The Civil Service Reform Bill of Bhutan 2022 was introduced today in the National Assembly by the Prime Minister Dasho (Dr) Lotay Tshering.
The Prime Minister said that the revamping of Civil Services for a right-sized, future-ready, efficient and effective Civil Service that would deliver the status of “Developed Bhutan” aligning to the Royal Kasho to reform the Civil Service has impacted 46 existing laws.
The 46 existing laws require amendments ranging from minor name changes to repeal of certain provisions to align the laws with the restructuring proposals. It was therefore submitted that the Civil Service Reforms Bill 2022 is a single standalone “omnibus” bill containing provisions addressing the restructuring of the agencies with the aim to accelerate the implementation of the Civil Service Reforms in the shortest possible time as the deliberation will be just a single focused bill.
It was also submitted that the Bill shall provide a legal basis for the restructuring and reorganization of civil service structures, including Ministries, and enable Agencies to carry out their mandates and functions.
The Good Governance Committee will review the Bill as an Urgent Bill and submit their findings and recommendations to the House tomorrow.
The Bill lays out the restructuring of the civil service in terms of doing away with the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR) and Ministry of Information and Communication (MoIC) and merging their departments with other ministries and the creation of the new Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.
Departments and certain autonomous bodies have also been moved around or joined together.
This Act will reorganize the ministries into nine ministries as Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock; Ministry of Education and Skills Development; Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources; Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade; Ministry of Health;
Ministry of Home Affairs; Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment; and Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.
The Ministry as the foundation of governance shall provide the strategic direction, formulate policies, propose legislation, adopt rules or regulations and ensure implementation of the laws by all departments, agencies, and authorities under the Ministry.
This Act shall repeal Boards in all the existing laws under civil service and the concerned ministry shall carry out such functions of the Board.
The concerned ministries may constitute commissions, councils, committees, or Authority members to carry out delegated functions of the ministries.
Ministry of Home Affairs
The Department of Culture and the Dzongkha Development Commission shall merge and function as the Department of Culture and Dzongkha Development under the Ministry of Home Affairs; and the Secretariat to the National Commission for Culture and Dzongkha Development.
The Department of Disaster Management and the Department of Local Governance shall merge and function as the Department of Local Governance and Disaster Management under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources
The National Environment Commission Secretariat in the existing laws shall be construed as the Department of Environment and Climate Change and function as the Secretariat to the National Environment Commission.
The Department of Water shall implement mandates of the National Environment Commission Secretariat specified in the Water Act and any other functions related to water resources specified in other laws.
Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Employment
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Employment shall perform such functions in the existing law relating to media.
The Office of Consumer Protection in the existing laws shall be construed as the Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.
The Film Commission and Media Council shall merge and function with the Bhutan Information, Communications, and Media Authority as the Bhutan Information Communications and Media Authority.
Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport
The Road Safety and Transport Authority and the Department of Roads shall merge as the Department of Surface Transport to carry out the development functions related to surface transport.
The regulatory functions under the existing laws for the Department of Roads, Road Safety and Transport Authority, and Construction Development Board shall merge and function as the Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority.
Ministry of Education and Skills Development
The Secretariat to the National Commission for Women and Children shall be under the Ministry of Education and Skills Development.
The Bhutan Qualification and Professional Certification Authority shall be the competent authority for qualification accreditation, professional certification, and National Qualification Framework.
Ministry of Health
The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority, Bhutan Narcotic Control Authority, and Drug Regulatory Authority shall merge and function as the Bhutan Food and Drug Authority.
The regulatory functions under pesticides, seeds, and livestock laws shall be carried out by the Bhutan Food and Drug Authority.
Government Technology Agency
The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications in the existing laws shall be construed as the Government Technology Agency.The Government Technology Agency shall carry out functions related to Information, Communication, and Technology in the Country including the formulation of policies, adoption of rules or regulations, and implementation of related laws.
Judicial Service Personnel
The Judicial Service Personnel working in the Judiciary shall hereby be delinked from the Civil Service.
Office of the Attorney General
The Office of the Attorney
General shall compound petty offences in accordance with the compounding rules.
Royal Audit Authority and Ministry of Finance
The Royal Audit Authority shall submit an annual report to the Druk Gyalpo, Prime Minister and Parliament within the second quarter of the financial year.
The Ministry of Finance shall forward the annual financial statements to the Royal Audit Authority within three months after the end of the financial year.
Royal Civil Service Commission
The Royal Civil Service Commission shall determine the tenure and terms of employment of senior civil servants as prescribed in the Bhutan Civil Service Regulations.
The Royal Civil Service Commission may recruit Civil Servants on contract if required in accordance with the Bhutan Civil Service Regulations.
Electricity Regulatory Authority
The Bhutan Electricity Authority shall be renamed the Electricity Regulatory Authority and report to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.