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11th Sitting

Posted on :30 November 2017

The Session commenced with the Chairperson cordially welcoming the Education Minister Norbu Wangchuk to the final question time of the 20th Session of the House. The sitting continued with the Social & Cultural Affairs Committee presenting the Narcotic Drug, Psychotropic Substance and Substance Abuse (NDPSSA) Bill 2017.

Hon. Member Kamal Bdr. Gurung inquired the government's plans and vision to establish colleges in the future, and the government's response to the recommendation for the up-gradation of Damphu Central School to a college for the benefit of the people of central and southern regions of the country.

Acknowledging the hard work of National Council for enhancing the democratic system, His Excellency responded that there are many concerns and formalities to be looked into while establishing a college, so the experts of the Education Ministry are looking into this matter and the feasibility of such establishment. His Excellency said that he cannot confirm or ensure the up-gradation of Damphu Central School to a college as of now. 

Hon. Member Tharchen stated there are many well-established requirements of qualities, technical details and policies into establishing a college that are already maintained by the Ministry such as Tertiary Education Boards policies. The Hon. Member inquired whether the government ensured the fulfillment of these requirements and policies while establishing three colleges in the eastern region. His Excellency responded that the establishment of the three colleges in the eastern region was not only in line with the relevant guidelines and policies, but also well-studied, planned and executed. 

Hon. Member Nima, Chairperson of Social & Cultural Affairs Committee (SCAC) introduced the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substance Abuse (Amendment) Bill 2017 to the House. He clarified the false impression created on the Parliament regarding the enactment of NDPSSA Axct 2015 stating that the House as per procedure has conducted ample of relevant stakeholder meetings seeking expert view taking their concerns into consideration and have passed the Bill. 

Highlighting the reasons on the urgency of the Bil, the Chairperson of the Committee informed that the Spasmo Proxyvon (SP+) is not listed amongst the banned substance in the existing Act even though it has same effects as SP and the Bill is proposed to further tighten the laws on the controlled substances. Moreover, the Bill proposed shall transfer the authority to Narcotics Control Board's Authority to add or delete controlled substances from the schedules in the annexure. He also reported that the National Assembly has amended two sections of the Act, however as per the directive of the House, the Committee reviewed the whole act and all together a total of 16 clauses were proposed for amendment in consultation with relevant agencies. 

The section 59 of the bill gives power to the Parliament to amend the schedules including addition, deletion of substance in the schedule or the whole schedule and/or quantification of any of the substances deemed to be abused or trafficked. The National Assembly amended this section to give power to Board based on the recent issue of SP+ case. Even though most members supported the committee's proposal to endorse the NA's proposal, a few members expressed reservation on this section. 

The Deputy Chairperson, Hon. Tshering Dorji expressed that this section will determine the imprisonment term for a defendant and giving away such a power to the board could have unintended implication. He suggested that the section should be amended to included the relevant committee of the Parliament in addition to board on the advice of the Technical Advisory Committee. In this way, the schedules could be updated periodically with proper check and balance. Other members also raised concerns on the absence of the Board despite being mentioned in the Act as it does not fulfill the required membership due to retirement and transfer. 

The House directed the Committee to resolve the disputed provisions with the concerned members. 

The Committee will present the final report for deliberation tomorrow. 



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