Meeting: A Bhutanese transferring census to anywhere within the country in itself is not against any law, but it’s a question of whether an incumbent elected member, continuing to serve as a gup in a gewog despite transferring his registry (mitsi) to another gewog, be considered against the law, National Council chairperson, Dasho (Dr) Sonam Kinga, said.

One of the gups sought clarification on whether the Drametse gup’s census transfer to Ngatshang gewog last November was against the law during the 8th dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) and gewog tshogdu (GT) chairpersons’ conference on June 19.

He informed the 89 local leaders attending the conference that the issue was discussed at the recent National Council session, and the house directed the good governance committee to submit a final report, taking into consideration the views and concerns of all members.

The house had also resolved to inform the government to take appropriate action on the issue, and incorporate a clear procedure for disqualification of a member from an elective office in the local government (LG) rules and regulations.

Local leaders, while appreciating the revision in travel and daily allowance (TA/DA) for gups, mangmis and clerks from Nu 500 to Nu 750, also shared with the chairperson that the revision wasn’t helpful without a revision on the budget ceiling.

Sakteng gup Tshewang Tshering said that the annual TA/DA budget for Sakteng gewog was Nu 45,000, which wasn’t enough.

“The meetings we attend usually last for a week and the year’s budget finishes after attending the meeting twice,” he said.

Shingkhar gup Ngedup said the budget approved for his gewog for the financial year 2014-15 was about Nu 5.7M (million), but that he received only about Nu 2.5M.

The problem, he said, was because the budget was already approved, works were carried out but there was no money to pay the workers. “We cleared the farm road for about 60km, knowing that there is approved budget; but later, when I submitted the bills, I was told there was no money,” Ngedup said.

Dasho (Dr) Sonam Kinga said that, although the question was relevant to the finance minister, he explained the procedures for getting the budget from the government of India.  The chairperson said the reason could be because of the delay in releasing the budget.

The chairperson also reminded local leaders on the functions and responsibilities of the National Council.

The National Council, he said, has adopted three new systems.  A decision from any deliberation in the council was presented to the government, which then forwarded it to the relevant agencies.  The report for deliberation was returned to the Council, he said, adding that the resolution of the house should be respected and responded to.  After responding, if it has to be re-deliberated, there should be reason why the government wasn’t able to make a decision and why it needed to be deliberated again.

The other new system adopted, he said, was that the budget report deliberated and passed by NA was deliberated in the council, where recommendations were made if required.

The third system, he said, was for the DT and GT chairpersons to keep in mind that, when an issue is being sent to the parliament for deliberation, it should be clear about which house the issue is being sent to.

By Dechen Tshomo