CDG – MPs = LG

The Constituency Development Grant:

  • The National Council has declared it as unconstitutional;
  • The Election Commission of Bhutan has complained that it will compromise the conduct of free and fair elections;
  • citizens have called it a political tool; and
  • the opposition party has denounced it.

And still, the controversial CDG prevails.

But faced with increasing questions on the legitimacy, intent and usage of the CDG, the prime minister has agreed to consider revoking the grant after two years of his government. The plan, apparently, is to scrap the CDG:

Provided that majority of the Gewog Tshogde (GT) submits that it was not useful.

But why involve local governments? Either the CDG is constitutional, or it is not. If it is, and if it is good for democracy, go ahead and implement it. But if it is not constitutional, withdraw it.

So don’t pass the buck to local governments.

But if we must, then give local governments real choice. Ask them if they would like to implement the CDG with their MPs. Or if they would prefer to implement the grant without the interference of their MPs.

First give them the money – they need it. Then ask them if they would like their MPs to be involved in the management of that money. And they will tell you, in no uncertain terms, No!


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  1. interesting argument

  2. Mr. Viewer says

    I think our OL is doing a great job and has to watch out for such issues and to resolve such stigma.

  3. Sunny Side says

    CDGs! It is irrelevant right now because:

    1) It is against the DPT’s voice to promote a vibrant democracy as it gives DPT MPs more leverage and influence. No Bhutanese MP, will be so altruistic as to use the funds with equity and justice for one and for all.

    2) 20 lakhs over 5 years works out to 1 crore per MP into 46 (I hope the figures are right but this is just to illustrate a point). Where will the government get that money.

    3) The CDG are against the RGOB’s “bottoms up” planning model. If an activity did not get into the 5th Plan, then it means that there were other priorities for the Dzongkhag or that the planning model is failing somewhere due to some undue influence. Why don’t we address these issues rather than making everything a priority.

    4) Based on the above, the CDGs might disrupt the current system of planning as people would rather wait for the CDGs rather than endeavoring to incorporate their needs in the 5YP. One reason for this is that, money for CDGs are guaranteed whereas money for consolidated Dzongkhag Plans are subject to donor assistance etc.

    5) CDGs are an extra burden on local governments. Local governments are already burdened with the implementation of their regular plans. Ad hoc money like the CDGs disrupt the system and could lead to misuse etc.

    6) It is unfair to say that the CDGs are susceptible to the acceptance of the local governments. No local government will look at realities such as capacity etc. They will obviously be swayed by the extra money coming in for various activities in their jurisdiction. For heave’s sake why would a local government draw the wrath of the people and the government by saying that the CDGs are bad.

    7) I don’t condemn the idea of CDGs. My submission is that it is not relevant at this stage in Bhutan’s democracy. It will be good when the democratic process has become more vibrant and where local governments are strengthened and capable.

    8) Lastly, for the DPT government why do you want to give your MPs a chance to get into trouble with the ACC. Believe me, at least 40% of the MPS would draw some flak when implementing the CDS.

  4. Sunny Side says

    Point No. 3 should read as the Five Year Plan, not 5th Plan.

    Point No. 8 should read as CDGs instead of CDs.

  5. sunny side,
    I truly agree with your valid comments. If I may add, the CDG is again Nu 2m/year for 5 years. so it is 2*5*47= Nu 470m ~US $ 10million. This is huge money! And although it might benefit some people, the person benefiting most out of it are the MPs and political mileage for DPT.

    As rightly pointed out. If there are so many things at the local level which are required to be done outside of the 10FYP, why dont we revise the 10FYP. Most of the current ministers were ministers that time!
    It was decided and planned to be executed at the later stage only to have some planning and not on whims and fancies on politicians.

    Where will the 10m$/Nu 470m come from? Our tax money, tourist royalty, and sale of electricity which could otherwise be used for completing other works through the planned activities. We will only have uncompleted works at the end of 10FYP which they would claim was not planned by them. Mark my words.. DPT work to achieve that and you are golden!

  6. mediawatch says

    As CDG is a case of the constitution being flouted, the Supreme Court (that is still in the making) should come forward with its interpretation. The government should back track the implementation of CDG or convert it as part of the larger LG budget or as an alternative fund. Involvement of MPs in the process is definitely unconstitutional!!

  7. CDG(with MP’s involvement) definitely is a CRAP!!!

    Otherwise, the idea of CDG is GREAT!!!

    The general people say it.
    The Opposition Party said it.
    The National Council said it.
    The Election Commissioner said it.
    If you are unaware, please read this.
    Section 10 of the Article 15 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan:
    A political party shall stand dissolved:
    (a)By declaration of the Supreme Court, if the objectives or activities of the party are in contravention of the provisions of this Constitution;
    (b)If it has received money or assistance from foreign sources or has acted against the security, unity and integrity of Bhutan;
    (c)On declaration by the Supreme Court on such other grounds as may be prescribed by Parliament or under a law in force; or
    (d)On violation of the Election Act.
    First: The Election Commissioner has confirmed officially that the DPT has violated sub-section (d) of this article of our Constitution. That is an impeachable offense and the Prime Minister must step down and dissolve his party to “solemnly affirm his true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of Bhutan” (I hope he didn’t forget what he swore when he took the office). I can’t help asking myself: is this government legitimate then? Our common sense with the above facts clearly shows that it is not a legitimate government. Then what are we waiting for, the Supreme Court? Is it necessary for the Supreme Court to reaffirm what is so explicitly mentioned in the Constitution? Are we so dull? This section of our Constitution has bestowed equal powers to the Supreme Court and the Election Commission to make verdicts on such cases. It is therefore needless to wait for the establishment of the Supreme Court when the offense is so apparent and anyone of them can do the job.
    Second: Okay, we wait for the establishment of Supreme Court. Then someone files the case and the Supreme Court decides that the CDG is unconstitutional. Then what? The Prime Minister will be impeached anyway but what about all the government orders? Will it be revoked? What about all the government money spent “illegally” since the CDG was passed? Who will be held accountable for it? The DPT party or the Prime Minister?
    Third: Even if the Supreme Court decides that it is “not unconstitutional”, what about the verdict of the Election Commission? What about violation of the Election Act? Does it not warrant a similar penalty?
    I think we ought to sow the seeds of righteousness while our democracy is still very young.We need to teach our politicians and anyone who is thinking to be one that there is no law greater than our Constitution and any offense against it will not be tolerated at all costs. If you do not protect and defend our Constitution, WE WILL.

  9. What happened to the CDG now? Has DPT bulldozed it or are we expecting the never-happening-SC to intervene or are we waiting for a constitutional expert consultant to do something about it (as is often the case) with our government? Interim measure is to give the money (as a pilot project) to one Dzongkhag and try it out. But don’t let the MPs anywhere near it!!

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