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Lead Story

Debt to GDP projected to decline to 76 percent

The country’s external debt is expected to fall from 105 percent of GDP in the current fiscal year to 76 percent by the end of 12th Plan, the finance ministry projects. However, in absolute terms, Bhutan’s external debt would increase from Nu 204B to Nu 215B. This is because the country’s GDP is expected to grow by an average of 6 percent in the 12th Plan. Expansion of GDP base would automatically reduce the debt to GDP ratio, meaning the decline in ratio would not translate into absolute decline in external debt.

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230 youth in Japan register for loan deferment

Representatives of the parents’ committee meet Bhutanese youth recently in Osaka, Japan (Photo: Ngawang Tobgay )

Labour Minister Ugyen Dorji has said that the number of Bhutanese youth placed in Japan under learn and earn programme applying for the newly introduced loan deferment scheme was increasing. He said that about 230 students had applied for the grace period as of March 18, the last date to register online. Deadline was given, he said, to gauge the interest among youth and their parents.

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Ministry looking to increase feeding schools

Ministry has proposed increase of Nu 2,040 stipend (File photo)

If everything goes as planned, 181 primary, lower and middle secondary schools in rural areas would receive meals from July this year, which is expected to benefit 31,460 students. The Cabinet has approved education ministry’s proposal to increase the number of feeding schools in the 12th Plan and to raise the stipend, according to Education Minister JB Rai.

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Govt. redefining role of SOEs

The government will redefine and streamline the role of state enterprises in about three months time which could lead to privatisation of some state owned companies. A task force has begun the review process already.

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Allowance for mother and child health from August 

To improve the health of mother and child in the country, the health ministry is expected to initiate implementing a programme called Accelerating Mother and child Health-1,000 Day Plus by August this year. The programme was earlier called maternity allowance and later breastfeeding allowance.

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Free nutritious lunch in schools? Not served! 

The reality  It is 12:35pm. Students of Bumpazor primary school in Drepong, Mongar rush out to queue in front of two huge pots. They are excited. They are hungry. The school caretaker  serves them rice and vegetable curry. Located about 17km from Mongar, the 42 students who walk for almost …

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HM grants audience to scholarship students

His Majesty The King granted an audience to 144 recipients of undergraduate scholarship administered by the ministry of education, at the Kuenrey of the Tashichhodzong yesterday. During the audience, His Majesty said that education is not solely a means to an end, but an opportunity for the students to realise their full potential. His Majesty said the students should work to develop the skills necessary to participate in nation-building, and support the country in its progress. His Majesty also reminded the students that after having excelled among their peers within Bhutan, they must now demonstrate excellence while competing with others.

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UNDP honours His Majesty The King

To honour His Majesty’s leadership in advancing human development and the wellbeing and happiness of the people of Bhutan, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) yesterday presented a Special Award of Recognition to His Majesty The King.

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Bhutan needs to strategise the last mile ride: PM

The 14th Round Table Meeting formally opened yesterday evening

The process of graduating from the group of least developed countries (LDC) is about concern for the future as basic aspirations remain yet to be fulfilled. In this context, the UNDP Administrator and UN Under-Secretary General, Achim Steiner who is in the country to co-chair the 14th Round Table meeting said, “graduation in development context is to some extent an arbitrary milestone.”

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More power to BCCI?

The private sector is expected to get the much-needed fuel to kick-start it’s engine with the government forming a 10-member private sector development committee (PSDC) chaired by the economic affairs minister. The government had pledged to establish the PSDC in partnership with the Bhutan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (BCCI). The PSDC was established on March 5 and is reviewing the Private Sector Development – The Way Forward, 2016, the chamber’s recommendation on developing the sector.

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Private school owners cry foul 

Most private schools owners across the country who admitted class X students on government scholarship say the government did not keep its word on the fee structure and admission process. Proprietors and principals Kuensel talked to said that the government initially agreed to provide scholarship of Nu 30,000 for day scholar and Nu 50,000 for boarder students and then parents would top up the remaining fees depending on respective school’s fee structure.

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More LED bulbs to save energy

To save energy consumption and to increase revenue, renewable energy department will distribute energy-efficient LED bulbs from July this year. The department’s director, Mewang Gyeltshen, said that Nu 42 million(M) was approved in the 12th Plan to rollout the light emitting diodes throughout the country.

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