If elected, Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) pledges to provide sound political and economic leadership and work with all Bhutanese, including those in the opposition party, thereby consolidating peace, harmony, security and stability as the basis for the prosperity of our country.
The manifesto, that the party leaders said was drawn from people’s needs collected during the candidates’ tour of the villages, was launched on August 25 in Thimphu.
BKP leaders said that its vision for the country is not just for the next five years but beyond. It commits to remain incorruptible, build trust, and independent.
“We believe that now is the time to have a government that is altruistic, a government that can lead with integrity, a government that can make sustainable development possible,” BKP president Neten Zangmo said. “If any political party is committed to putting the country first, the party has to be independent of any influence.”
Besides the pledges, BKP has set 13 priorities.
Of that, five are mainly for the farmers. BKP vice president Sonam Tobgay said as functional irrigation is the most important need of the hour. “We’ll repair existing and develop new irrigation channels through effective implementation,” he said.
Pothole free roads: Neten Zangmo said the country spend millions on road maintenance mostly because of poor quality construction. “We’ll set better designs, monitoring and supervision, we can do it.” The party pledges round-the-clock drinking water for all and affordable home ownership for all including shelter homes for the homeless.
Farmers or rural Bhutan
BKP pledges to make farming profitable, sustainable and socio-economically attractive. It pledges to exempt taxes on income from rural-based farm production and do away with all forms of duties and taxes on agricultural inputs; accelerate the One-Gewog-One-Product Programme, diversify agriculture and link with the dzongkhag/gewog self-reliance objective; and enhance rural life insurance benefits to Nu 50,000.
BKP also pledges to revise the salary and allowances of the civil servants, restructure and rationalise TA/DA and retirement benefits. It promises to develop affordable housing schemes for civil servants.
It pledges to develop the private sector through enabling policies by providing easy and cheaper access to credit, timely bill payment, low transport cost, effective fiscal instruments, minimal government regulations and transparent procurement procedures.
Employment creation is BKP’s top agenda. BKP pledges to create and empower a Cabinet Sub-Committee on youth employment. It will create enabling policies on labour and strategically develop well-paying and dignified jobs in both agriculture and allied industries.
It promises to provide incentives for integrating youth into agribusiness value chains, including market guarantees and incubation centers. BKP will also explore and formalise bilateral labor contractual arrangements with countries where labour laws are of international standards allowing Bhutanese to work in a safe and secure environment with no occupational and health hazards.
BKP pledges to educate and train at least 10 percent of the teachers in each school and educational institutions, to be master teachers in GNH value education. It pledges to educate and train all teachers in the ‘leadership of the self’ through GNH values education and make ‘Parenting Education’ an essential part of education of a child.
The party also will review the Central School Policy to make it sustainable and affordable and retain existing community primary schools and extended classrooms where feasible. It will reform vocational training education and do away with classes on Saturdays in all government schools from PP to grade 3. It will encourage establishment of more private schools and colleges through the Economic Development Policy and Foreign Direct Investment policy.
Health and Well-being
BKP pledges to establish CT scan machines in all regional hospitals and X-ray and endoscopy machines in all dzongkhag hospitals. It will ensure that ambulance service is dispatched within 20 minutes of the first call. It promises to increase government funding for doctor and nursing scholarships; provide a one-time gift of Nu 5,000 for the birth of every second child; and build a helipad in each gewog.
Economic self-reliance will zoom on four critical areas covering fiscal space, agriculture productivity and marketing, skills development and trade.
BKP pledges to sustain broad-based and regionally balanced economic development and growth and target an average economic growth at 8 percent. It will fund research and development to enable business and industry to grow and work with the central bank for further reduction of lending rates; and amend the Mines and Minerals Management Act 1995.
BKP will optimise the use of government resources by curtailing unnecessary and excessive spending; and increase revenue as a percent of GDP through technology and intelligence led tax practices. BKP pledges to synchronise the upper PIT rate and the CIT/BIT rates and withdraw the 5 percent sales tax on mobile vouchers.
BKP values harmony in society where differences of views can be held, without disrespecting or infringing the rights of others. BKP pledges to ensure the prime minister receives equal pay as the cabinet ministers; and deregulate trade / business licensing that are currently under the number restrictions. It will enact a national procurement law.
Infrastructure, transport, and urban development
BKP pledges to institute subsidised public transport facilities in non-viable routes across the country; construct Shingkhar-Gorgan highway and Nganglam-Dewathang road; and an access bridge over Mao Khola in Gelephu.
Leaving no one behind
BKP will enable broad-based public ownership of companies, and support women and child welfare. BKP pledges to provide special educational scholarships and housing to the marginalised, and address the needs of citizens with special needs ensuring disable-friendly infrastructure. It pledges to ensure the rights of sexual and gender minorities and other sections of LGBT group and enhance the dignity of their lives.
Exempt all pension payouts from PIT from the tax year 2018, and enact a National Pension Law. It pledges to adopt special measures to provide the elderly with adequate medical facilities and other support and health care.