MB Subba

The National Council (NC) will table the Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Act 2007 for amendment in the summer session, which will begin on May 27.

The current Act, which was adopted in 2007, requires establishment and registration of CSOs to strengthen civil society by developing human qualities and rendering humanitarian services.

However, NC’s Deputy Chairperson Jigme Wangchuk said that there were issues on the ground regarding operation and regulations of CSOs in the country. “Many CSOs have been coming up in the recent years and certain provisions of the Act are clear,” he said on the need for a new CSO Act.

The amendment Bill was reviewed by the House’s foreign relations committee but has been assigned to the legislative committee.

Members of the House met on May 4 to finalise the agenda for the upcoming session.

The House of Review has also included significant non-legislative issues on the agenda, ranging from a review reports on issues related to farm roads and implementation of Acts by the implementing agencies.

The House will also deliberate on a review report on the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that are under the Ministry of Finance. The session will also see follow-up discussions on renewable natural resources (RNR) marketing policy, which was deliberated in the 26th session.

Other important deliberations will be held on the performance audit reports on food self-sufficiency and security; and housing development (adequacy and affordability); and road maintenance works.

The House of review is scheduled to deliberate on a review report on suicide cases and mental health in the country.

Two disputed Bills—Mines and Minerals and Lhengye Zhungtshog—will be deliberated in a joint session of Parliament. The two Houses have not come to consensus in about six Sections of the Lhengye Zhungtshog Bill.

The main disagreement in the Mines and Minerals Bill pertains to who should operate mines—NC is of the view that operation of all mines should be handed over to the State while the National Assembly wants non-strategic mines to be left open for the private sector.

NC expected to move into Convention Centre

With the commencement of the session, the NC is expected to move into the Convention Centre, which is adjacent to the present NC building at Lanjophakha, Thimphu.

The new hall will have separate galleries for the public, VIPs and the media. The present hall, according to members, is congested.

The NC has placed nangtens (sacred relics) in the new NC Tshogkhang. The nangtens will be part of the main sacred relics inside the NC Tshogkhang.