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Taking stock of the southern dzongkhags’ progress

A mid-year review of annual performance agreement  was recently conducted by the cabinet
Governance: Enhancing adult education through non-formal education (NFE) and reducing the incidence of infant mortality are the two common indicators across the five southern dzongkhags that are at risk of not meeting the target.
Chukha, Dagana, Samtse, Sarpang, and Tsirang dzongkhags came under scrutiny during the mid-year review of annual performance agreement (APA) for the financial year 2014-15 to the cabinet on February 12 in Phuentsholing.
Against the 90 percent target, Chukha’s overall rate in achieving the targets is 42 percent.  Chukha dzongda said the NFE instructors opted for better jobs and quit working as instructors. “The course duration of four years was also seen as being too long,” the dzongda reported.
Samtse’s dzongkhag officials also said that there were high dropout cases from NFE centres.  Having achieved 75.90 percent of the targeted 90 percent, the officials asked for “government policy intervention” for betterment in the next APA.
Similarly, Dagana also raised concerns about the NFE scenario deterioration.  NFE falls under the classification of enhancing adult literacy and school enrolment with better learning outcomes in the performance agreement.
They said Dagana with 70 NFE centres, 29 schools and 14 ECCDs have only two education officers, and said that there was a need for additional education officers to monitor the schools and centres.
Lyonchhoen Tshering Tobgay said the NFE centres would be reviewed.
“It has been a lot of years since NFE was incepted and no review has been done in between,” lyonchhoen said. “We’ll review it.”
Incidence of infant mortality has also remain unachieved or at risk in four dzongkhags.
Sarpang has the highest number of infant mortality cases at 10 this year.
The dzongda pointed out six reasons that led to the incidences.
Late reporting, new mothers, socio-cultural factors, birth complication, infections, and congenital deformities, he said, caused infants to die before they turn a year old.
Samtse reported nine cases, while Chukha saw six, and Tsirang, four infant mortality cases.
While these dzongkhags have not achieved the target set, the representatives said that the set target was “too ambitious.” All four dzongkhags had set the target “zero” and it was discussed that the target be revised to a more realistic level.
Lyonchhoen also said the officials need to rethink on the target, although such incidences were inevitable in some cases.
Meanwhile, due to drying up of water sources in Paga, Bunakha, and Sakhu, paddy production was low in Chukha.  From the target of 2,689MT, the dzongkhag was able to produce 1,993MT of paddy.  Chukha dzongda, however, said they were working on this and production would improve in the coming years.
Human-wildlife conflict, lack of budget in certain projects, including farm roads, construction of gewog connectivity roads, manpower shortage and drying up of drinking water sources are among some of the common issues dzongkhags reported during the review.
However, the dzongkhags were able to successfully meet most of the targets and even surpass many.  There were also many activities that are on-track.  While applauding the targets met, lyonchhoen Tshering Tobgay assured the dzongkhags of the government’s support in accelerating activities that are at risk of not meeting their target.
By Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing

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