Friday, August 1st, 2014 - 7:52 PM

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]

A continuous house anyway

The country witnessed the violation of a constitutional provision during the last National Council election as members resigned from office to contest for another term. That was following the apparent confusion with the interpretation of the council having to be a continuous house. The continuity of the house was compromised because it lacked a quorum to convene a sitting, just in case. The constitutional provision requires that council elections be held in a manner that it was reconstituted on the expiry of term of existing [... Read More]

Best of both worlds

In sharing their experiences following a brief stay in the capital city, without having to tell of their lifestyles back home, students from remote schools of Lhuentse left much for us urbanites to reflect on. They reminded us of what we were, not so long ago to what was becoming of us today. A platform from which to stop for a moment, our consumerism-fuelled revved up engines, and look back at the roots that dictates the country’s guiding philosophy, before we begin again this journey [... Read More]

What lies behind diplomatic ties

True that the sovereignty of the country, the course towards which, guided by our visionary monarchs and our forefathers, is secure today. As we see it today, there probably seems to be no threats to it. However, that sovereignty cannot be taken for granted. Various developments happening around the world are rather disturbing, particularly when it is about one powerful nation occupying a smaller one. It is true that various issues the country is faced with, the financial one being more pressing or important to [... Read More]

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