Governance: A bill to establish a Red Cross Society in Bhutan will be tabled in the upcoming session of the National Council. The Parliament session will begin on May 26.

The good governance committee in collaboration with the working committee for the establishment of Red Cross Society has held a consultative meeting with the health ministry on the bill.

The bill was drafted after studying the merits of establishing a national society of the Red Cross in the country. The country is expected to benefit from the establishment of the society.

The Red Cross Society will be a humanitarian organisation providing services including relief and emergency assistance. The society will also tentatively provide disaster preparedness and response, community health programmes, first aid, sanitation, awareness raising and social welfare programmes.

The Council has released a tentative agenda for the upcoming session. However, there are no new bills in the Council in the upcoming session besides the Red Cross bill.

NC member from Gasa, Sangay Khandu said the Red Cross Society bill will be introduced in the house. The House is expected to pass the bill in the upcoming session and submit it to the National Assembly.

“We don’t have other new bills in this session,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly is yet to release its agenda for the session. The House is expected to see plenty of fire works as controversial bills including the Bangladesh, Bhutan India and Nepal transport agreement and the European Investment Bank (EIB) framework agreement are expected to be reintroduced.

The BBIN agreement was rejected by the National Assembly last year amidst concerns raised from opposition members on the validity of the resolution on BBIN agreement.

In its effort to ensure a smooth passage of the bill, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) made a presentation to the members of both the houses at MoIC recently.

The MoIC will resubmit the agreement along with the protocol and schedule for the agreement. The protocol and schedule will contain operational and administrative details for implementation of the agreement.

The EIB framework agreement was rejected by the Council, stating that the framework agreement is not in consonance with the country’s external commercial borrowing guidelines and that it could undermine Bhutan’s sovereignty. The Council asked the government to amend the clauses that the house felt did not serve the national interests.

The Paro dzongkhag thromde map is set to change again.

Following a directive from the works and human settlement ministry, the ministry recently directed the dzongkhag administration to ask people whether they want to go by the current boundary or the one endorsed by the DT. Local leaders have said they want the thromde map to be redrawn.

It was claimed that about 500 acres of paddy would be lost to the thromde if the parliament did not reverse its decision. Local leaders argue that the affected people are dependent on agriculture and that the inclusion of their land in the thromde would affect farmers’ livelihood.

MB Subba