Parliament: The 15th session of the National Council (NC) that begins on May 8 will have committees presenting reports on tourism, employment and hydropower policies and strategies, besides deliberating on the rationalisation of gewogs.

NC committee members since March this year have held several discussions with various government agencies and tourism stakeholders on these issues.

The labour ministry’s presentation outlined the current and future market scenario, employment facilities, and services provided.  Tourism Council of Bhutan and Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators also made presentations on the draft tourism policy to the House in April.  The discussions also focused on genesis of privatisation of tourism, current tourism stakeholders and set up, tariff policy, trends in the tourism sector and recommendations.  Similarly, works and human settlement ministry officials also made a detailed presentation on the establishment of dzongkhag thromdes and dzongkhag yenlag thromdes.

Council members said the activities were in line with the directive of the house during the 22nd plenary meeting, which required committees to meet the various agencies.  The findings, members said, would be presented during the upcoming session.

Besides, the house will also deliberate on the Entitlement and Service Conditions Act for the Holders, Members and Commissioners of Constitutional Offices of Bhutan (Amendment) Bill 2014 that the National Assembly endorsed in its last session.

Although listed in the tentative agenda, council members said they might also deliberate on the Election Act of Bhutan, which the Assembly, in its last session, decided to drop, stating it was too early to be amended.

Council’s deputy chairman, Tshering Dorji, said the plenary had asked a committee to look into issues in the election act that might need to be amended, based on which the act could be proposed for deliberation.

Disputed bills that would be passed through joint sessions are the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Bill of Bhutan, Biosafety Bill, Tenancy Bill, the Office of Attorney General Bill and Local Government Entitlement Bill.

The Budget and Appropriation Bill 2015-16 will also be deliberated and adopted.  Besides, the house will also discuss the Anti-Corruption Commission’s annual report.  Some of the international conventions that the house would discuss, as part of the legislative issues, are ratification of the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and ratification of statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

The house will also deliberate on the protocol for ratification of international conventions and treaties.

The National Council session ends on June 8.

By Kinga Dema