Thousands of graduates attended the National Council (NC) members’ address at the National Graduate Orientation Programme (NGOP) in Thimphu, yesterday. The NC Chairperson, two council members and Director of the house attended the session.
NC Chairperson Dasho Dr Sonam Kinga shared mandates and functions of the house as an apolitical institution and defined it as, “An institution that is not the monopoly of a privileged few but an institution where young people at certain point in life can come and participate. Motivated and inspired by the ideals of public service it does not belong to me or to my members, it belongs to the people of Bhutan.”
He also spoke on how the independence and sovereignty have been acquired through the hard work and dedication of the forefathers and that it must be cherished and celebrated by present generation.
The Chairperson also highlighted on the inception of democracy in 2008 which was commanded from the throne and how NC possessed a distinct and unique position in structuring and operationalizing democracy in Bhutan.
On the numbers of NC members compared to the National Assembly (NA) members he said the NC 20 members represents as social and cultural representative from the dzongkhags.
He added that the 5 eminent members represent the presence of further strengthening the apolitical bodies.
On the mandate of the house, the Chairperson said it functions as an effective check and balance, as an over side body and an independent review of government functions. He added that the council also has responsibility on keeping frequent touch with the people of the constituencies and raise issues that affect their daily life and not mandated for personal interest.
With regard to future challenges that the NC would be face, he said, “The primary challenge of NC, not just in years but even beyond, is politicizing the institution. Any attempt that politicizes this institution either by political parties during or after elections or vested interest groups will mean that institutions can no longer function, it loses its moral grounds, and it loses its soul to function.”
In order to strengthen the council, he said the house shall propose an amendment to its own Act during the second Parliamentary session in order to reflect on the experiences of the last five years.
Graduates also raised various questions including mining activities, correlation between RTI and happiness, merits and demerits of Bhutan joining to World Trade Organization (WTO),and political corruption in the elections.