Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - 2:13 PM

What about the rest?

Whether it’s less or more, the civil servant salary revision has been approved.  The next pay package will come with a 20 percent housing allowance, and a little more on the basic pay. A government salary revision is closely followed.  As is the trend, we can prepare for insatiable landlords and eager shopkeepers to ride on the revision by increasing house rent or cost of essentials, if they have not already done so. In Bhutan, although our inflation is largely imported, the cost of living [... Read More]

Why wait for Reading Year to start reading?

The prime minister, in his state of the nation report, declared 2015 as the Reading Year.  It is one the best news from Parliament in recent days. It is also a news that almost every Bhutanese citizen would welcome, although  they may not  be practicing it. Reading is important, perhaps more important than pay raise and taxes, for it focuses on more than just deficiency among Bhutanese.  The benefits of reading are many.  It exercises the mind, teaches concentration, and provides a wealth of knowledge [... Read More]

An honourable exit policy?

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay has set a fine example by refusing to accept the revised salary, which the National Assembly recently endorsed. The National Assembly has come under severe criticism for endorsing the salary revision, with members of the parliament and ministers benefitting the most from the current revision. Calling it too high, and saying that the country couldn’t afford such a revision, lyonchhoen said his conscience would not allow him to accept it.  Rather lyonchhoen announced, as he presented the state of the nation [... Read More]

Is the Council’s counsel superfluous?

The ongoing parliament session will be remembered for two very important events – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the parliament, and the civil service salary revision. While the honeymoon period of the prime minister’s visit is over, many will keep talking about the pay revision and the taxation policy endorsed on Tuesday. But even as civil servants wait for their revised salary, there are important issues thrown up for discourse. Most important is the prerogative of the Assembly over money Bills, and the manner [... Read More]

A self-serving pay revision?

Dspite much confusion on what they were voting for, the National Assembly yesterday endorsed the final pay revision, with a majority voting not to accept the council recommendations. And it was not a difficult decision, as they didn’t have to discuss, in length, the recommendations passed down from the house of review. The council didn’t provide a time frame on its recommendation to defer the raise for senior public servants from Prime Minister to government secretaries. The house also justified that, by raising civil servants [... Read More]

For a successful neighbourhood

There were no big surprises announced when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Parliament yesterday. But there is plenty to take home, not only for Bhutan, but the whole region, from the prime minister’s address. The prime minister stressed the importance of having a good neighbourhood, especially among SAARC nations.  While analysts are quick to note that Prime Minister Modi has one eye on China in India asserting the importance of a South Asian neighbourhood, the reality today, like the prime minister said, is that [... Read More]

Cementing already close ties

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in the country yesterday on a two-day visit, spelled out the reasons why he chose to visit Bhutan first, amidst political analysts and so-called pundits trying to guess why. The reason was simple.  It was a “natural choice” for him to make Bhutan the destination for his first visit abroad as the prime minister. “It was the unique and special relation, forged by ties of geography, history and culture” that made him choose Bhutan. While we had been [... Read More]

A vital visit

It is of great significance that the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, is making a special visit to the kingdom on the invitation of His Majesty the King. Several countries, including the United States and Japan, have invited the prime minister to visit their country, as soon as he assumed power last month.  Any country he may have chosen to visit would have made an important statement. To the surprise of many, who were trying hard to get the prime minister to their country, [... Read More]

The dissension side of democracy

Everybody is talking about us! A member of the National Assembly, almost exaggeratedly said, pointing to the discussions on social media, coverage of Parliament in the media and the informal discussions on the civil service salary, vehicle taxes and entitlements for parliamentarians. All eyes are on Parliament as they eagerly wait for the final decision on the salary revision and vehicle taxes.  But even as resolutions and recommendations fly between the two houses, there is a feeling of some discomfort between the members of the [... Read More]

Taxing the taxed

Vehicles are prized possessions, be they luxury or necessity.  The news of  lifting of the ban on import of vehicles would have sparked excitement, if it were not for the revision of vehicle import taxes, deliberated in the National Assembly, snubbing it out. Instead, the feeling it has generated is one of exasperation and disappointment, despite the government’s reasoning. The reasons are, to some extent, why there is a disgruntled lot. But most importantly, the burden of tax increase, including the five percent on fossil [... Read More]

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