Salary fixing

How on Earth could an Honourable Member of Parliament claim that: “From our point of view, the MP’s pay was never fixed and the 20 percent hike was only a hike on an interim and not the fixed pay.”

And, how on Earth could another Honourable Member of Parliament point to the finance secretary’s letter of April 2008 as proof that salaries of MPs were never fixed?

Yes, the finance secretary’s letter outlined salaries and allowances for MPs as an “interim arrangement”. But, interim only till the salaries were finalized. And, those salaries were finalized when we, Members of Parliament, increased them by 20% less that a year ago, on 19th January 2009, during the 2nd Session of the Parliament.

To claim that the 20% pay hike for MPs was also an interim measure, and that another increase is needed to finalise their salaries is outrageous. Their logic is both devious and shameless.

For those of us who have forgotten, the National Assembly’s resolution on the pay increase for MPs reads:

Members of Parliament

Pay increase for the Members of Parliament has been fixed at 20 % of their current pay and the allowance and other entitlements are as presented in the table below.

 

Sl.

Description Existing Revision

1

Basic Pay Nu. 30,000 20%

2

House Rent 30% of basic pay 30% of basic pay

3

Transportation charges of personal effects on initial appointment and on retirement

As Applicable to EX level in the civil service

4

DSA for official travel within Bhutan Actual lodging in one room plus Nu. 500 or lumpsum of Nu. 800 As Applicable to EX level in the civil service

5

DSA for official travel in India and abroad In accordance with applicable rules As Applicable to EX level in the civil service

6

Transport (vehicle purchase allowance) Nu. 700,000 for one term Nu. 700,000 for one term

7

Fuel/maintenance allowance Nu. 6000 per month Nu. 7000 per month

8

Driver allowance

Nu. 6000 per month

9

Mobile phone voucher allowance

Nu. 2000 per month

10

Gratuity

1.5 times last monthly salary into number of years

11

Provident Fund 8% each by Governmentand member 11% each by government and member

12

Travel expense on retirement

One month’s last pay

13

Discretionary grant Nu. 100,000 per annum Nu. 100,000 per annum

 

It’s actually quite straightforward. We increased the salaries of MPs during the 2nd Session of the Parliament. And, along with that, we also increased the allowances, and awarded new allowances to MPs.

Quite straightforward. Unless, that is, we want to shamelessly, and, perhaps, illegally, bulldoze another pay increase for ourselves. That, unfortunately, seems to be the idea.

 

Facebook Comments:

Comments

  1. Dremten Drukpa says:

    I like this article. It is detailed and clear.

  2. Dear Hon’ble, r they still going ahead with the proposal? How can we tell them that it is not right and to stop? Because it seems that no matter how much people have objected they are not heeding to it. Please lead us we want to protest.

  3. that seems like a lot of money to me.I am inspired to become a MP for the perks and the money. It seems very very attractive….I think if the goal of the pay revision was to encourage people to want to become MPs.. it has been successful even before the new proposed revision…. but along with that i have a dream too. I have a dream that future inspiring MPs like me don’t just look at the benefits but truly want to do something for the country. i have a dream that they put thier personal gains aside and work towards fullfilling the wishesof our children to go to school, of builing roads in places where there are no roads, of providing health care where there is none, of encouraging a vibrant media …. (this list might be awfully long)… but most importabtly of truly fullfilling the wishes of our Monarchs and making democracy successful. truly succesful in practice and in the minds of every citizen and not just in the minds of people who sit in the NA hall or in paper.
    I think its time to inventor what really needs to be done – revisit the plans. Admit mistakes and correct them if there are any…..Its time to buck up..
    other wise Tashi Delek for a new year…. May our country prosper even more than ever….

    PS: Instead of saving the driver,s allowance …. i hope all of have hired one since it provides jobs for atleast 67 people in the country.

  4. I am confused…I thought the MP’s salary hike was agreed and approved by the ‘themselves’ … so whats the use, with all this discussion now?

    can you pls clarify?

  5. dorji thongja says:

    There has been a lot of news in the media and pay hike has become the topic of talk of the day, at least for the Bhutanese. As a person outside the NA and NC halls I see that whether the hike is proposed by the NC or the NA, the hike if materialised, would benefit each and every member of the NA and NC and therefore the question of who proposed it makes little sense as mentioned by T.Lamzang. I also agree that providing such services is one of the ways to attract more people to politics. The question is the timing of the hike. It has come at a time when our country is facing many problems. Is high salary needed by the MPs to live a dignified life or is it a want? I do think that the amount they get is enough to live a dignified life as MP given the living standards in Bhutan. Therefore, it is a want not a need. I wonder whether they think of the people who live below poverty and hardly earn enough to make three meals a day. People, their own brothers, sisters and parents work in the scorching heat in many parts of Bhutan. GNH talks of being less materialist. But it is an irony, the same people who promote GNH demonstrate their unlimited desire for more money, much much more from the amount needed to live a decent harmonised life. What might other people around the world be thinking of our attitude – mismatch. Please do not be surprised when questions are raised. We will be embarrassed without an answer. We agree that as simple human beings the MPs too have desire for wealth and money but as MPs of a Buddhist country where more emphasis is given to a GNH, and more importantly being a LDC, the amount that they are paid by the country is enough for now. Once our hydroprojects are complete we would not mind you giving a Ferrari. Next time I cast my vote I would also consider the humility and ethical aspects. I have already been observing. For some it may be too late to understand that dasho, patang and lancruisers are impermanent. But I still have to wait for 1277 days for the moment of truth.

  6. Well, as mentioned in one of your earlier posts “De facto Increase”; it all happened while discussing on the “Entitlement and Service Conditions Bill for the Holders of Constitutional Offices of Bhutan”. MPs pay was equated at the level of secretaries and Dragpons of high court and thus they got automatic pay raise. But my questions are;
    • Is MP constitutional post holder? Should MP be included in this bill? I think it is clearly mentioned in our constitution.
    • Is it reasonable to equate MPs at secretaries’ level? How is the set up in other countries? This also means MPs will get protocol at par with government secretaries.
    I am just asking it with open mind and i hope honorable OL might be able to enlighten me on these simple questions lingering in my mind.

  7. we should collectively appeal to NA to rescind the decision to give new pay-hike for MPs.

    if it fails to convince them, we should demand them to reconsider it.

    if it further proves futile, we would have no choice but to go about the business of mass protest where all brains that include civil servants, and corporate and private employees, and rock the self-serving DPT government.

    if it need be, we should wrest the power of governance from the power hungry DPT government and offer it humbly back to our beloved Monarch so that instead of paying millions of borrowed Nu. to our glorified chimis (MPs, who do nothing but serve themselves) in pay and perks, we can go back to our chimi system, who did the better job for modest pay and benefits.

    God bless us…

  8. Perhaps the increase in salary is one of the mean strategies of DPT government to empower our Honourable MPs with power and money, so that later in future, irrespective of what and where they are, they will live happily ever after, like the fairly tales we read in our childhood days.

    We thoroughly understand the need to attract able persons to such positions who will render services to the nation effectively and efficiently. The current salaries and perks provided to the current MPs fairly justifies their abilities given that there were fewer individuals who turned up for the posts. The trend in Bhutan is rather different. Best and able persons sit the RCSC exams and get recruited into civil service with a starting salary of 13,000/- or even less. This should also be viewed from another angle, that is in order to groom persons that will lead up to such posts, such basic selection processes are fundamental. Even experiences are an important dimension of taking up huge responsibilities. I think we have failed from the very beginning in such areas. Instead of attracting able persons, there are chances that we might actually land up attracting corrupt and situation-driven persons.

    After 2 years of service to the nation, what DPT government has achieved and the future ahead, tells us that it does not even barely qualify for raises of any kind, meaning that our MPs have done nothing that will form strong basis for increasing salaries among other.

    When the country is still struggling with financial needs (statistics show that Bhutan is still a donor-driven country), our MPs are actually trying fanatically to use up resources that are meant to secure the well-being of the people at large.

    It is a clear indication that future of Bhutan is going to be similar to like most of the African countries. BBC reported that because the level of corruption in African countries are such that only about 5 percent of donor funds go into poor people, rest are in the pockets of politicians and powerful lot.

  9. Thanks for sharing the insights. Really helped me understand the true meaning of democracy. I was wondering though, if by any chance, can this bill be reversed in the forthcoming Assembly or overruled by some mechanism?.

    Need some clarification, please.

  10. From my point of view as a senior citizen of Bhutan, the pay structure & allowances clearly described by Hon’ble OL is too much for our MP’s given that we are a developing country and also considering the background of our MP’s. I never thought the MPs are paid that much with lavish allowances even before the recent closed door raise. Truly, it is a selfish on the part of our MPs and for that matter the government. People are tired of giving all valid reasons – citing examples of our common people, the civil servants, army, police, etc. of how much they earn. I can’t imagine how can our MP’s go that extent of money mindedness when they are already paid so high. I think our MPs know how much the President of Zimbabe is paid at the moment. He is paid USD 150 per month as his salary because of the economic crisis in the country. Our MP’s in Bhutan will bring similar situation in just one term of their government, if something is not done to stop our MPs to raise their salary in every session. When the HM handed over the country to people, and when the first government was elected, we were positive that the democracy in Bhutan will follow the footstep of our long years of monarchy and I have been always arguing with my colleagues from different countries that democracy in Bhutan will be unique and the MP’s will not be same like MPs in other countries. All my friends used to politics is dirty and politics is corrupted everywhere. Today, I am begining to realise that politicians are no different all over, but I am afraid our politicians are even more dangerous when looking at how they do the business.
    But, we the people should also realize our own mistake. We have fought so hard to influence our rural folks to vote for DPT and as a result what we got was a bunch of Joker MPs comprising of language teachers, actors, fresh graduates, travel agents, alcoholics, people who are desperate in the service, etc. The people made a mistake not to select experienced and qualified people who are now mostly employed at good positions in corporate, UN agencies, NGOs, etc. Those people are instead making greater contribution in their respective organizations and our MPs are only wasting their time discussing about benefits in every session of the parliament. There was not a single session until now where their entitlements are not discussed.
    It is sad for the people of our country to see such things happening.

  11. Calculating from the table presented by Hon’ble OL, MPs are paid 82,000.00 per month before the recent self raise excluding other benefits like DSA, provident fund, gratuity, retiring benefits. How much they want again? I think there target is to make 1 Lakh (or, say 6 figure salary). Do they want that for show or pride whatever, otherwise, 82,000.00 salary is too too high in the context of Bhutan.

    And, by the way, MPs can not be equated to constitutional post holders and government secretaries. No way…… I am now working outside, and here I deal with the MPs, Constitutional post holders like parliament speaker, Auditor General, Election Commission, etc. These people are way above the MPs in every respect. Please, don’t ever try to compare our MPs with those post. It will be more disaster than the effect of climate change.
    Save our country from this type of human caused disaster.

  12. Shameless MPs, are they telling us this is how they are attracting the potential future MPs? By misusing the their responsibilities and power? Bull shit.

  13. I think I will be competing for one of the MPs post next election.

    Also you forgot the sitting fees they get during National Assembly sessions.

    For a country where the minimum wage is 3,000 per month. It looks like MPs make more in Mobile phone allowance than 80% of the country.

    By the way how can they compare themselves to secretaries. Most of the MPs are fresh graduates who would be either in grade 8 or 9 if they were in civil serive, where as for secretaries, it takes atleast 25 years to get there.
    Also secretaries are basically deputy ministers, do they MPs think they are at the same rank as deputy ministers.

    • When you are paid hell lot of things for doing nothing who wouldn’t be interested in contesting, especially in our context.

      You have rightly put, how can MPs compare themselves at the Secretary level. Do they have the required experiences, qualifications and above all, secretaries are honoured by His Majesty with red scarf, meaning beyond excellence! Whereas our MPs, most of them, are situation-driven elected and there is no point of any comparison whatsoever. Some did not qualify, some did not have choices, some risked, some are corrupted and some failed ones…

      And they think they are best in the country.

  14. Firstly would like to congragulate our Hon’ble Opposition Lyonpo for oppsoing the agenda boldly in the assembly.
    i felt pity when our seasoned Ministers gave usless justification for supporting the agenda. Like very less for paying for the Tshokchong and all to the people during the visit to the constituency. What a shame. How many Vists you make? WHere do you all use the discretionary allowance.For your Dashos(Wifes) Aii MPSsss. Are you elected to wash away the government revenue?

  15. What next???? Do they want the Govt to pay for their children’s education too???

    i was watching the whole thing on BBS and if i am not mistaken the MP said something about having to maintain certain ‘status’ as a MP, what a joke. Looks like they have forgotten their duty, they forgot that they are suppose to serve the people, three sittings and all they have done is fight about their own benefits (mostly), first the vehicle and driver, then special previlages like vehicle stickers, then salary and allowance, then again some more salary and allowances.

    • The only alternative left is to pack all the MP’s and throw in the Wangchu River. In that way government can save 100,000×72 = 72,00,000.00 per month which is 86.40 million per year. Dear friends, this doesn’t include other allowances.

  16. This whole situation is a seriously unfunny joke. Looks like our MPs hit the jackpot this time. What a shame. I knew this was wrong from the very beginning when they started demanding for “Kabneys’ and ridiculous social classifications so that they could be ‘respected’. This is wrong, this is seriously wrong.
    I wonder why we still have them in office when they have already proved beyond any doubts that they are corrupt.
    Let’s impeach them!

  17. Hi Dorji,
    What are you talking of? Even the fish in Wangchu River may not like to see the corrupted MPs in the river. Better not pollute our clean river and make the fish angry. Keep our MPs and let them fight another battle for their benefits in the coming NA session.

  18. There is not a single forum that I know of that speak positively about this recent pay raise of the MPs. Even after knowing fully well that almost the entire population,except the MPs ofcourse,is against this pay raise, and yet MPs disregarding the voice of the people and go ahead with this shamful proposal, this will completely dash whatever little hopes and trust we had before in MPs and the DPT govt.

    Don’t underestimate me thinking that what would someone like me who could hardly write a decent English know; I have been to quite a few villages in eastern side and the villagers are really angry with the MPs and DPT govt. Most of the villagers are already thinking about who they are going to replace with the present DPT MPs in the next election. They even suggested that if I run in 2013 they will back me 100 percent,but unfortunately Iam just a junior high pass out and can’t run for the post of MPs. But if I have the opportunity,I can gaurantee under oath that I will never be that greedy like our present MPs. I would even go against my own party if something like this happen.

    Some MPs in eastern side are trying to win the trusts of the villagers through this CDG funds;they trying to make it seem with their lavish talks as if like the money is from their own pocket. If it benefit the villagers it’s good, but I doubt in the long run most of the money will go to their own pocket. Afterall,what can we expect from such greedy MPs who are more concerned about their own welfare than the people who voted them to power.This is a very very sad situation we are in. Om Mani padme hung

  19. Hmmm…u’re right la!!

  20. Hon’ble MPs want the money but just like always… doesn’t want to seem greedy… doesn’t want to admit openly they would do anything for a fatter salary…..
    and of course thinks.. all the people are stupid and idoits like themselves…

  21. i think its all coming down to money.. so much for ‘GNH is better than GDP’.. i bet His Majesty didnt see this one coming.. n how come that the only major reforms I, as one of the many who donot really closely follow the democratic processes in the NA, hear coming from the MP’s is only about how much thicker their purses are getting? Is this the Gold Rush or something?? what about the big words they spun around on their campaigns.. are the MP’s debating half as seriously about the rest as they are about their own perks??

    and, on a completely unrelated note, the general feeling among the masses is now that there has been a huge mistake in electing DPT into office.. and unless there is something done really fast, i think there will be another landslide in the next elections.. and i also think it wont be as pleasant as the last one.. at least not for the DPT..

  22. surprised-buddha says:

    Ai mo, am surprised at how people fight over money matters. Some have even gone quite far. How about if monks were elected as MPs so that there would be less greedy towards money. When would we have MPs who would not like money, 2013, 1018, 2023…..???? hahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahhaha

  23. “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” Gandhiji had said. I think hating the ‘sin’ is a good sign, for we can at least trust ourselves not to sin. However, hating the ‘sinner’ is a waste of energy, I think. How about if we put our energy into demolishing the sin by building non-sinners in ourselves?

  24. “Drangam dang drangdhen” is a black magic spell that worked quite well on the rural innocent folks. This very spell didnt spare even the seemingly-educated masses though. It’s coined quite alluring and deceptively. We put them to power and so shall we pay the price now. We realize now how much appreciative we have been of the promises the MPs made, how much of enjoyments we had listening to flowerly talks given by the candidates, and so on. Whoever wishing to form a party next time, think of a catchline like that, you will get to rob, rob and rob the people.

  25. Diagnosis, I slightly disagree with some of your points. The first point is about the best candidates are those who do the RCSC exams. I think one examination may not be enough to determine the ability of a person. If you consider exams as the criteria, then the best ones are those who leave for professionals after 12. The other point is your argument that the MPs salary should not be at par with the secretaries based on their limited wprk experience and qualifications. I think this is wrong justification. The pay should not based on the qualification and experience, but by the position one holds and the responsibilities one shoulders. It is the question of whether the post of a MP is equivalent to that of a Government secretary in terms of responsibilities. Once that is defined, than it will be clear. The question of experience and qualification will automatically get solved as we go along. Because it was the first ever election some people were lucky to get. We cannot define the MP’s pay based on the experience of qualification and experience as it will be different from one MP to another. Let us not have that old mentality ….. experience as requirement everywhere. Given the options people no doubt will elect the most qualified and experienced people in the long run.

    Considering that we are now a democratic country and we elect our candicates to the parliament, which means we are empowered, I think MPs should be considered as honourables, as they are rightly called. But then the question of whether one deserves the title in real life is another. Only their inner self and consciousness will tell to themselves whether they are worth the pride they have to be called as ‘honourable’. The MPs make the laws for the country and therefore are important people but then it should not happen as it happening today where the Ministries make the laws and submit to the NA just for endorsement entails not much work. The MPs should make the laws themselves starting from the scratch. Then that is the real work. “Khu-cha Yak-ghi-bag, kay-jobp ghi chap” says much. So my arguement is not about whether an MP should be paid more or less than that of a Govt. Secretary, it is about how the pay fixation should be viewed. Comparision leads to ego and ego costs us a lot and we as a least developed country cannot afford. One might even consider how much a “pata” costs the Govt. in terms of the “chadris” and “thop-lams”.

  26. yes

  27. bull dozer says:

    yes, from no where there is question of raising salary of MP’s came in the NA. it is good to hear that MP’s need hike their salaries every parliment sessions. i boldly say that MP’s and lyonpo’s are facing problem in paying due for ecavator/ machineries purchases in their spouse and child name. some machinarries remain idle, some busy with punatshangchu project I. i heard that there is no capacity to hire pvt. machinaries from real businessmen of bhutan. every where alloctment should be for MP’s and LYONPO’s. good business. best of luck for our lyonpos and MP’S.

  28. Date: 4th January, 2010.
    First it was the MPs fixing their own salaries. Now it is the turn of the Judiciary people. Then who else??
    Is there anything that will work without money in this GNH country of ours?

Leave a Reply