KuenselOnline

Saturday, November 1st, 2014 - 2:54 PM
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A logical rural land tax

Call it bold, shrewd or dogged, but Mongar dzongkhag tshogdu has again resolved to increase land tax and propose the same to Parliament for a second time. Their proposal, submitted during the last session of Parliament, was shot down by the National Assembly, but this has not deterred them to risk a second submission.  This time, it seems, they have the backing of at least all the chairpersons of the tshogdu, the highest decision making body at the local level. Should Parliament take it up [... Read More]

Major minor issue

Going by the figures of rape of minors, we should be ashamed as a society.  The figures are alarming – 13 minors in five months and 35 in a year.  This is more than three minor rapes every month. In most societies, this is reason enough to bring down a government, or strip authorities of their responsibilities and power. We don’t call for public outrage or encourage people to come out on the street to stop the crime against minors, but the figures are alarming [... Read More]

Rainbow realm

If colour is the face of beauty, nobody can beat us, as we are poised to become more colourful. Left to the creation of nature, Bhutan is much appreciated by the world, because it displays the pristine colours of nature that are intricately woven into our clothes, and embedded into our collective consciousness. But we are taking a step beyond the bequest of nature.  Our buildings have to be painted only in four colours, dustbins are bound to be green, signboards blue, and now e-taxis [... Read More]

Power-pinched pockets

A part from the “happy country” tag, Bhutan is also known, enviously, as the country with the cheapest electricity rates.  Compared with the region, electricity is dirt-cheap in the country, but it is not going to be so, any longer. With the latest revision, electricity, some have realised, is becoming expensive.  And this applies to home users, besides the industrialists, who are already complaining of the new rates. The rate per unit charged to domestic consumers is now exceeding even the rate charged on the [... Read More]

Spare the rod …

The Mongar court verdict, indicting a school principal to three months in prison for lashing a student, has once again thrust the controversial issue of corporal punishment in the forefront. The principal’s action was against the education policy, which is framed in accordance with the convention of the rights of the child.  The child was the victim and the marks on his body spoke volumes. The statement the principal provided to the court was that it was the last resort.  The Class IX student had [... Read More]

Yours, mine and ours

Much to the disappointment of local leaders, the economic affairs ministry has warned it would have to open up natural resources to the State Mining Corporation once it becomes operational. The geology and mines department has the power to decide and make policies related to its mining sector and not individual local governments.  Local leaders have resisted mining in their localities for numerous reasons, with some even declaring their dzongkhag or gewog as no-mining zones.  This is one area that local leaders, since decentralisation of [... Read More]

Looking forward to rising prices

There are two extreme developments taking place with regard to the government’s recent decisions on green tax and import of vehicles. We will soon see at least a hundred brand new vehicles hit the road, judging by demands and enquiries vehicle dealers in the country are dealing with.  Notwithstanding the revised tax, which makes all types of vehicles expensive, there is, it seems, no dearth of buyers. The government had made a wise decision in raising taxes, as it is now evident that Bhutanese have [... Read More]

Let’s talk about it

It was breaking news on most websites yesterday.  Social media picked it up and spread the word.  A few hours after the news release from the health ministry on the number of people detected HIV positive, everybody was talking about it. HIV/AIDS news interests the public.  Whenever a new figure is released, it is talked about for days.  It is good that we are talking, but it is also important to know what people are exactly talking about. In many cases, there is nothing good [... Read More]

Banking on rain

Less rain this summer is taking its toll not only on rice growing farmers, but on the exchequer as well. With hydropower projects falling short of power generation targets, it is obvious the government’s spending power, especially on current expenses, will be affected.  The last time it rained heavily in the capital was when the Indian Prime Minister visited the country, and the recent one, when a furniture business literally drowned in water from an excessive, if brief, downpour. Similarly, throughout the country, the hydromet [... Read More]

A dangerous game

At an intensive care unit in a hospital in Kolkata, an 11-year-boy is suffering for no fault of his own. The boy has been unconscious since he was airlifted to the hospital on July 11.  Although the metal arrow that pierced his skull was removed, the boy has not regained consciousness.  Doctors have reduced sedation to assess the condition of the boy to external stimulation.  The boy is in a vegetative state. On that fateful day, had he been a metre ahead or behind, he [... Read More]

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