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Tuesday, 16 July 2024

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Third Reading on the National Digital Identity Bill 2023

Third Reading on the National Digital Identity Bill 2023

Hon’ble Tenzin, Chairperson of the Good Governance Committee, presented the Committee’s review report on the National Digital Identity Bill 2023. The Chairperson submitted that the National Digital Identity (NDI) Bill will empower all natural and legal persons by affording a digital identity which is accessible through one’s personal devices to carry out numerous digital transactions - applying for financial services, employment, G2C services and more.

It was also submitted that it will promote Bhutan’s digital economy, ensure social security, accessibility and allow citizens to utilize their identity seamlessly while traveling within and beyond the national boundary among other benefits. The Bill will also synergize with Civil Services Reform Act 2022 to save cost by efficiency gains through digitization efforts to realize the vision of “Developed Bhutan” and empower the other existing laws, rules and regulations by legitimizing any digital transactions during enforcement of these laws, rules and regulation.  It also give legal recognition to NDI Wallet, verifiable credentials, NDI platform and NDI services to carry both cross-sector and cross border digital transactions and will provide an avenue to ensure the natural and legal persons who claim to be on digital space (online) are exactly who they are claiming to be.

The Chairperson also submitted the Committee’s 55 recommendations on the Bill for deliberation. Section 7 on the “Disqualification of a member of Governing Body” garnered different views from the House and it was deliberated at length. The Committee recommended repealing the whole of section 7 and replacing it with a new provision   where the qualification of a member of the governance body shall be as determined by the  Rules and Regulations prescribed under the Act.   However, the House through a majority show of hands decided to retain the  original clause of the draft bill.

The House also directed the Committee to:

  1. re-examine  sub-section 4 of section 7;
  2. review the translation of ‘credential’ in Chapter 5’s title;
  3. consider a new provision aligned to section 60 on fixing  accountability on the privacy of the data; and report back to the House tomorrow.

The House deliberated till chapter 11 today and will resume the deliberation from chapter 12 - Offences and Penalties tomorrow along with recommendations of the Committee.