And in the Education sector too
One of the big reforms of the Economic Development Policy 2017 is allowing private investment in the Health sector.
The EDP says that selective services in the health sector will be opened to private investment and practices and the government will regulate the quality of health services and human resources.
Given the critical shortage of health personnel in the country, private sector involved in health care will be allowed to bring in the required expatriate medical and health professionals in keeping with rules and regulations as prescribed by Medical and Health Council Act, 2002.
The Ministry of Health will adopt a policy to open selective health services to private investments including traditional medicines by 2017.
It says the government will promote the country to become a centre for health and wellness tourism focusing on niche areas.
The policy says the health sector as a major service activity has immense potential to earn foreign exchange and generate employment. It says the niche area is to provide high-end luxury medical facilities in the country.
However, the policy clarifies that the government will continue to provide free health care through the public hospital network both in modern and traditional medical systems.
It says the participation of the private sector or foreign companies and individuals in the health sector shall not under any circumstance, lead to privatization of the public health services.
This move comes as Bhutan has an emerging middle class willing to pay for its own medical services with many going abroad to access even basic services and in the process spending foreign exchange on travel and stay abroad.
It would also lessen the pressure on the public health system apart from encouraging medical tourism to Bhutan.
Similarly there is also encouragement for private and foreign investment in the Education sector.
It says Bhutan’s pristine natural environment, political stability and peaceful social environment are some of the advantages that can make the country a major player in attracting educational clientele from around the world.
It says these world class institutions will provide certain number of scholarships to Bhutanese students based on guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education.
However, private or foreign participation in the education sector will not lead to privatization of the public education system.
The Ministry of Education will establish the country as a hub for education. Special focus may be placed on environmental studies, Buddhism, GNH, renewable energy and so on.
The government will develop a large talent pool of technically educated human resource to attract investments.
It will adopt policies that foster private sector investments in the education sector.
In the development of infrastructure for educational institutes, PPP model will be encouraged.