No to bags

The first item the National Assembly debated yesterday was bags. To be precise, bags worth Nu 1800.

It turns out that traditionally, members of the National Assembly are given a bag each at the start of every session. This tradition is not uncommon – countless bags and satchels have been distributed in workshops and seminars throughout the kingdom. For this session of the National Assembly, the DHI offered to present the bags.

Trouble is we are not allowed to accept gifts valued above Nu 1000. So the honourable members unanimously decided not to accept the bags.

This is significant and historic. It is significant because our lawmakers have demonstrated, in no uncertain terms, that they will not engage in anything remotely associated with corruption. It is historic because this is the fist time that “tradition” has been bypassed in favour of honesty.

The National Assembly’s decision is no small matter. And its message is loud and clear: don’t misuse tradition to justify corruption.



Facebook Comments:


  1. !!WOW!!! Did the members really turn down a bag gift from DHI. Very neat I should say. BUT who is DHI – Mr.Dhiraj – Pls clarify. Anyway, MP’s turned down a bag, a single step to cover the journey of a thousand miles have begun. Bravo MP’s but do maintain consistency. I know that MP’s visit private business people for favors. Just know that you turned down a bag and now your clear conscience will perhaps not permit you to visit business houses for favors. My two cents.

  2. I may sound cynical but after all we are a human being and such temptation is great in our small minds.

    Bags this time and this is a great start for the first time of the history. I hope the MPs remain modest and show us the way to cleaning our country from corruption.

    My question is….. Was the bags not accepted by our MPs because it is made out of Yathra traditional handloom. What if the bags were of designer brands? Will the MPs not be tempted to accept the gift or will they still turn down the offer?

  3. Nice going! I think DHI should be more focused on investing our nation’s wealth now. Anyone can do the “holding” part. After all the corporations that make some money are now kinda under them. So, instead of kissing ass with useless bags, they should show us some serious investment strategies for the country’s wealth. I know, I know – supporting local craft yadi yada yada. But leave that to the private sector.

    However, I do appreciate that DHI has intervened in guiding corporate governance in some corporations. But good times are not here yet – Druk Air, STCB, Bhutan Telecom (to name a few) need major changes still.

    How are BOB and BNB ever going to compete with a foreign giant? Are they going to be kicked out of the market, or is protectionism going to come into play? Ahh, I could go on, but maybe some other time. For now, lets talk about bags.

  4. Tshering Tobgay says

    Mad Monk: I need to clarify. I haven’t seen the bags. So I posted a picture of the “yathra” bag I received during a recent International seminar

  5. bypassing traditions..for the first time! that is great.
    i also heard you bypassed driglam namzha in the name of Democracy by not Bowing (chalen) to PM in trongsa. don\'t know how far that is true. it is the most discussed topic at
    please let us know because i don\'t necessarily believe what is written in because of the fact that it is managed by some NGOLOPS ..and people can write there without being moderated unlike kuensel.
    thanks la!

  6. This has nothing to do with the current post.
    I just wanted to inform you that i really appreciate your blog. You have set an example to our other politicians. In fact i did write an article in Bhutan Observer..( highlighting the importance of new media in strengthening the political communication.
    It is sad to learn that none of our DPT MPs have contact details listed on their website. I don’t understand why.

  7. Bhutan Boy says

    I am always for integrity and honesty. So I applaud the NA’s decision to say “no to bags”. This is a good precedent. Good job!

  8. well jigme ..i would like to request you to give me links of websites that can give me email addresses or mobile numbers of the George Bush, Gordon Brown, Man Mohan Singh, Prachanda …i need to talk to them

  9. Bhutanese Blogger says

    Congratulations.. but such noble intentions and actions can only be confirmed when more substantial issues like pay hike and entitlements are discussed.

    I eagerly look forward to the pay hike discussions..

  10. Good going honorable MPs. Keep up and please continue to do more, like perhaps rejecting the OUTRAGEOUS pay hike proposal. In my opinion that feat alone would amount to rejecting a thousand gift bags. We still have our faith in you all.

  11. Well anonymous just because George Bush, Gordon Brown, Man Mohan Singh, Prachanda … emails are not listed does not mean that jyt and our mps cannot have a blog….. remember we are a country of only 672,425.our leaders need not worry about too much spam.

  12. Why did DHI resort to presenting a bag to the MP’s in the first place. Was it a gift following our rich tradition of Gatsho, was it a BRIBE which I doubt. Anyway, The bag was just 1800 and was turned down bravely. What if it was a designer bag worth 18000, would it be turned down. Many questions to be answered. But now the 1800 bag is turned down and it is indeed a good start. Quite honestly – why did DHI do that? They have no reason to bribe anyone since they are a big enough entity that need not resort to gaining any favors from MP’s. One would wonder……

  13. I dont know if this is ture but I heard that NA would accept the bags anyway but only worth NU.1000, the balance Nu. 800 would be paid back to the DHI from the NA budget. If this is true then the whole debate of corruption is all but defeated. It is just bending the rules and the polititians just politicating just to get into the good books. I for one hope that our politians have a geuine feeling against corruption. It is not the NU. 1800 that is important but what it symbolize that is. I hope our polititians are different.

  14. it was very much highlighted in the kuensel that the NC members had to return their bags to the DHI.we appreciate those guys in blue for showing their honesty forcefully.However, I personally feel the issue is not yet over.both parties(DHI&NC members)should be penalised for what they have committed.

  15. I am quite sure now that MP,s will resort to returning the 7 lakh car also back to the government. They are becoming better and better. Good going Mp’s return the car and save money for the nation and get re-elected. This is not time for joke now rejecting an 1800 worth bag from DHI and accepting every other perks from the government. Afterall DHI is also another government body who was just trying to wish you well as the first MP’s of the first democratic Bhutan. So, keep the Patang and return the car. Our government will provide car pool services to ferry you around.

  16. I believe the ministers are planning to give back they Sony Ericsson W910i Walkman phones after using it for one year

  17. Hey, tell me I read it wrong, but I read some where that the MPs were finally coaxed into accepting the bags!

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