The third session of second Parliament began with the opening ceremony that was graced by His Majesty the King, arriving in a Chipdrel procession and the offering of Zhungdrel Phuensum Tshogpai, yesterday.
His Majesty the King addressed the Parliament for the first time since the start of the second Parliament (see main story on pg 1).
Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay, in his address, offered thanks to His Majesty the King for attending the opening ceremony of the session despite His Majesty’s busy schedule. He said after democracy, there has been 25 opening and closing ceremonies till date, which, His Majesty the King has not missed on even a single session, which is an indication of support to the Members of the Parliament, the people and democracy.
Lyonchhen further said most of the Members of the second Parliament are young and new with less experience. “Till now, there were no big issues in the service of the Tsa-Wa-Sum, and this is because of His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen’s continued support, good advice and showing us the right path,” said Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay.
He talked about the past when His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo announced that the country was to start a democratic system for the wellbeing of the people and the country. People were worried and skeptical about it then, but today, he said, democracy in Bhutan is strong, peaceful and prosperity still prevails in the country. Lyonchhen said, “It has not been even 6 years since democracy, but we know well about democracy and got the experience. Democracy in Bhutan is an example to be shown to the world.”
He also talked about the need for strong economic development and to increase home grown production, to decrease imports and give priority to employment issues with the youth.
In addition, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jigme Zangpo, also expressed gratitude on behalf of the Parliament to His Majesty the King for gracing the ceremony and also for looking after the welfare of the people and granting Kidu to victims of the recent river mishap in Zhemgang.
During the session, the National Assembly will deliberate on the Tobacco Control (Amendment) Bill, the National Council (Amendment) Bill, the Tenancy (Amendment) Bill, Biosafety Bill, the Local Government Entitlement Bill, the Narcotics, Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Bill and the Parliamentary Entitlement (Amendment) Bill.
There will also be a presentation on the annual report by the Prime Minister on the State of the Nation and presentation of annual budget plan with the report on the budget of the previous fiscal year by the Finance Minister. The session will also deliberate the Annual Audit Report and Anti-Corruption Report. Further, the house will also deliberate on the civil servant incentives and pay hike during the session.
The Chairperson of the National Council and Opposition Leader also expressed their gratitude to His Majesty the King for gracing the ceremony.
The members of the Royal Family, Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte of Denmark, the heads of international agencies, senior government officials, the press and the public were present during the opening ceremony.