National Assembly adopts the National Digital Identity Bill of Bhutan 2023

In a significant development, the National Assembly of Bhutan recently adopted the National Digital Identity Bill of 2023, marking a crucial milestone in the country’s digital transformation journey. The bill received unanimous support from the 42 members present in the assembly, demonstrating a shared vision for the advancement of digital identity management. This article explores the implications of the bill’s adoption and highlights concerns raised by some members regarding the penalties for governing and administrative bodies.

The National Digital Identity Bill of 2023 aims to establish a robust framework for managing digital identities in Bhutan. By leveraging digital technologies, the government intends to enhance efficiency, security, and convenience for citizens in their interactions with public services, businesses, and other stakeholders. The adoption of this bill signifies a significant step forward in creating a secure and reliable digital ecosystem that can facilitate various online transactions and services.

During the adoption of the bill, the National Assembly emphasized the principle of equality by endorsing the imposition of equal penalties for all users, including members of the Governing Body and Administrative Body of the National Digital Identity System. This decision underscores the importance of accountability and ensuring that all individuals involved in managing the digital identity system are subject to the same consequences in cases of offenses or lapses.

Despite the overall support for the bill, some members of the National Assembly raised concerns regarding the perceived disparity in penalties for the Governing Body and the Administrative Body compared to common users. On Friday, these concerns were voiced, suggesting that the penalties imposed on these governing bodies were comparatively lighter, potentially leading to a lower level of accountability.

The National Digital Identity Bill of 2023 will now be forwarded to the National Council for further deliberation. This next step in the legislative process provides an opportunity for the bill’s provisions to be scrutinized, debated, and potentially amended. The National Council, composed of representatives from various sectors and interest groups, will play a crucial role in refining the bill to ensure it aligns with the aspirations and requirements of Bhutan’s digital ecosystem.

The concerns raised by certain members of the National Assembly regarding the penalties for the Governing Body and the Administrative Body highlight the importance of fair and equal treatment under the law. As the bill moves to the National Council, it becomes an opportune moment to address these concerns and ensure that the penalties for governing bodies are appropriately aligned with those imposed on common users. This step will help foster transparency, trust, and accountability within Bhutan’s digital identity system.

The adoption of the National Digital Identity Bill of 2023 by the National Assembly signifies Bhutan’s commitment to harnessing the potential of digital technologies for the benefit of its citizens. By establishing a comprehensive framework for digital identity management, the country aims to create a secure and efficient digital ecosystem. While concerns were raised regarding the penalties for governing bodies, the forthcoming deliberations in the National Council offer an avenue to address these issues and ensure the equitable implementation of the bill. As Bhutan advances further into the digital era, this legislation will play a pivotal role in shaping the country’s digital identity landscape and fostering inclusive digital transformation.

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