Inviting issues

The eighth session of the Parliament will start on 4th January. Here are the bills the National Assembly will discuss:

  • Tobacco Control ( Amendment) Bill 2011
  • Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Fund Bill 2011
  • Disaster Management Bill of Bhutan 2011
  • Education City Bill of Bhutan 2011

And here are the bills that the National Assembly and the National Council will discuss in a joint sitting to resolve differences between the two Houses.

  • Child Adoption Bill of Bhutan 2011
  • Sales Tax, Customs and Excise (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2011
  • Public Finance (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2011
  • Election (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2011

The bills can be downloaded from the NC and NA websites. Please give me your feedback.

Also, please give me your suggestions on issues that I should consider raising with the government. I’ll raise them during question hour, or, depending on the nature of the issue, propose them as motions.

 

Facebook Comments:

Comments

  1. Jurme Loday says:

    ask if there is conflict of interest in that the PM is building a resort where his gov is buidling a US20 million GNH centre in Bumthang? Ask if the PM acquired the land from the villagers knowing full well that gov was going to build a GNH centre and also rebuild the old fortress of C

  2. pl see the possibility of raising the following :
    1. legislation on rti – pm & this govt have talked endlessly about the importance of democracy but have been sidestepping the need for rti..they have tabled many bills but seem to be avoiding the rti.
    2. corruption – the govt needs to have their decision on closing down bhutan lotteries verified independently..so that those found guilty of corruption & collusion face the laws..this also with the gyelpzhing land scam where it is alleged the pm, chief justice, speaker, home minister & other senior officials have misused their positions for personal greed.
    3. inflation & debt – inflation has been spiraling & causing hardship to common people..govt debt is now reported to be 80% of gdp..these levels of careless economics are the very reasons for financial turmoil in europe & the us..we know wangdi norbu isn’t capable to solve this but what is the govt doing collectively?
    4. drug shortages – innumerable stories have been written in the media about shortages of drugs in the health centres..will zangley dukpa resolve this before he finishes his term?
    5. in support of jumey loday’s comments about the gnh centre being constructedby the pm, conflict of interest is apparent..pl question him about how numerous consultants are coming into bhutan for his private business on gratis visas, how payments are being made from public funds for a private business venture of his, & to make clear to all that the gnh centre in bumthang is his private business & not a govt initiative (the brochures make it look like a govt project)..

  3. Dear OL,

    The issues raised by ‘Jurme Loday’ are very relevant and I feel that PM owes an explanation to his people on the issue.

  4. THOUGHT FOR A WEEK! says:

    Hon ble.Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay,

    my issues are:
    1.How will the two parties solve the loan thay have taken before March 2012?

    2.Many houses were affected by the earth quake, but not listed to get insurance. people worry every day. Is this a recepie for another disaster?

  5. I am a Bumtaap and I know that Jurme Loday’s point is very pertinent to raise in the parliament. It is a daylight robbery and shameless plundering of poor people’s lands by the Prime Minister in Bumthang. He acquired the lands by convincing the people that their lands were nothing but unproductive forests and will remain so for many decades to come. He never told them that there is going to be a GNH centre out there soon. I have seen tears in the eyes of those poor land owners who lost their lands to the PM. If they had knew this thing could happen, they would have never sold it to him, or may be they got even a better bargain for it. OL must make an issue of this blatant corruption by the PM, obviously it is not his first time after the Gyelposhing, and I hear many others such filthy cases of our PM yet to be exposed.

  6. The votes casted by the public should be verifiable incase of any discrepancies or even otherwise a check should be done to ensure correctness. It is for this reason that many countries still continue to manage the system with manual voting. We appreciate the “time factor” at which results are delivered in Bhutan, but we would like to request the authorities concerned to install a CCTV running full time capturing each button pressed by individual voters so that votes can be verified by neutral third party or observers which should also be mandatory as their part of the job.

    “Language” should not be the primary qualification for local government candidates. The important qualifications is the “leadership quality” of individuals to deliver, debate, recommend on the government objectives. Time has come that certain things should also be looked upon from the perspective of the mass and not from the top-down.

    Bhutan is very diverse in culture and languages spoken around the country. The government has to address and upheld all minority languages/ dialect, beads and pieces of their uniqueness before each one of them starts to dissappear, we don’t hear “Bumthag kha” spoken in any other parts of the world?.

  7. Dear Lyonpo,

    Thank you for taking efforts to take our points,since there is only few NA sessions remaining for this Govt. i hope you will raise following issues la.

    1. Government Debt and Inflation
    2. Why our domestic air fares are priced in Dollars
    3. Gyelposhing Land Scam

    thanks

  8. OL,

    Serious implementation of Tenancy Act of Bhutan 2004 is a question of long overdue. This had not helped anyone at all since its adoption. Why we have such a dormant ACT which is just kept in the shelves and on webs occupying spaces. OL, can u please raise on its serious implementation or else parliament has the right to de-endorse it.

    My sole purpose and the issue here is 1) Lets either implement it seriously so that we are benefited or 2) Let us request our parliamentarians to de-endorse the act.

    Thank you

  9. One of the tool of STRONG democracy is Right to Information Act and I would like to request you to raise this to the DPT government that why they are taking too long to table this bill.I would like to belief that main task of the first democratically elected government should be to build strong democracy with proper check and balance but what I see is the DPT have different agenda. And one such check and balance is RTI. DPT government rather than making useless act like tobacco act should have used that time in discussing the RTI act. OL you are our only hope and only one to whom we common man can reach out to.I admire your way in keeping touch with the common people of Bhutan.

  10. Please raise issue on the following:

    1. Why so much of interest shown in the recovery efforts after natural and man-made disasters in the eastern and central parts of Bhutan while there was very,very lukewarm response when disaster struck the western parts (Haa and Paro)???

    2. Why is there a need to bring in retired/superannuated officials back into service ( either on contract or whatever basis) when there is so much talk on leadership vacuum/unemployment in the country? How will junior officials ever have the opportunity to lead and inspire, innovate and bring dynamism when the old horses keep on occupying one portfolio or another, even after superannuation??…if they want to continue in public service, they should join politics…

  11. Your Excellency OL: Please raised these issue.

    Govt debt: Despite spiralling increasing debt DPT proudly said Cutting down expenditure is near impossible. Is this impossible. No.

    1. Off course cutting down salary may not be possible but atleast dont make commitment to raise the salary

    2. Retrench some of the redundant civil servents.

    3. Reduce import of foreign vechiles for govt where it is grossly misused.

    4. Reduce frequently travel by the high officials.

    5. Long line of officials travelling with Lyonchen both for exteranl and internal travel.

    6. cut inflation

    7. Convience PM atleast to listen to RMA governor.

  12. Retaining experienced and qualified engineers in the civil service

    Lyonpo, I was wondering whether the above topic require discussion by NA. But to me, it has become necessary as it was discussed for Doctors in one of the sessions two years back.

    Ofcourse MOWHS is fully aware of the situation of engineers leaving the civil service for better working conditions and better packages offered by Hydropower projects, consultancy firms, private construction industry etc. From DOR about 40 engineers has left for other organizations during the past two years and many more are planning to go. The reason for leaving the civil service is mainly because of the brighter pay and perks. In the civil service, engineers are totally neglected be it training, study tours abroad, incentives etc. and they are shouldering huge responsibility and accountability as the 10th plan is all abt construction. An individual engineer handles 40 – 50 million worth of work in a year and working in worst terrain conditions, be it rain or shine, risking life but at the end of all the work – demotivated by audit issues, acc targets, and public picture. If the public infrastructure are to be completed on time as planned then I can see the need to really discuss the issue and retain the qualified and experienced engineers in the civil service. My observation is that civil service is becoming a training ground for the professional and when they get the experience and expertise they resign and are replaced by fresh graduates, and wonder how the quality of our infrastructure will match the outside world.

    I still remember in one of the engineering conference when the chairman said ” engineers are incompetent at worst and corrupt at best” – That is exactly going to happen if the better and good engineers are not retained by the government.

    It will be worth while a reference to get a copy of the ” the state of the engineering professional in Bhutan” paper from MOWHS.

    This is my submission and Lyonpo’s consideration and support appreciated.

    Kadrinche la

  13. Convience PM on the austerity measures recommended by the Governor RMA. This is very important tools to prevent from collapsing the economy.

    If govt is not able to reduce expenditure atleast try to increase the taxation brancket lawfully. Ofcourse this issue may have some repercussion still it is the best option to raise the govt coffins.

  14. Lampenda Chuup says:

    Dear Ol,

    Here are my submission:

    1. Why does the Education City, another frivolous grandiose experiment, need an Act? Does every major project require legislation?

    2. Gyelpozhing landgrab is overdue for investigation.

    3. Our all-out hydropower harnessing needs a second look. If they are not doing what they claim to be doing, what is the point in screwing up every river and valley? Should we not go for more community based schemes to augment power generation? Bigger is better does not seem to ring true. Banking on hydropower we have lost innovation in revenue generation.

    Thank you la.

  15. ….also ASK what the govt. is doing to combat increasing ‘Youth Rampage’ in forms of property destruction, mafia-style fights,creating fear in the towns and cities, attacking innocent citizens( recent case of stabbing of a nun is a case in point)..are they waiting for our towns and cities to turn into gang-lands, inhabited by thugs and psychos??

  16. Jurme Loday says:

    And ask him not to interfere in corporate board policies, recently BOB board…ask him about the misuse of pool vehechiles which is getting worse under his gov, …ask him why gov is getting bigger and bigger (just the civil service portion has grown by over 3,500 since dpt came into power) despite his incessant play on compact and efficient civil service..ask him about this equivocal answers to WTO…ask him if his GNH is working with so many youth problems, rapes, and oher crimes going up…ask him if the gap between the rich and poor have not widened under his gov

  17. sonam Penjor says:

    I believe, when it comes to the GNHC,
    the international guest were invited by DHI and was all govt. guest (Entrepreneurs from 25 different countries) and our PM managed to convince them. I believe he has already got some committments for his GNHC. And the sad part about GNHC is not for Bhutanese, its targetted just for tshelips and every night is going to cost USD 350/-.
    He has even got a team working for GNHC in PMO.
    This is the next big target that is already working, Oppositions need to stop this before its too late.

  18. Jurme Loday says:

    Can you please explain this GNHC in PMO thing la. I am bit lost here. Thank you, Sonam Penjor

  19. straight thought says:

    GNH is wonderful Bhutanese philosophy. Nurture it & Let it bloom all over Bhutan at every household, every village, every gewog, every stream, every monastry, every school, every street, at every zebra crossing, every office & every hill top. Taking it to one campus might be expensive for an average bhutanese to avail the services offered. However it can be a reaseach institution on culture, nature, population & development studies.If there is fund to buld it, it should go ahead. lets us not derail it with skepticism.

  20. OL how come you never brought the issue of the constitutionality of having just one session of parliament in 2011. According to the constitution National Assembly and National Council should meet at least twice a year. Did we have two sessions last year, I don’t remember?

    Thanks

  21. Dear participants,

    Let me try to clarify a few things that I know of concerning you questions raised in OL’s blog:

    1. The land where the GNH Cente would be built was identified towards the end of 2008 by the Agriculture Ministry when they were looking for land to construct Wangchuck Centennial Park. The GNH site rest exactly on the opposite side of the Park Office area. It was only in May 2009, that PM went there with some senior official including Minister of Agriculture, Cabinet Secretary, Dzongda and GNH experts to verify the site. It was found to be feasible. PM’s land is something like three hours good walk (fast walking) down the valley from the GNH Centre’s site. I have no idea when he bought the land if he did. I know that he was born there. His mother comes from an elite family possibly from Choekhor (Drapham) Dzong – a logical guess- obviously even otherwise he should have a lot of land there. So I think there is no conflict with GNH Centre and PM’s land either time wise of procurement or distance. There is a huge lovely fallow plain land of more than 100 acres which people have abundant from cultivation, just 25 minutes from GNH Centre – PM should have bought this land if he knew that a GNH Centre would be established where it is decided now. So I think the assumptions are wrong and I am very sure he did not know that a GNH centre would come up there even if he had some thoughts about it. I would say please go and visit the Centre and see the huge fallow land that I am mentioning (a prime area for GNH Centre actually). Knowing this, I do not think we should blame PM. Further, try to find out who is the Patron of the GNH Centre and you will understand the importance assigned to the Centre and may be you will stop nagging the issue further. PM is only making sure that the dreams of our great Kings, the country and the people, for an alternative development paradigm – GNH, lives beyond the borders of Bhutan.

    2. GNH Centre is of ‘National Significance’ and as much as it belongs to all Bhutanese, now it also must go for the global good – thanks to His Majesties and PM for bringing the GNH to the world. Remember the PM’s address to UN General Assembly – and how, for the first time, in UN history– many leaders stood up and everyone applauded for bringing GNH to UN. The UN then unanimously adopted the GNH as a standalone goal on 19 July 2011. Subsequently the PM chaired and Prof Jeff Sachs (author of 8 millennium goals) co-Chaired in August 2011 in Thimphu in a conference “Economic Development and GNH” organised by CBS and GNHC – where they have concluded to bring the next round of discussions at the New York in April this year. Many countries including small Islands, great minds, economist, noble laureates, thinkers, politicians, NGOs, civil societies and statesmen will be participating at this April Workshop.

    3. The issue of GNHC in PMO: I think it is miss-understood. Bhutan has two milestones to be covered this year – debating GNH in NY and subsequently bringing it in the UN system for global practice and the other is the prestigious entry into Security Council. So there is a temporary secretariat established under the Cabinet Secretariat which is working towards materialising these goals – they are officials drawn from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CBS and GNHC. The foreigner you are referring to is working for Samdrup Jonkhar Initiative and supports globally the GNH movement of Bhutan.

    4. Government is not against RTI – see the plight of India. Learning from it, we need to educate the people first, prepare them and then pass the rule. The successful transition of Bhutan from monarchy to democracy was due to a brilliant architecture prepared and executed under the golden throne for 30 years. For Transparency, the Government:

    a. Began ‘Meet the Press’ where the whole government including the PM attend with all the media and government official interested to join – which country does this? Is the Media not supposed to be bridge between people and government? Where is the government not transparent that we immediately require RTI? In fact government appointed each responsible officer at each ministry responsible for providing information – if they do not work, should the ministers and PM be responsible – what is the role of Secretaries who are bureaucrats then?

    b. PM requested every Minister in person to ask their respective ministries to up load all information on their respective website – today we have so much to analyse and see for ourselves on the net and suggest to the government new policies – who does this other than criticising the government.

    c. Every agency was asked to make the process easy – this in fact has been a long story since GG+ and OD exercises – what could RCSC do? Finally this government has made with every responsible performance bond – therefore the government (in this the civil servants work well).

    d. Next, the PM initiated the Good Governance division under him and his office came up with three areas of work in GG – one was public service, second was regulatory reforms, and the third was systemic improvement. The first one has gained popularity as G2C, the second has begun with MoEA as RIA (regulatory impact assessment) and the third has been taken under the umbrella of National Anticorruption Strategy Framework.

    e. What is not transparent that we really need RTI at this stage? Is it because some people make noise? Or is it because of ignorance that the issue is raised time and again? The Q&A in the Parliament is another form of RTI – the social media is in advanced stage and it is strongest if used properly as RTI? Who are the participants those who can access the internet and participate? What about the great lot of our population – they have no idea whatsoever. So we must first deliver all the G2C services then we educate them on the redressal issue and then approving RTI becomes relevant and as well it will be functional and cause no confusion. Media people call in the middle of night – tell me if one minister despite his private time would have complained – What transparency are we looking in through the lens of RTI???

    5. The inflation and debt – do we know that our economy is tied down with India – we have a good saying that if India sneezes we suffer the cold. The inflation is tied largely to Indian market. Which debts are we referring – Indian, I suppose. Do you know USA is in 3 trillion dollars debt (I even don’t know how many zeros it would have), do you know Japan is in debt more than 150% of GDP? Debt means something but for a good return that envisaged under plan such as investment in hydropower. Read the assessment done by WB and ADB. They would not grant us loans if they think we would suffer economic turndown. Please do not worry; It will overcome once we have power under generation. His Majesty in the address to the nation last year mentioned of self-reliance – hydro power is one of such means to achieve the goal of our country. Materials, machines, and equipments are the main reasons why we ran short of Rupee. Please read the Journalist- they have given good researched reasons. I wrote the same a few weeks ago suggesting a number of means to overcome rupee crunch. By the way, do you own a car? Then you have also helped in shortage of rupee – and you become a liability because you continue to spend through burning fossil fuel that comes from India. What it looks like an asset for you is not necessarily so as it is a liability to the country – whose interest do you now consider? Hydropower is powerful means to earn IC and even Forex. We have limited time to harvest and reap the fruit of this white gold. When the rivers, due to climate change, would start to run low, it will be too late to reap such a great harvest which we can do today – our 30,000 MW potential is faster reducing.

    6. Government has asked the medical stores to buy medicine from certain factories and suppliers who are genuine. This is to save us from all kinds of problems. Now our purchasers are so very small the suppliers are not interested to supply such small amounts to Bhutan. If the medical stores in Bhutan forgot as individuals and acted as one for a social cause, they could combine (form an association) and order together – it will be in a bulk and cheaper for them to make money as well. They are fenced and are scared that their domains may be taken by another – the shortage of medicine is due to selfishness largely of the drug dealers in the country. They could request through national procurement system and ease the problem for everyone.

    7. I thought that the Gelposing issue is handled by ACC. Even, I heard that the government has given in writing to the ACC to make a thorough investigation – OL had supported the government for the investigation as well. If it has not started, it will happen because the case is with ACC. One problem we have is that we post things without reflecting rather on hear and say. We, as mindful Bhutanese, must try to keep abreast with current affairs of one’s own country. If we are not sure, we must discuss over a cup of tea with people who know issues– or mindfully post it on the public forum such as “Bhutan Speaks” because Kuensel forum is anonymous and a few participants are not cultured.

    Personally I my gratitude to some of the blog participants who have raised pertinent issues that concern the people and our nation instead of pointing figures on others.

    Tashi Delek!

  22. Libra wrote: “In fact government appointed each responsible officer at each ministry responsible for providing information – if they do not work, should the ministers and PM be responsible – what is the role of Secretaries who are bureaucrats then?”

    This statement by Libra is absolutely true! I think it is not literally right to place all blames on the government when their area of reach for resolution seems limited within the ambit of the constitution. The onus of ensuring smooth functioning of the bureaucrats rests with the RCSC! I wonder what has in store by way of action from RCSC – when encountered with such shortcomings at the top bureaucrats’ level.

  23. Libra has done a good job in analyzing the posts. Three cheers for clearing the doubts in minds of the people but one thing i find on the GNHC centre and the PM land. I m not convienced. Why is GNHC should be in Bumthang. Why not in pemagatshel and Gelephu.

  24. In light of the information provided by Libra, Jurme Loday, do you have any more queries about the PMs land near the GNH centre.

    As for RTI, just look at the LOKPAL bill in India, it has taken them 45 years to arrive to where they are now, ie still not in place. I think India does have an RTI act but that also took decades, in our case our democracy is only 4 years old, so please give them some time to implement things which we all want.

  25. Sempa wrote: “ Why is GNHC should be in Bumthang. Why not in pemagatshel.”

    Sempa,

    What guarantee do we have of a universal consensus public views- supposing this GNHC project takes place in Pemagatshel instead of Bumthang? How sure you are that Pemagatshel chapter having a much better chance of ensuring zero dissenting views?

    Don’t you think that in either ways people within your cohorts would always have something to move up whether or not initiated for a laudable cause?

    What answers would we have if such moves are again labeled as being politically goaded into garnering votes in the JYT’s constituency?

    The fact of the matter is that irrespective of our disagreeing viewpoints here, the GNHC project in question has the wherewithal of lifting the Bhutan’s image to a greater degree in the world arena and undoubtedly go well in the practical sense with what has been propagated by us in the name of GNH.

    For an Ideal GNH Center, I do not find a no better place than Bumthang – when thought exclusively within the limits of my small minds.

  26. Jurme Loday says:

    Libra, guardian and others,
    Is that the official response? What is the true response. I hear tha there are several of you paid for by the tax payers, and are you one of them barking? Tell me more about land near the GNH centre, tell me why RTI is bad for Bhutan, tell me how it would help Bhutan to become a member of UN security council? On one hand we beg for money and on the other hand we want to become a member of security council? Whose prestige, PMs? Do not blindly support a regime that is drunk with power.

  27. Dear OL, let us forget about other issues although they are very important. The issue that we have to address immediately, I mean now is the issue of gang fights in the cities. Could Your Excellency submit to the Assembly on the night clubs and discotheques; they they should be either closed altogether or maybe onec a week that is on Saturday. Three times a week is too much. How can we control our kids when every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday is a party night and the young as well as the old desires to go for the party. Even when the clubs are open on Saturday, the clubs and the discotheques should be strongly manned by security guards. The owners of these clubs and discotheques want to make money and that is understanable but please weigh the profit they make and the result of their enterprise is churning. We may be helping a few but the result is devastating. A lot of precious lives are going in the drains. Young children get spoilt and some have lost their lives. I think it is high time that we first address this ever growing problem and the rest of the issues can be solved without much difficulty. All the readers of this forum, please make a hue and cry about this problem which is growing by the day and we will only keep regretting which is not the answer. Please OL and other reader make an issue out of it. I beg you once again. Pelden Drukpa Gyalo and whats happening in the land of GNH.

  28. Well, Yesterday i just happened to watch last part of debate on state funding of political parties and was literally taken aback by the depth of the debate and emotion expressed by some members of the NA, in particular by the Minister of works and human settlement and our Honorable prime minister. I must admit that i could not make it to listen to earlier speakers, except by MP of Punakha and one lady member from NC. My impression and understanding of the debate is summarized as:

    1. It is heartbreaking when PM literally begs for the fund to sustain political parties. I fully concur with PM that if we do not allow funding of political parties by the state we are on shaky foundation of people centered democratic system because in the long run we run the risk of vested interest group (s) to run the political parties and government system that would be disaster for ordinary and poor citizens.

    2. PM explains in great details the spirit of constitution that has to remain flexible to accommodate changing needs that are intended for greater common goods.

    3. I happened to understand from the debate that state fund is required to run and sustain party offices in 20 Dzongkhags to spread the ideals and principles of democracy and to enable MPs to interact with their constituent members on daily basis. If this is so, i would fully support for such fund because in democracy it is important for elected members to talk and understand the needs, problems and aspirations of people. Without base (party office) near grass roots it is difficult for MPs to function at their full capacity.

    4. I also happened to understand that state fund is required from next election for all political parties thus dispelling the doubts that only two present parties will benefit from such funding.

    5. I understand that amount of fund required is not much, but only to maintain party offices with 3-4 employees in each office. Now, this to me will create employment opportunities for present and future youths with high school and graduate degrees.

    6. If state is funding the political parties, then they have no excuses to mobilize funds from other sources, thus eliminating the influence of rich and powerful in the society. We can fix party members if they do so even with state funding.

    7. Many so called democracies in the world and in particular in SAARC are failing because most parties are bought by big corporation, lobby groups and rich and powerful. The aspirations of poor in such societies is neglected.

    In my view, we should fund political parties to maintain their offices and parties must ensure to maintain proper account and the fund must be audited as in present government system.

    Views expressed here is purely personnel laymen’s view with no adherence to any political parties.

    Cheers

  29. Why is there exist conflict of interest. why is speaking feel insecure to decide through voting otherwise seen as the regular feastures in the assembly. why is govt always insisting on state funding when it spell in the constitution as unconstitution.

    If state funding is allowed the direct benefit would be reaped by the DPT and PDP and never have a chance to form a multiple parties. If our country is to have vibrant democracy we should encourage more party.

  30. Thinlay wrote: “Many so called democracies in the world and in particular in SAARC are failing because most parties are bought by big corporation, lobby groups and rich and powerful. The aspirations of poor in such societies is neglected.”

    In today’s BBS news, I heard our Hon’ble PM and Lyonpo Zimba going to great lengths defending why state funding merit consideration for greater common good. The main thrust of their argument centered alongside these lines as expressed by Thinlay here. I found quite a well meaning substance in their submissions.

    However, it remains to be seen how such good suggestion wins into taking firm footing vis-à-vis our tough talking parliamentarians in their macho competition.

    Whether or not constitutional, the fate of Bhutan’s democracy shouldn’t left to be dictated by money power.

    To me, I feel the state funding may not be that bad a proposition and who knows, may as well be a solution in itself mainly in warding off such ills entering into our democratic system of governance.

  31. Education City Critic says:

    Regarding the Education City Bill:

    1. While there has been some explanation for the need to invest in education in a ‘big way’ and attract thousands for $ paying foreign students, one thing that has never been explained is, why does it have to be in one spot? The entire country of Thailand is more or less an Education City with schools and colleges scattered throughout the country, wherever land and investors happen to be. Why does it have to be literally a city by itself in Bhutan?

    There are many downsides to have a literally new city built for education. They have found a plot of land of 1000 acres, but since it has nothing, everything from roads to water supply has to be installed and this requires more money than the government has. So therefore they now need an outside investor. In order to attract investors, they have given 100s of concessions including bending the constitutional law that disallows 100% FDI. It seems the CCM has specifically permitted this. Smells familiarly illegal to me.

    2. With all these concessions given to the investor, does it not damage the level playing field in terms of competition among the private educational institutions of Bhutan?

    Lastly, I would also like to second Topden’s point regarding the missing Bill for the Right to Information Act of Bhutan. Where is it?

  32. Jurme Loday says:

    I have not made up my mind on whether state funding is good or bad for our democracy but I thought the arguments put forth by both the PM and the senior minister Zimba are seemingly nothing concrete but emotional blackmail.

    Thinley says>
    1. It is heartbreaking when PM literally begs for the fund to sustain political parties. I fully concur with PM that if we do not allow funding of political parties by the state we are on shaky foundation of people centered democratic system because in the long run we run the risk of vested interest group (s) to run the political parties and government system that would be disaster for ordinary and poor citizens.

    I say, do you know how much DPT pays its party workers right now? DPT is today paying Nu.9,000/month for Dzg Coordinator (20 of them at Nu. 180,000 per month); Nu. 8,000/month for Constituency Coordinator (47 of them at Nu. 376,000 per month); and Nu. 5,000/month for gewog coordinators (205 of them at Nu. 1,025,000 per month). That is a good sum of Nu.15,81,000 per month. I think this is a big amount to waste.
    If money power is the concern of the party in power, the same concern still remains even with the state funding. If we do not have great mechanisms for check and balance in place and a strong deterrent by way of law, how will giving our tax payer’s to support a party thwart money power from coming? I am baffled and I think we are missing something here.

    Thinley says> PM explains in great details the spirit of constitution that has to remain flexible to accommodate changing needs that are intended for greater common goods.

    I would not support the PM if we does not stick to the provisions of our sacred constitution, no matter what.

    Thinley says> I happened to understand from the debate that state fund is required to run and sustain party offices in 20 Dzongkhags to spread the ideals and principles of democracy and to enable MPs to interact with their constituent members on daily basis. If this is so, i would fully support for such fund because in democracy it is important for elected members to talk and understand the needs, problems and aspirations of people. Without base (party office) near grass roots it is difficult for MPs to function at their full capacity.

    DPT is currently spending some Nu. 1,581,000 per month (pl see the calculations in the previous para) for the dzongkhag offices without accounting the the central party office. We would guess they spend a lot more money at the central office.

    Thinley says>
    4. I also happened to understand that state fund is required from next election for all political parties thus dispelling the doubts that only two present parties will benefit from such funding.

    Did you read the document DPT submitted to the NA for the discussion? The fund is for only two parties.

    Thinley says>
    5. I understand that amount of fund required is not much, but only to maintain party offices with 3-4 employees in each office. Now, this to me will create employment opportunities for present and future youths with high school and graduate degrees.

    True, our unemployment figure on paper (officia figure has been reducing with the labour minister promising 2.5% unemployment by 2013) bu the point is promote private sector to create employment, and the DPT alone currently spending some Nu, 1,581,000 per month to maintain its party machinery does not say it is going to be a small amount.

    Thinley says>
    6. If state is funding the political parties, then they have no excuses to mobilize funds from other sources, thus eliminating the influence of rich and powerful in the society. We can fix party members if they do so even with state funding.

    Yes, why can’t our lawmakers todays limit the money spent by the party and the candidates today? Why not even legislate to make no party workers, only volunteers who beleive in the party ideals. If none of the parties and the candidates spend money, we do not need money. The state could spend some money to enforce and monitor the provisions of a law that requires parties and candidates to not require money.

    Thinley says> Many so called democracies in the world and in particular in SAARC are failing because most parties are bought by big corporation, lobby groups and rich and powerful. The aspirations of poor in such societies is neglected.

    That may be true, but how are we sure that the parties would not seek funding from money powers if state funding is given?

    I have still not made up my mind on state funding, but the arguments put forth by our hon’ble PM and lyonpo Zimba seems hollow and flawed.

  33. Jurme Loday wrote: “That may be true, but how are we sure that the parties would not seek funding from money powers if state funding is given?

    I have still not made up my mind on state funding, but the arguments put forth by our hon’ble PM and lyonpo Zimba seems hollow and flawed.”

    Jurme Loday,

    Please substantiate your statement on how does the argument of our Hon’ble PM and Lyonpo Zimba become hollow or rather flawed when viewed in your context? Let’s hear them in some more details!

    I am already finding a huge contradiction in your own statement here. On one hand, you have endorsed their statement on the ills – how money power would create mayhem in the fair conduct our elections, and on the other hand, you go way too far to this nonsensical extent in declaring their statements as just rubbish and hollow.

    I am confused here on which one to take you at your face value- whether the sense talking person who made this first remarks here or the irresponsibly natured double speak person in respect to your second statement.

  34. While acknowledging the fact that in democracy everyone has right to speak out his/her mind, but to rubbish statements made by two senior-most and experienced leaders in the NA without giving due analysis is bit hard to swallow. A hall mark of thinking being is a capacity and patience to listen, analyze, and judge without prejudice.

    Cheers

  35. Jurme Loday says:

    Dear karmadoj,
    sorry for not making myself clear. May be to say that our PM and lyonpo zimba’s arguments were hollow may be a little too much. The gist of my argument is that even if a huge state funding is given to the two parties in the name of democracy, there is no guarantee that the parties will not resort to taking additional funds from rich men and women, to have an advantage over others. I fail to understand that. It appears that our leaders are holding us hostage by saying that if you do not give us state funds, we will resort to corrupt means. Why can’t they enact laws to limit any spending by all parties, no party workers, no negative smearing, no big gatherings, simply messages by the candidates that are genuine and educate our voters that if the candidates are not true to their words, they can be sued by the the people in their constituencies.

    Talking of the spirit of the constitution, it is against the state funding in that the article 15, 4d categorically mentions that the ECB will only register that party wh does not accept money or any assistence other than those contributions made by its registered members. Currently, the election laws allow only sources of funds for the political parties – as voluntary constributions, annual membeship fees and the onetime registration fees from its registered members. Our leaders are not saying how provision of state funds would stop the flow of illegal funds from financiers who have vested interests. No evil intentions, just my arguments for the love of this country.

  36. Jurme Loday,

    Going by your submissions here, it transpires that deep within – you welcome the state funding saga as the doable alternative solution option on the path to Bhutan’s democracy journey into future.

    However, holds reservation on whether or not the subsequent acts which would be enacted thereafter truly lives up into addressing the concerns you, me and almost the majority Bhutanese people shares here relating to the matter.

    My friend, if that’s what has been haunting and driving you into sleepless nights, then, I must say that we do not have any real issue per se at this point in time.

    I think first we should let the parliament pass this state funding bill so that the government can embark on their next task – that of drafting the corruption free State Funding Acts.

    That way, our critical nation and people centric comments can be saved for the time being and may as well be unleashed at a later date when the acts is presented for public discussion.

  37. tashi dorji says:

    The NA led by PM makes a strong and passionate argument for state funding. What is not clear though is that once offices are established in all the constituencies and party workers employed, what will they do? I am worried that it will lead to a return to 2008. Just now our villages are low on political activity. Once paid party workers start canvassing for their parties, it could very easily lead to a free for all between the two parties that we witnessed in the runup to the 2008 elections. It would be tragic if we had to live with divisions in society and communities caused by this political activity.

    Rather than pumping money from an already cash-strapped government, a little less autocracy in the way our bosses think and work would do far more to enhance democracy in our country. It is an open secret that there is no democracy either in the Cabinet or in DPT meetings. Democracy must come from within – in the way we think and work rather than in the creation of structures whose usefulness to the country and people is questionable.

  38. humble citizen says:

    I agree that some of the concerns raised are genuine but I agree that 80% of the analysis of Libra is true. My only question is why some of the big projects are not crossing Chelela? Aren’t we putting all eggs in one basket of Thimphu vicinity? Can we reduce the rural-urban migration by taking some projects beyond Chelela? I think GNH Centre in Bumthang is a good one being centrally located. I sometimes think as to why and how the capital was shifted to Thimphu when Bumthang could have been such a nice place. My other concern is the rising youth related crime in the country, especially Thimphu. It is really alarming and threatening the peace and happiness of GNH Bhutan. I think the Parliament should seriously debate on the problem and solution. I think we will not have a prison large enough to accommodate those youth who have landed in the wrong path – breaking doors, beating people, beating law protectors, and what more. Oh! Koen-cho sum thuji zig nang. There is no peace in Thimphu.

  39. Jurme Loday,

    We have written our views in light of what had been written by Libra, you on other hand have not given us even an iota of proof that the PM claimed the land from the villagersd and that he was responsible for the GNH center. Otherwise read Libras post again!

  40. Jurme Loday says:

    Dear guradian, are you denying the fact that PM has bought 33 acres of land from the poor villagers in Bumthang? Are you saying that the PM informed the villagers when he bought their lands at Nu. 300 per decimal that there would be economic opportunities such restoration of Drapham Dzong and that a US$20 million GNH centre would come nearby?

  41. Like I said, please read what Libra has written and refute what he has said, for me I rather believe what is written by Libra instead by someone like you who clearly does not support the PM. Cheers mate.

  42. Jurme Loday says:

    tell me why you believe in whatever libra has written? Is it because that is the official response from PM’s office? Please don’t believe in anyone, believe in the facts. See for yourself if the acquisition of 33 acres of land by PM in 2007 is false, see for yourself if the PM owns 50 decimals of land from those acquired by the Monggar dzongkhag for Gyelpozing town development is false. I have read what libra has written and concluded that it is the official response from the PM’s office and nothing else.

  43. Let’s put it simply, Libra at least has taken the trouble of explaining somethings which do seem plausible, unlike you, who just seems to be shooting your mouth off, so as far as I am concerned what Libra has written carries more weight than your ridiculous assumptions. The only thing your uncalled for attack on the PM tells us is that you are clearly not one of his supporters.

    Whether the response from Libra as you claim is from the PMs office, that too is debatable, for sure, the only person that will know the truth would be Libra himself.

    In regard to the Gyelpozhing land grab saga, I too am disappointed that the PM himself has been allocated land there. All earlier reports do seem to point to the fact that some hanky panky took place when land was being allocated in Gyelpozhing. In all honesty, the best course of action on his part would be for him to surrender the land to the RGOB, not doing so, will definitely have a negative impact on his political life.

    As for his land in Choekor, it is not as clear cut as the Gyelpozhing case, so until it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, which you fail miserably in proving thus, I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  44. Guardan and libra have done the critical analysis for and against the PM’s performance and the saaset hold by the PM. great job done but i failed to understand why does libra seems to knowing all the stories of the PM. Is he the spoke person of the PM or secretely digging out the true stories of the PM while he is benefitting from the PM being simply working in the PMO.

    Libra do you have any critical stories on the construction of Pemagatshel Dzong at Denchi which is supposed to be the hottest place in the kingdom and also selecting on the riverside when our ancestoral dzongs were built at the hill top or the safer place from the swelling rivers.

  45. The land related cases are not allowed to be taken to the court (also not accepted by cours) but adjudicated by the National Land Commission (through committee in Dzongkhag). These committees are not competent to adjudicate every kind of land cases because of which some cases are with the committee for 3 years and more and still not settled. Therefore, I request Lyonpo to raise this issue. If the committee can’t settle the case within 1 year, the case should be forwarded to the court.

  46. Ask the government to mount pressure on the RCSC into disciplining their spoilt bureaucrats by way of taking stern actions wherever deem appropriate. Howsoever high their systemic improvement initiatives yield, would largely depend on how successful the bulk of the bureaucrats are made to obedience into working selflessly harder for the country? Sometimes, we find glaring signs of double standards in the conduct of the government business, on one hand; they go too far in claiming the public delivery service as the cornerstone where the main crux of their policy rests. However, when it comes to controlling our bureaucracy mainly the top bureaucrats, we find unusual soft behaviors from the authorities within the government when it comes to disciplining them.

    This is one aspect I still couldn’t yet come to terms with in the real sense in understanding them better. On why, the top bureaucrats still enjoy unconditional safe haven supports when things in reality warrant disciplining and making them responsible for the lapses relating to civil service system deteriorating stories owing largely because of their slipshod behaviors. We were expecting that the government would earnestly look into such important system improvement aspects, but, four years down the line, it is sad that we are still far from coming closer into addressing this pressing issue.

  47. Jurme Loday says:

    If the PM returns the land that he usurped from the poor fellows in the name of town development, he is ok? For me personally, PM has lost his credibility as a leader. He is just like any other greedy leader in Bhutan. I used to worship him. Not any more. So, if your questioning my support for the PM, I have none. He has failed the people. His only upside is, he is a great orator and uses this skill to change people’s ideas about him but he is just a hypocrite. Nothing more

  48. Again just shooting your mouth off, if you continue the way you are going on, your credibility will be nil too. Anyway, please substantiate what you have written, viz-a-viz, usurping the land belonging to the poor.

    No one is questioning your rupport for the Pm and I am sure he won’t lose any sleep over someone like you not liking him.

  49. Sempa, by the same token, maybe you should be asking Jurme Loday as to how he knows everything about the PMs activities and whether he is also working for some other vested interest groups.

  50. apnakutashi says:

    OL and your bunch of misinformed antagonists,
    You should at least verify your accusations before tarnishing the image of our popularly elected leader. If you think that Lyonchen has a conflict of interest in establishing the GNH Centre in Bumthang near his property, what about the OL buying and engaging so many bulldozers and excavators in the Punatsangchu project in hios wife’s name? Please come out clean on that front if you have any credibility left whatsover.

  51. tormai-nyaro says:

    Gyelpozhing land scam has tarnished his image and he is just an ordinary greedy leader. His written views in a recent Kuensel on state funding besides that of Sonam Kinga’s pales. It is time for leaders such as him to vanish from public life and enjoy his ill-gotten wealth before more of the skeletons in his closets come to public view.

  52. Haha, ordinary leader, so if he just an ordinary leader, wonder where are great leaders are hiding, hibernating maybe a better word.

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