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Dasho Tashi Phuntshog, the cabinet secretary, was appointed as the new ambassador to Kuwait yesterday.

The appointment has me confused. I don’t know what to make of it.

The cabinet secretary is our top civil servant. He draws the highest salary in the civil service – several thousands of ngultrums higher than other secretaries – and, as such, is the most senior, important and powerful civil servant.

So when the top civil servant is transferred, even before the completion of his term, as the ambassador of our smallest embassy abroad, we must ask ourselves if the cabinet secretary’s position is really that important.

It is important. Whether the government recognizes it as such is another matter.

Regardless, I congratulate Dasho Tashi Phuntshog on his new appointment. And I wish him success in his new office.

I also congratulate Dasho Penden Wangchuk, the home secretary, who has been appointed as the new cabinet secretary. As our new top civil servant, Dasho Penden Wangchuk must represent, protect and fight for the interests of all our civil servants; he must guide and counsel them; he must be their role model; and, most importantly, he must provide them with much-needed leadership.

I wish him success in this important endeavor.

Finally, I congratulate Dasho Nima Wangdi who has been appointed as the new health secretary. He has his work cut out, having to deal, immediately, with the health procurement scam and chronic drug shortages in our hospitals. His experience in the finance ministry will, no doubt, prove useful in correcting the health ministry’s disorders.

 

 

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  1. Sangay.dorji says:

    I think they should appoint former lottery Director as cabinet secretary.He has the full support of the cabinet especially of colleages who were working with him in the operation of Bhutan Lottery

  2. Jurme Loday says:

    Bhutan lottery and Gyelpozhing land scam are so big in any other country, it will bring down a government. Only in Bhutan, the leader of the ruling party is not affected….so much for our faith in democracy.

  3. my foremost congratulation to all three Dashos. With due respect, I would like to respond to your Exc. Question which you have posted on your facebook page.

    Be it any secretarial level, i think we need those people who are dynamic, who understands civil servants as equal citizens and not as a chained animals bounded by ethics and code of conduct all the time. We also need some one who have lived and will continue to live with highest degree of integrity and dignity in leading all civil servants. should be 100% approachable.

    and ya… we need a secretary who stays ‘IN MORE’ and ‘GOES OUT LESS’ so that the proper check and balance is always maintained in the Ministry.

  4. Sangay Dorji,

    Please don’t talk nonsense here! To the majority’s delight, a well thought about transfer decision on the cabinet secretary post has been already taken and therefore, your lifeless suggestion of appointing the long retired lottery director is overtly irrelevant here and as such received in a very poor taste.

    As far as I am concerned, these are very positive moves which will go a long way in boosting the morale of the civil servants and therefore, present a reasoning scenario in itself why they should work harder. I see them as well deserving rewards.

    That said, I would like to state few lines on why a good balancing act of carrot and stick approach is the need of the hour‘s only way forward step if RCSC indeed is keen on taking this reform story seriously.

    In 2006, in the wake of the people joining politics, many executive appointments were made in keeping with the PCS formats.

    Now, five years down the line, I would like my fellow colleagues to comment how far such exclusively PCS oriented appointments have fared vis-à-vis their performance in the ground? Let’s hear!

    I have found many mixed results, some say they are doing okay, others say they are an amateurish bunch of leaders utterly lacking the key managerial skills and another lot says this civil service laxity cultures prevailing now as the manifestations of the RCSC’s failure stories owing largely because of their heavy indulgence in flawed practices during the PCS’ early implementation stages itself.

    NC’s MP Sangay Khandu on December 9, 2011 during the BBS Debate confirmed the existence of the RCSC’s pre-selected candidates story still being active even in today’s context and expressed his concern on our collective need into tackling these pressing issues.

    The people’s trust element in the system is suffering serious setbacks as reiterated by MP Sangay Khandu.

    With this, wouldn’t it be a time now for the RCSC to take stock of the matter and see where things are going wrong?

    I think we have had lot of carrots having feed to them; possibly, it’s the stick age that the RCSC needs to embark into from here on if real nation building is what they are aspiring for by way of objectives.

    The government making people like Heath Secretary Dasho Gado, BDBL’s MD Ngawang and Lottery Director to compulsorily resign was indeed a very positive move. Perhaps, RCSC should follow suit such moves.

  5. Your excellency,

    I observed one common trend between Cabinet Secretary and AFD, Head of Finance Ministry and likewise the Finance of PMB, New York and Ambassador of RBE, Kuwait.

    That is:
    1. Finance post in PMB, NY is sort of reserved for Head, AFD, MoF

    2. Similarly, it appears that Ambassador post in RBE, Kuwait is reserved for Cabinet Secretary.

  6. Since the Cabinet Sec.is the so called “TOP POST” in the civil service, dont you need some sort of a college degree atleast?
    So does this mean that Penden Wangchuk goes as the Kuwait Ambassador after Tashi Phuntsho ends his term? Interesting…

  7. I agree with karmadoj almost completely but not quite. Recruitment, training, deployment, refresher course and superannuation procedures should seriously be studied/researched centrally by the RCSC. RCSC should be the custodian of the HR pool of the country and the nation’s HR masterplan must reviewed yearly. This way HRD division in every ministry/department can be scrapped off!
    Secondly, the promotion/grade enhancement should be automatic and rewarded to the deserving civil servant instead of having to apply for the upgrade as is now being done. In other words, RCSC should be the base and major supplier of HR to all and every organisation of the country whatever class, category, skilled/unskilled or specialised manpower requirement. The media is replete with announcements for recruitment of all or any kind of employees by all ministries/departments and that’s where corruptive practices occur.

  8. We are relieved that Dasho Nima Wangdi is the health secretary. He will bring about much needed discipline and change in this important ministry.

    We were worried that he would be appointed as the Tourism Council Director General according to the rumors afloat. This would have been a disaster. We need tourism professional in the tourism Council. Enough mistakes have been made in the tourism council appointments from DG, marketing director, visa officer etc.

    Now is the time to rethink about appointing a reasonable DG in TCB. Many say Mr.Thuji Nadik will be the right person as he is the tourism professional and the expert for the last 20 years or so. We heard Mr.Kesang Wangdi is leaving for greener pastures. He deserves a good post as he worked hard during his tenure there although he had no clue about tourism when he was first placed there.

  9. One critical area where RCSC’s PCS friendly qualification criteria coming out as THE main point in elevating people to executive posts needs immediate reviewing. Today, when we look back this five years field testing period relating to the performance of those PCS’s high-tech nominated country’s leaders holding executive posts , it reveals that we are not remotely near into heading the right nation’s development path.

    I think it has been a gross mistake on the RCSC’s part in selecting people to the executive posts purely based on the subject specific academic qualification strengths and nothing else.

    Things are now falling apart in field and the pace of development is getting slowed hugely with each passing time owing largely because of not receiving timely clear cut administrative directions from these so called utterly small minded subject specialists turned administrators. This aspect is a big stumbling block coming onto the path to development and is a huge concern which needs immediate addressing. The RCSC must look into the matter.

    The broad decision making skills which otherwise form the main prerequisite in the leadership’s quality seems poorly missing in these lot of the PCS’s chosen new leaders. The risk here is that the more these leaders sit on the power chair, that length of the national development phase may travel backwards instead of moving forward and would one day lead to a complete collapsed of the system.

    It is therefore of a paramount importance that RCSC by way of owing their past mistakes, now, takes a decision into revisiting this episode and embarks onto taking up the remedial measures immediately before things escape out of proportion.

    I feel the rightful place for these high-tech subject specialist is not as an administrator in an organization, but, as an ADVISOR or a Specialist in the concerned ministries so that their expertise comes into useful application when feeding a minute technical viewpoints to the decision makers.
    That way RCSC may be in a position to ensure the waste of human resources in its march into building Bhutan in the 21st century

  10. One critical area where RCSC’s PCS friendly qualification criteria coming out as THE main point in elevating people to executive posts needs immediate reviewing.

    Today, when we look back this five years field testing period relating to the performance of those PCS’s high-tech nominated country’s leaders holding executive posts , it reveals that we are not remotely near into heading the right nation’s development path.

    I think it has been a gross mistake on the RCSC’s part in selecting people to the executive posts purely based on the subject specific academic qualification strengths and nothing else.

    Things are now falling apart in field and the pace of development is getting slowed hugely with each passing time owing largely because of not receiving timely clear cut administrative directions from these so called utterly small minded subject specialists turned administrators.

    This aspect is a big stumbling block coming onto the path to development and is a huge concern which needs immediate addressing. The RCSC must look into the matter.

    The broad decision making skills which otherwise form the main prerequisite in the leadership’s quality seems poorly missing in these lot of the PCS’s chosen new leaders.

    The risk here is that the more these leaders sit on the power chair, that length of the national development phase may travel backwards instead of moving forward and would one day lead to a complete collapsed of the system.

    It is therefore of a paramount importance that RCSC by way of owing their past mistakes, now, takes a decision into revisiting this episode and embarks onto taking up the remedial measures immediately before things escape out of proportion.

    I feel the rightful place for these high-tech subject specialist is not as an administrator in an organization, but, as an ADVISOR or a Specialist in the concerned ministries so that their expertise comes into useful application when feeding a minute technical viewpoints to the decision makers.

    That way RCSC may be in a position to ensure the waste of human resources in its march into building Bhutan in the 21st century

  11. I am confused too with the whole Educational background these people have. Such an important post, he should be well educated, intellectually smart and dignified. But Does Penden Wangchuk have a college degree? And it doesnt make sense to send all Cabinet Sec. as ambassadors of Kuwait. What is the DPT govt. doing? Most of the time, they dont makse sense. Cant wait for the next elections.

  12. *to

  13. PCS in civil services is opening floodgate for technical and scientific professionals for administrative and managerial posts. Whether this is good or bad, only time will tell; but one thing is certain is that if attractive incentives are not design for retaining specialized professionals then one day we may have to depend on import of specialists from elsewhere to do hard technical stuffs for Bhutan.

    Cheers

  14. This is not a new trend….in the past, ministers were appointed as ambassadors…brigades is ambassador. So nothing wrong in it…what is more important is, where ever they r, they r trusted by government n king n thus thy should serve with full loyalty n dedication….

  15. Karma Tenzin wrote “the promotion/grade enhancement should be automatic and rewarded to the deserving civil servant instead of having to apply for the upgrade as is now being done”.

    This proposition from Karma Tenzin sounds very pragmatic and in fact this is what the civil servants indeed desires as a spin-off benefit behind this high flown reform exercises – PCS or whatever – to exactly take the real shape .

    By this, it means if there are provisions within the system whereby deserving civil servants could be directly rewarded by way of automatic up- gradations without this particular person having to undergo cumbersome promotion processes. Sometimes it is very embarrassing filling up your own reward or promotion forms.

    These are certain things which the system itself has to take care -meaning people sitting at the top decision making civil service chairs must understand this basic tenet as part of their responsibility.

    But, in the present RCSC’s relaxed mentality of ‘see no evil do no evil kind of prevailing environment’ I seriously doubt whether such good suggestions will have any takers there.

    Seriously, we are greatly pained in seeing the slow weakening of the civil service system.

    I think PCS has produced a bulk of incompetent new leaders whose core concern centers only on securing their chair and that can be guaranteed only if highly selective minimum risk associated activities are undertaken.

    More public beneficial ventures would mean risk taking activities and such undertakings are viewed as threat to their power chair.

    This is the kind of situation that is currently in the making! I do not like it to be termed as the brand PCS’s product, but, in time, things will become clearer vis-à-vis the ground realities

  16. wang Tshering says:

    Carrier mismatch is happening very rampant in Bhutan. The profession and their area of doing work is not matching really. In other countries most of the people are working in line with their profession. They are working in the relevant field. out here i foresee many people having background in technical work are doing administrative and other which is not always relevant. From my prospective its very important to work in the area of our profession so as to produce good results of all time to come.
    Thank u.

  17. Pelden Drukpa says:

    Dear OL? Do you mean that an ambasador’s job is less important than the cabbinet secretary? Or, are you saying that Dasho Penden Wangchhuk is less capable than Tashi Phuntsho? Or, are you simply making usless comments as you do not have better jobs to do?

  18. life is uncertain, and there is something in nothing.
    RCSC and Govt responsibility is not to make everyone secretary, DG, Ambassadors, Dzongdas, directors, But to ensure that most deserved people are appointed to these posts.
    are they doing these?

  19. Raw 000 wrote: “RCSC and Govt responsibility is not to make everyone secretary, DG, Ambassadors, Dzongdas, directors, But to ensure that most deserved people are appointed to these posts. are they doing these?”

    I think Raw 000 has raised a very pertinent question! This is in fact the question people fervently seeks the answer, into knowing, why even after 5 years things are falling way short of the real change in the RCSC’s system of management and reverting to square one like status?

    Today in our bid to scouring brownie points in the eyes of the people, most of our policy decisions seems more inclined towards “mass pleasing ideology” than having based on the rationality standpoints with long term national interests at the core place.

    I must say that we still haven’t got ourselves out yet from this “kith and kin’ driven RCSC’s hangover past policies.

    For instance, in the work place, people with connections still flex their muscle powers and runs the show as though the entire government machinery belongs to their parents like mentality.

    Under such a working environment how will the effective nation building takes firm rooting?

    This is the question for which only the RCSC should have the answer and howsoever hard this nut breaking business may be, they must find the answer themselves and present to the people.

    Things at the actual implementation stage are becoming increasingly difficult with such alien factors coming as heavy obstacles onto the path of national development programmes.

  20. Jurme Loday says:

    DPT gov is pleasing their main supporters by giving them cushy appointments as ambassadors. tashi phuntsho had no degree, he did not need it. He helped DPT win it all in 2008

  21. Jurme Loday,

    Dasho Tashi Phuntsho was already holding a government secretary post with or without degree.

    To me, the applicability of the PCS’s qualification factor long lost its relevance when many civil servants sharing same stories got their promotion under the RCSC’s PCS system.

    When others can avail this facility, why not Dasho Tashi Phuntsho be appointed as an Ambassador whether cushy or whatever? After all, I think, he has rightly earned this reward.

    Frankly, today’s government under the JYT is indeed making history in terms of the performance! Therefore, as a top person at the cabinet secretariat, it sounds reasonable if a small share of that success pie came his way in recognition of his hard works. I see nothing wrong in this.

    Contrary to this, what bugs me most here relate to how the RCSC’s conduct of business in the name of constitutionality matters – going to fare in the practical sense concerning the public service delivery aspects?

    The more we indulge ourselves minutely deep into constitutionality gambit, the risk here is that our people in the field may one day remain far distanced from us in getting the developmental supports.

    I do not know what the best way forward in such a scenario is. But, there is some section of people in the top bureaucrats’ level already into playing this game.

    While for the ruling government, there is an opposition party guarding on them, however, there is none overseeing this lot of the bureaucratic hassle creators party.

    It is therefore imperative that 5 years performance review on the civil servants is done by the RCSC in earnestness.

    The performance of people in the RCSC should also be put under our scanner too and we may as well demand their resignation if they fail in living to our expectations.

  22. Jurme Loday says:

    Having served as secretaries, are they not supposed to resign and go to goempa and chant mony? Or they further take cushy jobs taing away the opportunities from the qualified young professionals?

  23. I am for the movements – whether upwards, downwards or lateral directions anywhere even in the form of transfers as well. The reason why I liked the recent promotion transfers was because it generated some events which will go well mainly in sparking off the hope elements within the civil servants so that their trust in the system remain ignited the whole time.

    If we want the civil servants to serve the nation well, then, it is equally important for the system to make a distinction between ‘hard work’ and ‘no work’.

    Having said this, I think, it is important that people at the executive levels are kept on the move every five years so that unnecessary power corruption taking roots are halted.

    That way, besides the nation’s healthy growth part, such initiatives will also have multifaceted benefits amongst which, in becoming handy into addressing the concerns of people like Jurme Loday as we steadfastly march on the journey of nation building.

    I think Jurme Loday has a valid point there, on the subject of which, majority of the civil servants may like to ponder upon into finding the answer. However, the answer to this question seems locked up in the RCSC’s closet!

    It remains to be seen whether the RCSC has awakened to this reality show and ready into taking bolder decisions in the larger interest of the nation.

  24. From RCSC website:

    Intra-transfer of executive officials, Ministry of Health – 26/12/2011
    Intra-transfer of executive officials, Ministry of Health ( refer http://www.rcsc.gov.bt/tmpfolder/transfer%20of% executives.htm)

    Intra- transfer of executive officials, Ministry of Health
    As per the Civil Service Act of Bhutan 2010, Chapter VIII, Section 71 , the Ministry of Health has transferred the following executive level officials within the Ministry with immediate effect in the public interest:
    Name & Position Title PL From To
    Dr. Dorji Wangchuk, Director General
    EX2 Department of Medical Services
    (DoMS) Department of Public Health (DoPH) as Director General
    Dr. Ugyen Dophu,
    Director EX3 Department of Public Health (DoPH) Department of Medical Services
    (DoMS) as Director

    I think this is a good move and should be applied in other ministries as well. The transfer of executive officials within their own ministries is one good workable solution that may yield better dividends.

  25. From RCSC website: http://www.rcsc.gov.bt/tmpfolder/promotionsJan2012.htm

    January 2012 promotions
    The Royal Civil Service Commission has promoted 202 civil servants with effect from January 1, 2012 based on the proposal received from the Ministries/Agencies. There are 182 Fast-track, 8 meritorious, 3 Specialists, 3 Militia and 6 normal promotions. Further, the executive promotions will be updated later.
    1. Click here for Fast Track Promotions
    2. Click here for Meritorious Promotions
    3. Click here for Specialist Promotions
    4. Click here for Militia Promotions
    5. Click here for Normal Promotions

    Today is 27/12/11; my updates at their website tell me that RCSC still haven’t yet updated the executive promotion details even after 6 days time. Why are they taking this long in just uploading the name lists? OR there are more to this than just names? I think people want to know how RCSC conducts its promotion business – whether or not done truly based on merit or otherwise. We can make our comments only if we have access to these details.

  26. I fully agree with the remarks given above.
    Some important top level posts are truly reserved in our system. This stigma must be removed immediately by the so called gg plus otherwise why title was created. It shows inability non-maturity in rcsc happening such favouritism postings. The ambassador in Kuwait should a person who holds atleast a master degree sr. civil servant. I hope the present one is? Or should have double wives and adultries even amongst relatives. I hope the present one is not? The cabinet secetry should not only have the highest salary but shud have brighter and wiser than all other secrteris. Health secrtry is a good man but I dont think he cud rectify the health scams. The former secrety was the right person only the thing was he and Zangley did not get aalong becoz he highly inttelectual but the other one was purplexed in the profession. Health Ministry has some more steps to descend. It will be corrected only by a dynamic minister and secretry who click their IQ.

  27. January 4, 2012 at 4:37 am

    I fully agree with the remarks given above.
    Some important top level posts are truly reserved in our system. This stigma must be removed immediately by the so called gg plus otherwise why such title was created. It shows inability and non-maturity in rcsc happening such favouritism postings. The ambassador in Kuwait should be a person who holds atleast a master degree sr. civil servant. I hope the present one is? Or should have double wives and adultries even amongst relatives. I hope the present one is not? The cabinet secetry should not only have the highest salary but shud have brighter and wiser than all other secrteris. Health secrtry is a good man but I dont think he cud rectify the health scams. The former secrety was the right person but only the thing was he and Zangley did not get along becoz he is highly inttelectual but the other one was purplexed in the profession. Health Ministry has some more steps to descend. It will be corrected only by a dynamic minister and secretry who click their IQ.

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