KuenselOnline

Sunday, April 19th, 2015 - 3:24 PM
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What people want

The stock of issues People’s Democratic Party (PDP) coordinators from across the country brought with them to the recent annual meeting sends a strong message. The Bhutanese electorate has not forgotten what to expect of the government they elected. In fact, it was based on the pledges the government made during the election that helped swing favours to their side in many constituencies. Never mind if the people cannot get to their elected representatives, they have the local party coordinators to grab, should the government [... Read More]

Gateway to Bhutan gridlock

It is quite an experience getting into Phuentsholing town these days.  If you think driving is the quickest means to get around, think twice.  It’s far easier and faster to walk in this town. It takes from a quarter to half an hour to get into town on a busy day, and many more minutes to find a parking space. With one lane of the entry road to the country from the gate being redone, all vehicles, entering and exiting Bhutan, have to pass through [... Read More]

It’s but one government

To have a prime minister and an opposition leader bandying words at the Parliament, or other public forums is typical of politics in many countries. Perhaps that is designed to allow the opposition to continually keep the fire up the government’s feet, so they do not renege on election promises. Besides that, it also provides a platform for either side to vent their frustrations against one another and sort out differences, which since it happens in public, is normally conducted in the most discreet of [... Read More]

The high cost of free healthcare

Bhutan’s challenge in achieving universal health coverage is different from other countries in the region. While countries in the region are faced with accessibility, affordability and effectiveness of health services, our challenge is the sustainability of the free healthcare system in the country. Despite that, the country’s universal health coverage is around 75 percent, which is among the highest in South Asia. Our wise leadership at the helm has, out of compassion for the large rural majority, insisted that health services should be free in [... Read More]

Inch by inch, until we’re on our own

The mere mention of a donor agency pulling out its assistance from the country sends jitters among many Bhutanese. Is there a way to convince donors to continue for a little longer? What is going to happen without international assistance? Will we be able to cope? These are a few things we begin to mull over. It is true that much of the development that we see around us today would never have been had it not been for the generous assistance from our friendly [... Read More]

The KRII grant irony

The power tiller has become so popular among many Bhutanese farmers that it is no exaggeration to say the po-tella or potel, as they fondly call it, is a synonym of Japan to most farmers. If our farmers are increasingly seeing the impact of decades of planned development in their villages, one agent of change is the po-tella.  Talk to a farmer, who owns it, or his neighbour who hires it, and we will hear stories of how it had helped to reduce farm drudgery, [... Read More]

Laggards on the watch?

For a concerned authority to know a law, it is mandated to execute and uphold, has been violated and to not do anything about it is, in deed a matter of concern. Recently, Thimphu municipal authority officials have admitted to allowing people to erect buildings without the required parking spaces adequate for their tenants renting their apartments. Failure on their part on this aspect combined with inconsiderate building owners who continue to build structures without provision for parking lots has meant for rest of the [... Read More]

Alternatives before bans

Banning the use of plastic bags has for far too long been a vexed issue in our small society.  We need only hark 15 years back, to 1999, when we made headlines in the international media by imposing a ban on the use of plastic bags.  Sadly, however, we had to reinforce the ban in less than six years. But hope springs eternal.  Recently, the business community of Dewathang in Samdrupjongkhar committed to reduce the use of plastic bags by not making them freely available [... Read More]

Challenge of living up to a profile

Of late, Business Opportunity and Information Centre, the agency created to rev up the country’s stunned economy has been pushed to the limelight. That limelight, however, is not one in which to enjoy, but to beware of public scrutiny and rightly so when it has been lobbed with such a formidable responsibility of stimulating a dwindling economy. Therefore, it is only natural for all eyes to be drawn to the centre’s credibility and the recent incidents and subsequent allegations have done anything but help its [... Read More]

Reforming the education system

For almost nine months, six-year-old Tandin Gyem is separated from her single mother.  The pre-primary student of Dawakha lives with her neighbour and another five children in a temporary shed near the school. As she is from the same gewog where the school is located, she is not eligible for the boarding facility the lower secondary school provides.  She would have to walk 10 kilometres to school every day if she stayed with her mother.  It is a tough choice for Tandin and her mother. [... Read More]

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