Taking charge

Here are two reasons why we should welcome news that the prime minister has formally taken charge of the foreign affairs portfolio:

One, the foreign ministry, an important portfolio, has been without a minister for about a year.

And two, this is a good opportunity for the government to reduce the size of the administration.

Eleven ministers (a prime minister and 10 cabinet ministers) for a country of 700,000 people and a GDP of barely US$ 1.3 billion is excessive by any measure. Switzerland, for instance, has 7 ministers for 8 million people and a GDP of US$ 500 billion.

Our government is bloated. And we need to trim it. We need to make it small, compact and efficient.

A good way to start is by reducing the number of cabinet ministers. And a good way to start that is for the prime minister to take charge of at least one ministry.


Facebook Comments:


  1. I agree with the OL. Ministry of Labour and Human Resources is doing nothing but some part of RCSC and MoE’s work. Their HR development can be taken up by RCSC and their providing training and looking after VTIs can be taken up by Education. Do we need MoLHR as Ministry?
    I cant say anything for any other Ministries of Orgs.


  2. Ministers undertaking dual portfolios is an option. The other option is to revise number of Ministries by the parliament as empowered by the Constitution under Article 20(2).

  3. how about if government could bring size of cabinet minister to lucky seven?

  4. they may rather increase the number of ministries in lieu and increase their pay. so far i don see any changes in governance system other than MPs eat half of GDP when same work was done by same chimmis at nu 5000 per month. democracy costed bhutan more than it earn..

  5. I am also for reduction of ministries and autonomous agencies. My suggestion:

    1. NEC to put under MOAF

    2. Combine Ministry of Communication and Ministry of Works and Human settlement and make it Ministry of Works, Human settlement and Communication. This is possible since Bhutan Telecom, Druk Air and BBS, three main communication agencies are corporations

    3. Dissolve Ministry of Labor and delegate its present responsibilities to RCSC and respective corporations and Ministries

    Having done this, we are left with eight Ministries. But dissolving and combining be done after reviewing the roles and responsibilities of above mentioned Ministries and agencies.


  6. well..about National Environment Commission. i dont know what NEC is basically doping. if their work is just to make acts and put them to parliament… while others are doing their job. MOAF and RSPn doin g a lot to educate and improve peoples attitude tuwards environment, NEC is just useless and wasting a lot of doners money… i think it is high time media find out what NEC is doing. automomous agency soo silent and wasting money by going on foreign trips…. may be we should rele think if we really need NEC, if they work this way.. or may be RAA should do performance audit Vs expenditure on NEC. i really believe GOvt is wasting a lot of time and money on NEC

  7. dungsamkota says

    MOLHR has little reason to exist.
    Jobs are created by govt and private sector, not MOLHR;
    VTI trainings can be moved under RUB or MOE;
    Labor and employment Statistics can be collected by NSB as they used to do;
    Dept of Human Resource Functions can be merged under RCSC and MOE,

    There should be a Labour Board to manage labor disputes and frame labor policy and thats it.
    shut this ministry if you want to trim the govt.

  8. I don’t think having 7 or 9 or 10 or 20 ministers will make any difference AS LONG AS there is no ‘dranyam da drangden” in our civil service.


  9. I am sure colleagues working in NEC will have their share of justification.

    As an ex-NEC official, let me share my experiences. Merging NEC with MoAF was tried twice by Lyonpo Sangey Nyedrup in his two times Head of the Government and exercise of Good Governance and GG Plus. Although 72% of Bhutan’s environment is believed to be forest and around 69% of the population are agarian, in both attempts, the government found that definition of environment is beyond Forest and Agriculture. Forest and Agriculture including livestock management is definitely an environmental issue, but, health, education, urbanization, industrialization, hydropower, mining and transport sectors are equally important environmental matters. Environment therefore could not be a sectoral exercise for the risk of bias and vested interests. A simple example; hydropwer, industries, irrigation, drinking water supply (urban & rural) are the end users of water resources and forest, glaciers, lakes in the catchment areas are under the jurisdiction of the government forestland. MoAF’s demand for water fees or plough back revenue will not match with the willingness to pay by the end users. This is where the Middle Path role of a cross-sectoral agency is required. The government in lieu of these facts had to reconsider NEC to remain a cross-sectoral agency, in both the attempts and also make NEC the appex body for coordination of water resources management.

    The Royal Audit Authority and the first Democratic Parliament had the same view of NEC’s frequent abroad travel and less domestic working. With order from the parliament, the RAA and joint Public Finance and Performance Evaluation Committees of the parliament undertook a vigorous performance and benefits evaluation of NEC in 2009. To their discovery of the under-staffed NEC’s performance and the national benefits, an appreciation/recognition letter under the signature of the National Assembly Speaker was awarded to NEC in May 2010.

    The mandate given to NEC is formulation of environmental policies, legislations, standards and advising the government in implementation of the policies, laws and standards.

    The root support of the activities being implemented by the line ministries and the CSOs like RSPN comes out from donors in appreciation of the national environmental policies framed by NEC.

    The government’s clear demarcation of roles and responsibilities to its line agencies has deeper reasonings, which superficial viewing will fail to observe.

  10. Penlop haap says

    Bhutan has the highest ratio of civil servants to population in the world. Such a fat bureaucracy no only slows down the development. It also produces paternalistic mentality, lack of initiative or innovation, more indifference and apathy. No wonder almost nothing that we produce is competitive in the open market.

    Reduction of ministries and bureaucracy should be looked from this perspective and not from personal like and dislikes or as to whether 11 ministers and 23,000 civil servants are too little or too much.

  11. Truth_is_Buddha says

    Another equally important issue is regarding the ‘productivity’ and efficient use of govt resources. Just reducing the number of ministries won;t make any difference, if outputs of the govt agencies stay as they are. There has to be efficiency and effectiveness measured ‘per unit’ at all levels (Individual/ unit/ section/ division). Administrative burden, processing time, bureacratic steps, many window application systems, long waiting periods, disappearing docuemnts/ applications, etc… should be looked into before we can call our system ready for proper service delivery.

  12. Sonam penjor says

    i have a lot of say against NEC, they are there in their office for very long, and heard by every citizens of bhutan.i support mr. druks for his say. they are bunch of useless people doing nothing, simply wasting govt. resources in their salary, and foreign trips. Recently heard of a pvt. initiative greenerway, they are doing what the NEC was supposed to do or organize. Govt. and media needs to support initiative like theirs. NEC is really worrying commission.

  13. MoLHR: 100% of MoLhr’s work can be done by RCSC, MoE, RUB and other by private consultants. Eg: National job fare can also be organized by pvt org, labour force survey by pvt. consultant, VTI is run by pvt. institutes, Dol & DoE is of no use at all-reannouncing the vacancies been aready announced by required oeganization & international labour recruitment already handled privately. I hardly see the requirement of DHR there.
    all in all, DoL takes 2 years to approve a employment creation business proposal which is still kept pending and saying the MOLHR taking care of training, employment, quality, HR…its all nonsence.
    Therefore, MoLHR can be closed down immediately.

  14. There are vacancies remaining un-occupied in NEC for months after repeated advertisements. Anyone who feels lucrative to work in NEC for frequent abroad travels and less workload should give a try.

  15. When i wrote something about NEC, not exactly against NEC, i did it out of concern. Most of the times, I do apply for NEC clearance for small construction and development works. instead of repeated request, i was treated with prolonged response for every application i have submitted. and the sad thing is, when ever we call NEC we get the same answer ‘he is out of station, he was around here, he didn’t come to office today’ and these bloody repeated response from some lady who receives the call after holding on the phone for around 5 minutes. I am not very sure if at all NEC staffs are going to office or else they go to office whenever they feel like.

    An organization like NEC have more important role to play, and PM during midterm review last year mentioned about NEC having to prioritize their work. Frequenting to fireign countries is not an issue but the question here is “Whether NEC is doing what is mandated” and the worst thing is every time NEC NEc is questioned, their only response, which is soo irritating infact is “NEc is the body to make environmental policies” and i feel NEC is also responsible organization to take initiative practically, not just making and drafting stagnant and stinking policies.

    I have a friend who is working as environment officer in one of the Dzongkhags and i asked him the same. But i was shocked to hear he even didn’t know what is going on, and he said he don’t even contact NEC just to avoid frustration from not being able to contact the person needed. He also said without hesitation, he almost forgot where NEC is since he met and been to NEC for annual conference in 2008, after which there were not annual meetings as such for them.

    looking at his response infact it was worrying and these findings and hearings made me comments about what NEc is might be doing. And it is not to defame NEc or anybody working there.

  16. The discussions are defying the purpose and boundary of this topic. Going out from politics to specific agency administration to personal grievances.

    Therefore, it is nice that the topic has become stale.

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