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16th Session Follow up report

Posted on :22 June 2016

The Officiating Secretary General, Rinzin Penjore reported to the House on the checklist of assurances of the Royal Government to the National Council in response to resolutions of the 16th session:

Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB)

1) TCB will review National Tourism Policy after presenting their final review report to the Government.

2) The Tourism Bill will be tabled for legislation after finalizing the National Tourism Policy.

3) TCB is in the process of reviewing the existing accommodation standardization and classification system by engaging an international expert to ensure quality and standards. All international tourists are mandated to stay in TCB-certified accommodation facilities.

4) A comprehensive research on the maximum carrying capacity is being planned and has to be conducted in next fiscal year by TCB.

5) A comprehensive tourism Development Plan for the eastern Dzongkhags has been developed. The recommendation of improving tourist related infrastructure along with reliable road and airport network has been covered in eastern circuit plan.

6) The minimum daily package rate constitutes an important part of Tourism Policy Review.

Ministry of Economic Affairs

1) Review of Bhutan Sustainable Hydropower Development Policy 2008, Power System Master Plan 2003 and Electricity Act of Bhutan 2001.

In conduct the review, the Royal Government has committed to address the following issues:

Draw-up clear strategies with implementation timeline needs so that the projects in the pipeline can include in it the translation of the intent and objective of national policies on both hydropower development and employment.

Amend section 4.2.5 of BSHDP 2008 by stating that the ownership of shares by Bhutanese and Bhutanese firms to be treated similarly as in the case of other investors and shares will need to be reverted back to the RGoB at the end of concession period, and further recommends the RGOB to ensure that ownership of hydropower sector remains with the state when the Electricity Act of Bhutan 2001 is tabled for amendment.

Address the discrepancy between the BSHDP 2008 and EDP concerning royalty energy contribution percentages that contradict one another.

Strengthen the national employment policies and laws, where MoLHR is mandated to take up lead in ensuring capacity building and absorption of Bhutanese in hydropower projects, given the dire situation of unemployment in the country and youth unemployment in particular.

Re-align Section 14.1 of BSHDP 2008 which provides discretionary power to the Government to decide on hydropower development outside of a clearly stated policy. This is a great vulnerability and recognizing that anything outside of a clear policy or law will need the support of Parliament before being acted upon.
Revisit the differences in compensation paid to affected parties (private lands) between hydropower projects (generating station) and its ancillary works (like transmission lines and towers).

2) Recently, the Ministry has given the PFR and DPR works to GDPC who inturn engages its own people and the Bhutanese expertise to the extent possible. Efforts are being made to source services of Bhutanese firms and national wherever expertises are available within the country in line with the Procurement Rules and Regulations. The tender documents are specifically designed so that international firms have to collaborate with Bhutanese firms/nationals and are awarded certain additional points during tender evaluation. The Ministry considers this initiative as a priority and is being accordingly incorporated in the Economic Development Policy under review.

Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs

1) MoHCA to seek further directives from the Government to develop a consolidated National Decentralization Policy supplemented by a Strategic Decentralization Implementation Plan.

2) MoHCA to propose to Royal Government to consult GNHC to do the following:

3) Devise a planning framework that will provide for more tailor-made and in-depth development strategies and plans (yet aligning to the overall national priorities) for each Dzongkhag and Gewog, since a uniform approach, often issued by the central level is not necessarily adequate enough to solve local issues. Further, ensure that the Dzongkhag and Gewog administrations play more proactive role in defining a Development Vision for their own Dzongkhags and Gewogs and identify implement strategies that best suit the local needs.

4) DLG will continue to carry out additional advocacy programs through appropriate media to deepen awareness among the rural communities.

5) The Horizontal Learning Program (HLP) program for LG functionaries will be up-scaled to other Gewogs in the future.

6) DLG has initiated a pocket study to look into the possibilities of expanding revenue base of the Local Governments. The findings of the study would be presented to MoHCA for further directives.

7) DLG will collaborate with the National Statistical Bureau and relevant agencies to develop LG development-profiling tool.

Ministry of Labour and Human Resource

1) The Ministry already has a strategy paper for EDP prepared in 2015 with support from UNIDO.

2) MOLHR in collaboration with RNR Centers prepared over 20 project profiles in several Dzongkhags to engage youth in agriculture.

3) Ministry of Agriculture and National Land Commission are studying various issues related to land lease procedures.

4) The Rural Development Enterprise will address many of the gaps in agriculture credit.

5) A Multi Stake Holder Meeting on Repositioning of the Two Colleges of Education was held in April 2016. The meeting has considered overall teacher demand, enhancement of quality of teachers and reforms, capacity development and professionalizing other services in education system. Projections are made up to 2020. Similar exercises are being carried out in other sectors as well.

6) A TVET Blue Print 2016-2026 has been publishedin May 2016 with technical and financial support from ADB. The blue print was preparedin consultation with stakeholders in 2015. It addresses most issues raised by the National Council.

 

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