KuenselOnline

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 - 9:15 PM
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Sitting on where they stand

The speaker of the National Assembly is adamant about not sharing the voting details on the pay revision vote. The results, he said, would be declared only when the right to information bill is in place, and people invoke the Act.  In other words, the results will be out, perhaps two sessions from now, as the RTI bill is almost a dead bill. When the Assembly passed the pay revision through voting. 30 members of the Assembly voted “yes” and 10 “no”, while three abstained.  [... Read More]

A price to pay

If it carries any weight, the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa has passed a damning verdict on the recent events in the parliament, particularly on the pay revision saga. Whether the political party is making noise to keep itself alive and kicking, like some say, is immaterial, but it has openly accused the two parties, both the ruling and the opposition, of breaching the trust between the people and elected representatives. The two parties, DNT alleged, have colluded in hiking the salary of the politicians. Saying they [... Read More]

The pay hike drama plays on

The salary revision has been endorsed. The Parliament session is over. But the drama is still unfolding. The latest twist is the National Council members agreeing to defer the revised salary until fiscal measures are implemented.  It was a reasoned decision from the house of review, although word is now emerging some members were not in favour of the “majority decision”. The Council is not being disrespectful to the Assembly’s decision, but respecting their own resolution on their salary.  They feel that they have the [... Read More]

An uphill battle?

Bhutan need not rejoice in the fact that our ranking on the Global Corruption Index dropped two places in a year. That the ground reality is different is a powerful message, especially when it comes from the chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission. At the launch of the National Integrity and Anti-Corruption Strategy, the chairperson candidly shared how the challenge of the commission stems from a lack of cooperation from other agencies in tackling corruption in the country. The ACC has a mission to eliminate corruption [... Read More]

Tweaking the civil service

The royal civil service commission is serious about ensuring that the bureaucracy is small, compact and efficient. The commission recently notified that it is freezing all decentralised recruitment at entry level positions, including those at the lowest rung, the general support personnel and elementary support personnel like gardeners and cleaners. It is also freezing all in-service recruitments until really necessary.  This is because, despite the policy of a small, compact and efficient administration, the size of the civil service has been growing at five percent [... Read More]

What about the rest?

Whether it’s less or more, the civil servant salary revision has been approved.  The next pay package will come with a 20 percent housing allowance, and a little more on the basic pay. A government salary revision is closely followed.  As is the trend, we can prepare for insatiable landlords and eager shopkeepers to ride on the revision by increasing house rent or cost of essentials, if they have not already done so. In Bhutan, although our inflation is largely imported, the cost of living [... Read More]

Why wait for Reading Year to start reading?

The prime minister, in his state of the nation report, declared 2015 as the Reading Year.  It is one the best news from Parliament in recent days. It is also a news that almost every Bhutanese citizen would welcome, although  they may not  be practicing it. Reading is important, perhaps more important than pay raise and taxes, for it focuses on more than just deficiency among Bhutanese.  The benefits of reading are many.  It exercises the mind, teaches concentration, and provides a wealth of knowledge [... Read More]

An honourable exit policy?

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay has set a fine example by refusing to accept the revised salary, which the National Assembly recently endorsed. The National Assembly has come under severe criticism for endorsing the salary revision, with members of the parliament and ministers benefitting the most from the current revision. Calling it too high, and saying that the country couldn’t afford such a revision, lyonchhoen said his conscience would not allow him to accept it.  Rather lyonchhoen announced, as he presented the state of the nation [... Read More]

Is the Council’s counsel superfluous?

The ongoing parliament session will be remembered for two very important events – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the parliament, and the civil service salary revision. While the honeymoon period of the prime minister’s visit is over, many will keep talking about the pay revision and the taxation policy endorsed on Tuesday. But even as civil servants wait for their revised salary, there are important issues thrown up for discourse. Most important is the prerogative of the Assembly over money Bills, and the manner [... Read More]

A self-serving pay revision?

Dspite much confusion on what they were voting for, the National Assembly yesterday endorsed the final pay revision, with a majority voting not to accept the council recommendations. And it was not a difficult decision, as they didn’t have to discuss, in length, the recommendations passed down from the house of review. The council didn’t provide a time frame on its recommendation to defer the raise for senior public servants from Prime Minister to government secretaries. The house also justified that, by raising civil servants [... Read More]

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