Siliguri, West Bengal: Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile organized a five-day workshop on strengthening democracy at the grassroot level to the Local Tibetan Assemblies, Settlement Officers, and Office Secretary of Nepal’s Tashiling, Tashi Palkhiel, Jwalakhel, Gyal-Phak, Sha-Wa-Ra, Choejor, and Lodrik Tibetan settlements from 4th May to 8th May 2023 in Siliguri, West Bengal.
Under the guidance of resource persons parliamentarians Juchen Kunchok Chodon and Tenpa Yarphel, this workshop will impart rules of procedure and conduct of business for the Local Tibetan Assembly and the rules and regulation of budget to the participants.
On 4th May, the first day of the workshop began with a brief inaugural function where both of the parliamentarians addressed the gathering. Welcoming the parliamentarians and participants of the workshop, Settlement Officer Karma Sopa Thinley of the Gyal-Phak & Jawalakhel thanked the MPs for conducting the workshop, especially straight after concluding their official visit to Nepal. In order to make informed decisions and to hold public offices accountable, he emphasised the significance of this LTA workshop to have a better understanding of the rules and regulation related to budget and parliamentary procedures.
Parliamentarian Juchen Kunchok Chodon reiterated the significance of understanding the rule and regulation and more importantly its implementation at the grassroot level to have an effectively functioning democracy. As per the directive from the Parliamentary Secretariat, she explained how the two parliamentarians were shouldered with the workshop responsibilities as their jurisdiction for the official periodical visitation program of the TPiE was Nepal. She also advised the participants to take this opportunity to understand the rules and regulation as much as possible during the five-day workshop.
Greeting the participants parliamentarian Tenpa Yarphel, in his address, underscored the significance of rule of law in a democratic system and more importantly significance of Local Tibetan Assemblies to know and implement rules and regulations to strengthen democracy at the grassroot level which has been His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s long-held aspiration. The MP also spoke on the importance of the Local Tibetan Assemblies and their roles and responsibilities in looking after the welfare of the general public and advised the participants to deliver their duties sincerely while serving the common cause of Tibet and the community at large.
LTA Chair Tseten Dhakpa of Tashiling Tibetan Settlement expressed his appreciation on behalf of all the participants to the parliamentary secretariat for organising the workshop and extended his gratitude to the parliamentarians for taking out their precious time in conducting the workshop. He thanked the participants for attending the workshop despite some unfavourable circumstances but also expressed his disappointment at the poor participation of LTA members from Nepal.
Thereafter, participants introduced themselves and expressed their hopes of expanding their knowledge on the Tibetan Charter and the CTA’s rules and regulations and improving the proceedings of their Local Tibetan Assembly.
The first day of the workshop proceeded with parliamentarians Tenpa Yarphel elucidating the Parliamentary procedures, mandates & structures to be followed in the assembly while raising starred questions, passing resolutions, making calling attention motions, and tabling legislative amendment proposals.
Parliamentarian Juchen Kunchok Chodon explained the process of proposing budget, approving budget, roles of the Budget Estimate Committee, preparing appropriation act and other details pertaining to financial business of the parliamentary session.
The parliamentarians also clarified queries of the participants on some parliamentary terminologies, the parliamentary quorum & seating structure, power and responsibilities of the LTA, and on the overall structure of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.
On the second day of the workshop, the parliamentarians imparted details of the rules and regulations pertaining to various account heads and budgets as enshrined in the Charter of exiled Tibetans including the Recurring Budget, the Special Recurring Budget, and the Surkyol Budget.
While the third day of the workshop will be dedicated to the preparation of mock sessions to be held on the last two days of the workshop.
This is the fifth LTA workshop organized by the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile since its constitution with previous LTA workshops held at Dharamshala (HP), Phuntsokling (Odisha), Sonamling (Ladakh), and Gangtok (Sikkim) respectively.
The LTA workshops are aimed to strengthen democracy at the grass root level by imparting the participants with detailed information of the Central Tibetan Administrative, the Charter of Tibetans-in-exile, the Budget Policy, proceeding of the Parliamentary session, and others, and most importantly to imbibe them with the capabilities to understand and raise issues concerning the general public, to make informed decisions and to hold public offices accountable.
This workshop is funded by the USAID and the NationalDemocraticInstitute (NDI).