Friday, December 19th, 2014 - 5:01 AM
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From natural to national resources

The government has approved the State Mining Corporation that will operate as a company under the Druk Holding and Investments soon. It may be a mere coincidence, but the timing of the announcement was perfect, as the Royal Audit Authority, on the advice of the National Council, conducted a performance audit on tax of mining and quarrying sector, which revealed a lot of unhealthy trends in the sector in its findings. The decision to establish a state corporation was already made, but the findings of [... Read More]

Growing at GNH not GDP

The poor growth rate of 2.05 percent last year has alarmed some, while some were quick to lambast the government for the poor performance on the economic front. The government had successfully campaigned on reforming the economy, and pledged an average growth rate of 10 percent during their term.  So, when the economy registered its worst growth rate in more than a decade, there was cause for concern. But to be fair, it is the first year of the ruling government, and they took over [... Read More]

The central school comeback

The petition from parents in Jigmeling to the gewog office not to shut down the primary school in the village is a timely reminder to policy makers, who are in the midst of working on centralising schools in the country. Besides the consultation at all levels, the issue raised by the villagers comes as a good feedback, a sincere concern of the centralisation policy.  Parents, especially those in rural areas, are not vocal during consultations, but perhaps they opened up when they realised they were [... Read More]

In the interest of the herders

The need to review the tsamdro (pasture land) rights started with a good intention.  The vision was to make it available to the needy, by first reverting all tsamdros to government land. The idea was to lease the tsamdros within 10 years of the Land Act 2007 coming into effect.  There are three years left and the government has made little headway.  In the meantime, people are becoming anxious.  The execution is not going as planned. On the ground, the change in the tsamdro rule [... Read More]

The consensual sex clause

The National Assembly missed an opportunity to relook at one provision in the penal code, which many feel should be revisited, and propose an amendment.  The issue is about consensual sex. The issue came out of Dagana dzongkhag.  The representative submitted that the provision puts men at the losing end, as the provisions of the penal code punished them with second-degree felony, even if they had engaged in consensual sex with a girl between the ages of 16 and 18.  Going by the book, it [... Read More]

The pool vehicle pickle

Pool vehicles will not be withdrawn, at least for now.  Rather, the finance ministry will come up with an overall policy on the pool vehicle system. This is a new development in the long drawn out pool vehicle story.  To remind ourselves, withdrawing 932 pool vehicles was recommended as one of the means to fund the civil servant, local government and member of parliament salary revision. The revision went ahead, despite opposition from the National Council, which was not convinced about the source of funding.  [... Read More]

We are what we eat

Thimphu city will have six open-air gymnasiums in the near future, with a ‘for those who cannot afford gym membership” tag.  This is a welcome initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle. The facts on non-communicable diseases (NCD) revealed are a worry and an irony.  Not long ago, we were dealing with malnutrition; not having enough to eat was a cause of our unhealthy lives.  The trend seems to have reversed, at least in some parts of the country.  We are now dealing with diseases that [... Read More]

Great expectations of an august body

We are now into the fourth session of the second Parliament.  Of the many legislations that the two houses will deliberate over the next few weeks, there are a couple of bills that will be tabled for amendment.  Changes and adaptations must be made if laws call for amendment to better serve their purpose.  We hope that our parliamentarians will do so in good faith, with all due respect to the principles of parliamentary procedure. Finger-pointing is the basest, the most squalid form of debate.  [... Read More]

Occupational hazard oversight

Villagers in Bidung are mourning the death of the four men, who were electrocuted when trying to erect an electric pole on Wednesday.  It was an unfortunate incident from which the fathers couldn’t return from work.  It was an extreme accident, but not really surprising, given the standard of safety measures at work. The Bidung incident was attributed to the negligence of the line operator.  The men were electrocuted, when one of the conductor wires was still active with current, although the line operator was [... Read More]

From houses to homes

As did all the dzongkhags and communities in the country, Changjiji housing complex in Thimphu organised cultural programmes on Tuesday to celebrate the 59th birth anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.  But the higher purpose of the celebration for the people of Changjiji was to bring together the fast disintegrating community.  What an auspicious occasion indeed! Modernity has given us an awful lot of good things.  Our health and education systems in particular stand testimony to that.  At the same time, we have helplessly lost [... Read More]

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