The National Assembly yesterday endorsed the “Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Fund Bill” with all 46 members, excluding the speaker, unanimously voting to adopt it.
The National Assembly had passed the Bill during the eight session of the parliament last winter.
On June 15, the National Council adopted the bill with 24 members adopting it. It was sent back to National Assembly with minor changes for re-deliberation.
The council made a minor change on preparation of the fund’s accounts during their de- liberation on the bill last week.
The Finance Minister, during his presentation of the bill at the National Council, said all public funds should be understood as subject to auditing by Royal Audit Authority.
The National Council proposed that ‘the audited annual accounts of the fund shall be prepared and submitted to His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo and the Finance Ministry’ in place of ‘the accounts of the fund shall be prepared at the end of each financial year.’ The National Assembly agreed to this change.
As mandated by the Constitution, the Druk Gyalpo has the prerogative to use this fund for urgent and unforeseen humanitarian needs, to grant urgent relief to the people of Bhutan in times of unforeseen calamities.
According to the bill, the office of the Gyalpoi Zimpon must open an account with a bank in the country, where the ministry of finance shall deposit an initial amount of Nu 20m into the fund account. The fund would increase annually by Nu 20m until it reaches its ceiling of Nu 100m.
Further increase in the government deposits beyond Nu 100M will be subject to the approval of the parliament.
The fund will be used on command of the Druk Gyalpo, and the fund account shall be maintained and operated by the Office of the Gyalpoi Zimpon.
Likewise, any expenditure from the fund is to be replenished by an equal amount in the following financial year, immediately upon the approval of the national budget.
Regarding the rule making power, the bill empowers the Office of the Gyalpoi Zimpon to make rules for effective implementation of the Act.
Private individuals and entities from within and outside the country can also donate towards the Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Fund, which will not be included in the Nu100 million deposited by the ministry of finance.