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Editorial: Who, me?

28 May, 2008 – “You are all dashos, pronounced the speaker of the National Assembly yesterday. There was general laughter among our parliamentarians. And there was laughter among those watching the Assembly debate around the country.While the discussion on the draft Constitution provided a good insight into its contents for the discerning observer, what also came through was that our society, and our parliamentarians in particular, are going through a bit of an identity crisis. This is perhaps inevitable, considering that we are going through [... Read More]

Editorial: Promises versus priorities

25 May, 2008 – The parliament went through a debate on local government but we will not really get a clear picture of this important administrative layer until the local government act is finalised. Even then we do not know how lucid the picture will be in terms of the relationship between local government bodies like the gewog tshogde and dzongkhag tshogdu and parliamentarians and, even more complex, local party workers.The concept of local government was literally nurtured by the fourth Druk Gyalpo through an [... Read More]

Editorial: Dr Manmohan Singh

21 May, 2008 – The billion-dollar question today is whats with the Rs 100 billion? The Indian prime ministers announcement in the Assembly hall was met with a strong sense of appreciation symbolized by the dramatic silent ovation that the Parliamentarians offered Dr. Manmohan Singh. But the information should be distilled and understood before we start spending.While the joke at Paro airport over the weekend was that finance ministry officials were gazing expectantly at the metal boxes being unloaded from the Indian prime ministers aircraft, [... Read More]

Editorial: This friendship is real

17 May, 2008 – For Bhutan it is of great significance that the prime minister of India is making a special visit to the kingdom. It comes as Bhutan celebrates an extraordinary period of history the centenary of our Monarchy and as we think about the next 100 years and beyond.Indias leaders were always in the picture when Bhutans statecraft was in the hands of our Monarchs. His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo, particularly, shared extremely close understanding with Delhi as he took Bhutan-India relations [... Read More]

Editorial: As it is

14 May, 2008 – Having gone through an average of one article a day, the parliamentary debate on the Constitution is moving at a slow pace. The debate has focused on whether they should debate the contents or not. But the discourse in the first session of the new parliament has already been significant for many reasons.It is a learning process for the entire house, the speaker and ministers and parliamentarians. It is a new format and, for that reason, the expectations are also high. [... Read More]

Editorial: The mandate

10 May, 2008 – In 1907 the people of Bhutan vested in the Wangchuck dynasty the mandate to rule. A century later that poignant moment was replayed when His Majesty the King formally announced that the sacred authority exercised by four successive Monarchs who built the unique nation that exists today was granted back to the people by His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo and His Majesty the King.On May 8 His Majesty spoke to the joint sitting of parliament with the characteristic blend of [... Read More]

Editorial: That we shall govern ourselves

7 May, 2008 – The 72 members of the National Council and National Assembly take the Assembly floor tomorrow in the first joint sitting of Bhutans parliament. It will be a unique moment as the first elected government, clad in rich tradition and culture, gets down to business making democracy work.The first mandate of the Bhutanese parliament is to prove that the confidence of the people has not been misplaced. Every parliamentarian has to prove that his or her constituency has made the right choice. [... Read More]

Editorial: Avoid hunger

3 May, 2008 – We hear that the agriculture ministry is thinking seriously about food security. This is a relief. While the concept of emphasizing cash income for farmers, because it is cheaper to import food grain, might have looked attractive some years ago, Indias export problem (quickly reversed for Bhutan) last week comes as a powerful reminder that we are as vulnerable as ever.It comes at a time when we face a visible urban drift. The city lights are getting brighter and, as a [... Read More]

Editorial: Greener pastures

30 April, 2008 – Observers of Bhutan have always been amazed that Bhutanese people going outside the country to study, to train, or for any other reason have always returned home. Their surprise stems from the common knowledge that many students from other developing countries usually try to settle in the host country after their studies.We were all asked, by friends and acquaintances, why we wanted to leave the luxury of the first world and go back to a third world country. We Bhutanese, on [... Read More]

Editorial: Here come the lawyers

26 April, 2008 – Western society has gone through a stage where there has been intensive debate on the role of lawyers in society. There are numerous jokes on how much, or how little, they trust lawyers and on how much money lawyers make. But developed and, for that matter, developing – societies cannot function without lawyers.At a meeting between the ministry of labour and human resources and potential Bhutanese employers this week what emerged was that most Bhutanese employers are looking for lawyers today. [... Read More]