MB Subba

The pre-session plenary of the National Assembly (NA) held yesterday finalised the agenda for the winter session, with the Forest and Nature Conservation Bill 2021 as a new legislative Bill.

The session will also deliberate the Fiscal Incentives Bill 2021, the Custom Duty (Amendment) Bill 2021, Tax (Amendment) Bill 2021, and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) (Amendment) Bill 2021.

Implementation of the GST Bill will be deferred to July 1, 2022, as the GST software is still being developed.

Regarding submissions from the dzongkhags, Chhukha dzongkhag tshogdu submitted two issues that were related to difficulty allowances for civil servants, and local government boundary demarcations. Neither of the issues, however, made it onto the agenda.

A member from the ruling party said that it was not an appropriate time for Parliament to discuss difficulty allowances.

The member said that the local government boundaries would be discussed during the delimitation process.

However, Opposition Leader Dorji Wangdi said that the issues were common and that they merited discussion in Parliament.

He said that the Mines and Minerals Bill should be introduced along with the Forest and Nature Conservation Bill, due to inconsistencies in the existing versions of the two. However, the agenda does not include the Mines and Minerals Bill.

Presided over by Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel, the meeting was attended by the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, Cabinet Ministers, and members of the National Assembly.

The session will commence on November 25. The month-long session will also deliberate the Civil Society Organization (Amendment) Bill 2021, the Royal Bhutan Police (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2021, and the Biodiversity Bill 2021.

One of the highlights of the session will be the Prime Minister’s State of the Nation Report, which will be presented in a joint sitting.

The session will also see deliberations on the Review Report on the Royal Audit Authority’s Annual Audit Report 2020, the Performance Audit Report of the Public Accounts Committee, the Report of the Good Governance Committee on the Anti-Corruption Commission’s Annual Report 2020-2021, and motions from Members.

Edited by Tashi Dema