appropriation was estimated at Nu 65,730M, the fiscal deficit for this fiscal year was estimated to increase from 3.04 percent to 3.4 percent.

At the deliberation, concerns on informal salary revision for the employees of Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC)were also raised.

However, on this, Finance Minister Namgay Tshering said that while a few have shared disgruntlement, no written complaint was received by  the government.

As the BPC is one of the Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) owned companies, he said that it was also important to understand presence of allowances and benefits, specific to the companies including the performance based variable allowance.

Lyonpo said that the Finance Secretary with DHI board is reviewing the lapses.

The Bill will be adopted today.