KuenselOnline

Monday, September 22nd, 2014 - 2:09 AM
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On cars again

To the relief of aspiring car owners, the government will finally lift the ban on import of vehicles from next week.  The finance minister will notify relevant agencies to do the needful. It has been more than two years since import of vehicles was banned, which initially started as a temporary measure to curb the outflow of Indian rupees.  The government was under pressure to lift the ban and, to be fair, it was never a wise decision to stop citizens from buying vehicles.  Vehicles [... Read More]

Financing further education

The education ministry’s idea of lending cheaper education loans, made possible through the economic stimulus plan (ESP), is a welcome idea. Each year, for the next five years, about 40 high school graduates wishing to pursue higher education can avail loan at a throwaway rate from the government.  Nu 30M will be allocated for education loan scheme. The catch is that the student has to have a minimum of 60 percent in academics, should come from a financially poor background, and pursue a course that [... Read More]

Daring to be decisive

The government is clear and firm on the pay revision decision the Assembly made. Notwithstanding the debate and criticism, the government said it would stick by what was endorsed.  There is less than three weeks for civil servants, constitutional post holders, and parliamentarians to receive their revised salary.  There is not going to be any turnaround. What we can take from, and after, the summer session of Parliament is that everybody played their role well.  The opposition, the National Council, the public and the political [... Read More]

Not a good trend

It was quite a spectacle at what police call the crime scene, on Saturday, when the police rescue team was retrieving a body from the Thimpchu near Olakha. Had something gone wrong at the crime scene, there were at least a hundred eyewitnesses to testify.  That was the number of people, who flocked to see police fish out the body.  Some had settled comfortably on the retaining wall, like they were at the Thimphu tshechu or at a wang ceremony. Looking at the crowd, curious [... Read More]

Fixing accountability

The villagers of Bikhar and Wungkhar gewogs in Drametse are feeling cheated.  And they have reasons to feel so. The rural water supply scheme in the gewogs, according to them, is not complete although it was officially handed over.  If the scheme was to supply drinking water to villagers, villagers are right – it was not completed. With their water posts dry, with some even without taps and others still being built, villagers are wondering how it was considered complete.  It may be easier to [... Read More]

From policy to practice

In what could be a huge step towards addressing the unemployment problem, the labour ministry yesterday launched its National Employment Policy 2013. The policy is aimed at helping the ministry tackle the issue of unemployment, especially among youth. On paper, goals and policy statements on how to create employment and align the employment market sounds appealing. The policy recommends, among others, clamping down on foreign recruitment, especially in areas where Bhutanese with appropriate skills are available. It also looks into providing incentives to businesses and [... Read More]

Cast in the DHI mould

The Druk Holding and Investment announced that it will take four more companies under its arm, taking the number of enterprises in its fold to 22. Like the chairperson said at the press conference yesterday, DHI was accused of taking under its wings, the cash cows like the Druk Green Power corporation, Bhutan Telecom, and Bank of Bhutan, etc. As the government’s investment arm, DHI was mandated to manage existing and future investments of the country, while funding the government through dividends and tax based [... Read More]

Blame not the monsoon

A downpour lasting fifteen minutes is enough to bring out the worst of the capital’s drainage system. It irks residents by exposing and subjecting them to such flaws in the infrastructure.  It also, ignored conveniently by most, reveals the flaws of residents – an almost total lack of civic sense. When these two flaws come together, the rain gets the blame. The story is not new.  Drains are either missing, small, narrow, and sometimes good enough, but are clogged by debris, pebbles, plastic, wood, rags, [... Read More]

Translating autonomy into competence

It is not known what was discussed behind the closed-door meeting yesterday on how the national referral hospital in Thimphu would function as an autonomous body. But what is clear is that the national referral hospital needs to improve service delivery.  One of the objectives of becoming autonomous is to do the same. Medical practitioners at the referral hospital have long pressed for a move away from the shackles of bureaucracy, which they indicated would mean more freedom and therefore better service delivery. Whether autonomous [... Read More]

The indignity of no labour

Sent to cover the graduates orientation program, a reporter tried to be smart in trying to stress on the increasing number of university graduates and limited jobs. In his lead, he wrote “If you throw a stone from a window in Thimphu, it will hit a university graduate!” The editor rejected the idea, and briefed the reporter that the situation was not as bad as he portrayed.  That was in 2004. Unemployment among university graduates, today, is the highest. At 30 percent, those with a [... Read More]

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