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The importance of bureaucracy

While addressing the nation from Samtse yesterday during the 111th National Day celebrations, His Majesty The King reiterated the importance of the bureaucracy, establishing, in the royal view, a clear path for the civil servants.

His Majesty reminded the civil servants about the enormity of the development plans and commanded them to render unstinted support to all of the government’s endeavours aimed at the welfare of the people and country.

The royal views come at a time when the new government is presented with the mandate of implementing a massive Plan, the 12th Plan with a budget outlay of Nu 310 Billion. The bureaucracy will be crucial in providing professional stability to the elected government. How successful they are will also determine how the average Bhutanese benefits from planned developments.

In our governance structure, the bureaucracy is the machinery that implements the plans and programmes of the elected government. That way, the success of the government largely depends on the bureaucracy. Our system ensures that elected government and the bureaucracy work together independently with a concept that we have a neutral bureaucracy working without bias and a government that is not allowed to manipulate the bureaucracy.

We have a decade of experience to learn from. The royal view on the importance of the civil service is clear. Civil servants must be more effective in the new system of government because they represent continuity. The long-term goals of the country are ensured by the civil servants. Politicians will come and go.

Many of our politicians are former civil servants who are aware that with the right leadership, civil servants will ensure continuity in the service of the people. In the Royal address, the long-terms goals are spelt out. Civil servants should support the elected government if their plans or pledges will have long-term benefits and are not for short-term political gains. The government should respect the professional decision.

Meanwhile, the importance accorded to the bureaucracy should have encouraged them to serve the nation with renewed vigour.  Our civil service has been praised and in fact, compares well with many developing countries. However, despite having the best educated and trained lot, they are often criticised for not performing.

Notwithstanding several reforms, the layers of bureaucratic tangles, people feel, are hampering service delivery. Even after streamlining a lot of procedure, people still believe, for instance, nothing can be done quickly without having a relative or a friend in the civil service. Availing service, for many, is synonym with delay and running from pillar to post.

It is the second time where His Majesty The King highlighted the importance of the bureaucracy in the National Day address to the nation. There is nothing more encouraging than the National Day address to work harder.

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