CDG concerns

Earlier this year, while many of us expressed concerns over the legality of the Constituency Development Grant, the Gelephu MP had decided to use the grant to provide free boat services to passengers crossing the Mao Khola. “We are not supposed to use the CDG for recurring expenses. But considering this case to be important and for the good of the people I have put up the proposal,” he had said.

The CDG was used to ferry passengers across the Mao Khola. Yet, no one has questioned the use of a “development” grant for “recurrent” expenses. Not so far, at least. But, our government will continue to draw criticism for the CDG. Bhutan Today, for instance, has pointed out that the CDG is meant for “development activities in the constituency” and that there must be “issues and areas of development” that should have been prioritized ahead of the free ferry services.

And, earlier this month, the ECB had formally registered their reservations against the CDG. In a letter to the prime minister they argued that the CDG is unconstitutional as the Members of the National Assembly would be infringing on the roles of the executive and local governments; that the CDG undermines the institution of the local governments; that the CDG would constitute an Office for Profit; and that the CDG would compromise the conduct of free and fair elections in the future.

The ECB has recommended that the government “discontinue the Constituency Development Grant forthwith…” failing which “…an appropriate intervention through due process shall be initiated.”