Tuesday, July 7th, 2015 - 10:38 AM
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Unsustainable consumption?

A highlight of the discussion yesterday at the Imagine Change local forum in Thimphu was on a concept called sustainable consumption, that is “largely unexplored” in the country. Although only a handful of local participants attended, hopefully not an indication of lack of interest in the concept, it should be explored even as we discuss the New Development Paradigm. The first question that springs is should Bhutanese be concerned about sustainable or unsustainable consumption? Are we consuming too much that we have to curb our [... Read More]

The cordyceps issue

The agriculture ministry’s proposal to increase permit fee for cordyceps collection and royalty from exporters didn’t go well with the local leaders from the highlands. Nor did the idea of limiting collectors from each household. Vocal and sometimes even over excited, the local leaders voiced the concerns of the people they represent, with good reasons, at the stakeholder meeting in Thimphu. Cordyceps doesn’t grow on trees nor can it be cultivated. Ask a highlander and he will tell you how difficult it is to collect [... Read More]

Welcoming Spring

The frost has fled and the chill is gone. And the yesterday’s evening rain settled the dust to bring a perfect morning. If spring is the other name of freshness and a new beginning; it brings with it ample prayers and hopes. The peach blossoms, plants and flowers, waking from a long slumber, fields starting to wear green and the days getting longer, is indeed the season to look forward to. Some may say that the peach flower is a political symbol here. But the [... Read More]

Beyond the website contest

The prime minister’s initiative to hold a contest among government websites and grade them is a smart move to improve public service delivery. The contest will grade websites on a number of criteria including spelling and grammar. And while information technology experts and content providers put in effort, to win the competition or save faces, the public will be the winner of the contest. Government websites, the Lyonchhoen, who is active on social media like twitter and his blog, pointed out were static. There is [... Read More]

Awaiting the pay raise

There is a lot of expectation, suspense and speculation among civil servants with the Pay Commission’s report now resting with the government. Will there be a raise? How much will be the raise? Will we get housing allowance? When will it come into effect? These are some of the burning questions on civil servants’ mind even as they wait for the government to review the report and make the final decision. The government and the Pay Commission members are not commenting on the report although [... Read More]

A lasting solution, at last?

There is no better time for farmer Kinzang of Bidung to look forward to a fruitful year. Having heard herself that the government had approved the installation of electric fences to protect their crops from wild and stray animals, she can relax and prepare for the busy season ahead. Wild animals depredating crops had been a perennial problem for Bhutanese farmers.  From Sipsu to Nganglam, Laya to Sarpang, farmers complaining of losing crops, some their entire harvest, to wild animals makes news every year.  This [... Read More]

Management by compact

The government will be signing compacts under its performance management system initiative to boost the outcome of work and better manage government performance. It will start with signing compacts between the lyonchhoen and the ministers, dzongdas and various agencies this year, followed by gups next year.  By signing compacts, ministers, secretaries and dzongdas will be bound by agreements, which will come with targets to fulfill. The initiative sounds familiar. The previous government also tried a similar strategy to improve service delivery and achieve set targets [... Read More]

The burglary plague

The  recent spate of burglaries has forced many to change their perspective on crimes committed in the capital – a fairly safe city until recently. Speak about an apartment or an office being broken into, and there will follow numerous stories of theft, both petty and serious to recount.  These include both cases reported to police and those that go unreported or unknown. Burglary is becoming common by the year among urban dwellers.  Nothing is spared, and we have reports of government and private offices, [... Read More]

To allow e-cars to roll

Steeper price compared with regular cars and unsuited for the Bhutanese topography, besides lack of adequate facilities for electric cars seems to be the initial qualms. The other way of putting it, for the car to gain Bhutanese approval, is like proposing for change in the topography the country is characterised with and clearing new roads suited for such cars. That is almost like asking the government to provide these wheels for free. To bring into perspective, the government’s initial proposal was to replace the [... Read More]

Bringing the bone-setter on board

By profession, Ap Jagey is a cattle herder.  In his twilight years, the 69-year-old spends his days running after the 12 heads of cattle at Namseling, on the outskirts of the capital city. But quite often he gets visitors, who come looking for him in the empty fields, in the forest above his village, and on the banks of the Thimpchu, where he normally takes his cattle to graze. Ap Jagey can fix fractures and dislocated joints of both humans and animals.   With a [... Read More]