NA to deliberate on the Civil Service Reform Bill and Clean Wage Pay Revision Bill

The 8th Session of the Third Parliament of Bhutan is scheduled to commence on 4 November 2022. The National Assembly (NA) conducted a preliminary meeting to set the agenda yesterday.

NA is set to deliberate on the Civil Service Reform Bill of Bhutan 2022, a Government Bill submitted for deliberation, which is a legitimization of the ongoing civil service reform to revamp its system and structure for a right-sized, future-ready, efficient, and effective civil service that would deliver the status of developed Bhutan.

The Bill provides the legal basis for restructuring and reorganization of the Civil Service, and it includes restructuring of ministries and agencies.

Three Bills related to money or financial matters are to be tabled for deliberation in the winter session. The government also submitted three Bills, the Clean Wage (Pay Revision) Bill of Bhutan 2022, the Property Tax Bill of Bhutan 2022, and the Tax Bill of Bhutan 2022. Since the Bills related to money or financial matters are confidential in nature, the Bills will be shared with the public following their introduction in NA by the Finance Minister. However, the preliminary appraisal was that the Clean Wage (Pay Revision) Bill of Bhutan 2022 is part of the Civil Service reform initiative.

NA will also deliberate on the Civil Liability Bill of Bhutan 2022, and an agreement on the Movement of Traffic-in-Transit between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Royal Government of Bhutan

The Agreement on the Movement of Traffic-in-Transit between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Royal Government of Bhutan provides alternatives for Bhutan’s transit trade for all third-country goods, and is a framework to ensure greater connectivity with and through Bangladesh by road, rail, air, river, and coastal waterways. Along with the movement of traffic, the Agreement aims to promote, facilitate, expand, and deepen trade relations with Bangladesh. At present, Bhutan has no other transit agreement except with India.

In addition, reports will be presented on the review reports on the Anti-Corruption Commission’s Annual Report 2021-2022 by the Good Governance Committee; on the Balance of Trade by the Economic and Finance Committee; and follow-up on the resolutions of the 7th Session

The Joint Sitting of the Parliament will deliberate on the Public Accounts Committee’s Review Report on; the Performance Audit Report on Farm Road Development and Management in Bhutan and the Performance Audit Report on Safe and Sustainable Road Transport System, and the disputed provisions in the Royal Bhutan Police (Amendment) Bill 2021.

Following the disagreement between the two Houses of Parliament on a few provisions of the Royal Bhutan Police (Amendment) Bill 2021, a Parliamentary Joint Committee was established to review the dispute clauses and to submit the report to the Joint Sitting.

Meanwhile, a preliminary meeting also discussed the three petitions received from the Local Governments on the petition to extend the duration for harvesting the cordyceps from Thimphu Dzongkhag Tshogdu.

It was noted that the petition is of administrative nature and has been referred to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests with the directives to inform the ministry’s stand and rationalizations of the same before the Dzongkhag Tshogdu.

Petition to amend the Forest and Nature Conservation Act of Bhutan 1995 in order to increase the allotment of timber for the construction of livestock shelter from Haa Dzongkhag Tshogdu, considering that the Forest and Nature Conservation Bill of Bhutan 2021 was already introduced by the government in NA, and presented to the National Council (NC) for deliberation, the issue specified in the petition is under consideration of the Parliament.

Petition to have a comprehensive term of reference for the Thromde Thuemis from Haa Dzongkhag Tshogdu, since the petition is directly relevant to the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, and the ministry informed that the work is under progress. The ministry was directed to complete and submit a report thereof within June 2023.

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