Paying for support

Dasho Nima Wangdi, director general of finance, justifying the government’s decision to increase the allowances and benefits of gups, was quoted as saying that:

The pay commission, which was not a full time committee, could be instituted by the government only for major systemic changes in pay and allowance structures. “In the gups’ case, the government has the full authority to decide.”

He’s right: the Pay Commission is not a full time committee.

And he’s wrong: the government does not have any authority to revise the pay and allowances of public servants, including gups, independently. It can do so only at the Pay Commission’s recommendation, and subject to the endorsement of the Parliament.

Article 30.2 of the Constitution:

The Pay Commission shall recommend to the Government revisions in the structure of the salary, allowances, benefits, and other emoluments of the Royal Civil Service, the Judiciary, the members of Parliament and Local Governments, the holders and the members of constitutional offices and all other public servants with due regard to the economy of the Kingdom and other provisions of this Constitution.

Article 30.3 of the Constitution:

The recommendations of the Commission shall be implemented only on the approval of the Lhengye Zhungtshog and subject to such conditions and modifications as may be made by Parliament.

The government’s decision to increase the allowances and benefits of the gups is arbitrary. It may also be illegal. And Dasho Nima’s support for the decision is misguided.

Increasing the travel allowances of the gups and providing them with mobile phone vouchers is no small matter. The decision is expensive. The decision affects other public servants. And the decision could be politically motivated.

But, it’s not just the gups who are benefiting from our government’s disregard for procedure. Last year, ACC employees were also granted an allowance arbitrarily. And the National Assembly approved pay increases for members of parliament without the recommendation of the Pay Commission.

The rule of law is important. Especially during these early years of our democracy. And especially so, when we’re dealing with money.

Granted, there may be a need to revise the salaries, allowances and benefits of the public service. If so, reconstitute the Pay Commission. Let them do their job. But take their recommendations seriously.

And follow the law. Then civil servants won’t have to cover for the government.

 

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Comments

  1. Honorable OL,
    The only way we can stop this tyranny of democracy is by filing the case of CDG to the Supreme Court and dissolve this government immediately. Otherwise, frankly speaking, your barking will not work and the DPT government will continue doing things whatever they like and all for their own benefits. They have given 400 million to McKinsey. The Education City Project, a billion dollar project which will not only deprive our people of 1000 acres of land but it will also affect our the lives of our people in the capital and our country in the long run, was not discussed in the parliament at all. They have given the 40 billion project without proper tendering to their family members. They have increased the salary of the MPs and the gups unconstitutionally.
    Honorable OL, if you are a brave man of principle who will look beyond your perks, status and the next election, you must file all the cases that are blatant violation of our Constitution to the Supreme Court immediately.

  2. Lobxang says:

    Honorable OL,
    I tried to look through your posts to see if you voiced your concern when the MPs’ salary was revised. I couldn’t find one. (Please tell me there’s one and I failed to find it).
    I join you in condemning the process in which the Gups’ salary was revised, but I do believe that the Gups’ deserve a salary revision if it was conducted in accordance with the law as you pointed out.
    Cheers
    Lobxang

  3. Lobxang says:

    I found it!
    I am sorry about my last statement. I found your article ‘Allowing Allowance’ and you expressed your concern there.
    Yes, you are ahead of everyone. Way to go!

  4. Lobxang,
    You are right. We are NOT complaining about giving 400million to McKinsey or building the Education City in our country or the pay raises per se but, we are complaining about the DPT government’s arrogant disregard for our existing rules and regulations and their blatant disrespcet and open violations of our Constitution.
    You can see that the pay raises for our gups did not follow the procedures mentioned in our Constitution yet the DPT government have raised it anyways. Shall we be happy that our gups got the raise that they deserved so much anyways even though it was not rightly done? If our King by section 18 of article 2 and the Opposition by section 1 of article 18 of our Constitution do nothing about it and remain comfortably aloof from these open violations of our Constitution,I think we should tear down our Constitution and use it as toilet papers. Why do we have to have a Constitution if the government does not follow it, our people can not trust it, and the protectors of our Constitution refuse to guard it well?
    What do you say Lobxang?

  5. Dear OL
    With due respect, contrary to what you and some commentators say, I think I will agree with Mr. Nima Wangdi that the government has the full right and authority to decide.

    You have clearly quoted the Constitution’s Article 30.2 as follows:

    “The Pay Commission shall recommend to the Government revisions in the structure of the salary, allowances, benefits, and other emoluments of the Royal Civil Service, the Judiciary, the members of Parliament and Local Governments, the holders and the members of constitutional offices and all other public servants with due regard to the economy of the Kingdom and other provisions of this Constitution.”

    The provision clearly states “…… revision in the structure of the salary etc. etc.”

    In my understanding, award of a pay increase does not constitute a structural change. The structure hasn’t been altered. Therefore, invoking the Constitutional provisions as quoted by you would be inappropriate and totally out of context.

  6. Thinlay says:

    Are you guys constitutional experts??? Why, in most of OL threads, there is mention about government not following constitution. Is DPT government stupid enough to openly violet provisions of constitution as alleged in this thred? Is it not high time that some constitutional lawyer*(s) step in and say something?? We can not keep arguing in circle, as it seems from this and other threads.

    Cheers

  7. Thinlay says:

    Are you guys constitutional experts??? Why, in most of OL threads, there is mention about government not following constitution. Is DPT government stupid enough to openly violate provisions of constitution as alleged in this thread? Is it not high time that some constitutional lawyer*(s) step in and say something?? We can not keep arguing in circle, as it seems from this and other threads.

    Cheers

  8. Yes, when it comes to their own pay, they don’t have a limit or does not have to follow the constitution, but when it comes to private sector employees pays, the goverment decides the amount. Shouldn’t this be other way round?
    The excuse I hear for them having a limit on private employees pay is to prevent tax fraud. I think that is looking for an easy way out. If there is a tax fraud, Department of Revenue of Customs can easily catch them. If someone puts high salary for their private employees, they can easily take taxes from payrolls. But no, DPT wants the easy way out and fix a maximum amount of pay for private sector employees.
    No wonder Bhutanese private sector is weak. In other developed nations, private sector is the backbone of the economy. Not in Bhutan and I don’t see it changing anytime soon, because of the way teh goverment tries to discourage private sector development.

  9. Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan
    Article 29
    The Pay Commission
    1.There shall be a Pay Commission, headed by a Chairperson, which shall be autonomous and shall be constituted, from time to time, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
    2.The Pay Commission shall recommend to the Government revisions in the structure of the salary, allowances, benefits, and other emoluments of the Royal Civil Service, the Judiciary, the Armed Forces, the members of Parliament and Local Governments, and all other public servants with due regard to the economy of the Kingdom and other provisions of this Constitution.
    3.The recommendation of the Commission shall be implemented only on the approval of the Lhengye Zhungtshog and subject to such conditions and modifications as may be made by Parliament.
    *******************************************************************
    To Guest:
    You have very haughtily but very clearly copied and pasted the section 2 of article 29 of our Constitution. Well done but I have to ask you three questions because I am in serious doubt that you are not only an idiot but someone who can’t even read english very well too.
    Q1: Was there any “Pay Commission constituted” for the revision of the gups’ salary on the recommendation of the Prime Minister as required by the section 1 of this article?
    Q2: Did the “Pay Commission recommend” it to the Government as required by section 2 of this article?
    Q3: Was the bill modified and endorsed by the Parliament as required by section 3 of this article?
    *************************************************************
    ToThinlay.
    Do we need a “constitutional expert” to interpret the above very, very crystal clearly mentioned statements in very simple english in our Constitution? If you as an educated man need a “constitutional expert” to interpret such simple english, there is no doubt that our farmers and laymen who make up almost half of our population will be easily deceived by our politicians who will interpet our Constitution to fulfil their own interests. This is very bad for a democray and will be very bad for our nation.

  10. Dear OL,

    In difference to you and your standing and position and, considering that this is your Blog, I am not going to stoop to the level of Tangba and start name calling as he is doing. But I seriously think that, in order to keep the trash away, you ought to restrain him from doing so since you know that nothing useful can be achieved by name calling. I could very well do so too but I know that doing so would be to mask my own incapacity to be knowledgeable and constructive. If we have a constructive point of view to express, let us do so in the hope that each of us may be enriched by the others differing perspectives. We are not waging a war here but engaging in exchange of views so that we may understand the issues better and from perspectives other than our own.

    Now, Tangba, Oh Great Teacher of Politics and Law for the past 25 years! … Please re-read my comment. I am clearly saying that since the pay raise does not constitute a structural change, it does not require that the Prime Minister reconstitute the Pay Commission to seek validation of the PAY INCREASE to the Gups from the Lhengye Zhungtshog and the Parliament. If you disagree with me, lets us hear from you – why?

    By the way, I wasn’t copy pasting any Articles of the Constitution – but quoting one that was referred to by the OL in the body of his post that we are now discussing. There is nothing haughtiness about that, don’t you think?

  11. Dear Thinlay

    We are not experts that is why we are discussing. If we were experts, there is no need for discussion.

    Most of us know that the DPT government is not stupid (if they were, 98% of the Bhutanese people wouldn’t have voted them to power) but that does not prevent some from believing that they are. Now, under our spanking new democracy, they will have you believe that saying whatever comes to mind is their Constitutional right to free speech and thought. So lets respect that.

  12. While I agree with some of the comments, there is no point having followed the process. What difference would there be if the Pay Commission had been reconstituted? Afterall the people would have been the same, same group and in fact even related to many of the Gups. It is just the name. I think sometimes one man decision is better to save time. We would like to see the Gups, who are none other than our own relatives to be happy as well. Gups being large in number will benefit a lot. Some of us may even give our posts to others and take up jobs as Gups in future. In fact the PM represents the majority of people as he is elected by the people. Otherwise what use was there to spend millions in elections? Let us focus on other things

  13. To Guest:
    I am dead stunned how our people who are considered educated can be so very ignorant and misleading.You do not understand the difference between “revisions IN the structure” and a “structural change” that you are arguing with. “Revisions in the structure” is like the clouds in the sky which moves as the weather changes but the “structural change” that you said is like the sky itself. It can’t be changed. As a vibrant democratic country, it is inevitable to make revisions IN the structure of our salary, allowances, benefits, and other emoluments from time to time according to the fluctuating economy, changing developments and with the changing times and needs of our people. It is a necessity. It is a must but the “structural change” you said that will only “require the Prime Minister to reconstitute the Pay Commission to seek validation of the pay increase from the Lhengye Zhungtshog and the Parliament” is absolutely irrational and ridiculous because such a “structural change” will never happen unless there is a radical change of governance from democracy to some kind of autocracy or communism. You know, the basic structure will more or less remain the same but only revisions here and there can be made from time to time, for example, revising the salary of the gups without revising the salary of all the other civil servants. That is what we are talking about.That is what the Constitution is talking about.
    You see, my friend, if you want to really understand a movie, you must sincerely watch it from the beginning till the end. You should not derive conclusions by watching a segment of the movie or just the trailer. You may be completely wrong. I said there is an air of haughtiness when you ‘quoted’ the article because you have hastily moved your focus onto the “structure” and did not bother to consider the existence of the other words in the article at all to understand the whole context.If you are open enough, please read the following and then share me your views. I will explain it to you, section by section, in very simple plain english.
    ***************************************************************
    Section 1 of article 29: ‘There shall be a Pay Commission, headed by a Chairperson, which shall be autonomous and shall be constituted, from time to time, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister’.
    >>>By this section, if the Prime Minister thinks that the salaries of the gups should be revised and raised,he must constitute a Pay Commission first. He should appoint a Chairperson and some senior bureaucrats to study the issue. The Pay Commission will basically do the following.
    1.Study whether the recommendation of the Prime Minister is reasonable or not.They will see whether the recommendations made by the Prime Minister have/could have any hidden political agendas or it is a genuinely reasonable recommendation.
    2.Study whether the demands of the gups are reasonable or not. They will study in how many years did the gups got a raise and evaluate the present workloads and occupational demands and facilities required by the gups to discharge their duties efficiently.
    3.They will study whether increasing the salary of the gups will affect the structure of salary of the other civil servants or not,if yes,how. They will have to consider the legal formalities and proceedings,possible unexpected consequences that may result from related rules and regulations and so on.
    4.They will study the current economic and financial situations of our country and decide whether the government can really afford it or not. They will decide whether or not to raise the salary of the gups immediately or postpone it to some other favorable time in the near future. They will decide how much to increase or decrease the salary.
    ******************************************************************
    Section 2 of article 29: ‘The Pay Commission shall recommend to the Government revisions in the structure of the salary, allowances, benefits, and other emoluments of the Royal Civil Service, the Judiciary, the Armed Forces, the members of Parliament and Local Governments, and all other public servants with due regard to the economy of the Kingdom and other provisions of this Constitution’.
    >>>By this section, the Pay Commission will then make its final recommendations after studying all the pros and cons about the revised salary of the gups to the government. It will also recommend how much can be increased and how.
    *******************************************************************
    Section 3 of article 29: ‘The recommendation of the Commission shall be implemented only on the approval of the Lhengye Zhungtshog and subject to such conditions and modifications as may be made by Parliament’.
    >>>By this section, the government will then introduce the recommendations made by the Pay Commission to the Parliament. The MPs will deliberate on it. They may either increase the salary more than what the Pay Commission have recommended earlier or cut it down a little or reject it altogether. Finally, approved or disapproved, the Parliament must endorse it. If approved, the salary of the gups will be increased. If not, this chain will have to be repeated starting from the Pay Commission again.
    ****************************************************************
    This is how it was intended to be in our Constitution and that is how a democratic government should perform. This article is very important because it deals with our country’s money. It does not give a sole right to any one man to do whatever he likes with the money and misuse it. It does not give the sole right to a prime minister to increase the salaries of the civil servants. If it is so, then today Lyonchen JYT has given a pay raise to the gups. Next time a Prime Minister who is an ex-teacher will give a pay raise to the teachers. Next time another Prime Minister who is an ex-army will give a pay raise to the soldiers. Next time another Prime Minister who is an ex-doctor will give a pay raise to the doctors. There will not be any systematic procedures and formalities to revise the salaries of our civil servants. Our country will be run like a dictatorship. One man will not only decide to increase or decrease the salary of our civil servants but he will also decide to increase or decrease by how much. Do you call that a democracy?
    Please think again.

  14. Tangba – I rest my case! As you said, the “structure” is like the sky and as I see it, and as you yourself agreed, the sky is intact – meaning the structure hasn’t been disturbed. Only the clouds have moved – which is permissible since clouds, by the law of nature, (fluctuating economy, changing developments and with the changing times and needs of our people – as you so eloquently put it) cannot remain static.

    Now it would be a different case if a gaping hole was poked into the sky or if it was painted pink. No such thing has happened.

    The Constitution clearly talks of “revisions in the structure” and does not talk of the passing clouds. By that, it means that as far as the clouds are concerned, the ruling government can employ the use of a gigantic blower or a mini sized broom to sweep away the clouds or cause it to gather even more ominously than those already existing.

    On the matter concerning the reading of other words and lines in the Article – I did read them – such as: “……………….. which shall be autonomous and shall be constituted, from time to time, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister’. You know what? Buddha be praised! – there is a revelation here that I had overlooked earlier! This actually tells me that it is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to decide WHEN and IF there is a need to reconstitute the Pay Commission. Now don’t tell me the wording of the Constitution is wrong. If that is your stand, then work towards amending the Constitution.

  15. To Guest:
    Thank Buddha,at last,you discovered the first revelation!!!!
    **************************************************************
    The first revelation you just discovered is: it is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to decide WHEN and IF there is a need to constitute the Pay Commission.
    ***************************************************************
    The second revelation not yet discovered by you is: the Pay Commission will then study and recommend the salary of the gups to the government.
    **************************************************************
    The third revelation not yet discovered by you is: the government will then introduce the Pay Commission’s recommendation about the gups’ salary to the Parliament for deliberation and endorsement.
    **************************************************************
    The fourth revelation not yet discovered by you is: none of these steps or procedures required by our Constitution was followed by the DPT government in case of the gups’ salaries.
    ***************************************************************
    The fifth revelation not yet discovered by you is: all other people who are talking about it have discovered these revelations long time ago.
    ***************************************************************
    The sixth revelation not yet discovered by you is: you are not just an idiot but a real one too.
    **********************************************************
    NB: I made my points clear. This will be my last comment on this topic. Don’t wanna engage with someone who do not understand the rules of engagement.
    PALDEN DRUKPA LHAGYAL LO.

  16. I think what the OL has written above is very important. We must uphold the ideal of ” Government by law and not by men “. Therefore, everything must be done in accordance with law.

  17. Oh boy!!!! How does one get across to this dumb ass Tangba that the reconstitution of the Pay Commission is called for only when a structural change is made? Does this donkey even know the meaning of structural change?

    There you go Tangba … since you won’t stop the name calling, the seventh revelation is that I too am capable of name calling! 🙂

  18. Tangba,keep on writing. We love 2 read ur comments. Ur comments are sensible and reflects ur great wisdom and vast experiences. We learn a lot from ur comments.U open our eyes and ears. We support U fully. Guest is the real dumb ass. None of his comments make any sense at all.Full of horse shit! I bet my head Guest is no other than one of the stupid DPT MPs in the NA.

  19. i second thee completely drakpa.tangba is sensible and he is right.Guest make no sense at all to me. the prime minister’s prerogative just shined on him after shamelessly arguing with others for so long.Guest is the real dumbass with a screwed brain and a very bad attitude.
    sir tangba, pls continue writing la.

  20. Great maiden omments drakpa and aladin. I see that you two joined last evening. On behalf of the OL, I extend to you a very warm welcome to the Blog. It is my hope that you will continue to contribute such meaningful comments. 🙂 🙂

  21. Guest,
    You are offending your own intelligence with your stupid comments. I think you are too immature to engage in sensible debate with a people of Tangpa’s caliber. I feel pity on you because your enormous ego is getting on your way to really learn and benefit from Tangpa’s insightful comments. Just so you know, there is sky and earth difference between you and Tangpa in terms of knowledge and experience. So cut your bull craps and give us readers a break.

  22. tigertiger says:

    I have gone through all the threads on OLs blog and one thing I have found very consistent is that Tangba makes the most noise but the least sense.

  23. This Tangba who is a pseudo Tangpa is always the first one to post comments or his one-sided views and opinions on all OL’s post. It makes one wonder about the kind of relatioship they share.

  24. observer says:

    Yes I do think that Tangba could be either cousin or a close relative of OL. Otherwise how could it happen that Tangba speak all in support of OL and all against the Bhutan govt. I think many are fed up of his dominance in this blog. I think he is the one who designed and is updating the blog even. He seems to have no work at all.. 24/7 on this blog going by the volumes he writes.

  25. Tangba,keep on writing. We love 2 read ur comments. Ur comments are sensible and reflects ur great wisdom and vast experiences. We learn a lot from ur comments.U open our eyes and ears. We support U fully. Guest is the real dumb ass. None of his comments make any sense at all.Full of horse shit! I bet my head Guest is no other than one of the stupid DPT MPs in the NA.

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