Inviting questions

The 10th and final session of the 1st Parliament got underway last Friday. During this session, the National Assembly will discuss just two bills: Contract Bill of Bhutan, and Alternate Dispute Resolution Bill. In addition, the National Assembly will consider the National Council’s comments on Road Bill and Domestic Violence Prevention Bill which were adopted by the Assembly in the 9th session. The Disaster Management Bill will be discussed in a joint sitting to iron out differences between the two houses.

Question Hour, when MPs get to question the government, are held on Tuesdays and Fridays. I’ve prepared some questions, but I’d like to hear from you as well. What question(s) would you like to ask? And to whom would you like them directed ? I’ll try to incorporate as many of your questions as possible in the opposition party’s questions.

 

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  1. phuntsho wangmo says:

    Hon’ble OL,

    I would like to ask the below question to government considering the situation that we face in Bhutan.

    Why our government despite realizing that doing business in Bhutan is not at all easy as indicated in several findings by the World Bank and other International bodies keep drafting policies and regulations that are not business friendly? I am quoting one example below out of many.

    Recently, in the Bhutanese News Paper it is reported that 3 proposals for setting up private colleges in Bhutan were not cleared despite of having fulfilled all the extravagant conditions set up by the so called committees. Bhutan has now more than 4000 students studying alone in India and this is all because we do not have place and facility to study within our own country. The government has no capacity to establish more colleges where our children can study not having to go outside and drain out huge money outside our country. And, now on the other hand, the government despite of facilitating quick approval of proposals that would benefit the country, takes ages to clear and give approval to set up private colleges. I have gone through the guidelines developed by working committee on setting up colleges in Bhutan and I am sincerely shocked to find such stringent conditions being put like the land requirement of 15 acres, foot ball stadium with sitting gallery amongst other. In a country like Bhutan where flat and develop able land is scare, I don’t find it realistic to have football stadium in every college with minimum 15 acres of land. I could truly see that the policy is developed by some vested interest group to protect their own business interest and not allow others to venture to such business. I have seen in many countries that colleges and schools are run even in one single building forget about the 15 acre land. It is not the land area that matters, it is the quality of education and the service it provides, and that too in a country like Bhutan when we are currently facing acute shortage of learning institutions. I strongly urge that the new government should ask the concerned ministry to review the policy and make it more realistic as soon as possible to stop draining out more money out of Bhutan. We need policies where more people can take part in the business in offering better and adequate choices to our children in Bhutan, rather than a policy which is framed to serve few individuals and baring others to come in the field.

  2. Sonam Dorji 'Chagey' says:

    How much was spent in lobbying for UNSC seat?

    Is NA going to be prematurely dismissed? Why?

    What are the new security apparatus to improve security in southern districts?

    Whats the update about border dispute with China? Has the loss of land in Gasa and Haa set to restored?

    What’s government’s take on cause behind Wangdiphodrang dzong burn?

    What’s government’s plan on fatherless children? Will they become Bhutanese citizens?

    Why the government discourages its public criticism?

    Why the information minister issued warrant to stop ad to newspapers that criticise government?

    Why is there no government support for budging media industry?

    Why people in east who were hit by disaster years ago still do not get compensation?

    Why’s government’s initiative to tackle rupee crisis not been effective?

    Has domestic vegetable production met the market demand? How effective has it been in addressing rupee crisis?

    Why some of the big hydro power companies, schedule start being constructed, not yet started?

    Was PM voted to travel across world advocating GNH or was he voted to work in country for development?

    Why international conferences more important for our PM than our people?

  3. G. R. Dhungyel says:

    Honourable Lyonpo

    I wish all the parliamentarians were as forthcoming as you in seeking views and opinions from the citizens who elected them. I would be grateful if Lyonpo could seek answer to the following issue, although I am not sure if the topic is still considered a sensitive issue to be discussed in the parliament. In spite of its sensitivity, the topic is highly relevant to every individual who has been suffering due to governments’ indecision or inaction for far too long. Lyonpo, the issue is about regularisation of census of those people who have been either left out, listed as “emigrated” incorrectly, or have been placed in a limbo for no faults of their own. Just for clarity, I am not talking about regularisation of census of those who are not Bhutanese but of those who have been rendered stateless due to some non-transparent policy of the government. Let me give you my own example.

    I have children in their late teens who are stateless although I am fortunate enough to be a citizen. The reason: My wife has been listed as somebody who emigrated in 1992 along with her other family members. (Were the laws in the early 1990s such that somebody could render anyone stateless with the strike of a pen and without their knowledge?) In spite of trying to rectify the status from 1993, my wife’s census remains under the emigrated list. Her case file has grown to multiple volumes but nothing has changed in the last 20 years. Because of her ambiguous status, my children were born stateless and remain so to this day. My son, who has just finished his class XII and has done reasonably well, is unable to apply for any scholarships announced by the government. Not only that, he is unable to even apply for admission even into colleges within the country without a citizenship ID card. His face, which use to be bright and playful, wears a look of anguish these days. It pains me to see my child getting disillusioned by issues which were not of his makings nor mine. He has been rendered ineligible to share the benefits and opportunities to become a productive citizen by some “classified” eligibility criteria known only to the MOHCA.

    Lyonpo, I know that I am not the first or the only parent who faces or has encountered this vexing problem. Many students before have had to change their career plans or terminate their study owing to the very same reason. In the last 20 years, governments, both past and present, have under taken a lot of field verification exercises to verify and resolve the census issues. Committees have been formed and retreats lasting couple of months have been carried out officials of the MOHCA just for this issue. Individuals have wasted their precious resources to go to their villages, time and again, to get their documents or meet the verification field teams with the hope of rectifying their census status. The timeline for resolving the issue was set for beginning of 2012. Honourable Minister Lyonpo Minjur had also stated that the issue will be resolved before the end of the year 2012, after carefully verifying the information.

    So, questions to the government would be:

    1) What is the final status or outcome from all the activities carried out for resolving the census issue?
    2) Can the government resolve this issue without seeking assent from His Majesty? If His Majesty’s assent is required, has it been sought?
    3) When can we expect some concrete outcomes?
    4) Why is it such a herculean task for the government to accurately verify and correct the citizenship status of about 700,000 people in 20 years?
    5) Are the people who are appealing for census rectification, asking too much or is the government to ashamed to admit that it had made some significant mistakes in the past?

    Lyonpo, for a just and fair society, it is the hard questions that require answers. For the easy ones, people have innate capabilities to find the answers themselves.

    Thank you.

  4. Dear OL,
    On behalf of so many civil servants, I would like you to question the Finance Minister when the government will reintroduce Vehicle quota issue. It has been suspended since last July and we have no information what has happened since then.

  5. Hon`ble OL,

    1] As is your practice all the time, i would like to appreciate and remain indebted for your concerns on letting people raise issues so that u can reasonably take it further to the parliament and voice it on that behalf. This is admiring and inspiring and it is only hoped that you just don`t keep it here on blog itself.

    2] I am really touched by the issues written by Mr. GR Dhungyel and just can help him sympathizing from me as individual. But i would like to definitely join him on his behalf for voicing out such an important issues and get clarified with concrete answers.

    3] One of my questions that was thought off to put it here was already highlighted by Drukpa. Yes, we simply can understand that our country has been undergoing the economic crisis more on rupee shortages. But the civil servants also owe the right to know when the ban of quota would be lifted. Therefore, will look forward this point to be raised in the parliament.

    4] The last point is, will this government not merge the 20% salary allowance into its basic. We know there will be lot of financial implication to the government and as well as the take-home-pay of the individuals, but then we also need to think of the long term implication and benefits of the civil servants who has nothing much to take for survival after retirement. Thus, we also like you to raise this issue…

  6. Dear OL,
    I would like to ask govt. whether they can scrap the Education city? Yes some investment has already been made but it would still be not too late to change the decision. I do not see the viability of this project at all. It is nice for bhutan to out perform(be the best) other countries but it would be much good and wise for us to be self reliant. why not divert the resources and time in other feasible development projects like establishing college and institutes for our own citizens or improving the capacity of already existing institutes. Its high time govt. should learn from their failing nice projects.

  7. I support the concern that Mr Dungyel has raised to be not just his pvt matter, but a good example of a serious one that will have far-reaching consequences on what we stand for as a society & more so as a so-called GNH society. I’m ignorant of the political ramifications and sensitivities involved in it, but as a human being and a citizen, I feel that your probing/prodding the Govt on this would be much appreciated.

  8. Dear OL,
    Have you made up your mind to question the government with regard to the suspension of vehicle quota for the civil servants? Or, do you think that it is not so important in your political context? Many civil servants would love to hear you ask the question and get response from the government.

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