Tshogpa salaries

The government needs to understand what they can do and what they cannot do.

Last month, on October 27, during a press conference the finance minister announced that, “… while tshogpas deserve a raise, there is not enough money to raise their salary.” Furthermore, he clarified that, “an increment in the salary should be approved by the Pay Commission.”

So basically, we were told that the government can’t increase tshogpa salaries because (1) they don’t have enough money; and (2) the Pay Commission would have to approve any increase.

But last week, on November 16, the government announced that they had increased the salary of tshogpas to Nu 5,000 per month. And that that increase was decided by the cabinet.

So basically, now we are made to understand that (1) the government has enough money to increase tshogpa salaries; and (2) the Pay Commission does not have to approve that increase.

In fact, here’s what the government can do: increase tshogpa salaries. Why? Because tshogpas were being paid below the national minimum wage. So whether tshogpas deserved a raise or not, and whether the government had enough money or not, their salaries had to be increased to at least equal the national minimum wage level.

But here’s what the government cannot do: increase tshogpa salaries unilaterally. Why? Because only the Pay Commission has the authority to recommend increases in the salaries of public servants, including tshogpas who are members of the local government.

That’s why I called for tshogpa salaries to be increased, but objected that the government does not have the authority to do so unilaterally.

In order to ensure that the increased salaries of the tshogpas are lawful, the government should constitute a Pay Commission immediately to recommend revisions to the tshogpa salaries. There’s enough time for their recommendations to be approved by the government, and submitted to the next session of the Parliament.


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  1. baffling, isn’t it? less than a month after wangdi norbu’s response to the media that government does not have funds to raise the tshogpas salary, wangdi norbu is on record defending a 250% salary increase..from where did money suddenly sprout? or is it that the public finances are so distorted that he is cluless about the nation’s liquidity..after all, this is the same man responsible for the government losing a constitutional case just because he couldn’t interpret tax legislation..
    there is soaring inflation coupled with increasing imports & widening trade deficits, insufficient rupees, expanding income disparities, passive tax regime, rising unemployment..the government needs to do more instead of merely implementing activities as a token gesture..it is not enough to say that bhutan’s economy is so closely tied to that of india’s and let events occur..he needs to act..
    oh, 2 points come to my mind..unrelated..
    1. finance dg on a tv discussion referred to themselves as government – let’s get it clear : he is a civil servant, not part of the government. civil servants & government is now, no more the same;
    2. kuensel reported that the next 5 year plan documents were being readied by gnhc – why should gnhc or civil service formulate plan documents? it should be the ruling govt’s right to put into place areas of priority that they feel is important, according to their manifesto? theycan campaign & when elected, they should choose areas for development..it should be exactly the other way round from the present system – elected government should identify development programs & civil service should implement..else, how do we measure a political party to it’s promises & performance?

  2. are tshogpas on full time job? i mean, will they be be in office from 9 to 5? if so, i agree that they should be paid at least at par or above national minimum wage. If not, then, there is no point of comparing national minimum wage and tshogpa’s salary….what LG act says? i don’t think it is specified there. so it should be clarified before fixing the salary…my thought

  3. How shrewed the DPT govt is. They purposely increase the salary of the Tshogpa albet the unconstitutionality.Increaasing the salary was necessary but it was not sufficent without the pay commission recommendation still cabinet approved why. DPT govt knows that OL will surely opposed it as it is unconstitutional. so the DPT takes opportunity to use the tool to defame the PDP so that public will not favour him in the next election ofr opposing.So I would request the OL to be more smarter in handling in the parliament.

  4. why would the government expect the citizens to follow rules, laws, policies and standards if they don’t do it themselves.
    and therefore why if no follows the rules.. should there be any.
    I am absolutely confused by what the current is doing????

  5. While salary increase, be it in civil service, private sector, corporate sector or local government, is beneficial for beneficiary, it is bad for overall economy when it is facing serious inflation and when government complains that money is in short supply for basic development needs such as water supply, health facilities, education, food production etc.

    I read in papers that local government posts, especially that of tshogpa’s, is half filled due to lack of interest from people because of low salary; now with increase in salary, i read that people who earlier were not interested have applied for the post. Does this goes to show that money is ultimate determinant for our existence or participation in the well being of society, no matter whether we preach GNH or self contentment?? Or, is society becoming greedy or is system in power using money as incentive to lure people to participate in basic functioning of society ??

  6. what does our constitution says, lets us all try to uplift our constitution as a golden gift from our fourth Drukgyalpo. Is it lawful for the cabinet to increase the salary of tshogpas? If yes then what is the role of pay commission. Or is it that Parliamentarian should revise the pay for LG officials and civil servants. We are confused now. If honorable OL could brief on this issue la, we will be familiar with our constitution. What does act of pay commission says ? By the way, hope there is act for pay commission and act for lhengyezhungtshog. If not our mps must come together to enact these acts. Earlier, when there is pay increase for civil servants and LG officials, we have noticed that pay commission have done through revision. Then it was submitted to cabinet for further revision. After that Parliamentarian have debated on that issue and finally it was implemented. Now we assume that there are two different types of laws in such a peaceful country. Suddenly how cabinet alone can revise the salary of tshogpas?. Is there any prerevision done by the pay commission before? Or is it that medias have failed to informed us. Dear OL you must question our government to clarify on this issue on behalf of our innocent citizens in upcoming session. Hope you will do it. Best wishes for any steps you take ahead. We are always there to support you.

  7. Dear Ol! You have expressed your opinions regarding the unconstitutionality of the Tshogpa’s pay hike here. And, perhaps as a result of this post, Business Bhutan seemed to have questioned the PM and others regarding this issue in the article titled “Constitution is not a manual for the day to day business of government – pm,” which, as reported, seems to be the actual words of the PM himself. There, the PM has denied your claims regarding the unconstitutionality and has expressed his thoughts.

    Now I am left wondering who is right! I am poorly informed about the constitution, sorry!! Therefore, I want to hear your response regarding the clarifications made the PM. Meaning, if you still disagree and think the PM is wrong. Please, don’t try to rationalize things! Tell us the truth! I don’t expect the PM and his gang to rationalize either! Thank you!!

  8. Another constitutional case in the offing?

    In such a circumstance – when the government doesn’t function in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the onus of ensuring that the government doesn’t violate the Constitution directly lies with the opposition party as clearly spelled out under Article 18 of the Constitution:

    “1. The Opposition Party shall play a constructive role to ensure that the Government and the ruling party function in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, provide good governance and strive to promote the national interest and fulfill the aspirations of the people.

    4. The Opposition Party shall not allow party interests to prevail over the national interest. Its aim must be to make the Government responsible, accountable and transparent.

    5. The Opposition Party shall have the right to oppose the elected Government, to articulate alternative policy positions and to question the Government’s conduct of public business.”

    It is absolutely necessary to implement the checks and balances, and the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution if we are to nurture our nascent democracy into a vibrant one. The mandate constitutionally rests with the opposition party, and the courts, especially the supreme court. The fate of Bhutanese democracy rests in your hands. You will be responsible should our nascent democracy gets sabotaged or tyrannized.

    Anyone who violates the law must be taken to a court without the slightest hesitation or a second thought. It should be seen as a test to our democracy – that our judiciary functions fairly and independently. It’s not a taboo to take a violator to task.

    The government tactfully maneuvers the rule of law leaving only a binary option for the opposition party. In the case of vehicle tax revision the options are either to endorse the unlawful act of the government or to take the risk of being misunderstood by the gullible electorates. The government did go overboard in creating a perception that the opposition was siding with the rich against the government. In Shingkhar Gorgan Road case the opposition is pitched against the people of Lhuentse. Had the government been little respectful of the rule of law, this Shingkhar Gorgan Road fiasco wouldn’t have reached to the present stalemate. It was a straightforward case. Similarly, now in the case of Tshogpa salary the government has pitted the opposition against the tshogpas.

    The people are not taking political speeches at face value anymore. They are dissecting every bit of it. Perhaps it’s the time all of us wake up from delusions!

  9. Dear Hon’ble OL,

    Never compromise RULE OF LAW. Without Rule of Law, democracy does not exist – it is as good as dead. I applaud you for upholding Rule of Law against all odds even fighting and winning a lone battle on behalf of the people of Bhutan – both for current and future generations. Make protecting RULE OF LAW the hallmark of your leadership – you will go a long way.

    For protecting the Rule of Law alone, you deserve to be nominated for the honor of RED SCARF – the highest honor any Bhutanese can ever aspire. I pray to see that someday. You were the most unlikeable MP among all the MPs in the beginning but you have made your genuine mark and earn your respect through hard work, courage, and perseverance – this is my honest feedback.


  10. The solution is simple. Deduct 2% salary of the each employee at DHI and pay the tshogpas. DHI money anyway has no accountability expects for those who are overpaid.

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