MB Subba

The forthcoming 26th National Council (NC) session, which will begin November 26, will witness deliberations on at least five Bills and international conventions.

No new Bills will be introduced in the House, however, according to Deputy Chairperson Jigme Wangchuk.

All the Bills that the House is reviewing have been passed by the National Assembly.

The House will deliberate the RNR marketing policy which will involve the government’s buyback scheme. Jigme Wangchuk, however, did not provide details of the review report which will be presented for deliberation.

The House held the pre-session plenary on October 27. Jigme Wangchuk said that committees presented updates on the review works on various Bills.

The Mines and Minerals Bill 2020 is expected to take centre stage. It is one of the most significant Bills that were passed by the National Assembly in January 2020.

The NC would have completed discussions on the Bill had regular sessions not delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the absence of a new Mines and Minerals Bill Act, issues as to whether the state or the private sector should operate the mines and minerals remain.

Jigme Wangchuk said that the legislative committee was reviewing the Bill and that review work was almost completed.

The House is also preparing for a joint session on the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2019 (CCPC) and the Bhutan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2019 (PCB).

The joint committees will work on the differences between the two Houses.

The House will also deliberate the Charter (Amendment) of the SAARC Development Fund (SDF), which is expected to ease project collaboration among the member states. The amendment enables one or more member countries to avail the fund for projects.

The NC will also deliberate the BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in International Terrorism, Transnational Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking. Ratification of the convention would mean agreeing to cooperate in fighting terrorism, transnational organised crime and illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

In the Plenary session, NC chairperson Tashi Dorji briefed the members on the Royal Tour to the southern dzongkhags. He said that the Royal visit had greatly boosted the morale of the people living in the south and further motivated them to remain resilient in combating the pandemic.