Thukten Zangpo

The first session of the fourth Parliament will open its summer session on June 9. 

The National Assembly (NA) held a preliminary meeting on May 20 to review the agenda for the upcoming session.

The Parliament will deliberate on the government’s proposed Budget Appropriation Bill for fiscal year 2024-25 and Supplementary Budget Appropriation Bill for the fiscal year 2023-24.

The draft 13th Plan will be presented to Parliament for endorsement. 

Following review by the relevant committees and consideration of recommendations from members, NA’s deputy speaker, Sangay Khandu, said that a consolidated 13th Plan would be formed.

There will also be discussion on the Air Services Agreement between the Royal Government of Bhutan and the State of Kuwait. 

The NA’s Human Rights and Foreign Relations Committee is reviewing the agreement. 

The National Assembly (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2024 will be discussed in the Parliament. 

Sangay Khandu said that some amendments in the Act are urgently required to reflect changes in the work environment and ensure its effectiveness.  

The Impeachment Procedure Bill of Bhutan 2024, which will be introduced in the Parliament, will apply to the holders of the constitutional offices.

The law review taskforce, according to Sangay Khandu, identified the Impeachment Procedure Bill to establish a legal framework for impeachment proceedings.

Prime Minister will also present a report on the State of the Nation, including legislative plans and priorities of the government to the joint-sitting of the Parliament. 

The Public Accounts Committee will present its review report on the Annual Audit Report 2022-23 and Annual Audit Report 2010-22.

The House expects five motions during the session—inconsistency between the practice and the intent of the Pay Structure Reform Act 2022, cluster services of engineering and accounts, issues related to lack of human resources in the local governments, crop and livestock insurance system, and water source management and protection.

Sangay Khandu said that concerns about the effectiveness of clustered engineering and accounting services, as actual work, must be done in individual gewogs. 

The cluster services bring together the engineering and accounting personnel in various regional, autonomous or branch offices under one cluster office in each region or dzongkhag.

Sangay Khandu also said that the Parliament would also discuss the shortage of engineers, teachers, and health workers, among others, in the local governments. This issue was referred to by the Dzongkhag Tshogdu. 

He added that the farmers are discouraged when their crops are lost to hailstones, floods, pests, and diseases. The government, he said, should come up with a special system, crop and livestock insurance system immediately. 

For drying water sources, Sangay Khandu said that the government should come up with robust plans, strategies and new approaches for water source management and protection rather than a one-time small budget. 

The preliminary meeting also discussed various issues received from the local governments and matters of administrative nature were forwarded to the ministries and agencies concerned for follow up.