Saturday, November 29th, 2014 - 5:55 AM
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Defanging the national game

There is simply no reason why our national sport, archery, should be dangerous.  This our cherished national pastime, the game that is an integral part of our culture, however, is increasingly becoming a fatal diversion. In ancient times, after our ancestors had come some way from dwelling in caves and using crude stone tools, the use of bows and arrows to hunt for food and to defend themselves signified a leap ahead in the history of human evolution.  As our society gradually became more cohesive, [... Read More]

A vice that won’t go away

The small hospital in Trashigang revealed a big problem that is eating into the health and wealth of the dzongkhag. The dzongkhag, going by records with the hospital, is replete with problems related to alcohol.  If the government and civil societies have been carrying out awareness campaigns related to alcohol, they have not helped or been effective.  The hospital recorded 310 cases in 2013, of which 15 died, averaging more than one a month.  Most who died were in the age group between 20 and [... Read More]

What Make in India can mean to Bhutan

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday launched an ambitious initiative called the “Make in India”.  The launch in India was attended by the who’s who of Indian business.  Hundreds of top business representatives also attended the live telecast in more than a dozen countries, indicating the impact of the initiative. The move is to make India a global manufacturing hub.  And by evening the initiative was receiving good reviews with huge expectations that it will transform the Indian economy, the 10th largest in the world. [... Read More]

The onus is on us

Bhutan will start financing the purchase of pentavalent vaccines from 2016.  It will be done through the Bhutan Health Trust Fund, as the co-financer, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), is withdrawing its support. It will be a huge burden to the fund, which is entrusted to sustain and promote primary health system through the ensured supply of critical vaccines and essential drugs.  The trust fund had been financing the purchase of essential drugs from this fiscal year.  An additional Nu 7.5M will be [... Read More]

The line between practice and proselytisation

Stories of the government persecuting the Christian minority keep appearing now and then in foreign media, especially in those with vested interests.  Quite often, the reports are biased and exaggerated. The Bhutanese representatives last week clarified to the Human Rights Council on the freedom of religion in the country.  It is straightforward – Bhutanese have the right to embrace and practise any religion of their choice.  It is their fundamental right.  The only restriction is that they cannot force others to belong to a certain [... Read More]

The closeted Cabinet

Cabinet decisions are vital, and what’s more important is the need to communicate these decisions to the public, for transparency, accountability and democracy. The fourth estate is the expected agency to disseminate such information to the public.  But its task is not without challenges. Access to information has become problematic. Media houses have employed different tactics – from contacting the media officials to sending emails and calling the cabinet members on their mobiles phones. Usually there are no answers, to the email or the phone [... Read More]

Newspapers – A riches to rags story

Editors of some 22 newspapers in Asia met in Hanoi, Vietnam, in the hope of finding a common voice.  The most common voice was that almost all the papers, albeit a few influential ones, are fighting against all odds to keep afloat. The challenges are many.  Journalists, including editors, are leaving for greener pastures, and newspapers are going under in the wake of the financial crisis.  One paper expressed that there are no professionals left to run the newspaper. But the most common problem was [... Read More]

A high profile affair

There is an air of excitement and suspense among those closely following the case being heard by bench four of the Thimphu district court.  The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is prosecuting two individuals relating to a case that was settled about a decade back. A trend has already been set with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) digging up cases retrospectively.  And there is every reason for OAG to prosecute the former royal advisory councillor, Chang Ugyen, and the former National land commission official, Sonam [... Read More]

An idea whose time has gone?

When the in-service bachelor’s degree programme was initiated by the Royal Civil Service Commission, it was welcomed and appreciated by all. It acknowledged the need for employees to upgrade their education for career enhancement and professionalism.  That good move, however, over recent years, has proved to be a challenge and has gained criticism. Firstly, offices in various ministries were faced with a human resource challenge.  This affected service delivery or work output and achievement. Secondly, the performance of the civil servants, who had undergone bachelor’s [... Read More]

What for the festive season

The only preparation visible, besides the monks practising dances for the Thimphu tshechu, is the space reserved by shopkeepers and vendors along Norzin lam.  The road will be closed for traffic and, for three days, it will be an open market. Sales thrive as shopkeepers use the space to clear their old stock at cheaper prices, and tshechu goers and shoppers take advantage of the so called “sale”.  But there is trouble waiting.  It was quite a scene yesterday, as would be vendors and shopkeepers [... Read More]

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