Foreign trips

Returning home

The prime minister, in his State of the Nation address, reporting to the Parliament on foreign relations:

My trips to India, Japan and Italy this year were also very useful in deepening our relations with these countries.

I agree. But, the prime minister understated his international travel account. The following, in fact, is a record of his trips outside Bhutan during the 2009-2010 fiscal year:

  1. July 2009: Goodwill trip to India
  2. August 2009: Fukuoka, Japan to deliver address on GNH
  3. November 2009: Itaipu, Brazil to deliver address on GNH
  4. February 2010: Delhi, India to attend Sustainable Development Summit
  5. February 2010: Mumbai, India to attend World HRD Congress
  6. April 2010: Kathmandu, Nepal to attend 13th day ritual of the Late G.P Koirala
  7. April 2010: Kochi City, Japan to deliver address on GNH
  8. June 2010: Trento, Italy to deliver a talk on GNH at the Festival of Economics

Photo credit: BBS

State of the Nation

Reporting to Parliament

The projected order of business for the Fifth Session of the First Parliament for Bhutan had, among many others, the following two entries:

Thursday, July 1:

Presentation of the Annual Report on the State of the Nation, including Legislative Plans and the Annual Plans and Priorities of the Government, to the Druk Gyalpo and to the Joint Sitting of the Parliament.

Monday, July 12:

Deliberation on the presentation of the Annual Report on the State of the Nation including Legislative Plans and the Annual Plans and Priorities of the Government by the Prime Minister

As we all know, the prime minister delivered his State of the Nation address, as scheduled, on 1st July. But for reasons still unknown, we didn’t get to discuss the prime minister’s State of the Nation report. We didn’t discuss it, as scheduled, on 12th July. Nor did we discuss it at another time.

It wasn’t like that last year. The State of the Nation report was discussed, albeit briefly, in the National Assembly immediately after the prime minister delivered it to the joint sitting of Parliament.

I hope it won’t be like that next year.

The State of the Nation address is important. It is the prime minister’s report to the Druk Gyalpo, the Parliament and the nation at large, on the social, economic, financial and political condition of our nation. It gives the prime minister the opportunity to highlight the government’s successes over the previous year. And it allows him to outline the government’s legislative plans, policy agenda and national priorities for the next year.

Naturally, the prime minister would expect us, parliamentarians, to consider his annual report carefully. And to spend as much time as needed discussing it to offer valuable feedback.

But more importantly, our people would expect us, their representatives, to consider and discuss the prime minister’s State of the Nation report thoroughly so that they can rest assured that the Parliament is doing its job.

Photo credit: National Assembly