National Assembly adopts the Civil Service Reform Bill 2022

After an extensive deliberation on the Civil Service Reform Bill 2022, the National Assembly (NA) adopted Civil Service Reform Bill of Bhutan 2022 with the recommendations and changes.

The Bill consisted of four chapters and 38 sections, of which Sections 7, 8, 10, 11,31, 37 and 38 required minor changes.

With the changes made, and under Section 7, the Act shall continue in force until the laws now in effect, that are affected by the Civil Service reforms, are changed by the Parliament.

The nine ministries were also reorganized under Section 8, and Section 10 states that the names of agencies in existing laws or departments must be amended in Dzongkha.

Additionally, according to Section 11, the Lhengye Zhungtshog may rename the ministries after consultation with and upon the recommendation of the Royal Civil Service Commission.

Under Section 31, the Office of the Attorney General shall compound petty offences in accordance with the compounding rules endorsed by Lhengye Zhungtshog.

As per Section 37, the amendment of this Act by way of addition, variation, or repeal, may be effected only by the Parliament.

And lastly under Section 38, in any instance of a difference in meaning between the Dzongkha and the English texts of this Act, Dzongkha text shall prevail.

During the Third Reading of the Civil Service Reform Bill of Bhutan 2022 in National Assembly on Wednesday, the House deliberated, in detail, on all the sections of the Bill along with the Committee’s recommendation.

The Ministry of Education and Skills Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Employment are three new ministries on which some Members of the Parliament voiced their concerns

Member of Parliament (MP) from Kengkhar Weringla constituency, Rinzin Jamtsho, questioned if the renaming of ministries was necessary.

MP from Drukjeygang Tseza constituency, Jurmi Wangchuk, also indicated that it is more suitable to keep the name as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, rather than renaming it as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.

Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji outlined how the ministries were renamed, stating that many developed nations, like as Australia and Europe, have the external trade with the foreign ministry together.

He emphasized the need of establishing responsibility and accountability. “All concerns concerning external trade must be handled by the foreign ministry, hence the foreign ministry bears complete load. This is why the foreign ministry was in kept as external trade. For example, the MoE was renamed Education and Skills because TVET, which was previously under MoLHR, was moved to MoE,” he explained.

Some members also expressed concerns about the merger of the Dzongkha Development Commission and the Department of Culture under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The purpose for merging the commission with the culture, based on Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering, is to enhance the commission’s effectiveness.

Lyonchhen stated that if the Dzongkha Development Commission has functioned admirably and achieved its goal, there is no reason for it to be merged into the home ministry.

“One of the primary objectives of this restructuring is to maintain all agencies under one or the other ministry, except perhaps constitutional offices,” Lyonchhen outlined.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, all the 45 Members present voted in favor of the Bill.  The Bill is be forwarded to National Council as an Urgent Bill.

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