Questioning questions

The National Council had summoned two ministers – Lyonpo Thakur Singh Powdyel and Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba – to attend Question Time yesterday. Both of them didn’t show up. So the Council adjourned for the hour earmarked for Question Time.

By now, it’s safe to assume that the Council will continue to hold Question Time, which they have scheduled on Tuesdays and Fridays. And, that they will continue to expect cabinet ministers to attend to deliver their answers in person. But it’s also safe to assume to our cabinet ministers will not attend the National Council’s Question Time.

Last Friday, Kuensel gave us glowing accounts of the successful meeting between our prime minister and members of the National Council to “clear up misunderstanding and facilitate dialogue”. But it’s becoming clear that’s all’s not hunky-dory: the misunderstanding – if the current standoff can be called that – between cabinet ministers and the Council persists. Or, perhaps, this issue was not discussed at all. Either way, it’s important that the Council and the Cabinet meet again.

It’s important for democracy. And it’s important for our people.


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  1. Yesterday’s NC questions for ministers are about:
    1.Town planning lapses at Kunglung
    2.No access road in Wamrong Demkhong
    If these are types of questions NC wish to answer by our Lyonpos then i think it can be answered in writing.Easiest and fast way to get answer to such question is just straightforwardly ask them (I mean concern NC can ask to concern Minister). i feel it need not be formally gathered and deliberate in NC hall.Though it is important, it is not necessary to inform public of the whole country regarding kanglung town planning and no access road in wamrong.If concern NC get answer from the reliable source that will serve the purpose and that can be shared to your demkhong

  2. i thought ministers have already given written answers to NC…the concerned NC member yesterday told that he would not be able to answer it to the people…Looks like he can’t read it!!!…if i were him, i will just go through the written answer and if i am not satisfied, then i visit personally to concern lynpo’s office or send supplementary queries….moreover, i feel these are not under NC’s mandate….there is NA member from that constituency….looks like NA is overstepping their mandate just coz in the constitution there is a word call “review”…they are trying to review everything which i think is not necessary…they should review and make accountable only when it is really very very important issue…so pls don’t make yourself cheap!

  3. Wai zamtab,

    thats one way to check our govt. body and the NCs must be having lots to ask the minister which the people might be asking from the NCs.

    I dont think that the answers the ministers send is upto the NCs satisfactions.

    • but t/gang NC told that he cant be able to answer people back at his constituency. The two cited questionnaires seems answerable had the lyonpo given him in written. it is as simple as conveying the message from GOM to YOG.And his duty is that only.Common NC don’t aspect every single(minor) thing to be formally ask after summoning ministers in front of all NC. If you think so, the big EGO is with you not with lynpos la.The above questions is from your constituency and if applies exclusively for people there. i mean to say it is important at constituency level not at state level la.

  4. It is wonderful la…if ministers deny NC’s call. Vibrant democracy is weakened by their intransigence. MPs and Ministers are subject to public’s opinions…and we need NC’s questions to be answered because they are our opinions as well.

    Are they not subject to people’s opinions? If not they are not fit…

    For Lyonpo TSP I have no doubt, he can peel the onion but rest i doubt…….

  5. This is certainly becoming a JOKE. Isn’t it time that the NC chairman take this seriously. I thought Hon PM showed up to meet the NC’s and wasn’t this requirement for ministers to show up for questioning discussed with the PM. If not, then it is the weakness of the NC members. What the the NC members doing about it. Just adjourn if the ministers don’t show up. EXCUSE ME NC MEMBERS – don’t waste out nations precious time, this is not the show we want from you. You guys are not worthy of such a treatment. Can’t you stand up and reason about it. It is high time that the talkative likes of Sonam Kinga, HM’s representatives and the Chairman to take this seriously.

  6. I personally feel that this issue is becoming serious. If our ministers do not want to come and answer the call then the government has to be dissolved as it clearly indicates that ministers are not responsible to the people. Their reason may be their egos but that will not serve the public.
    What do other citizens say?

  7. I think we should rename DPT as Despotic Pompous Tyrants…common for God’s sake, is this show down really neccessary and worth? Doesn’t NC have any option for a stronger stance then simply adjourning for the day each time a DPT minister refuses to show up. Politics is dirty indeed (and don’t we know that! Ha aha)

  8. Answers are given in whats wrong…can’t NC members read and understand the written answers?..

  9. What, exactly, are the REAL reasons behind this standoff?

    What REALLY does NC intend to accomplish by summoning ministers to question time?

    What are the unspoken reasons why the ministers do not show up?

    Without knowing honest answers to these questions, who knows whether the standoff is good, bad, or irrelevant for our democracy!

    At times like this, we need to guard against our emotions. Passion for democracy is too important to let it drive our reasons. Let our cool head drive our passion instead.

  10. wasnt it the health minister and the works and human settlement minister who were summoned?

  11. The NC Act says, it can inquire fromt he government on issues of national importance response for which can be oral or written. In fact, it requires more important questions to be provided with written answers. Now there are few fundamental questions:
    1. Does government mean only ministers?
    2. Do people electing NC MPs and NA Mps have different problems?
    3. Is NC MPs responsible for development activities?
    4. Why are they called NCs if their role is the same as NA?

  12. Need to consider says

    To summon ministers for Q&A, questions need to be challenging, educative, critical thinking, alarming and anxious, and exciting so that every body in the show including spectators appreciate the arrangement, learn from it and find deem fit. If not, written form is legal and binding.

  13. isn’t nc suppose to be apolitical? I don’t know much about politics but I think nc is trying hard to be an opposition. If the ministers are refusing to attend nc questions I sure there will be a good reason for this. Will someone enlighten me on this?

  14. Its a joke, NCs became helpless jesters there in the august hall….hahaha….poor guys!!!
    Its high time NC and NA conduct a joint sitting and resolve this lone ego issue, state can no longer afford to pay a huge chunk of money for adjourned sessions!!

  15. wrong time says

    i guess Bhutan has democracy at a wrong timing. we should have been educated for at least 5 years ..just like we had mock elections..there should have been mock parties (not blue,yellow, red etc), mock PM, Mock ministers, mock MPs(NC n NA) …but real people ..and they hold Mock assembly sessions , discuss mock issues, have mock debates
    i guess that way everyone will have some common understanding of the Constitution. right now everyone seems to be interpreting it in their own way ..and mostly to their advantage.this is sick! i guess people of Bhutan aren’t ready for a democracy yet

  16. What I understand is that the questions from the NCs to the Ministers must be of National Interest. But most of the questions are constituency bound and not of National issue. Is it really required for the ministers to be present in person to just answer lapses in town planning in Kanglung, access road in Womrong, drinking water in ……..and so on. Is the written answers given by the ministers not clear enough for NCs or is it a request from the public to the NCs that the they should summon the ministers in person to answer those queries. It is becoming complicated on the roles and responsibilities for both the HOUSES if such things to continue in future.

  17. I think that we need to respect the views’ of the people of the villages. If they are bent on having NC ask questions to the government on any issue, it is their right. Asking questions on development issue is a way of reviewing government performances. That is one of the mandates of the Naitonal Council. If their job is just to review laws, then the na should also be called the house of review. What we in urban areas think as small, petty and irrelevant means a lot to village people. This may include what NC Somkinga said about health service, town planning. What we think big may be considered petty by village people. This may include state-funding of political parties, Mckinsey, NIIT something etc.

    So our views should not be prejudiced by our values.
    In the case of QT, ministers boycotted NC, and NC boycotted by adjourning the question time.

  18. I think NC members should give up Questioning the Ministers/Govt.. I don’t understand Why they are trying to make the Ministers more important than themselves.

    I would like to suggest the NC members that they should keep in mind their main responsibilities and do thorough research for quality discussion because reviewing Laws is not a childs play.

    Amendment of laws should not take place unless it is urgently required. I mean if it is not working well. Ideas are very good but copying it and making it Bhutanese should be avoided as I feel it will not work in the long run.

    Let us condemn the crime but not the criminals.

  19. I encourage the NC to keep calling the Ministers for Q&A session – as empowered by their Act. We will see how long the Minister will continue to refuse to come.

    If need be, the NC should continue to call them – session after session. If it is true that the NC’s Act empowers them to call the Ministers and if the Ministers don’t comply it is clear that the government is breaking a law and if they are doing it knowingly then we cannot have faith in such a government.

    If the NA and the NC members donot co-operate with each other during such crucial meeting, what is gona happen to our premature democratic govt. My question is why they are not willing to attend the Q & A session. Is someone from above asked not attend it?. Or the Cabinet Ministers themselves joined hand and boycotted it. Or they can’t bear a blue Kapney MP asking question to a Orange Kabney Minister… IT IS JUST A QUESTION AND ANS SESSION THE WINNER WILL NOT TAKE AWAY HIS OR HER kABNEY.
    without Intregrity how can we say it is a democracy.

  21. Did Kuensel report correctly that you were in the end supporting the PM in that the ministers need not attend QT?


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