Governance: The National Council (NC) will call a press conference twice every session – one in the beginning of the session and another at the end. The first conference was held yesterday in the capital.

The Council’s Deputy Chairperson and Spokesperson, Tshering Dorji, said the press conference was held recognising the need to disseminate information to the people.

He said while media play a crucial role in information dissemination, it is important to ensure that there is no “misreporting”. The 17th session of the NC begins from June 1.

The deputy chairperson said various bills, policy issues, constituency issues and follow-up reports of the 16th session resolution will be deliberated. “Our deliberations are all research-based,” he said.

Since the conclusion of the last session, the NC’s committees have been engaged in intensive research and consultative meetings with relevant stakeholders in preparation of the 17th session.

The deputy chairperson said unlike the erstwhile Chimis, the MPs hold many informal sessions in between the formal sessions. “We do a lot of work in between the formal sessions,” he said.

The Chairperson of the legislative committee, Sangay Khandu, Eminent Member Tashi Wangmo and the Chairperson of the economic affairs committee also interacted with the media persons.

Besides the legislative bills, Sangay Khandu said the house will deliberate issues related to illegal immigration and move a motion concerning ownership of assets and accounts abroad by Bhutanese. The house will also present an interim report on review of agriculture policies.

The NC will adopt a Red Cross Society Bill, which is the only new bill this session. Tashi Wangmo said as a signatory to the Geneva Convention it was obligatory for Bhutan to enact the law.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) framework agreement will be deliberated in a joint sitting. Sonam Dorji said a joint committee of the two houses of parliament have been meeting regularly to solve disagreements. However, he said no concrete solution has been found yet.

The deputy chairperson added: “If the EIB framework agreement is passed by Parliament it becomes a law. We have to be mindful about its impact.”

The NC has also taken up with relevant agencies, constituency related issues raised by the people. The agencies have provided their responses, a copy of which is on the NC’s website.

As in the past, those issues requiring further deliberation are taken up in the formal session.

MB Subba