KuenselOnline

Friday, August 1st, 2014 - 11:45 AM
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Qualms about RTI

Perhaps emanating from what the law requires of our public servants, there continues to be some misgivings about introduction of Right to Information legislation. Officials representing agencies falling within the ambit of the law are quick to play up how information could be misused, or that they feared being overwhelmed by requests, or that enacting the law would incur heavy expenditure on the state. If such feelings and inhibitions prey on the minds of some of our senior civil servants, a few judges and politicians [... Read More]

Feeding the mind

Well the education ministry got more than what it bargained for. On behalf of about 50,000 students studying in 87 schools across the country, education ministry had proposed the Cabinet to consider revising food stipend from Nu 1,000 today to Nu 1,300 a student a month. What the Cabinet did was it denied the raise, but decided the government would bear the cost of transportation of ration to the respective schools. So far, the transportation cost was settled from within the Nu 1,000 stipend of [... Read More]

The UN and us

Much to the relief of planners and the government, the UN system has committed more than USD 79M for the 11th Plan under the UN Development Action Framework (UNDAF).  The commitment is an increase from what it committed for the 10th Plan, and the one extra year for planning the 11th Plan. Against the backdrop of donors withdrawing support, and a declining official development assistance, the UN system continuing its support to Bhutan, reaffirms that the UN system, along with India, is our strongest development [... Read More]

Public support

If  we go by the number of people that signed the petition, calling for “harsher penalties” on drug peddlers, we get the impression that drug abuse is an issue that the government has neglected. More than 10,000 people across the country agreed that there should be harsher penalties for drug peddlers, and that more rehabilitation centres or services are needed.  Drug abuse began after Bhutan opened up to planned development, and has deteriorated in recent years, especially in the larger urban centres.  It has always [... Read More]

From CDG to GDG

Going by the sound of it, the government’s new scheme to allocate additional fund for the local government is as different as it is similar to that of the previous government’s. Under what the government chooses to call Gewog Development Grant (GDG) it will allocate Nu 2M to every gewog for its people to carry out activities they identify as beneficial. The acronym rings close to the previous government’s Constituency Development Grant (CDG), except this time National Assembly members are not directly involved in providing [... Read More]

The treasure within

Incidence of suicides bring unbearable grief to families and loved ones to learn of a life being cut short by one’s own hands. There has been several suicide cases this year, the latest being that of a 28-year-old man in Tsirang. Referral hospital records show there were more than 70 cases of suicide reported this year, including people of varying ages and backgrounds. When people end their lives and increasingly so, we are left to question why. That way we might try to look for [... Read More]

What of Tobacco Act

Infrastructure comes first, shortcomings are realised later, following which begins the planning process. This is normally what is said of new townships and constructions in the country. But this phrase is not limited to them alone, it spreads across other aspects of the society as well. With National Council looking to amending the Tobacco Control Act for a second time, the phrase could apply to this legislation. To introduce the Act, members of the previous Parliament said it was to curb existing black market then. [... Read More]

Far off the issue

They always had one issue in mind, gathered to discuss quite another and still came out rather satisfied. That was what some, who attended the recent meeting of editors and reporters representing various national language newspapers in the country, felt. Editors and reporters of the national language newspapers always have a common concern with regards their publication, sustainability. They discussed the need to standardise spellings of words that appeared in different newspapers during a recent workshop that otherwise accorded them an opportunity to thrash out [... Read More]

Poverty amid growing political, financial slough

There could not be a more apposite time for experts, policy makers, climate scientists, researchers and journalists gathered in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu to discuss poverty and vulnerability in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. The international conference, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development will, over the next four days, discuss ways to address poverty and vulnerability in the region by providing scientific evidences for policy planning and action. The conference is a stark reminder of prioritising needs even [... Read More]

Progress in combating an epidemic

The good thing about events like the World AIDS day is that it accords us a moment to reflect on the epidemic that began to unfold some two decades ago in the country and measure progress it made and challenges it faces today. Thereon, it helps us plan and strengthen policies and measures we take to better fight this disease from further spreading in a small society like ours. In the early ‘90s when the epidemic was first detected in a Bhutanese, the reaction was [... Read More]

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