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Losing time?

Even as we give special importance to efficient service delivery, which is at the core of our development initiatives and higher national objectives, Bhutan is groaning under the aching pain of ineffectiveness brought about by our obvious lack of systematic approach to achieving them.

Plans and programmes, however grand they are so, end up on the government selves, only to gather dust and to be forgotten. We seem to forget our mandates as offices and agencies concerned to give thrust to certain actions that are urgent to address the pressing national calls of the day. This may be the result of too much duplication that we have, unwittingly, given fecund grounds to. So when a plan fails, we play the blame game, pointing fingers at each other. It is sad that we are not even aware that in the process we are losing precious little time to find solutions.

Bringing the serious national ailments of the day into focus, are we doing enough? Have we even begun internalising where things are going wrong? Because the cost of a plan hitting a closed passage due to uncoordinated push from here and there must be interpreted in terms of hours wasted and donor money gone down the drain, implications will be serious.

Failing agriculture and the danger of rising urban poverty due to increasing rural to urban migration and youth unemployment so are calling the nation’s attention. Sporadic arrangements will not help. These modern problems, which could become unmanageable if left unattended, are begging for a hands-on and sustainable approach. The fact is, more importantly, we need to know from where to begin.

Some efforts we made to reduce food import and to boost home production by giving special priority to the development of agriculture. But we could not give quite-enough throttle to the idea. What seems to be at the heart of the problem is the lack of a real push. Even as we know that service delivery must improve for our plans to succeed, we do not have Local Government Common Framework (LGCF) for dzongkhags and thromdes, without which giving shape to our plans becomes difficult. The framework is expected to address the problem of lack of uniformity in structure, staffing and reporting and give way for clear, uniform, transparent, and standard approach to service delivery in places outside the capital.

It is hard to comprehend how the Cabinet could sit on the framework proposal for almost two years. Today, even as we have launched Private Sector Lending scheme to encourage cottage and small industries to help address issues like growing youth unemployment and fallowing of land in the villages, nothing has come of it. If varying rules and mandates are blocking service delivery, especially in the dzongkhags far from the capital, they must be made urgently clear and uniform.

The danger is, if we fail to do so, we might be losing the small window of opportunity in our hands to tackle some of the serious problems facing the nation.

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