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245 graduates vied for three IT slots

Competition is fierce for those with degrees in the computer stream 

RCSC: Being the second topper in the IT  (three years) category by scoring 56 percent in the recent civil service examination was not enough for Phub Namgay to land a job outside the teaching sector.

This is because, besides the 10 slots for IT graduates in the education sector, the royal civil service commission announced only one vacancy for IT (3 years) graduates this year.

Phub Namgay, 25, who has a master’s in IT from the South Asian University in Delhi, India is the first Bhutanese to win the SAARC silver jubilee scholarship to study at the university.

However, he lost the job (outside teaching) by two percent to the topper, who scored 58 percent.

“I knew about the slot and worked hard,” Phub Namgay said. “But there’s nothing I can do now.”

Along with him are 10 others, who scored 50 percent and above and passed the main examination.  There are also 66 IT (three years) graduates, who didn’t score the cut-off percent.

Also, with just two slots in the civil service for IT graduates (four years), a total of 21 remaining will have to contest for jobs in the market.

During the graduates orientation program in September, a total of 245 IT graduates attended the program.  Including those who did not get through the main examination, there are today 242 IT graduates looking for jobs in the market.

Further, records with the labour ministry show it has registered 264 IT graduates as job seekers in mid October.

With a bachelor’s in computer application from Chennai, Sherub Dorji said he graduated three years ago, and is still jobless.

“Job market for IT graduates has decreased drastically,” the 24-year-old said, adding that, although the demand is there, it was always in small numbers. “Competition is tough.”

According to him, unless IT graduates think of doing IT-related entrepreneurship, there will not be much for them left in the market, be it in the private or corporate sector.

However, unlike other IT graduates, Phub Namgay has received an offer to work at the College of Science and Technology in Phuentsholing on contract.  He has also been shortlisted for a lecturer’s post at the Royal Thimphu College.

“I have to take any opportunity that comes, because the competition is already tough,” he said.

Meanwhile, the civil service commission’s human resource officer, Tashi Tshering, said the commission’s human resource division is working on finalising the agencies to which selected candidates will be placed.

By Rajesh Rai

23 charged for gambling

They were caught in five groups at five separate occasions

Crime: Police in Wangduephodrang charged to court last of the five gambling cases involving 23 people on December 11.

The 23 people were caught gambling, basically playing cards and the dice game at Bajo town on October 25.

Of the 23 arrested at separate instances of five groups, six gamblers of the first group were sentenced between two and half months to five months in prison.

Save for the person who arranged the place for gambling that was sent to two and a half months prison term, the rest received five months each.

Police said in that group were six women.

“Gamblers were civil servants, corporate employees, local government representatives and business people,” a police source said.

The police also seized more than Nu 140,000 from the gamblers, the highest from a group being Nu 30,000.

Four of the five groups were apprehended after office hours, while one that was apprehended during the day was found gambling in a house, which was locked from outside to hide from the police. Two other groups were caught in restaurants.

Five people from five different groups were charged for helping gamblers by arranging venues for them.

The country’s penal code says a person involved in gambling would be convicted for petty misdemeanor and would be liable for prison term between one month and a year.

Bajo town residents welcomed the move on the part of the police.

“It is good someone is taking charge of this social ill,” one resident said. “These gamblers have been disturbing neighbours at night.”

By Tenzin Namgyel, Wangdue 

Picture story

Following a 24-hour strike by Adivasi Vikas Parishad in Assam, hundreds of vehicles plying to Phuentsholing, Samdrupjonkhar and some parts of India via the Assam highway were stranded at the border town of Gelephu yesterday.


15 taken to task for CID card racket

The deception was carried out to allow Indian wives to adopt Bhutanese citizenship 

Crime: Two men in Samtse, taking advantage of two Bhutanese women married to Indian nationals who left the country, succeeded in deceiving civil registry and census record authorities to obtain Bhutanese citizenship identity cards (CID) for their non-national wives.

The incident happened in 2006, when the new national citizenship identity card processing was conducted in the dzongkhag.

Conspiring with their husbands, the two women from Jalpaiguri impersonated two daughters of a village tshogpa from Hangay village in Sipsoo gewog and processed the CID card.  Two local tshogpas also helped them in the processing and obtaining of the CID card, while a former Sipsoo gup failed to authenticate their identities.

In 2008, they also obtained voter photo identity cards for the first parliamentary elections.  Of the nine children of the two families, five obtained their CID cards, by manipulating their health cards and using fake mother’s name.

The illegal registration, however, was found out, when the Sipsoo dungpa informed police on September 6, 2012 about the crime, stating that an Indian national, Renu Uraun, 41, from Gargata village of Jalpaiguri married to a Bhutanese in Sipsoo, obtained her Bhutanese citizenship card through impersonation and forged documents in 2006.

Sipsoo police then investigated the crime, which lead to the arrest of the people involved in the two cases.

Last week, the high court sentenced 15 people, including two couples and three former local government leaders, to a prison term ranging from six months to three years for their involvement in the CID racket.  The High Court affirmed the lower court’s two verdicts that were passed on September 18.

Out of 15, four men received a non-compoundable prison term of three years each for forging and manipulating documents to process for citizenship identity card.  They were also found guilty of aiding and abetting the crime.


The Urauns, Case I

In the first case, involving six people, Bishram Uraun from Hangay in Sipsoo, along with his father Badan Uraun, helped his non-national wife, Renu Uraun, to obtain CID card through forging documents and deceptive practices.  Renu Uraun’s husband, Bishram Uraun, and her father-in-law, Badan Uraun, received three years prison term each.

Impersonating Budani Uraun, the daughter of Shankar Uraun from Hangay, Renu Uraun, through the help of her husband and father-in-law, had forged and manipulated documents to process her CID card and managed to obtain it.

Budani Uraun was married to an Indian national in Jalpaiguri and left the country in 2003.  Her census was not removed from civil registry and census records.  Renu Uraun was also able to make fake health cards for her four children.  Three children obtained Bhutanese CID cards.

Renu Uraun was found guilty of impersonation, manipulating documents and deceiving authorities.  She was handed down a one year and six month prison term with option to pay thrimthue in lieu of imprisonment.

Budani Uraun’s father, Shankar Uraun, helped Bishram Uraun and Bandan Uraun to obtain citizenship card for Renu Uraun, endorsing Renu as his daughter.  Shankar Uraun was a village tshogpa responsible to verify and authenticate identities of the people in 2006.  He was sentenced to two years for aiding and abetting the crime.  Shankar Uraun, who was also found guilty of official misconduct, was given option to pay thrimthue.

Another tshogpa from Hangay village, Ram Kumar Sharma, also received a one-year prison term, with option to pay thrimthue, for aiding and abetting.  Former Sipsoo gup, Ranjit Gurung, was given a six-month prison term for official misconduct and not carrying out his responsibilities. He also paid thrimthue, based on national wage rate.


Case II

In the second case, involving eight people, another Indian national from Jalpaiguri, Bai Ziyanti Uraun, impersonated the second daughter of Shankar Uraun, Phulmaya Uraun.  Bai Ziyanti Uraun, through the help of her husband and father-in-law, forged the documents and obtained her citizenship card illegally.  Raju Uraun, younger brother of Shankar Uraun, who married Bai Ziyanti Uraun in 1992, along with his father Budu Uraun, also helped his wife to obtain citizenship identity card.  Both father and son were sentenced to three years each in prison.

Bai Ziyanti Uraun was sentenced to one year and six months with option to pay thrimthue.  The couple, which has five children, was arrested on September 7 and kept under police custody till November 11, 2012.  Two children got their citizenship cards by making fake health cards and using fake mothers.

Shankar Uraun also received another two-year imprisonment for falsely accepting Bai Ziyanti Uraun as his daughter, while former Hangay tshogpa, Ram Kumar Sharma, and former gup Ranjit Gurung received six months prison term each.  Raju Uraun and Bai Ziyanti Uraun were sentenced to six month each, with option to pay thrimthue.

The court also revoked their census status, identity cards and other documents.

By Rinzin Wangchuk

11th plan crucial for country’s self-reliance

RTMWith donors: Representatives from more than 60 countries including those of the UN with Parliament members and senior civil servants outside the convention centre yesterday

Meeting: The next five years were crucial for the country in achieving sustainable self-reliance and graduating from the least developed country status.

This was what Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said to delegations from more than 60 countries and senior government servants at the start of the two-day 12th Round Table Meeting at the Convention centre in Thimphu yesterday.

“Or we can become overwhelmed by our problems, problems that are complex, numerous and daunting,” he said, Lyonchhoen said the country’s 11th plan would allow it to work towards self-reliance and inclusive green socio-economic development.

But the country, he said could not meet its capital investment.

“We’ll need the support of our development partners to finance most of the capital investments,” he said.

Being a small economy, with a combined gross domestic product of Nu 99B and hydropower being the only source of revenue, the country he said remained dependent on foreign aid.

“We may still be a poor country, but our economy has recorded consistent growth and has the potential to lead us to economic self-reliance,” he said.

Lyonchhoen also outlined the priorities for the next five years from providing quality education in schools, lowering green house gas emissions, protecting forests, improving good governance and beefing up public service efficiency among others.

To foster a vibrant private sector and to support small businesses, he said the government had launched an economic stimulus plan.

“To make doing business easier and more enjoyable, we have committed to improve our Ease of Doing Business ranking from 141 to the top 100 within next year,” he said.

Delegations from more than 60 partner organisations, including bilateral donors and international organisations were present at the meeting.

The government presented the 11th Plan to ensure better alignment of development assistance to national priorities for improved aid-effectiveness.

The government will present and discuss the 11th Plan challenges and priorities, macro-fiscal outlook and economic development roadmap.

UN assistant secretary-general, UNDP assistant administrator and regional director, Asia and the Pacific, Mr Haoling Xu said although still a young democracy, Bhutan was one of the few countries to enjoy relative peace and stability in south Asia.

However, he said challenges remained as 12 percent of the country’s population still lived in poverty, pointed out the need for better nutrition and more girl attendance in higher education institutions.

“A certain decrease in assistance would certainly affect Bhutan’s efforts to address the challenges,” he said.

Mr Xu with labour minister Ngeema Sangay Tshempo also launched the Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Framework (MAF) Report on Youth and the Uniting for Youth Bhutan website at a session.

The website identifies bottlenecks and provides a set of targeted actions and innovative solutions to accelerate progress on youth employment.

“It links education, formal, non-formal and vocational programs, to available jobs, and to needs of industries such as marketing, fashion, textile, tourism and hospitality,” Mr Xu said.

The first RTM was held in 1980s and takes place twice during a five-year plan.

By Tshering Palden

Another global firm comes knocking!

The MNC PricewaterhouseCoopers is keen to play its part in the development process

Consultancy: At a time when quality of services provided by a global consultancy firm in the country is being questioned, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), a multinational consultancy firm, is looking to explore avenues, both in the government and private sector.

A team of experts from PWC left the country yesterday after having met with the prime minister, finance minister, the DHI chairman, and several other sector heads.

Deepak Kapoor, chairman of PWC, said they are here to explore what they can do in terms of “professional development” for the government and private sector.

“We’d like to be a part of the country’s progress,” he said. ”Bhutan must achieve what it’s destined to have.”

The chairman said PWC has the expertise, in terms of capacity building, institutional development, improving the system, taxation and auditing, among others.

While he did not comment on the consultancy firm the previous government invited, Deepak Kapoor said their basis of existence was carrying out professional work and earning money.

“Just coming and providing strategy isn’t the true work of a consultant,” he said, adding that PWC would be closely monitoring their work and providing assistance until the last stage.

From a commercial point of view, the chairman said PWC has a lot of other potential avenues. “But the question is what the country needs and how we can contribute,” he said.

Be it green transportation, hydropower development or even strengthening of large companies, like DHI, the chairman said PWC has the expertise.

On improving the economy, Deepak said it was something that could not be achieved in the short term.  However, he said, if the government takes the right steps, PWC can be a very good “catalyst and assistant”.

Now that the team has visited the country, after getting back, the chairman said leaders would be identifying areas where their support was required.

Yogesh Daruka, the director of PWC, said the firm has helped the government in formulating sustainable hydropower policy for Dagachu project in the past.  It also provided its services to the Druk Green Power corporation in terms of capacity building.

Now it is working with the department of hydropower systems (DHPS) and DGPC for the 208MW Nikachu project.

The chairman said it was after his meeting with Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, in Delhi in August that he agreed to bring his team leader in the country.

By Tshering Dorji

Two years old, 200 jobs born

The contracted target for Thimphu TechPark is 700 jobs by 2015 end

IT Park: Two years after being inaugurated, around 200 jobs have been created at the IT park in Thimphu.

The IT park was inaugurated on November 1, 2011.

The park’s two commercial tenants, Scan Cafe and Shaun Communications, employ the majority, with Scan Cafe alone employing 161 currently.

A data centre and a business incubation centre are also based at the park, on space rented by the government.

Scan Cafe is contractually bound to create 300 jobs by 2013 end, which should mean about 340 jobs at the IT park, if this requirement is met by the end of this month.  On whether this target will be met by Scan Cafe though remains a question.  Scan Cafe did not respond to questions on the issue, as of last evening.

Scan Cafe is also contractually bound to create 500 jobs by 2015.

Developer and operator of the park, Thimphu TechPark pvt ltd, (TTPL) is contractually required to provide 700 jobs by 2015 end.  This figure includes those created by its commercial tenants.

However, no such employment targets are required of the second commercial tenant, Shaun Communications.

On whether any more companies have expressed interest in moving to the park, TTPL chief operating officer, Tshering Cigay Dorji, said that dialogues are underway with companies from India, Korea, and Switzerland.  He also said that dialogue is also underway with some local companies.

Asked whether TTPL is still looking to rope in a major IT company as anchor tenant, Tshering Cigay Dorji said that TTPL is keeping dialogue “alive” with all companies they are in contact with.

“Considering the fact that the IT park project is the first of its kind in Bhutan to try to attract foreign IT/ITES (information technology enabled services) companies to locate in Bhutan, I think even our modest achievement so far is noteworthy,” pointed out Tshering Cigay Dorji.

“Hundreds of other countries are waiting to welcome these companies too,” he said, adding, “So, these companies will naturally choose proven places first, and then only think of trying the untested locations like Bhutan.”

He pointed out: “But it doesn’t mean that we have to lose hope and give up. We have to work extra hard to attract them.”

On whether TTPL may be considering changing strategy in how it acquires tenants, Tshering Cigay Dorji pointed out that TTPL is a small company with limited resources and that a “collective effort” is required for success. “It alone can’t do enough to attract companies to locate in Bhutan,” he said, adding, “A project like the IT park project isn’t something that can succeed in isolation, it would need the collective effort of all the stakeholders and the whole nation to succeed.” He pointed out that in particular the “help” of the government to promote Bhutan as an attractive investment destination for the global IT/ITES companies is required.

By Gyalsten K Dorji


Qualms about RTI

Perhaps emanating from what the law requires of our public servants, there continues to be some misgivings about introduction of Right to Information legislation.

Officials representing agencies falling within the ambit of the law are quick to play up how information could be misused, or that they feared being overwhelmed by requests, or that enacting the law would incur heavy expenditure on the state.

If such feelings and inhibitions prey on the minds of some of our senior civil servants, a few judges and politicians much before the law is introduced, it is a cause for concern of how the law would be implemented once it is enacted.

When some of our senior bureaucrats begin expressing their reservations with regards introduction of the law, fearing that its most likely outcome would be for purpose of public criticism, it naturally raises suspicion among the public.

Is there really something they fear might be brought to light under the scanner this legislation will bring?

This is where the other misperception comes in, about the law only standing to benefit the news media.

Irrespective of whether the law come through, news outlets will continue depending on their sources and tip offs than having to wait anywhere between two weeks to three months or more as the draft law prescribes for government agencies to furnish information.

Like one drangpon during a consultation meeting on the law yesterday at the National Assembly conference hall said the law is for our parents, friends and relatives living in the rural communities.

Like he said, the larger truth is the government is accountable to the citizens it serves.

Accountability seeks to open government processes to public scrutiny with a noble cause of facilitating efficiency and competency in decision- making.

For instance, if a farm road was supposed to have reached a village a few month ago but has failed to progress because of budget limitations, people have the right to see how the allocated fund was used or abused.

Such processes will keep public servants on their toes.

Therefore, is it such a crime for people to ask of the public servants to change their attributes and current practices?

Or should it give into the public servants’ adamance to stick to their convenient ways of doing things as they have so far?

Going by the constitutional provision, it is quite simply, a public right to information.

This law should be seen as a tool with which to realise His Majesty’s much-cherished dream of changing how we work and function, a paragon of efficiency, which a small nation like ours is capable of demonstrating.

Lauri and Serthi gewogs to get power by December end

IMG_0832More than 300 people are carrying the transmission lines to their villages today (Photo: Leki Dendup, ACC)

All that remains is the completion of a 65km long trunk line

Electricity: With less than a week left to meet the deadline of electrifying Lauri and Serthi gewogs in Samdrupjongkhar, Bhutan Power corporation (BPC) officials are still skeptical about the transmission lines for these two remote gewogs kicking off as planned on December 17.

However, power officials affirmed, the 870 houses in these two gewogs would be connected with electricity by this month, with the completion of the 65km long trunk line from Pemathang to Samrang, and then to Serthi gewogs.

The rural electrification project, which started in 2012, was divided into four packages of K7, K8, K9 and K10.  These packages will spill over to 2014 and windup by March, according to BPC’s regional manager in the east, Kunzang Dorjee.

The trunk line connecting Lauri and Serthi falls under K7 and K8 package.  Although the progress on these two packages as of last month was 50.31 percent and 51.8 percent respectively, BPC officials are optimistic of completing it on time.

Work on the remaining two packages of K9 and K10 was 63.61 percent and 85.08 percent respectively, the deputy manager, Choni Dorji, of the rural electrification construction sub division under Jomotshangkha, said.  These two packages would also help electrify Lauri and Serthi gewogs.

Lack of labourers to carry out the work had delayed the project by about three months.  But, with all pending payments made to the villagers by the two construction companies, Rigsum Gampo constructions and Druk Ngwang constructions, for ferrying the equipment, work has now resumed.

Today, almost 300 villagers show up every day to carry the equipment.  Kunzang Dorjee said 95 percent of the equipment has reached the villages.

“After the payments were made, villagers were eager to shoulder the activities and we’re trying our best to complete connecting the trunk line by December 17, if not, towards the end of the month,” Kunzang Dorjee said. “Progress after the work resumed has been overwhelming.”

Once the work, such as pulling the transmission lines and erecting the poles for all the packages, is complete, charging the lines won’t take much time, BPC officials said.

Villagers from every household in the area have been divided into groups for all the sites to accelerate the progress. On an average, each household earns about Nu 165 a day.

Lauri gup, Pema Dendup, said some households earned as much as Nu 30,000 when the payments were made, while most earned an average of about Nu 20,000.

“People have now realised that they can earn good money through this project and bring in more development to their villages,” Pema Dendup said.

Few villagers said the contractors initially told them that it was mandatory for every household to participate in the work for, if they failed, they wouldn’t be entitled for electricity supply.

Deputy manager Choni Dorji, said, despite carrying out two advocacy programs on the policies pertaining to the project, people were still unaware that it was not compulsory for every household to participate.

For some empty households, whose residents have migrated, Choni Dorji said they wouldn’t install any energy meters for now.  But if they return, their houses would be supplied with electricity.

The rural electrification project is funded by the Asian Development Bank, and was handed over to the rural electrification construction sub division, Jomotshangkha, in March 2012.

By Tshering Wangdi, Samdrupjongkhar

Nine convicted for hunting

Verdict: Tsirang district court on December 10 sentenced the nine men who were involved in hunting wild boars in October to prison term ranging from three to six months.

The main accused, Phuntsho, 28, got the highest prison term of six months while eight others got three months each. He was charged for “attempt to hunt wild animals, providing false information, illegal hunting and causing bodily injury of another person with a deadly weapon.” All nine men could pay thrimthue in lieu of serving their prison term.

Dahal Bahadhur, Ram Bahadur, Khandro, Dhan Bahadur Tamang, Sonam, Phub Tenzin and Kelzang Dorji were charged for an attempt to hunt wild animals and illegal hunting. Another accused Passang was charged for aiding and abetting and illegal hunting of animals. Among them, two were from Dagana, two from Sarpang who were working in Tsirang while rest were from Tsirang.

Nima Dorji who was hit by the poisoned arrow on October 21, was denied compensation he is eligible, as he was also involved in the crime. However, the court has considered the amount mutually paid by the shooter to the victim on understanding basis.

The incident took place in the afternoon of October 21, in a dense forest, about 3km below Tsirang-Dunglagang feeder road, when a group of nine villagers including the victim, went hunting for wild boars.

By Tshering Namgyal, Tsirang