To strengthen the CSO authority and secretariat

With 21 National Council (NC) members voting YES, the House unanimously adopted the Civil Society Organisation (Amendment) Bill 2021 yesterday.

The Bill includes new provisions such as: Civil Society Organisation (CSO) should be provided with adequate human resources necessary to enable it to exercise its powers or function efficiently.

The amendment is expected to strengthen CSO authority and secretariat, to have enough human resources and to make constructive and productive decisions.

More than a decade after its enactment, the CSO Act of Bhutan 2007 was tabled for amendment at the NC during the fourth sitting of the House on June 2 due to troubled implementation and overall institutional capacity.

The legislative committee introduced the Bill for deliberation. Its chairperson, eminent NC member Phuntsho Rapten, said that the amended Act would strengthen the Act and the CSOs.

“The amendment is to ensure it boosts CSOs’ growth through the Act given their contributions to the communities,” he added.

The Bill also introduced a new section where the government shall make adequate financial provisions for the independent administration of the CSO authority as part of its annual budget.

The new section of the Bill also states that accounting records of CSOs must contain financial statement (revenue and expenses, assets and liabilities, cash flow statement).

A CSO shall be removed from the register if it has ceased, for a period of at least two years, to carry out the purposes and activities set forth in its Article of Association according to the Bill.

The Bill was reviewed based on principles such as safeguarding the country’s security, balanced and coordinated CSO, strengthening the capacity of CSO authority and secretariat, and harmonising the existing provisions.

There are 63 registered CSOs in the country; 25 are awaiting registration.

The Bill will be forwarded to the National Assembly for the re-deliberation.

By Yangchen C Rinzin 

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk