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Question Hour Highlight

Posted on :01 December 2017

Question Hour Highlight

1. Question on Plan of Action to Address Suicide Problem

The Member from Nanong-Shumar constituency asked the Prime Minister to inform the House on the policies, strategies and plan of action being pursued to address the issue of increasing number of suicide in the country.


The Prime Minister said that Bhutan in addition to being a peaceful Buddhist country is also the land of Gross National Happiness and the people have access to free education and free health care. The Prime Minister clarified that the number of incident of suicides is a cause of concern but it is not the highest in the world. The government has formulated National Suicide Prevention Action Plan to address this issue.  The government has also trained school counselors, and RBP personnel’s and an additional 12 clinical counselors. The JDWNRH has also developed and expanded the Mental Health Program and Hot lines have also been established to address the issue.


2. Provision of 3G and 4 G services in the Highlands

The member from North Thimphu asked the Minister for Information and Communications on the upgradation of the current 2g Services in the Highlands to 3G and 4G.


The Minister said that Highlands mainly Soe, Naro and Lingshi under Thimphu Dzongkhag and Laya, Lunana under Gasa Dzongkhag are provided with 2G services. The government is looking to upgrade the services with funding from the Universal Service Fund in the next year with the launching of the South Asia Satellite services.


3. Government support to Bhutanese Film Industry

The Member from Dokar-Sharpa constituency asked the Minister of Home and Cultural Affairs on the problems faced by the film industry regarding limited access to loans for film production and the interventions made by the government to promote the film industry.


The Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs expressed his appreciation to the Bhutanese Film Industry for playing an important role in promoting and preserving our age-old tradition and culture. The government has provided support financially during the Annual Bhutanese Film Award and have also provided land for the construction of national film studio building. The Minister said that the government continues to provide support as and when required.


4. Provision of Subsidy to Druk Air to operate Domestic Air Service

The Member from Dramedtse-Ngatshang constituency asked the Minister for Information and Communications on the rationale and justification for the government to provide subsidy of Nu. 300,000 per fight to Yonphula to Druk Air although they are obliged to operate domestic air service. He said that the amount could instead be used to provide and improve the public transportation services in the Dzongkhags and the Gewogs.


The Minister said that the domestic flights were introduced with the objective to promote regional tourism, balanced economic development and for the larger benefit of the people. The Paro-Gelephug air services was introduced in December 2015 but suspended a year later because there were no travelers and the Airline was incurring losses. After the Yonphula Airport was opened for business, Druk Air had submitted for a subsidy considering that the business was not profitable. The government after conducting a detailed study decided to provide a subsidy for six months.


5. Manhandling of Detainees by law enforcement officials

The Member from Nganglam constituency asked the Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs on the reports of incidences of use of excessive force and manhandling of detainees by the law enforcement officials and the measures taken by the government to address such issues.

The Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs reported the government is currently investigating such reports and that such cases are being dealt with in accordance with the relevant laws such as  Royal Bhutan Police Act 2009 and Prison Act of Bhutan 2009.


6. Government availing services from international company Google

The Member from Bumdeling-Jamkhar constituency questioned the Minister for Information and Communications on spending Nu. 13 million annually to avail the online service from international service provider and on how this provider has been selected with regard to cost implication, sustainability and security of the government.


The Minister informed that Google is a reputed international service provider and the security of the information provided is very high.  The past one year study carried out in the DITT itself shows that there are currently 8590 people using the google app and on an average Nu. 1600 per user is saved which amounts to Nu. 14.32 million saved every year by going paperless.


7. Broadcast of BBS I and BBS II through DTH TV

The Member from Kengkhar-Werringla asked the Minister for Information and Telecommunication on why the government restricted the broadcast of BBS I and BBS II TV through DHT TV despite it having a wider coverage.


The Minister informed that that this was not possible because the provider from DHT TV was an outsider and would be against the law. However, the government plans to improve and provide wider service through the satellite distribution.


National Assembly Adopts the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Terrorism Bill 2017.

The National Assembly unanimously passed the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Financing of Terrorism Bill 2017 with 39 “Yes” votes. The Act will further strengthen the security and economy of the country by preventing money laundering and countering financing of terrorism.


Re-deliberation of Bhutan Information and Communications and Media Bill 2017

The National Assembly re-deliberated on the Bhutan Information and Communications Media Bill 2017. The Bill was deliberated and passed in the past session and transmitted to the National Council. The National Council deliberated on the Bill and submitted their recommendations and amendments to the National Assembly.

The Legislative Committee of the National Assembly reviewed the amendments received from the National Council and submitted it for re-deliberation in the House. The House will continue deliberation on the Bill on December 3, 2017.



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