Rewarding work

Pay masters

Pay masters

Last December, I suggested that we should greet the Pay Commission’s recommendation to give politicians a big raise with surprise and suspicion.

Less than three weeks later, we were given the Government’s pay revision report. The Government had revised the Pay Commission’s report substantially. In fact, the Government modified the Commission’s report beyond recognition. But, I was happy. And, I had registered my satisfaction at the Government’s decision to stick with more reasonable pay increases to politicians.

This is what I had written:

For now, I am happy – happy and proud – that our government has decided against hefty pay increases for politicians. Good job.

I take back my words.

What was a “good job” then, has now, barely 10 months later, been totally undone. Yesterday, the National Assembly endorsed a pay increase for members of parliament.

Parliament does not have the powers to consider or grant pay increases unilaterally. Instead, according to the Constitution, it’s the Pay Commission’s job to recommend increases in the salaries and allowances of public servants. And that includes us, politicians.

But several ministers argued that last year’s Pay Commission had indeed recommended salary increases, and that yesterday’s discussions were based on those recommendations. Rubbish. The Government had already overhauled the Pay Commission’s report. And, the Parliament had discussed and approved the Government’s pay increase proposal. The Pay Commission’s original report was never debated in Parliament.

If it’s time to revise the salaries of politicians, go for it. But go by the book – the Constitution.

And, it goes without saying, that if it’s time to revise the salaries of politicians, it must also be time to revise the salaries of all public servants.

Photo credit: BBS


Facebook Comments:


  1. Thank you, excellency for your views. I don’t think there is ever a person/group of people who can decide their own wage after they have been recruited/selected based on certain terms and conditions.
    But this is happening on our Parliament.How Awesome!!

  2. Your Excellence view on pay commission report was very nice and was actually needed some support from our Ministers too. But was in vain. I dont think the public servant would really work hard for the public as far as the behevior of those politcian who ask always for the benefits.

    The pay commission report was rejected last session and i fell it is revived back. So public servant should fight back to get the all pay commission’s recommendation. Will we get our share of pay commissions report too. Why not If politicians can get that.

  3. Wait a minute……

    Politicians and Civil servants need a raise. Yes. [I can do with a raise too]
    But let’s think again. How much does a farmer earn? Or a small time entrepreneur? The sitting fee for the DHI Royal Charter whatever has already got me thinking here.
    Please reflect back what a civil servant was earning JUST five years back and what they are earning now. Almost double fold eh? I am not jealous, no! But has anything changed with the poor farmer or the handy boy who works in the workshop?
    I hope you see the gaping crevasse already. And I expect you know already where this is headed to. I smell trouble. Do you?


    I think now it is becoming clear why our National Assembly chose not to live telecast the deliberations in the our very own parliament in the first place.

    Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba said the members of the parliament must be paid highly “first to attract capable and intelligent people to join politics and secondly as an incentive for them to work harder” If that is so, then why don’t we pay well to our policemen who are doing a hell of a stressful job on our dusty roads everyday and living in pathetic barracks. Why don’t we pay higher to our doctors who are working 24/7 in stressful conditions dealing with life and death of our people? Why don’t we pay higher to our teachers who are the nation builders? Why don’t we pay higher to our soldiers who are living on the edge risking their lives guarding our borders day and night? Why don’t we pay higher to our bus drivers so that good drivers will become bus drivers and reduce the risk of road accidents saving many innocent lives every year? What he said in the Assembly was just disgusting.

    Most people in this modern world do not care about good or bad things. They do not care about right or wrong. They care about whether it is fun or boring and they are more interested in whether they can be rich or poor. These are the modern values- the values of a degrading age. I am shocked to see most members of our Parliament are subject to such modern values.

    However, it is a nice surprise to find that we have one such man in our Parliament who will not be deterred to stand up for what is good. It is wonderful to see that we have a person in our Parliament who will not be intimidated by his colleagues to stand up to speak for what is right. I don’t think our Honorable OL is a millionaire senator who will not care for any more money. I don’t think honorable OL is so rich to deny higher salary in the Parliament. Definitely he is not doing some volunteer social welfare job in the National Assembly. He will be indeed very happy to earn a higher salary. All he is asking is to do it “CONSTITUTIONALLY RIGHT”.

    I salute you, honorable OL.

  5. Yes, I go by Tangba and of course our Dokchok Gothrib. What is happening in our august hall? Did our MPs know about the financial soundness of the ROYAL GOVERNMENT OF BHUTAN? Why our Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance is proposing to issue Nu.2 billion of Treasury Bills? OHHHH I am getting sick of all these questions. What a state?????

  6. Tandin Tandin says

    Hon’ble members of the parliament had done it again!!! is it not funny for the MPs to fight for increase in their salary as always, after they have strongly raised their concern on DHI paying a high sitting fee.

    I wonder what the MPs will ask for themselves in the next session of the Parliament. May be they will ask for some more benefits and perks. Human desires are hard to be fulfilled and looks like MPs can never be fulfilled untill they resign. Lets wait and see what the MPs will ask for and thats also unconstitionally.

  7. This is an utter violation of the provisions of our Constitution.

    What huge responsibilities are our Ministers talking about? What kind of immense expenditure that incurred while visiting rural villages are our NC members talking about that is logical to decide on the pay raise? Assessing on the current performances of our MPs, it does not in any way justifies for such unreasonable pay raise. If the pay raise are to be decided now and than by the NA, what is the logic behind Pay Commission and its establishment?

    I observed that all the MPs except our Hon’ble OL, had agreed on this proposal consensually as if some developmental activities were undertaken proudly that further needed support. Who wouldn’t be happy to receive increased salary? But, the increase should come through some justifications and on the basis of past performances. Merely narrating about the huge responsibilities and level of expenditure does not, whatsoever, qualify for such absurd increases. Give us the performances on development, progress and status of what all MPs have carried out till now that should sum up and justify this raise.

    While they are thoroughly contented about the raise, there are mandates which we feel are still left unfulfilled in number of ways. In fact this raise, is just the beginning, we will continue to witness such unreasonable raises every time when the NA is in session.

    It has truly provided us reason to believe that our MPs are for “money” rather than for serving.

  8. Now this is bold – especially at a time when:

    * The Government rely heavily on foreign aid to fund our development activities
    * Our national debt is close to 60% of our GDP
    * Many families have lost much of what they have in the recent disasters and are still rebuilding their lives
    * The Lyonnchoen talks of a change in our “consciousness and lifestyle” from one of “greed, materialism and consumerist fallacy” to that of GNH
    * The unemployment is at an all time high of 4%
    * The Government talks of transparency, efficiency, cost reduction and service to the people

    For all of the above and for want of a rational justification, this is wrong. I hope this is a mistake.

    By the way – this isn’t even in the agenda for this session of the National Assembly.

  9. Instead of two sessions a year, there should be just one session in the five-year tenure of the NC/NA so that they can increase their salary only once during their tenure.

    With Nu. 700000 + 50445/month + 15133.5/month (housing allowance) + 7000/month (fuel allowance) + 6000/month (driver allowance for non-existent driver) + communication allowance + entertainment allowance? + god only knows what other allowances, MPs are making a lot of money when some citizens do not even have a decent roof over their heads. I have a very strong feeling that it will be just a matter of time before our “Honourable” MPs gift themselves with another increase and additional allowances.

    If they are short of ideas to gift themselves, let me suggest some – cook allownace, gardener allowance, sweeper allowance, maid allowance, coffee allowance, bread allowance, sitting allowance (for those who just sit and never utter a word in the hall), speaking allowance (for those who actually speak), gho/kira allowance, shoes allowance, shoe polish allowance, gym allowance (some have really become fat after elections), water allowance, electricity allowance, internet allowance, cream allowance, hair oil allowance etc. etc. etc… phew.. there are many allowances MPs can shower themselves with.

  10. Whatever it is…It must be done in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan. If the decision of the Parliament violates the supreme law of the Kingdom then I think somebody must challenge such a decision. At the sametime the Supreme Court must come to rescue.
    If such a raise is felt then it should have been done in the last session and also in accordance with the recommendation of the Pay Commission. If the Members of the Parliament felt that the recommendations of the Pay commission was not right then they should have sorted out with good reasons. Why this talk just now. If the salary of the MPs are raised then there should be an increase in civil servants salary too. They to have heavy responsibilities.

    Coming to the farmers and other low level workers the Daily minimum wage rate should also be increased keeping in mind the marked rate of goods and services and so on…

  11. MPs should be ashamed to even ask for a raise at a time like this when their constituents are suffering from the natural calamities that have afflicted them and when the government does not even have enough money to properly help them.
    Our 5th King is desperately raising funds to help the people in the east who have been driven to poverty by the calamities since the government does not have sufficient funds but unfortunately our MPs cannot see further than their own noses.

  12. Oh please no, I don’t not want the government throwing about specualtion about the possibility of pay increase of us public servant if they do not intend to actually do it, i clearly remember the last time that happened. The actual allowance when it happend was hardly enough to cover the increased cost (the rent was increased twice, grocery and vegetable prices went over the top, all due to the whole blow up). If the politician wants increased pay package they are welcome to it, however i do not understand why do all the MPs have to be paid that amount??? and what are they doing to deserve that pay package. I understand about the ministers, the Chairman, the speaker, the OL and some MPs, but the others have been just throwing their weight around. I tell you some of them are shame to the upper and lower house,(I personally think of them as rotten apples)wanting privilages, well who was preaching ‘drangnam and drangden’???? follow it will you.

    Another thing why aren’t they concentrating on development rather than their own benefits? Is it because the want to make the most of it in one term?(Just in case the second term never comes about?). I maybe a novice but i know Bhutan needs education, electricity, irrigation, health facilities more than politicians, civil servants or a DHI need increased benefits(Greedy bunch, all of us). It will not kill us to get our priorities straight.

  13. nothing to be suprise? i guess its the way of life.

    let me share something interesting.

    we have ‘pay commission’ to look after the salary & other benefits but when it comes to the decision, the ‘MPs’ decides and approves themselves , as and when they desire.

    now in the same way, some corporation has ‘promotion committee’ to take care of salary & other benefits of the staffs but for the ‘management members’ they decides their own salary & perks as and when they want,without giving a damn to promo committee.

  14. We are deeply saddened by the hidden agenda of the MPs at a time when the country is in need of huge resources to re-build the homes and lives of our people affected by the recent natural calamity. People and well wishers outside and inside made so much effort in making contributions for the HM’s Kidu Fund to help the people affected by the disaster, thinking Bhutan is short of money. But, the way our government is trying to fed our MP’s so extravagently implies Bhutan is not short of money. People and we have wasted our time desperately looking for contributions to the HM’s kidu fund.
    All the justifications given one after another for the need to raise the salary of MP’s were not at all proper and most important it is unconstitutional. The present government seems to be giving very little importance to the constitution, and that is not good.
    I am surprised that only Opposition Leader questioned on the rationality of the pay increase and this shows a quality of a real politician who is knowledgeable and more concerned than anyone else.
    The present MP’s were aware that they got elected not through mediocre but through the popular support to their president (now PM) and because they are aware that they will not get elected next time, they want to take as much as possible during this tenure in the pretext that this is going to benefit the future MP’s, very clever indeed.
    Hon’ble OL, we wish that the next government be formed by you who is really sensible and makes only points which are truely logical and valid all the times. Surely, we will make the highest effort next time to campaign on your behalf if you are still standing for the election.

    MP’s can now sleep well with the new year gift of pay raise while their fellow people in their respective constituencies are in desperate need of what they have promised during the begging of vote.

    • MPs raising their own pay at a time like this is akin to thumbing their noses at the people suffering in the east.

      Another revealing thing is that I do not think the relevant MP’s contributed anything to His Majesty’s kidu fund for the people devastated by the disasters in their own constituencies(I do not recall Speaker Jigme Tshultrim or Zangley, or Sonam Penjor, or PM, or Lyonpo Wangdi Norbu, or any of the Mongar, Trashigang, T/Yangtse, Pema Gatsel MPs making any contribution to help the very people who voted them in). Isn’t it a sad thing?

      Just shows they are only good at taking but not at giving back.

      • Lyonpo yeshi zimba contributed Nu.25000
        Lyonpo khandu wangchuk Nu.25000.00
        OL : Nu. 71000 (his one months salary) to HM’s relief fund.

        Wonder how much PM contributed….?

  15. Bhutanese politicians can increase their own pay?? Greed has entered our parliament now and i hope it doesnt become a disease. waoo..our MP’s are bigger than our constitution. what an insult. Do they really deserve?

  16. I have painstakingly read all the arguments put forth by various bloggers and writers, and I thought I should put my two cents as well, and this my first posting on a website (God bless and protect me).

    I am not going to deliberate on the content of the debate but rather the outcome of such constructive discussions and its overall impact. This kind of uproar, debates, cross fertilization of ideas, has never yielded in anyways, any changes in the decision/s already made. This holds true for all the past deliberations, where people have voiced out concerns relating to major decisions being made in big forum such as the august NA and NC. Such voices just ballooned for a while and it actually never materialized into any substantial reconsideration. As time passess, so does the issues. Therefore, my question: is this kind of forum just for venting out our frustrations, ultimately signifying nothing?

    Just my two cents…..

  17. This is the DPT’s idea of enhancing “Equity and Justice.”
    This is the DPT’s idea of promoting “GNH.”
    This, and CDG, is the DPT’s idea of “Zero Tolerance to Corruption.”
    This is the DPT’s idea of “a Unique and Vibrant Democracy.”
    This is how the DPT honors “the Oath they took to protect the Constitution.”
    This is how the DPT is going to fulfill our Kings “Vision of Bhutan.”
    This is how the DPT is going to fulfill the people’s “Hopes and Aspirations.”
    This is how the MPs repay the nation that gave them education, and valuable opportunities.
    This is how the DPT & MPs honor the trust, hope, and faith of our Kings and the people.
    This is how the DPT is going to help and protect the homeless and desperate people of eastern Bhutan who lost everything to earthquake and other disasters.

    The MPs and DPT government’s decision to raise their salary within just over a year doesn’t make sense at all. Neither do their earlier decisions like CDG, not allowing BBS live telecast, etc.. It makes me wonder if they are losing their mind. And then to have such a major earthquake with all other disasters happening one after another – causing immense suffering and loss to the people.

    What is going on? Is this an indication of something going terribly wrong for our nation?

    • This is how the DPT MPs fulfill their campaign promises.
      This is the DPT government’s far sighted and selfless leadership.
      This is the valuable experience of DPT’s 5 old Ministers.
      This is our elected leaders looting the nation in broad day light.
      This is DPT government’s arrogance and greed.
      This is the result of weak opposition in Parliament.
      This is DPT government taking Bhutanese people for granted.

      • This is DPT government trying to catch up with other Democratic nations in the region: Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan…
        This is the integrity, character, and honesty of DPT MPs and Ministers.
        This is the indication of DPT’s roadmap for Bhutan.
        This is an indication of DPT’s moral compass.
        This is an indication what matters to DPT and their priority.

        Is this what Democratic Bhutan is going to be!!!

      • This is what JYT is capable of;
        This is DPT inviting prolonged poverty, inequality and hatred;

        Let’s all go BANG BANG on JTY’s door anytime soon!

      • Let’s go BANG BANG on JTY’s door to wake him up for the Drangam Drangdhen..

  18. With no live telecast I can imagine how our OL is fighting (with occasional help from Damcho Dorji) the losing battles in the NA Hall, which we Bhutanese devised on our own!
    No matter how great a job OL does we have not given him the support he requires at the first place. He is just one man in the NA hall though the opposition leader.
    Many tourist are donating for countless victims we produced this year and our MPs are fighting for their salary …SHAME!

  19. what the hell is going on in BHUTAN? it seems there is only one man(Dasho OL) in hall with the constitution.where has been our prime minister during this discussion?Definately,we will love to hear from our Big Boss!!!its shame demanding pay revision in every session.This are the striking question strucking me.

    when whole world is in economical crisis.Are we bhutanse withstanding with it? how is our MPs working with their huge promises made during the campagnw? What percentage of 10th plan has been done now? how far did their equaty and justice reached to poor people in remote places? Do they really put GNH into action?Did NA doesnt have any other issue other than money,money, money and money every in every seesion.


  20. No wonder they don’t want live TV coverage. They all discuss about their benefits all the time, while lying to their constituents. they don’t want the people of Bhutan to see that they are paying MPs salaries and sitting fees to discuss about giving themselves more monies and benefits. What is the the use of sitting fees for MPs if all they want to discuss if their benefits.
    How can anyone justify, such pay raise when lots of out people are living in poverty. Is our country turing into Zimbabwe.

  21. We are saying so many things against our Horrible MPs ohh no Honourable MPs. I am sorry, its just a typo error and not syntex error. Of course the tax payers money is going out not for developmental activities but for GNH of MPs. We are saying for the sake of saying and no body cares except our Dokchok Gothrib who is lone fighter in the Hall.

    Lets see the attitude of Bhutanese people come 2013 but I can bet that Bhutanese by nature have short memory.

  22. What do we do now? Can somebody file a law suit against the members of the parliament?

  23. May sound little off.

    The salary that people, be it MP or ministers, take is irrelevant as much as their actual output in terms of making a change in their communities they represent.

    The question, therefore, is are our MPs delivering the equivalent amount of goods to their people?

    All these might lead to political apathy which is not good for our nascent democracy.

  24. I feel totally weak and upset. De-motivated to the bones. I get a feeling that in exactly one year, they will again talk of raising their pay.

    If they are really concerned about helping people in their constituency, we don’t have to make any hue and cry over the amount of money they are paid but from what I see and hear, they aren’t doing a good job. I wonder if I would act the same way if I were in their position, where I could actually demand any irrational demand and get it handed on my palm. Man, it was reckless. I almost feel like begging you to do something to stop this.

  25. Dear All,

    I pray to God that our Hon’ble MPs be bestowed with minimum wisdom and intelligance that can make sound judgment which inturns benefit the people who have trusted them blindly and achieve the farsighted wisdom of our beloved kings.

  26. Kencho Tshering says

    Dear TAN,

    Interesting that you have some information on which MP contributed how much to the HM Kidu Fund. I am impressed to learn the OL contributed 71,000 which I am not aware of being outside Bhutan. Other two Lyonpo’s have contributed 25,000 each.

    What I don’t see is the contribution figures of the MP’s from East where people of their constituencies are worst affected. How much did they contribute besides always fighting for benefits and increase in salary in every session of the NA. They are good for nothing in setting examples besides their greediness.

    Hon’bel OL’s contribution of his one month salary clearly is an indication that his voice of concerns in the NA are genuine. Hats up to OL and we wish you in advance all the best in next round of campaign

  27. Congratulatiosn to all of us who put those bunch of idiots and good for nothing people as the Govt,of course we deserve it… coz we didn’t want Lyonpo Sangay…. because he would be bad and we wanted DPT because they have been serving the govt. for all those years… they have built estates… and they still want more.. its true that you never get enough.. but i hate to see some idoits former teachers and actors… think they can rule my country.. that i love so much.

    I don’t even care to say we will do better next time… because it might be too late… Gross national happiness indeed..what is it that they want….

    • Lyonpo Sangay could have been worse. Who knows by this time he would have become a Saddam in Bhutan. Nobody will dare say a word against him. His nephew is the King and his family is Royal.His personal ideas could have become national policies and his words could have become the law of the land. We naver know. A chinese saying goes “be careful what you wish for”. So, we should not live in past contemplations because it could be wrong. In fact, we should live in the present moment. Now. Past is gone. Can do nothing about it but we all can do something today for our better future.

      Just sharing a thought.

  28. And where are they intending ot get that money from? i thought we had no money…. to rebuild homes of those people who lost thier homes, i thought we didn’t have enough money to rehab our young people who had drug issues, i thought we didn;t have enough money to send teachers to the remote areas to teach our kids in these palces.. i thought we didn;t have enought money to bring electricity to villages that has never seen lights …

    where are we going to bring the money to pay such fat salaries….. to our honble MPS who might be sleeping in the sessions of the NA….. either because they cannot say anything in front of thier seniors or because they don’t care….

    Please stop this shit right now or i think we will become a very unhappy country…

  29. Dear OL

    I agree with you and every one else. As a supporter of the DPT, part of the shame must be borne by those of us who were naive enough to think they were a better lot of people to lead this country. Over the past close to two years, they have bungled time after time, some even knowingly. But this is the final straw. This is not a time to reward themselves with a pay increase that they cannot claim to have earned. They have nothing to show that they have done anything worthwhile since coming to power.

    The fact that they choose to ask for and grant themselves a pay increase at a time when the country is going through a rough time goes to show what kind of people we have elected.

    Whether this is Constitutionally correct or not is not an issue. What is at issue is: has the elected members demonstrated a sense of duty and commitment to serve the people? No, they have NOT. Instead, they have shown that they are nothing more than a bunch of greedy, short sighted and shameless people.

  30. This is the Hippocratic argument i have ever seen in my life. Just few days back MPs were arguing that ours is “aid driven country”, less than 23% lives poverty blah blah… that it is not justifiable to pay high sitting fees! But now, they happily endorsed their pay revision barely after 10 months….Looks like we just wasting our time in commenting on all these issues….nobody is listening! they are bulldozing everything! i am a sad man today not coz i am jealous of their high income but they are such great Hippocratic s…


  31. Honorable OL,

    Thanks for bringing up this pertinent issue on ur blog, with due respect i would request for clarification on the following quarries, since u being one of member representing in NA.

    1. Lyonpo Yeshi Zimba and Khandu Wangchuk blatantly claims that the present salary does not justify the huge and important responsibility shouldered by MPs. 2.And what should the common people do if the greedy government goes on with their decision with out reconsidering the cry made by GNH citizen on such forum since we cannot protest.

    Please help

  32. I doubt MPs will ever hear our voice raised here. Teacher politicians like Tshering Penjor must be busy memorising dzongkha proverbs and sayings to sound big in the next session, actors must be already thinking of some roles, some who didnt utter a word in the previous session must be just regretting having chosen politics as their career coz there is nothing they could contribute…and our seasoned MPs must still be seasoning their thoughts with their greed and pride….

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