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Highlights from the Question Hour

Posted on :19 May 2017

Distribution of power tillers to all Chiwogs questioned

The Member from Wamrong constituency questioned the Minister for Agriculture & Forests on the distribution of power tillers to all Chiwogs. He submitted that so far power tillers have not been distributed to all Chiwogs.


Responding to the query, the Minister informed that according to an assessment carried out, around 7,000 power tillers were required for the country. However, he added that the government had issued one power tiller each to most of the Chiwogs at present and distribution of power tillers to remaining Chiwogs is still a priority of the government given its multiple uses including transportation.


Issue of chilli ban questioned

Continued ban on import of chilies into the country was questioned by the Member from Bumdeling-Jamkhar constituency. The Member submitted that extending the ban appears to be illogical as chilli is a seasonal crop and the chemical content may vary from time to time.


In response, the Minister for Agriculture & Forests said that import of chilli was banned mainly in the interest of public health safety. He further informed that the Bhutan Agriculture & Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) continues to monitor food products in the interest of public health and besides chilli, other vegetables containing chemicals beyond the permissible quantity were also restricted.  


Privatization of public health services questioned

The Member from Panbang constituency questioned on the policy of the government on the privatization of public health services. It was submitted that as per the Economic Development Policy 2016, privatization of public health services will not be allowed. However the policy allows private entities and foreign companies to participate in providing health services among others. He thus asked the Health Minister to clarify on the policy.


Answering the query, the Health Minister clarified that the government was not emphasizing on privatization of public health service but rather it should be interpreted as public engagement. He informed that as per the Economic Development Policy 2016, only high-end luxury and medical tourism will be permitted and it is not to be understood as privatization of public health care services.


Improvement of health facilities questioned

Government’s plan to acquire funds for procurement of essential medical equipments and providing medical specialists for hospitals in the country was questioned by the Member from Kengkhar-Weringla constituency.

In his response, the Health Minister informed that the health statistic indicates the improvement in health services in the country over the years. It was also informed that the country has already received few foreign doctors and more were expected to join the health system in the country to address the shortage of doctors. The Minister also informed on the government’s plan and priority to procure essential health equipment.


Issue related to membership fees of Agro-Cooperatives questioned

The Member from Nganglam constituency questioned the Minister for Agriculture & Forestry on the collection of membership fees from the farmers upon formation of 73 groups of Agro-Cooperatives with 407 farmers in Tsirang. He further questioned that during the recent visit of the Minister to Tsirang, the Minister had assured to refund the fees to the farmers.


Answering the query, the Minister clarified that he had told people in Tsirang that the membership fees would be refunded only if it was not in line with the existing laws. He further said that as per the Cooperative (Amendment) Act of 2009, the collection of membership fees were found to be lawful.


Need for BHU in Lingdhen Chiwog of Phuenthsoling discussed

The need for a Basic Health Unit (BHU) in Lingdhen Chiwog under Phuentsholing constituency was questioned by the Member from Phuentsholing constituency. It was informed that in the absence of a BHU in the Chiwog, people had to travel long distance to Phuentsholing to avail health care services. He also added that introduction of a BHU in the Chiwog will greatly benefit 12 neighboring villages including one Chiwog under Lokchinna Gewog.


In his response, the Health Minister said that the need for construction of a BHU in Lingdhen Chiwog appears to be genuine and suggested that the local authorities should put up the proposal to this effect in the next plan.


Up-gradation of Dechencholing BHU discussed

The Member from North Thimphu constituency questioned on the difficulty faced by the people of Dechencholing to avail health care services since the present BHU was located inside the Royal Body Guards Headquarters. He also said that the facility had become old and the location of the place was not in favor of the increasing population.


Answering the question, the Minister said that an area of three acres outside the Royal Body Guards Headquarter had been identified and construction of a new health facility in the next plan was apparently possible.


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