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Editorial: The wisdom of debate

30 July, 2008 – Was it ambiguity or was it ingenuity? After what appeared like a debate, that could have no ending, the joint sitting of parliament passed the annual budget for 2008-09. And it was passed in a way that both houses could claim some victory on the disputed issues.There appears to be two risks in the passing of an annual budget. The first is that a dominant party could push through a pro-party budget. Theoretically a dominant party, like the DPT, could easily [... Read More]

Editorial: A world beyond the civil service

26 July, 2008 – In Bhutan officialdom has tended to dominate society and life because of the socio-political structure of the past. For 100 years the Bhutanese population was structured like a family with the Monarch as head of the family, looking after the welfare of its members.With the evolution of a system of governance and the emergence of a modernised officialdom, the structure of society changed but soon became dominated by the bureaucracy. We saw the emergence of the grade mentality. Social status was [... Read More]

Editorial: In faith

23 July 2008 – Nearly every country in the world has a written Constitution. It is also widely known that most citizens of a country do not read the Constitution. Many citizens do not even know that they have a Constitution or, for that matter, what a Constitution is.That is a reality. We do to expect the average citizen of a country to give a discourse on the Constitution even in the most educated societies. Yet it does not mean that the national policies of [... Read More]

Editorial: The mandate

19 July, 2008 – On May 8 this year His Majesty the King addressed the joint sitting of parliament. my father, the fourth Druk Gyalpo, and I hereby return to our people the powers that had been vested in our kings by our forefathers one hundred years ago. We do so with absolute faith and confidence, offer our complete support and our prayers for the success of democracy.That was enough. Parliament was empowered and the first democratic government started functioning. In fact, it was on [... Read More]

Editorial: Maintaining the constant through change

16 July, 2008 -The visible thrust of Bhutan-India relations is the effort to maintain consistency in a changing region and a changing world as the two countries themselves undergo important changes. Their leadership recognised, a long time ago, that the momentum of goodwill can be maintained only with constant effort.Bhutan has many friends in India. Many ambassadors who have represented India in Bhutan, IMTRAT officers who have been posted and numerous visitors over the years keep in touch. His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo was [... Read More]

Editorial: About salaries, allowances, perks

12 July, 2008 – Is the parliament spending too much time discussing the perks of parliamentarians? Critics allege so, particularly in recent weeks when the focus was sitting fees, drivers salaries, and car maintenance allowances. Others believe that skepticism is inevitable when people discuss their own entitlements.It reminds us of the time when the chimis of the previous National Assembly requested an increase in their allowance to Nu 6,000 a month. They diluted the embarrassment of asking for a raise and warded off criticism by [... Read More]

Editorial: Watch that ad

9 July, 2008 – Our new advertising guideline states that advertisements shall not mislead or deceive consumers. That is a good point to begin with because, as they become more seductive by the year, we know that advertisements too often emphasise sale at all cost.We have learnt from the extremely sophisticated advertising culture around the world that it practically shapes social psyche in most countries. That is why human development is interpreted increasingly in terms of material wealth. The advertising rules come at a good [... Read More]

Editorial: Can we?

5 July, 2008 – The policy to boost power development to 10,000 MW by 2020 is an interesting one. At a time when the government needs the revenue the proven strategy of hydropower makes sense. With global warming being a reality and the chances that our glacial lakes may last only decades, it seems to make sense that we exploit this clean energy concept while we can.As many other countries are doing like the middle eastern ones with their oil money we need to earn [... Read More]

Editorial: A clean country – too much to hope for?

2 July, 2008 – It is significant that, confronting a society they cannot even comprehend, Bhutanese participants at the Smithsonian festival in the U.S. are struck, more than anything else, by the absence of trash in crowded public space. It means that they come from an environment where trash is a part of the scenery.In Bhutan this is an irony. We are widely admired for our pristine environment. And it is true that we live in relatively uncontaminated surroundings and breathe fresh air. We are [... Read More]

Editorial: To inform

21 June, 2008 – The concept of the right to information, widely described today as access to information, is not up for debate. It is guaranteed by the Constitution. The delivery of information is what we are really talking about.The Constitution grants information as a right to the citizens of Bhutan. For the new political system to work, it is critical that the people are informed as they take up their responsibilities as citizens. So the next step is that all branches of government and [... Read More]