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Highlights from the Question Hour

Posted on :16 June 2017

Disengaging of questions on corruption in the recent National Housing & Population Census questioned


The Member from Nubi-Tangsibji constituency questioned on why the questions pertaining to corruption although listed in the questionnaire for the recent National Housing & Population Census (NHPC) 2016 were not asked to the people. Responding to the query, the Prime Minister clarified that the questionnaire was wholly prepared by the committee on NHPC and the government had made no interference in this national undertaking to ensure the trust of the people on the questionnaire. He also informed that the NHPC committee had informed that they had decided to drop the two questions relating to corruption as the Anti-Corruption Commission had already initiated the national integrity assessment.


Delay in the implementation of the Local Government Members’ Entitlement Rules & Regulations questioned


Delay in the formulation and implementation of the Local Government Members’ Entitlement Rules and Regulations was questioned by the Member from Nanong-Shumar constituency. The Minister for Home & Cultural Affairs answered that although the rules and regulations were already formulated by the Ministry, it could not be immediately implemented as it involved financial matters. He added that such financial matters had to be first considered by the Pay Commission and tabled in the parliament.


He highlighted that since the Pay Commission and the parliament have already endorsed the matter, the implementation of the rules and regulations could be expected soon.


Problems faced by Bhutanese travelers on Indian highways questioned


Solutions to address problems faced by Bhutanese travelers on Indian highways were raised by the Member from Boomdeling-Jamkhar constituency. Answering the query, the Minister for Information & Communications said that some of the major problems faced by the Bhutanese travelers on Indian highways were strike, illegal collection of money and accidents. The Minister further informed the House on various coordination meetings held between the Bhutanese and Indian authorities including awareness program to the people to ensure safe travel.


Mistreatment of Bhutanese in Middle East questioned


The Member from Kengkhar-Weringla constituency questioned on the reports stating the mistreatment of Bhutanese sent abroad to work. The Member thus questioned on the measures that the government was taking to address the problem. In response, the Prime Minister informed that two education consultancy firms had recruited ten and five women each in the Middle East in professions which were not approved by the government. The government at present does not allow recruitment of Bhutanese people as house maid, domestic workers and security personnel under its overseas employment scheme. He also informed that of the 15 women, 10 have been brought back to the country while documents for the remaining five women were being processed by the Royal Bhutan Embassy in Kuwait.


The Prime Minister also took the floor to express that the licenses of the consultancy firms involved will be immediately canceled and legal actions against them would be initiated. Concluding his response, the Prime Minister urged the people to approach the Ministry of Labor & Human Resources for overseas employment to avoid problems.


Commencement of the construction of Shingkhar-Gorgan road questioned


The Member from Gangzur-Minjey constituency questioned the Prime Minister on when the construction of Shingkhat-Gorgan road would commence. He said that construction had still not started despite resolving to construct the road in the second session of the current parliament. Responding to the query, the Prime Minister said that if the general interest of the country was not considered, the road construction could have begun. However, he said that lot of works involving consultations and environmental laws had to be taken into account.


He added that the construction of the road has not begun mainly because the environmental clearance is yet to be issued by the National Environment Commission (NEC). It was informed that environmental impact assessment was carried out by the Department of Roads but based on that the environmental clearance was not issued. The NEC had informed that the environmental impact assessment was carried out based on Thrimshungla-Shingkhar regions while Pelphu-Shigmala regions should also have been considered. The Prime Minister further informed that accordingly a new environmental impact assessment was being carried out and it was hopeful that the clearance would be issued as Pelphu-Shigmala regions do not fall under protected core zone area.


Payment of salaries to caretakers of Lhakhangs questioned


Payment of salaries to caretakers of Lhakhangs was questioned by the Member from Nganglam constituency. The Member expressed that while it was unclear of what Lhakhangs would be covered, there were many community owned Lhakhangs thus doubting the equity the initiative could ensure. In response, the Minister for Home & Cultural Affairs said that while no challenges were faced by Lhakhangs registered with Zhung Dratsang and others maintained by spiritual lineages, the community owned Lhakhangs were facing some tribulations. He said that in some cases, the community Lhakhangs had no care takers and the local people were looking after it on rotational basis affecting their own livelihood.


The Minister also informed that salaries would be provided to caretakers of the community owned Lhakhangs currently a total of 1,097 in the country. Similarly, it was informed that providing salaries to caretakers of private Lhakhangs would be considered on case by case basis.


Government initiatives questioned as failures

The government has taken numerous initiatives which were not in the interest of the country. This was said by the Member from Radhi-Sakteng constituency asking the government whether or not it had assessed the damages from mistakes such as the Right to Information Bill, signing the European Investment Bank framework agreement, establishment of the Business Opportunity Centre and declaration of Thromdes. Clarifying on the query, the Prime Minister said that all the initiatives mentioned by the Member were undertaken in accordance to the law and all such decisions were tabled and endorsed by the National Assembly of Bhutan.


It was also clarified that European Investment Bank framework agreement and the Right to Information Bill were endorsed by the majority of the House but was objected by the National Council. Similarly, he mentioned that establishment of Thromdes had gone through due process of law and passed by the Parliament  but was however withheld by the Supreme Court.



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