The National Assembly (NA) endorsed the decision on the Pay Structure Bill of Bhutan 2022 with all the 42 members present in favor of the Bill.
After a thorough deliberation in the House on 28 November, the National Council (NC) adopted the Pay Structure Bill of Bhutan 2022 on 30 November, with some various changes and amendments following which the NA re-deliberated on the Bill yesterday.
The Chairperson of the Economic and Finance Committee (EFC), NA, MP Kinga Penjor, shared that they have reviewed the Bill, and in total there were 12 recommendations from the NC, including two new sections.
After a lengthy deliberation, out of 12 recommendations made by the NC, NA incorporated 10 recommendations. EFC could not agree on the two recommendations, on section 16 and 48 regarding reinstating the communication allowances and radiation allowances respectively.
EFC submitted that they could not agree on communication allowances, as it was incurring a huge financial burden on the government of around 36 mn enough for a bridge. The NC’s recommendation was to instate the communication allowances as per the original clause, however, with the majority show of hands in the House, the recommendation did not get the majority support.
Likewise, on section 48, the NC recommended that the eligibility of radiation allowance of up to Nu 3,000 per month shall be paid to health and veterinary personnel who are directly exposed to radiation. However, NA did not support the recommendation with majority show of hands after the Prime Minister Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering explained that this is a complicated issue and so the original provision is better whereby the Health Ministry and Agriculture Ministry decide.
The House, however, supported the recommendations made by NC on changes in the professional allowance for medical and clinical staff, teaching allowance, professional allowance for Aviation/Air Navigation and Aerodrome Services/Internal Audit/Prosecutors stationed at OAG /RAA/ACC. The NC did not change the allowance but only specified the allowances to be given at 0 to 10 years, above 10 to 20 years and above 20 years.
It said for medical staff and teachers the allowance shall be a lump sum amount of 35% (0 to 10 years), 45% (above 10 to 20 years) and to 55% (above 20 years) of the minimum pay scale.
The NC added a new section saying “Each Member of Parliament shall be provided a designated duty vehicle, or a one-time lumpsum grant for the purchase of vehicle along with the Driver, and Fuel and Maintenance Allowances.”
The NC has also gone on to define the duty vehicle for MPs as being a 2,800 cc vehicle.
The NC has put back the existing Nu 10,000 per month driver allowance and Nu 10,000 per month fuel and maintenance allowance incase the MP does not get a duty vehicle.
The NC’s version does not mention the grant amount as Nu 1 million which is the current cap and had been pro-rated into Nu 16,665 per month.
The Prime Minister said that there is not much difference between the change the NA made and the one made by NC. He said that the people are forgetting that the MPs are giving up the Pardo Quota which is a big gain for the country and he said that as elected members they end up spending a lot more money.
The section got support with a majority show of hands.
A major change made by the NA which got endorsed by the NC too is bringing back the 20% DA when food and lodge are available in the country.
However, the heart of the Bill is the new reformed pay structure of the bill where various allowances are clubbed together in a clean wage, and the Performance Based Incentive has been instituted. The vehicle quota was removed for all.
At the same time there is some hike for all categories which is a 5% indexation, one time payments for P1 and below and paid leave given as salary.
Civil servants have got anything ranging from Nu 11,000 to Nu 6,000 at the Ex levels, Nu 6000 to 4,250 from the P 1 to P5 level, Nu 4,165 to Nu 3,410 from the S 1 to O 4 level.
Cabinet Ministers, Speaker, NC Chairman, Chief Justice and Opposition Leader got around Nu 19,625 more and then MPs got Nu 11,095 more.