Thinley Namgay

The 33rd session of the National Council (NC) will today introduce and deliberate on the review report of the satong (fallow land) and goongtong (empty houses).

The NC’s Good Governance Committee Chairperson, Phuntsho Rapten, will present the report to the house.  

This agenda is viewed by many as a critical issue considering there are close to 5,129 goongtongs and the underutilisation of seven percent of arable land in the country, as per latest reports.  

The 33rd session of the NC commenced yesterday. 

The NC’s Chairperson, Sangay Dorji, thanked His Majesty the King for working selflessly for  the welfare of the country and the people.

The chairperson said that His Majesty the King’s international visits have further strengthened the already existing good relations with countries around the world.

“His Majesty has always been providing advice and setting directions for the members of parliament with utmost love and affection.”

Sangay Dorji also thanked Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen for accompanying His Majesty on many international visits.   

Regarding the visionary Gelephu Mindfulness City, Sangay Dorji said that His Majesty’s announcement about the City during the 116th National Day had brought happiness to Bhutanese both inside the country and abroad. “On behalf of all Bhutanese, I want to wholeheartedly thank His Majesty the King.”

The Chairperson acknowledged that under the leadership of His Majesty the King, Bhutan could send two United Nations Peacekeeping contingents.

He also thanked His Majesty for awarding the Order of The Druk Gyalpo, Bhutan’s highest civilian recognition, to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, which is an indication of the exemplary relationship between Bhutan and India and the continued relations for all times to come.

The Chairperson also expressed gratitude to the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, His Holiness the Khenpo, Her Majesty Gyalyum Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck, and the Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck for their continued service to the country and the people.

He said that the NC is optimistic that the government and the opposition party will work together to fulfill the aspirations of His Majesty the King and the people.

Besides satong and goongtong, the upper house will also deliberate on rural credit accessibility, compensation-related policies for human-wildlife conflict and crop damage due to natural calamities, and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of Bhutan, 2013.

Review reports on education-related legislation and the state of persons with disabilities will also be deliberated.

The finance minister will present the 13th Plan at the NC, which will be followed by deliberations and endorsement.

On the NC agenda is also the introduction and deliberation on the annual budget appropriation Bill for 2024-2025 and the supplementary budget appropriation Bill for 2023-2024.

The Prime Minister will present the annual State of the Nation report at the joint sitting, covering topics such as legislative plans, annual plans, and priorities of the government.