Dharamsala: In the light of the COVID-19 outbreak across the world and with an increasing number of confirmed cases of positive patients in India, the budget session of the 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile for the fiscal year 2020-2021, scheduled to hold for 10 days from 17-27 March 2020, convened for only one day as a measure to contain the spread of the virus.
The session began with Speaker’s session commencement announcement which was followed by his opening speech and the appointment of Acting Speaker and Ad Hoc committee members.
Speaker in his brief opening remark said that the one-day budget session that has been convened as per the Charter of Tibetans in exile, which instructs Parliament to hold a Parliamentary session within a period of six months. Speaker further said that the session will strictly follow the set agenda which includes presentation and approval of the annual budget of Central Tibetan Administration for the year 2020-21 and adoption of official resolutions of obituary and solidarity.
The list of business marking the official obituary reference was followed with Parliamentarian Ngawang Tharpa Gewatsang paying tribute to Yonten, a 24 Tibetan youth, who self-immolated on 26 November 2019 to protest the repressive policies of the Chinese government. Parliamentarian Youdon Aukatsang paid official obituary reference to former Geluk Parliamentarian Late Gajang Geshe Lharampa Tashi Gyaltsen, who passed away on 21 January 2020 at the age of 64.
Parliamentarian Ven Khenpo Soman Tenphel presented the official solidarity motion on the critical situations inside Tibet, which was supported by Parliamentarian Ven. Geshe Monlam Tharchin. The motion was passed unanimously.
Kalon Karma Yeshi of Department of Finance, Central Tibetan Administration presented the 2020-2021 Budget of Central Tibetan Administration, which was subsequently followed by the presentation of Précis report prepared by the Budget Estimation Committee of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile by Parliamentarian Ven. Khenpo Jamphel Tenzin.
The motion for debate on the Central Tibetan Administration’s 2020-2021 Budget was raised by Parliamentarian Ven. Geshe Lharampa Gowo Lobsang Phende and supported by Parliamentarian Dhondup Tashi Tsaneytsang but discussion on the budget was put off as per the advice from the Speaker in order to curtail the session in a single day.
The budgets of all the departments of the Central Tibetan Administration and the offices under various departments were passed and approved unanimously except for Tibet Policy Institute, Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Indo Tibet Coordination Office, Office of Tibet (Washington DC), and Tibetan Community Development Fund (TCDF), which were approved by the majority.
The Revised Appropriation Act of 2019-2020 and the Appropriation Act of 2020-2021, presented by Deputy Speaker Ven. Acharya Yeshi Phunstok and supported by the Chairman of the Budget Estimate Committee Ven. Khenpo Jamphel Tenzin, where the revised appropriation Act of 2019-2020 was passed unanimously while the Appropriation Act of 2020-2021 was passed with a majority in the house.
As per document no- 9, the revised appropriation act of 2019-2020 approved the need for a total income of Rs. 3,429,101,658 to be accumulated by Kashag and a total of Rs. 3,283.576,332 for the expenditure (annual budget and interim budget) proposed to be made from consolidated fund and the funds not included in the consolidated fund.
As per document no 10, the appropriation act of 2020-2021 approved the need for a total income of Rs. 2,683,622,130 to be accumulated by Kashag and approved a total amount of Rs. 2,754,487,029 for the expenditure (annual budget) proposed to be made from consolidated fund and the funds not included in the consolidated fund.
Afterwards, the Secretary-General of Tibetan Parliamentary Secretariat Tsewang Ngodup read out the leave of absence of the Member of Parliament and Speaker gave his conclusion speech.
Speaker in his conclusion speech appreciated everyone present in the house for their participation in enabling the session to conclude in one day. He thanked Budget Estimate Committee, Department of Health, Department of Information and International Relations, Department of Security, and others for their assistance.
As the year 2020 will be marked as the year of gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by CTA, he urged all the Tibetans to follow His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s advice and remain united for the common cause of Tibet. He prayed for the speedy resolution of COVID-19 crisis. He also offered prayers for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the resolution of Tibet’s issue.
-Filed by Tibetan Parliamentary Secretariat