Nim Dorji | Bumthang
The qualification to participate in the gup election will remain unchanged.
The issue was discussed during the 10th Gewog Tshogde and Dzongkhag Tshogdu chairperson conference that ended on October 19 in Bumthang.
A Department of Local Governance (DLG) official said that during an earlier meeting to discuss Local Government Act amendment it was decided that the qualification of the gups would remain the same on the condition it would be discussed with the Election Commission of Bhutan.
Some of the gups said that if the qualification to participate in the election was set people would be left without choice and number of contestants would decrease.
Three provisions of the LG Act which needed amendment were presented to the local leaders.
The official from DLG said that the LG Act amendment was discussed in August which will be proposed for discussion during the winter session of the Parliament.
“Around 40 sections were discussed, of which 20 sections were related to gewogs and 20 to the thromde,” a DLG official said.
The section 35 (D) of LG Act states that a person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of a LG, if he is functionally literate and possesses skills adequate to discharge his/her responsibilities as certified by the ECB or possessing a formal degree in the case of candidates for thrompon. This section is to be further discused with the ECB to ensure qualified candidates.
The issues were raised while discussing the qualification of the candidates. One of the issues was that the present testing of skills needed to be standardised so that the candidates were capable of comprehending official correspondences.
A new section under general powers and functions of Dzongkhag Tshogdu proposed to approve local area plan, including land pooling schemes and other relevant planning techniques.
The justification was that the Dzongkhag Tshogdu is the highest decision-making body at the local level and, therefore, approval of the local area plan and others must be under the power and functions of the DT.
Section 50 (F) of the LG Act, which concerns regulating gambling activities, is also proposed for amendment.
The leaders were asked to send their feedback through email or phone call to DLG.
Narang Gup Tandin Wangchuk said that there was no provision saying university and Class 12 graduates could not contest in the election.
The Functional Literate Test conducted by ECB is enough, but the standard should be improved, he said.
DT Chairperson of Bumthang said that the duration of the conference must be extended as most of the presenters and the gups did not get the opportunity to raise important concerns.