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Pool vehicle proposal

There is much lively discourse, both online and offline, on the government’s proposal to do away with the pool vehicle system and replace it with an allowance.

A majority is convinced that pool vehicles are misused, and that doing away with the practice would save the government millions.  This group wants to be ruthless and lauds the government idea of replacing all pool vehicles.  The other group, while at one on the misuse, is concerned about the thousands of drivers and their families, who would become jobless overnight if the proposal comes through.

For whatever reasons, government pool vehicle has been an issue as long as we can remember.  In other words, we had identified the problem long ago, but are yet to find a solution.  In the past, there were not many vehicles and it was acceptable to use a government vehicle for some personal reasons.  The “dashos”, some recall, would behave as if the vehicle belonged to them, and wouldn’t even allow subordinates to use it, even for official work.

A lot has changed since then.  There are now more than 5,000 government vehicles, excluding those in the armed forces.  Fueling and maintaining them is expensive and, if they are misused, which many say is still rampant, cost implications are more severe.

Resources will be saved, if pool vehicles are replaced with an alternative.  But making an alternative workable would require a lot of brainstorming.  A lot of conclusions are being drawn, even before it is clear which pool vehicles will be replaced by allowances.

If we are talking about the “duty cars” allotted to executive level civil servants, and those in the government-owned corporations, the allowance system could work.

But if we’re talking about replacing all 5,000 pool vehicles, that would need detailed and careful study, before coming to a decision.  We can only surmise the pay commission will look into the possibility from all sides.  Outsourcing government’s vehicular need to the private seems like a solution, but will it be cheaper?  Will it reduce misuse?  And can it not lead to collusion?  These are a few questions that need to be considered.

It is not sure how much would be saved from this to fund the impending civil service pay raise.  But what we know for sure is misuse of pool vehicles should be curbed.  There is technology available today to monitor vehicle movement and reduce misuse, but it can only help to a certain limit.

In the end, it boils down to the professionalism of our officials, who monitor movements of pool vehicles, and who drives them around.

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  1. If the gov really want to do away with pool vehicle,firstly do with ambulance? It seems after the set up of HHC 50% MOH budget dissolve in Ambulance because even if the patient is simple headache from alcohol drunk, they call unnecessary ambulance. If not has to do something alternative.

  2. Did PDP pledged to do away the pool vehicle during their election??? I mean what’s going on with PDP. I think the present govt. is good at doing away with things only. They know they’ve made costly promises and is having hard time fulfilling it. PRESSURE FROM FELLOW CITIZENS! So they are now going for foolish cost cutting measures. It was all OK till date but wasn’t OK since PDP came into power. Dear PDP policy maker, you all need to visit mental hospital.

  3. Folks, i laud the government for its effort to keep up to its promises, but i think the government, in its effort to keep the promise is perhaps forgetting the subtleties and complexities of the issues. Government should not take short cuts to fulfill their populist promises at the cost of lot of other implications, some of which will be seen in time only. The pdp government should, given its capacity and wisdom, consult all concerned before taking any decision.

    Lifting pool vehicle to allow increased salary for the civil servants needs to be studied thoroughly. Majority of folks who are raising voices here may be ones who do not have pool vehicles at their doorsteps and their voices may be more emotional and personal than otherwise. Questions need to be asked about the mandates, moral, responsibilities of those officials/offices that use pool vehicles to deliver their mandates efficiently. I do not deny that there are corruption and misuse related to pool vehicles but doing away completely would have greater negative impacts on the service delivery than positive impact through savings.

    So, it would rather be wise to find ways and methods to curb misuse and corruption than just ‘broom-sweep’ everything that have been instituted with noble intentions. And, can anyone study the contribution this kind of ‘pool vehicle’ system to the overall socioeconomic development of the country, and also study how this system helped civil service perform its duties so far? If such a system has been only total corruption and misuse, how is it tenable that there has been only socioeconomic progress in Bhutan so far? Is it possible that such a system had no contribution to development, at all?

    So, pdp government should think deep, see the larger picture, see the future, see every aspect and not always do short cuts to fulfill their kiddish populist promises. I have warned elsewhere in this forum, that government can cause damage to the systems, some of which are too subtle to be understood without proper thinking and studies ( if it is not the government that does the thinking, who will). Rushing will only cost the people, not Acho TT and his PDP.. in the long-run.

  4. Good to know that our government is doing away with the pool vehicles in the country. Yes, people misuse it. They are still not much aware of the so called, Public property. Our government has been making so much comfort to those civil servants with country’s limited budget. We are still a developing nation and we should keep in mind that we have a lot to develop in different fields and sectors.Civil servants are those who have everything. They have money, they have house, they have vehicles and why again so much comfort for them. Its like painting white over white coloured wall. It will only glitter and nothing more than that. so its kinda useless. Its better to give each vehicle in each gewog for the emergencies so that everyone gets equal opportunity to use it without any prejudice. Its good to give to those who have nothing rather than giving to those who have everything. we can see lots of Dasho aum(includes those who can’t even read the name of vehicles), majestically driving all over the towns even in sundays. So in a nutshell, i would like to say that, the decision of doing away with pool vehicle is very much better.

  5. Don’t need Pool vehicles. Whenever Dzongkhag Officials visit Goegs and Schools for official work, they uses Government vehicles and am sure after going back to Dzongkhag, they claim TA/DA which not fair. Other civil servant don’t use pool vehicle and at the time TA/DA are not paid. Many pool vehicles are used for personal work. So better stop and have more budget for other developmental activities.

  6. I’m really confused. Will it not be used as pool vehicles if these vehicles or any new vehicles ar given to the geog offices? When the PDP government said that the geogs will be given a utility vehicle each, does it not mean the pool vehicle? Is it completely different from the pool vehicle of other government offices. To me, pool vehicle means the same whether it is in the government office or geog offices. So, I don’t understand when the government says that the pool vehicles of governments offices will be done away on one hand, but give pool vehicles to the 205 geogs on the other hand. Please clarify.

  7. Dear Administrator

    Please discuss and brain storm the matter with all the section under deptarments, Ministries before taking decision. If you do away with pool vehicle….where Is job Market for those another 5000 – 7000 drivers….If u Increase the TADA,,,will you be able to justify it with reference to the claim made by officials,,which all the travel budget for financial year will not last for years…In RNR Family Many constraints are there…without Pool vehicle…you will not able to Help farmers to Boost. …Pool Vehicle under certain Dept. Ministries will be run under strict standing order or notification to all to use and cause for good effect. Make System in such a way that all the information flow and reporting of any misuse of Government Property to have easy reporting to the commission and action taken immediately to set good example, where such problem should be restrains..
    All misuse you see in Govt property is SYSTEM of Ruling and Govt to come up with strict and good solutions. I feel concern for my govt. so share views here. All staffs who undergoes tour in Govt vehicles in some section are strictly followed…Please look for and go for with Govt Civil Servant views…Not with Private people views…

  8. my humble suggestion to the present government is, please don’t do away with the pool vehicles but don’t increase. As ur government has the plege of providing utility vehicle to every gewogs, try to share those vehicle to the gewogs without having to purchase new one. Transfer those drivers with the vehicles to the Gewog, so that Government need not have to arrange new drivers for Gewogs and currents drivers don’t have to loose job.

  9. I am sure that we are talking about pool vehicles with the registration plate with those clear letters BG on it and there are 5000 of them. That’s a lot, isn’t it? And if all of them operational on records, it’s plenty of costs to deal with. I am sure that majority of these have been procured from a third country even though no one till now has discussed the procurement process followed for these vehicles. If they were directly owned by government under those least developed country quota some manufacturers have, it’s plenty of asset for govt that depreciate very fast. And being mere pool vehicles, they don’t generate any revenue while operational. So, there must be lots of pressure on accountants to manage the maintenance and running cost when the asset is considerably depreciated in the books. One reason why many declares vehicles not fit to be operational and procure new ones. But, this has just been my assumption in this case as nothing on these lines has been discussed. But if it has been like this, then it should be fixed. That’s when having a third party operator makes sense. If the news on some foreign media about govt procuring electric vehicles is correct, electric vehicles with more and more electrical and electronic equipments from brakes to engine have considerably lower depreciation even though it depends on the assumptions considered in feasibility reports and DPR. And we know that unit price for electricity is very less in Bhutan. So, it’s one mix bag and even I am excited, as any of you, to know how it goes regarding the pool vehicles, after all 5000 is good volume for the interested ones.

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