Following a thorough discussion, the National Assembly yesterday decided to retain the post of gaydrung (gewog clerk) and to regularise their service as civil servants if circumstances are favourable.
Of the 42 members present in the house, 40 voted ‘Yes’ on retaining them and two voted ‘No’. On making the gaydrung position part of the civil service, only 25 members voted ‘Yes’, nine members abstained and eight members voted ‘No.’
Bongo-Chapcha Member of Parliament (MP) Tshewang Lhamo moved the motion to retain the post of gaydrung in gewog administrations. She proposed that gaydrung is a critical employee of the gewog administration who carries out a majority of the correspondence works and that their position must be retained.
She also proposed to make gaydrung’s position a part of the civil service. Today, most of the works such as collecting taxes, drafting correspondences for gups, filling up forms for the public and other related works are carried out by gaydrungs. “Gaydrung’s position is as important as that of gup and mangmi in functioning of a local government. We must retain them and make part of the civil service,” she said.
MP Tshewang Lhamo argued that implementation of 12th five-year plan will begin soon and when the local government should be equipped with manpower, relieving gaydrungs would weaken the local government.
The issue on gaydrungs first arose after the Royal Civil Service Commission’s (RCSC) OD exercise in 2016 pointed out that their posts were not required. No rules or laws cover the gaydrungs and even if they serve their entire life, their remuneration would not increase beyond Nu 13,000 excluding allowances.
Most members, 17 of them who participated in the discussion supported the proposal to regularise the post of gaydrung. Khamed-Lunana MP Yeshey Dem said that the 12th Plan has adequate budget and the parliament members are already doubtful about the capacity of local government in budget utilisation. Downsizing experienced human resource from the local government will make it more difficult.
Members pointed out that Article 22, Section 19 of Constitution states that the Local Government shall be supported by administrative machinery staffed by civil servants. So far the only civil servant in the gewog is the gewog administrative officer.
One of the members who voted against regularising the post of gaydrung was the finance minister Namgay Tshering. He said the issue was earlier thoroughly studied by the RCSC and found that it cannot be made part of the civil service. It was because of RCSC’s policy of making the civil service small, compact and efficient, he said.
He said that since they cannot be made part of civil service, other options needs to be explored. Drafting a strong Terms of Reference is also necessary.
“Making their service para-regular (long term contract) is one option where the employees can enjoy benefits like that of civil servants,” he said.
According to figures home minister Sherub Gyeltshen presented to the parliament yesterday, there are 199 gaydrungs today. Gewogs such as Nanong in Pemagatshel, Doteng in Paro, Bumdeling in Trashiyangtse, Medtsho in Lhuntse, Drukjyegang in Dagana and Tsholingkhar in Tsirang are without gaydrungs.
Of the 199 gaydrungs, 70 are on contract. They receive a monthly salary of Nu 11,125. The remaining 129 are the old ‘drungye’ now serving as gaydrungs and they receive a lumpsum payment of Nu 13,000 a month.
Home minister Sherab Gyeltshen said since the initial contact of the gaydrungs ends this March he was worried and had inquired with the gewogs on the importance of the gaydrung post. “Gewogs verbally informed me that it is must to retain gaydrungs,” he said.
Gaydrungs started serving in gewogs since the 1960s.