Monday, April 21st, 2014 - 1:05 PM

A promising first step

In what has come as a huge relief to the government and the people of Bhutan, the government of India has, yesterday, committed the Rs 45B, which Bhutan has requested for the realisation of its 11th Plan.

Bhutan’s closest friend and development partner also agreed to grant the new government’s Rs 5B economic stimulus plan, and Rs 4B for the 10th Plan’s spillover activities.  This takes the total amount committed by India to Rs 54B.  With [... Read More]

Come September

By all accounts September, the festive season for the capital, appears to be the month when the ball will actually start rolling for the new government and the new parliament.

The new prime minister is in India on a six-day visit on the invitation of the Indian PM, and is specifically there to finalise India’s assistance to Bhutan in the 11th Plan.

Bhutan is asking for about Rs 54B in development assistance for the current plan, including [... Read More]

Keeping a good thing going

For the new government, it was another first of sorts when they met with the local press yesterday, continuing a tradition instituted by the previous government, where the cabinet answers in person questions from the media at least once a month.

This time the forum did not take place in the National Assembly complex, it was in some place away from institutional structures, and the cabinet did not wear their orange scarves, making it less formal, [... Read More]

The ups and downs of higher education

The education ministry announcing a list of 22 universities across India as found to be fake by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India, which also de-recognised another 44, should come as welcome news to thousands of parents in Bhutan.

India is, by far, the most popular destination not only for trade but also for higher education.

Every year, thousands of Bhutanese students go to India, starting from the neighbouring Darjeeling hills all the way down to [... Read More]

Notch one up for transparency

So the right to information (RTI) bill, which some prefer to call access to information bill, will be up for discussion in the first session of the second parliament next month.

The new prime minister has already posted a link to the draft policy on social media seeking feedback from the public.

Having an RTI Act, which, among other things, is expected to foster citizen participation in governance and promote government transparency and accountability, is a pledge [... Read More]

Rocked by the ripple effect

Most Bhutanese would be familiar with the saying, “When India sneezes, Bhutan catches a cold” to indicate how closely integrated Bhutan is with its southern neighbour at so many levels.

Consider the sky rocketing price of onions, a big issue India, big enough even to topple governments, because the pungent tear-inducing bulb just about goes with every kind of Indian meal, fried, boiled or consumed raw.

Here too, consumers have been complaining about the price of onions, [... Read More]

Tightening belts at the top

The new government’s cost cutting measures to curtail wasteful public expenditure has been well received, even by detractors, if reluctantly.

Whichever way one looks at it, the initiative is commendable considering that Bhutan, as a nation, does not have much cash to spare and needs the support of donors to start up new projects and build basic infrastructure.

Besides, prevailing circumstances are such that any move that will add to public expenditure could give the much stronger [... Read More]

A slap in the face of society

Eight deaths through suicides in eight months, or one every month is one too many for a small society like ours.

What is even more distressing is that the suicides involve the young, people who have just entered the halcyon days of their lives, which, instead of living to explore further, they choose to end.

As the country leapfrogs towards modernisation, lifestyles change, new trends evolve and societies transform.

The very symptoms of a modern society the country [... Read More]

Govt. breaks new ground

Well, soliciting public views and opinions on changes the government wishes to incorporate to slash expenses, considering the economic challenges the country is faced with, is new of this government.

Perhaps more deft this prime minister than the former one in terms of using social media, the move is receiving plaudits from many users of the forum.

It is hoped the same would be done with most other public policies the government wishes to craft in future, [... Read More]

A pledge too far?

Ever since the new government took office, in fact even before it did, its campaign pledges have been on the lips and minds of both the electorate and the executive.

With the electorate, expectations are high: university graduates want to see the prelims done away with, highlanders are eager to use the chopper service, and civil servants are waiting for the housing allowance.  All this might be causing nightmares for the new government.

One other hundred-day pledge [... Read More]

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