The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa manifesto

The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) has revealed its comprehensive manifesto, outlining key promises that focus on economic self-reliance, private sector development, infrastructural growth, and social welfare. The pledges, designed to enhance Gross National Happiness, were disclosed by the Party President, highlighting a vision for a thriving and self-sustaining Bhutan.

Economy

DPT emphasizes on the importance of a sound monetary policy, focusing on clear monetary policy objectives that ensure transparent and understandable monetary policy objectives for the public.

It wants protection of the independence of RMA to base monetary policy decisions on sound economic analysis.

Collaborating with RMA to ensure all decisions are scientifically driven, promoting macroeconomic stability.

Aligning monetary policies with broader economic policies like fiscal policy and structural reforms for overall stability and growth.

Ensuring transparency and credibility in communication between RMA, Financial Institutions, and the general public.

It wants to lower existing interest rates on loans in consultation with RMA.

Economic Self-Reliance and Prosperity

DPT pledges to achieve economic self-reliance and high-income status by 2035. The party aims to maintain an average 8% economic growth rate over five years and secure foreign currency reserves to cover 12 months of essential imports. Within the first six months, DPT plans to frame a new Economic Development Policy, revamp the Foreign Direct Investment Policy, and establish a National Export Strategy. The party also intends to institute the Bhutan Economic Development Council and a high-level Private Sector Development Committee to promote private sector growth and innovation.

It will revisit the Tourism Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) and make it more affordable for the visitors and lucrative for the country.

Private Sector

Recognizing the importance of a robust private sector, DPT commits to promoting it as the key driver of the economy, aiming to increase its contribution to GDP to at least 50%. The party plans to create a Private Sector Development Council, review taxation policies, streamline business regulations, and provide access to financing and training for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Infrastructure and Connectivity

DPT focuses on improving essential services, promising 24/7 clean drinking water supply and expanding rural water networks. The party plans to upgrade Paro International Airport and existing domestic airstrips, increase flight frequencies, and enhance air connectivity. Additionally, efforts will be made to streamline trade procedures and invest in trade infrastructure, such as roads, airports, and ports.

It wants to provide GSB surfacing to all farm roads, provide chain-link fencing to protect crops from wildlife depredation and ensure 24/7 clean drinking water supply in all urban centres and rural communities.

Population Growth and Social Support

Addressing the issue of a declining fertility rate, DPT intends to introduce family-friendly policies, provide affordable housing, expand parental leave policies, and offer financial incentives to encourage population growth. The party also plans to improve healthcare and maternal care, support quality creches at workplaces, and implement policies to support education for larger families.

Labor Market and Overseas Bhutanese

To bridge the gap between education and employment, DPT will focus on providing skills training, career counseling, and hands-on experience through internships and apprenticeships. The party also recognizes the potential of Bhutanese living overseas and aims to engage them in the nation’s developmental endeavors by offering incentives, supporting social and spiritual needs, and utilizing their expertise and capital.

With a focus on supporting domestic industries, promoting exports, and ensuring a stable monetary policy, the party aims to create a level playing field for local businesses while strengthening Bhutan’s global competitiveness.

As for addressing the trade imbalance, DPT pledges to encourage domestic investment, and therefore, intends to create a legislative and policy environment conducive to domestic investment, enabling local businesses to expand and compete effectively against imported goods.

Support Domestic Producers

Incentives such as subsidies and tax breaks will be provided to domestic producers, encouraging the substitution of imports with locally manufactured goods.

Promote Export-Oriented Industries

DPT aims to enhance the competitiveness of export-oriented sectors such as agriculture, handicrafts, tourism, minerals, and services. The party plans to deepen trade relations with neighboring countries and attract foreign investment by offering a stable business environment and favorable tax policies.

Improve Trade Infrastructure

The party will streamline customs procedures, reduce trade barriers, and enhance logistics infrastructure. Investments in roads, airports, waterways, and dry ports will facilitate efficient movement of goods, making Bhutan more competitive in international trade.

Effective Trade Policies

DPT intends to review existing trade agreements, negotiate new agreements, and address non-tariff barriers. The party also plans to incentivize the consumption of local goods and services.

Social

It wants to keep Saturday off for school teachers and students to rejuvenate and prepare for the next week.

Review the Individual Work Plan’s relevance and effectiveness.

Achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) prescribed doctor and nurse ratio to people by training more doctors and health professionals. It wants to implement a policy to provide state support for the education of the third and subsequent children of a couple.

It wants to reduce the youth unemployment to 5 percent or less in five years from the existing 28.6 percent. It will start home ownership scheme for civil servants based on their affordability.

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