KuenselOnline

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - 11:43 PM
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What the vehicle tax hike is driving at

This government has proved bolder in deciding to tax between more than 100 to 180 percent on import of vehicles, depending on differing horsepower. The proposal, if endorsed, could cause much dismay among people eagerly waiting to buy vehicles, especially when vehicle import was frozen for more than two years under the previous government. Perhaps people expected a populist decision to come from this government.  Considering the number of vehicles that have begun to jam roads across the country, especially in urban areas, such a [... Read More]

Environment day everyday

There is one thing quite similar about the pedestrian day and the world environment day. They are both observed once a year. Once a year across the country to park cars and walk to work for all the emissions the major towns might have been polluted with the year round. Once a year it is to plant trees for the countless that are lost to forest fires, cut down for construction and fuel. The pedestrian day has been reduced to being observed only on the [... Read More]

Demand services in commensurate

What was expected of the pay revision proposal and what it turned out to be. The variance in the two has left many civil servants in disbelief that the government, which at one point of time spoke so strongly of the definite need for a salary raise for civil servants, meted them such a deal. Recently, when many civil servants actually sat with their finance officers and accountants and worked out the difference the salary revision would bring them, it was negligible. The prime minister [... Read More]

The Council’s counsel

As expected by many civil servants, and those closely following the pay revision discussions, the National Council yesterday came out with a recommendation that many are approving of. Whether the expectations from Council members to stop the salary structure endorsed by the Assembly, with some trying to influence and others literally requesting on social media to do so, influenced Council members is hard to say, but the house came out with a more realistic recommendation. The salary raise for the prime minister is brought down [... Read More]

Shaking up the civil service

The message was clear from the Chairperson of the Royal Civil Service Commission, who took office recently.  The size of the civil service will not grow, and jobseekers will have to look outside the civil service. This comes as a disappointment to the thousands of university graduates waiting for an opening in the civil service, and many more who will finish university in the next few months. The country always had a policy of a small, compact and efficient civil service, even though the size [... Read More]

Feathering their own nests?

There is a lot of discussion, both online and off, on the salary revision that the government proposed and the National Assembly endorsed on Friday. But there is not much good being said about it.  Civil servants are unhappy with the government’s proposal, and unhappier to hear elected representatives, including the cabinet and the prime minister, are the biggest beneficiaries of the present pay revision. It is difficult to please everyone, and we know from past salary revisions, that there is always someone complaining.  But [... Read More]

Balking at an alcohol bill?

That alcohol is the biggest killer in the country is common knowledge, so much so that the fact has almost become a cliché.  Yet the National Assembly didn’t consider drafting an alcohol bill. Rather they opted for an aggressive awareness program and education to curtail the impact of alcohol on society.  Education and awareness programs, no doubt, will help, but to what extent is questionable. The proposal to draft a bill had come from the Mongar dzongkhag tshogdu.  If alcohol is a problem in rural [... Read More]

Pay hike proposals challenged

The pay commission report is finally out. Although it was the civil servants who were waiting for it in rapt anticipation to see what percent salary rise the commission had proposed for them, many flipped when they learnt of the commission’s pay hike proposal for the prime minister and Cabinet ministers. If holding the ministers’ portfolio was a lottery of sorts, the pay raise proposal was like hitting the jackpot. People understand that ministers’ salaries had not been revised for a while. It is not [... Read More]

After Shingkhar-Gorgan road

Much to the dismay of the conservationists, it looks like the Shingkhar-Gorgan road is going to come through anyway. Today, politicians are bent on clearing the entire more than 60km road to Ura in Bumthang, through some 10km park area around Thrumshingla. The visceral opposition of the foresters and conservationists were no match for powerful politicians and their interests, articulated through as powerful an argument. That was how the road from Gorgan in Lhuentse was started. The previous government argued the whole country was a [... Read More]

Supervision of electoral processes

Is there a need to field Anti-Corruption Commission surveillance teams during elections in future to ensure proper conduct of it? National Assembly members apparently felt there was no need for it, as a majority voted against it. It has always been the job of the election commission officials to ensure proper conduct of elections and they have reported incidents, as and when they arose and dealt with them. This role the election commission played was quite amplified during the last gups’ election. Incidents of supporters [... Read More]

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