Last week some Indian media and online sites picked up a story from a two-day workshop on cross border cooperation to prevent human trafficking. The story labelled Bhutan as a fast emerging centre for human trafficking. Such stories can leave a negative impression on the image of the country. With most foreign media focused on the gross national happiness and the last Shangri-La tag when covering Bhutan, anything that suggests against such idealism sells. Quite often, the media is tempted to write the other [... Read More]
One policy that really backfired during the previous government’s tenure was the decision to make every Tuesday a Pedestrian Day. Changing it to once a month didn’t help. As pledged, the new government did away with the day and instead decided to make it make it once a year, coinciding with World Environment Day. It received good support, as many, especially the business community, felt it caused more inconvenience than good.
When it comes to decision-making, there is a lot to learn from our past experience. Despite still being a developing country, we are known, even admired, for having clarity of view, and the courage to decide our own priorities and to move at our own pace.
The latest mobile phones, whether an Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, are expensive. Therefore, any offer, discount or the common get-one-free scheme excites people. Unfortunately, most of the time, these offers turn out to be too good to be true. In a recent case, three people are trying to get back their money, a sum of about Nu 122,850. The problem is they are not sure from where. The three, all in the same family, were convinced by an advertisement that appeared in the inflight [... Read More]
It is official. Bhutan has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for planting the most number of trees in an hour. The official record says 49,672 trees planted at Kuenselphodrang, Thimphu, although 50,000 was the number attempted. This is still a record and we should applaud the organisers, the Bhutan Eco-Green Initiative Network, the agriculture and forest ministry and the volunteers. Such an initiative on a day to remember the contributions of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo is most appropriate. The country will [... Read More]
By the time we read this, Bhutan could have entered the Guinness Book of World Records for planting 50,000 tree saplings in an hour by 100 people. This is a massive feat that merits recognition. Even if we have failed to enter the world record, which is most unlikely, we would have already set a record for ourselves. Apart from the 50,000 saplings, schools, institutions and even offices are planting trees by the hundreds. Our children will be richer by thousands of trees more.
We are fighting a losing battle against controlling tobacco, going by reports. This is after we became one the few countries, and in fact the first one to pioneer tobacco control initiatives. Five years after a controversial law was passed and many adjustments, we have the highest student tobacco users in the region. Use of tobacco has increased from 18.8 percent in 2009 to 30.3 percent as of 2013. The small population may have something to do with the figures, yet the rate at which [... Read More]
If building strong democratic institutions is a continuous process in our journey towards a strong democracy, the Bhutan Children’s Parliament is a much-welcomed initiative. In our efforts to building a strong foundation of democracy, our youth that comprises almost half the population has been far removed from the important process, albeit recognising them as an important group.
The living environment in urban Bhutan is changing so fast that it clashes quite often with our cultural and traditional norms that are an integral part of everyday life. Expectations are great that, as we live in close proximity, we should adjust to the changing environment for harmonious coexistence.
The 2015-16 fiscal year will be the busiest for the government, as they translate the Nu 45.5B budget outlay into activities. It is indeed the highest budget accorded for a fiscal year in the history of Bhutan’s five-year Plans. The government is settled, funds are mobilised and it is the right time to start rolling out the plans. Much will be achieved if the huge budget in the next fiscal year is translated into action. The budget is bloated because, apart from the increased current [... Read More]