RCSC proposes to bring back or fill in 14 Commissions and Councils

The Civil Service Reform Act 2022 under section 13 did away with Boards in all the existing laws under the civil service and the concerned ministries were to carry out the functions of the Board.

This meant an array of commissions, councils, authorities and committees saw themselves being removed, merged and even those that did survive had their board members removed.

This was done as the Ministry was to be the foundation of governance, provide strategic direction, formulate policies and ensure implementation.

However, moving forward there has been a growing demand from the government ministries to either recreate certain bodies and also fill up the boards again. The main motive seems to be to ensure stakeholder consultation by getting people in from different agencies or outside the government and also get expert advice.

The other issue at hand is that the Civil Service Reform Act itself has listed certain commissions and authorities whose boards have to be constituted.

With the need being felt and the demands coming the cabinet asked the RCSC to do a review. The RCSC in turn drew up a list of 25 commissions, councils, authorities, committees and others and did consultations with the ministries.

Based on these consultations it has recommended 14 that can be brought back or its boards filled up with even recommendations given on who should be the board members.

Of the 14 there are ones who have got a new lease of life. One is the Civil Society Organization Authority which regulates CSOs.

The Commission of Religious Organizations which has representatives of different faiths and Buddhist sects requires a multi sectoral approach.

Scientific and Technical Advisory Council for Hydrology and Meteorology is there to guide the NCHM and also ensure cross sectoral cooperation, Accounting and Auditing Standards Council is for auditing standards, Bhutan Civil Aviation Authority is there to regulate the airline sector, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Council for Bhutan Standards is there to help guide the Bhutan Standards Bureau and Scientific and Technical Advisory Council for National Statistics is to guide and advise the National Statistical Bureau.

There are those which are mentioned in the Civil Service Reform Act but the board membership is not clear and on which RCSC has worked on.

One is the the National Commission for Culture and Dzongkha Development where both Dzongkhag and Cultural Development are merged.

The merged Department of Culture and Dzongkha Development under the Ministry of Home Affairs will function as the Secretariat to the above.

The National Environment Commission is also there and here the Department of Environment and Climate Change will function as the NEC Secretariat.

The Bhutan Qualification and Professional Certification Authority will be the competent authority for qualification accreditation, professional certification, and National Qualification Framework. Here its board was also listed.

Another is the National Commission of Women and Children whose secretariat was put under the Ministry of Education and Skills Development.

The Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority merged the regulatory functions of the Department of Roads, Road Safety and Transport Authority, and Construction Development Board. The Board has been recommended for this.

The Bhutan Infocomm and Media Authority saw the merger of the Film Commission and Media Council into it. The RCSC has recommended a representative board for it.

The Office of Consumer Protection in the existing laws was converted to the Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority. Here, too the RCSC has recommended a board.

The new one is GovTech Commission which will oversee the GovTech which is an autonomous body and akin to a ministry.

A RCSC official explained that with the Civil Service Reform Act the ministries were the foundation of governance and so many of the floating agencies not linked to anyone also called UFOs were linked to ministries.

Cutting to the present, the RCSC carried out a review of the terms of reference and their principles and had bilateral discussions with the ministries and submitted their initial report to the Committee for Secretaries which gave a couple of proposals and then the final report was submitted to the cabinet. 

The RCSC skipped the various administrative committees. The RCSC has made a presentation to the PMO.

Agencies like the RIGSS, CBS, Dratshang Lhentshog and Land Commission were not reviewed by the RCSC.

The RCSC official said a body like the NCWC used to have people from the RBP and Ministry of Health on its board and that is important for it.

The message or advice from the RCSC is the executives should not be overrepresented on the boards so that they are not overburdened and there should be a diversity of stakeholder representation on it.

Given that the secretariats of the above bodies are now under ministries it will be interesting to see how they operate.

Here the RCSC official said that there should be certain things that a body cannot refer to the ministry and so here the board will become important.

Section 14 of the Civil Service Reform Act allows the concerned ministries to constitute commissions, councils, committees, or authorities to carry out delegated functions of the ministries.

The cabinet will take a final call.

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One comment

  1. Why revisiting by RCSC? How and who remove this commissions and organisations? After how many days of removal that such reproposals are made? Who should be held accountable for removing such agents earlier as it might be resulting from inadequate research and recommendations?

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