After seeking blessings from the Machhen in Punakha and Ap Gyenen in Dechenphu, Thimphu, the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) flagged off its campaign for change and launched its manifesto to narrow the gap infront of a gathering of youth in Thimphu yesterday.
Party president Lotay Tshering told the youth that his prayers are not for DNT to win but for the country and people to win.
“DNT is contesting once more in the parliamentary election with renewed faith in the leadership and trust in the people of Bhutan, as a choice for change and hope, to better serve the King, country and the people” the president said.
“We are here to fulfil people’s aspirations for change, to infuse trust and harmony in Bhutan’s politics, and to initiate progress.”
The party’s Chhoekhor-Tang candidate Dawa said the manifesto and the campaign were launched in front of the youth because they are the future, the country’s hope. “We want you to know the kind of importance we accord to you.”
The party president said doing away with examinations for students until Class VI and engaging them in other productive educational activities is one of the party’s commitments in education.
However, he said the students would be assessed through assignments and classroom participation.
He said the party is concerned about the inequalities in health care across the country and over the quality of services. The party pledges to provide equitable, better quality health care in every village, gewog and district.
The party president then headed to Punakha to campaign.
With a vision to have a healthier nation, the party pledges to take free, equitable and quality health care to people. To achieve this, the party pledges to establish a multi- disciplinary super – speciality hospital in Thimphu.
Besides ensuring access to specialist services like endoscopy, ultrasound and blood test at gewog levels and upgrading hospitals in strategic places to enable Bhutanese to avail specialists’ services within half-day travel time, the party commits to improve the working condition of health workers.
DNT pledges to keep the country’s economy secure by developing an inclusive, sustainable and equitable economy that contributes to GNH.
The party commits to recoup Nu 10 billion by strengthening tax collection and regulating tax evasion, increase PIT ceiling to Nu 300,000 and exempt BIT for businesses with less than Nu 200,000 turnover.
It pledges to generate additional 5,200MW of hydropower by implementing projects already in Plan and strengthen the tourism sector by establishing Tourism Development Board. It commits to invest 10 percent of tourism royalty to promote and market tourism.
The party envisions an economy that narrows growing income disparity and pledges to work towards a vibrant private sector, legalise the informal sector and establish an agency to protect, promote and support some 70 percent of Bhutanese workforce engaged in it.
To ensure water for all by 2021, DNT pledged that it would establish a dedicated agency to manage water distribution. All water sources would be mapped for proper management.
DNT pledges to address the country’s unemployment issue by creating an employment and livelihood corporation. The party would support private sector to create 5,000 jobs annually to achieve full employment and increase the minimum daily wage to Nu 450.
It pledges to reintroduce one-year national service program for graduates to gain experience, understand national issues and plan careers.
The party plans to make agriculture attractive for livelihood and employment through the party’s Sonam Gongphel project.
To improve rural livelihood, DNT promises to explore new prospects. It commits to procure farm produce from farmers at a price announced a year ahead and would ensure that the state introduces new crop insurance schemes for farmers. It also pledges to install cold storages at strategic locations.
To ensure that the civil servants are paid the salary due to them, including incentives that are in keeping with market inflation, DNT pledges to increase salaries twice during their tenure and institute fortnightly salaries. It promises to provide uniform travel and daily subsistence allowances to all civil servants.
DNT pledges to narrow the digital divide by enabling communications and accessing online information. The party pledges to save on recharge through Suung-joen, an app offering free call and messaging services, entertainment and multi-media.
DNT promises to enhance and support online business opportunities, establish free Wi-Fi access points and allow free hosting of local contents. The party pledges to do away with the five percent voucher tax.
The party envisions to make teaching the number one profession with better-equipped classrooms and inclusive education.
DNT pledges to review Class X cut-off point to enable financially challenged students to continue until Class XII and enable students who passed Class X but disqualified by the cut-off point to return to study until Class XII.
The party promises to do away with examinations until Class VI and review central schools to make it better and reopen community and primary schools beneficial to certain communities.
DNT pledges to base course all farm roads and make it functional throughout the year and blacktop or concrete all roads to important lhakhangs, Basic Health Units schools and remaining gewog centre roads.
It promises to increase load carrying capacity for trucks and build a southern east – west highway by linking towns and dzongkhags through settlements along the way. It pledges to shorten travel time by initiating tunnelling projects.
DNT pledges to build 2,500 flats for home ownership and initiate subsidised interest loan schemes for low-income groups. It promises to lift existing rule limiting houses beyond two-storied in dzongkhags.
Women and Children
The party promises to give six-month maternity leave and allowances for all, support foreign domestic worker and strengthen women and children services.
It pledges to introduce allowances that match daily wage rate for women in rural areas during initial months of childbirth and provide free sanitary pad to all girl-students in schools.
Dechen Tshomo | Punakha