Friday, December 26th, 2014 - 6:54 AM
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One Year On: Reflections on PDP’s election win

It has been exactly one year since Bhutanese went to polls on July 13, 2013 for the second parliamentary elections.  Overall, the 2013 elections had been more exhilarating than the historic 2008 elections. As predicted, in the preliminary round of election in 2013, out of the total of 210,835 votes cast, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) won by securing 44.5%, followed by People’s Democratic party (PDP) with 32.5%, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) with 17.5%, and Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) with 5.9%. The international media had been [... Read More]

My impressions of Bhutan

Dr Haran reflects on her stay in Bhutan as she readies to bid farewell I woke up with a start as I heard somebody say: ‘Five-Alpha’ close to my ears. I realised I’d been daydreaming, while sitting on my rocker on a lazy weekend afternoon.  Seat no. 5 A on the Drukair flight from Delhi to Paro gives the most magnificent view of the Himalayas.  And for the last 20 months I had made numerous trips between Delhi and Paro occupying this seat. I had [... Read More]

Suicide trend in Bhutan from 2009 to 2013

Research by World Health Organisation shows that the problem of suicide has shifted from Western Europe to Eastern Europe and now it is shifting to Asia. For example, already, female suicide rate is highest in South Korea with 22.1 percent in 100,000 inhabitants. The rate of suicide for the whole world is 11.6 percent per 100,000 inhabitants. Using the record of suicide maintained by the Royal Bhutan Police from 2009 to 2013, the average annual growth rate of suicide in Bhutan is 9.4 percent and [... Read More]

Parliamentarians’ hefty salary hike – Reason unreasonable

Our legislators have literally patted themselves on the back for being the best of the best In the third session of the second parliament, which ended recently, the government gave the parliamentarians a huge hike in pay and perks.  This hefty hike and the rationale given for it have raised eyebrows of many a discerning citizen, including a political party and media houses.  Quiet to this decision, however, were the much-vaunted opposition members. In a very lucid articulation, the Kuensel editorial (18 June) asked if [... Read More]

Please spend more…

It  has been noticed that with more deliberations, our leaders have been telling us that the salary hikes are the know-how and do-how of the Pay Commission and not necessarily done by the government. Yes, we are aware about this do-how of Pay Commission but isn’t it the government who proposed for this formation of the Pay Commission? So, how can our leaders even say that it is not the do-how of the government? One of our leaders has quoted that “we don’t need to [... Read More]

All dressed up but no party: Perils of unemployment

The questions that probably hitting every undergraduate student in Bhutan – will they get the jobs, let alone, the desired jobs? Also, when? All have dressed up for the graduation day but where to go from there, is not certain, or, may be, certain that nowhere to go. Unfortunately, there are no certain answers. Rising youth unemployment and elongating wait periods is arguably one of the most critical problems faced by Bhutan. Even the higher growth of GDP may not bring good news to the [... Read More]

Revised vehicle tax – people to pay for government’s incompetence

The government recently proposed to increase vehicle tax by more than 100%. The basis for this whopping raise is to curb the outflow of Indian rupee (INR) and convertible currencies (CC) (7 June 2014, Kuensel). The other reasons for the hike although not explicitly mentioned but alluded to are intended reductions in traffic, fuel import and environmental pollution. Let us objectively dissect these stated or alluded to reasons to see whether or not this hike is fair under Bhutan’s prevailing socio-economic and environmental conditions. First, [... Read More]

The Himalayas: Upstream but Downwind

The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region has received much attention as the source of rivers that supply water to 1.3 million people downstream. It has received far less attention for its role as the recipient of the air pollution originating in the plains. Across northern South Asia during the dry season, individual plumes from hundreds of millions of cooking fires, tens of millions of diesel vehicles, generators and pump sets, as well as tens of thousands of brick kilns merge together into one thick brown [... Read More]

Life & Death from the Himalaya to Factory Floors

Everest Tragedy Highlights Need for Changes in “Labour Chain” Isn’t climbing supposed to be one of “the” symbols of comradeship and teamwork? During the time Tenzing Norgay Sherpa,  who would have been 100 years old this May 29,  and Edmund Hillary climbed Everest in 1953, everyone was involved and shared the risk, the challenges and the joys of adventure.  How different it has been this year.  As the world moves on to read of the next tragedy from Asia, the loss of 16 lives in [... Read More]

Whither sits the Fourth Estate

In its journey to democracy the country has embarked on, one companion that is struggling to keep pace is the Bhutanese news media. What is left today is a poor semblance of what could have been. But the story, some seven years ago, was strikingly different. Privately-owned newspapers hit the newsstands, and competition revved up overnight. Newsrooms were abuzz with editors and reporters brainstorming story ideas in an urgent hustle to make their papers stand out the next morning. It was about breaking the news [... Read More]

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