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Editorial: Empowering our women

24 August, 2009 – There is no denying that we need more women at political and decision-making levels. Even in the civil service only 30 percent are women.Meeting all of CEDAWs requirements would be attaining perfect statehood, something that has still eluded many rich and developed nations. But, looking beyond CEDAW, the story of our women is something else. It is a story that has shaped and will continue to shape Bhutanese society. For instance, they are the pillars of most families. They efficiently run [... Read More]

Editorial: The Media and the Message

22 August, 2009 – The Media, the print media in particular, is only interested in negative coverage. That is the one constant feedback on the Bhutanese press. It is mainly coming from government officials, the bureaucracy, and the elected government.They are sick and tired of reading stories that have nothing good to say about what the government has done or is trying to do. It’s beginning to frustrate, maybe even irritate, the powers that be. Such feedback is of concern to media houses. It basically [... Read More]

Editorial: The missing piece

21 August, 2009- It appears that the shortage of judges in the high court has got nothing to do with not enough judges in the system. Numerically, the judiciary is all right. Its more to do with appointing judges or eminent jurists to the high court.Not long ago, the high court was considered a dumping ground for senior government officials, who could not be placed anywhere. The judiciary today has come a long way with a new generation of educated judges, who have in grasp [... Read More]

Editorial: The invisible Bhutanese blue collar worker

20 August, 2009 – Will our dependence on an expatriate labour force for the construction industry remain for a long time to come? That seems most likely considering current trends.Seven years ago, the government started a number of vocational training institutes (VTI) to create a national pool of skilled blue collared workers. This pool, it was envisioned, would be easily absorbed by the rapidly expanding construction industry and, in time, reduce dependence on imported labour. Today, most of the 8,000 VTI graduates with skills in [... Read More]

Editorial: The burden of born out of wedlock

19 August, 2009 – Children born out of wedlock are not new happenings for Bhutanese society. They have been around long before modern development came our way.If the father was a well-known personality, the child was considered special. If the father turned out to be the average Dorji, the parents of the pregnant girl would be angered, may be even outraged, but in the end the child would be born, cared for and looked after. Today, in a more modernised and prosperous Bhutan, the ability [... Read More]

Editorial: Traffic snarls in Thimphu town

18 August, 2009 – The white-gloved policeman gracefully directing the ebb and flow of vehicles in the centre of the city is perhaps the brightest spot of our traffic system.It is now almost part of Bhutans culture, at least for tourists coming from countries, where traffic lights have been in use for more than a century. But driving around the capital city is a totally different experience; it comes nowhere near the imagery of the gloved policeman. It demands constant concentration to avoid the parked [... Read More]

Editorial: When drains don

17 August, 2009 : There are many sceptics, who debate the effect of climate change on rainfall patterns. For millions of people in our region, the monsoons become a problem if it is too much or too little.This year, farmers on the outskirts of the capital city are lamenting the late and rather scanty monsoon. They welcome every drop. The citys residents, on the other hand, hate rain, especially if its a downpour. This is because a brief downpour usually clogs the citys drainage system, [... Read More]

Editorial: Keeping civil service apolitical

15 August, 2009 – Independence and autonomy have been the key words in Assembly discussions on the civil service bill. In the discussions so far, it has been agreed that the constitutional bodies and the three arms of government be given autonomy over recruitment, promotion and transfer of their staff on the grounds of independence.The most recent changes proposed hint at giving government ministries some control over civil servants in support and supervisory categories. In all these discussions, what has not come up is the [... Read More]

Editorial: The indignity of labour

14 August, 2009 – So it was democracy at work when recruiting 10 plumbers last week for the Punatshangchu I project. That was one feeble argument bandied around by the labour ministry. The majority of the vocational institute graduates applying for the job had, in a show of hands, agreed to a lucky dip system instead of a merit-based interview process.The ministry has admitted that it was a major lapse but will not hold a re-selection process. The deserving but unselected trainees have registered with [... Read More]

Editorial: The fine (but fraudulent) art of

13 August, 2009 : Every day we adjust a lot of things. We adjust our car seats while driving to office, we adjust the mirror for a better rear view and we adjust our gho and kira for comfort at work.Quite often a lot of adjustments are also made in matters relating to money. And many a time, these adjustments are done openly and without questions asked. The seven education officials, terminated without benefits, also adjusted some bills. Like they said, Every ministry adjusts financial [... Read More]