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Question Hour

Posted on :18 January 2019

A total of Six Questions were asked today. Two questions to the Prime Minister, three questions to the Minister for Information and Communications and one question to the Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs.


The Member from Khar-Yurung constituency asked the Prime Minister if the government would also consider Bajo in Wangdiphodrang, Jakhar in Bumthang, and Mongar and Trashigang as Thromde A along with Samtse Throm as Dzongkhag Thromdes. She asked as to when the process will be initiated. Secondly, the Member from Dewathang-Gomdar asked the Prime Minister when the government will increase the daily minimum wage rate to Nu. 450 as pledged.


The Prime Minister said while it was imperative for Dzongkhags to have Thromdes, it was neither necessary nor practical to establish Thromdes in all Dzongkhags at the same time. The Prime Minister clarified that Samtse Throm has been identified to be declared as Thromde, as a tribute to His Majesty the King, a footprint of His Majesty the King gracing the 111th National Day celebration in Samtse in 2018. The government will be forming a Committee to study the establishment of Thromdes in the other Dzongkhags and will consider establishment of a thromde in the Eastern Dzongkhag next as a bid towards regional balanced development.


With regard to increment of the minimum wage rate to Nu. 450, the Prime Minister informed that the government has already established a Pay Commission with the main objective to reduce the gap between the rich and poor. The Commission will also consider the minimum wage rate and will be submitting a report soon. The Prime Minister reiterated that he fully support the increment of the minimum wage rate.


Three Questions were asked to the Minister for Information and Communications by 1. The Member from Khatoe-Laya to do away with the minimum qualification of taxi drivers of class VIII to avail commercial driver licence. 2. The Member from Draagteng-Langthil on the plans and programs of the government regarding the frequent landslides and road blocks at Ossey and Riotala on the Gelephu-Trongsa Highway and on other alternatives the government is working on to make travel safe for the commuters. 3. The Member from Bumdeling Jamkhar on the status of development of the Suung Joen App as pledged by the government to be initiated within 120 days.


The Minister for Information and Communications said that considering that the applicants  are required to undergo two months of Professional driving course and sit for two tests - written and practical, the rationale for having a class eight certificate was not valid. Therefore, the government is working on removing the criteria of minimum qualification for the taxi drivers to avail commercial (taxi) driver license as submitted. The government will also look into the road worthiness limit set on the vehicle by the RSTA.


Regarding the frequent landslides at the Ossey, Sarpang Dzongkhag has a plan to construct a bypass of  about 4 kms  as soon as budget for the 12 FYP  is released to the Dzongkhag. As for Riotala, studies conducted by experts report that it is not feasible to construct new road or add supporting structures to the existing road. However, the government will continue to provide support in maintaining the roads and keeping it open for traffic.


On the status of development of the Suung Joen App, the Minister informed that that government is already working on the App and will be completed within 2019 for testing. The services provided via the app, however, could take time as the type of platform the app requires will need time for further improvement.


The Member from Dramedtse-Ngatshang asked the Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs on the plans and policy of the government to meet the pledge to initiate recruitment of foreign domestic workers within 120 day.


The Minister in response said that the government has formed a Five-Member Taskforce with Members from the Census, Immigration, Law and Order and Labour Ministry under the chairmanship of the Secretary of the Labour and Human Resources. The Taskforce will look into the Labour and Employment Act of Bhutan 2007 and the guidelines for employment of Foreign Workers. He said that although there are other programs that have been implemented such as establishment of creches in workplaces and day care centers, there is still an opportunity to import foreign workers as domestic workers. The report of the Taskforce will then be submitted to the House.


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