NC votes to do away with additional Nu 5 mn budget for NA

On 18 February, the National Council (NC) made the recommendation to the National Assembly (NA) to do away with the supplementary budget of Nu 5 million (mn) which was added on 11 February by the Economics and Finance Committee’s recommendation for Parliamentary Committees and Secretariat Services of the NA.

Of the initially drafted amount as per the Bill of Nu 898.277 mn, the committee had recommended to top up Nu 5 mn to appraise the services by the NA personnel, which was voted in favor in NA.

However, NC collaboratively expressed that it would bring upon a wrong impression, and at the same time, would overlap certain financial norms. During the presentation the Economics Affair Committee chairperson, Ugyen Tshering, said that under normal circumstances the supplementary budget would have to come through the route of Finance Ministry to the House, through proposals having been submitted by concerned agencies.

Prior to it, the House had several discussions on how the move did not acknowledge the established procedures, and on it being a case for conflict of interest.

Nu 898.277 mn was proposed by the government in the Supplementary Budget Appropriation Bill FY 2019-2020, to cover for the foreseen expenditures in relation to the increment of salary and allowances for; Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB), Ministry of Education and Dzongkhag, Jigme Singye Wangchuk School of Law and stipend and subsidy for State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

Amount of Nu 684.752 mn was set in account of RBP to cover for the revision of pay and allowance, a sum of Nu 35.445 mn was added for KGUMSB, with Nu 27.797 mn as provision for revision of pay and allowances for staff and Nu 7.658 mn for stipend revision for the trainees.

A sum of Nu 8.961 mn was supplemented towards JSW School of Law, with Nu 7.499 mn for pay revision and 1.512 mn for stipend revision.

Nu 114.409 mn for the revision of stipend for students which include 3 categories of students in terms of meals per day.

For those having to avail 3 meals per day, the stipend was increased to Nu 1,500 from Nu 1,000 per month- reportedly about 41,737 such students are identified, while those availing 2 meals per day were given a slight increment from Nu 670 previously to Nu 700 monthly, having identified 25,434 students.

19,236 students availing one-time meal were identified and their increment was set at Nu 400 from Nu 335 per month previously. The above implications as per the proposal is said to be a calculation for 5 months.

SOEs were granted a provision of Nu 54.7 mn under the Bill following the pay-hike.

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