Agriculture continues to remain the mainstay occupation of more than 80 percent of the population in Lhuentse, Paro, and Zhemgang according to the report on citizen’s perception on basic public services carried out by Bhutan Transparency Initiative (BTI) on Implementation of 11th Five Year Plan.
The report states that agriculture and allied activities continue to be largest employer in all the three dzongkhags. Only around 30 percent of the households in both Lhuentse and Zhemgang reported employment of their family members in non-agricultural sectors.
Likewise, only 18 percent of households in Paro had reported non-agricultural employment, and of these households a third have more than a family member employed in non-agricultural jobs.
“Within the array of non-agricultural jobs, civil service and public administration still seem to be the most preferred sectors for employment,” the report states.
Is spite of 11th FYP priorities of increasing private sector employment opportunity, only 5 percent of households in Paro, 6 percent in Zhamgang and 17 percent in Lhuentse have reported employment in private and corporate sector. Family members of around 20 percent of households in Paro also pursue small trade or shopkeeping as their occupation.
In agriculture and allied activities, more than 80 percent of respondent households received some form of governmental support and they are largely satisfied with the supports received from government.
Almost a third of households in Paro reported using farms machineries and pursuing modern farming techniques. Also, two households in Paro and one in Lhuentse reported receiving free-of-cost greenhouse for their vegetable farming.
Access to irrigation appears to be well developed in Paro but quite limited in Zhemgang. More than 90 percent of the households having access to irrigation are however satisfied with irrigation provided to their farms.
The main commercial produce for Lhuentse includes milk, chili, potato, and paddy while for Paro, it is milk, chili, potato, paddy, and apple. For Zhemgang, the main produce is chili, orange, ginger, and cinnamon.
Bhutan Transparency Initiative (BTI) conducted the study ‘Citizens’ Perception on Implementation of 11th Five Year Plan at the Mid-Term Feedback on Basic Public Services 2017. The study aimed to generate systematic feedback directly from people on their experience of accessing basic prioritised public services and entitlements under the 11th Plan.
The study was conducted in 793 selected households of Paro, Lhuentse, and Zhemgang. “These dzongkhags were selected based on their geographic location (west, north and south) and their relative ranking on the GNH Index 2010 and do not reflect the quality and reliability of basic public services across the country,” Pema Lhamo said.
According to the report, more than 80 percent of households in Paro and Lhuentse have access to a healthcare facility while more than 50 percent of households in Zhemgang reported having difficulty. However, more than 50 percent of households in all three dzongkhags were found to be satisfied with the services received at Basic Health Units and referral hospitals.
High incidences of referrals along with limited access to ambulance on demand were found to place additional financial burden on access to quality healthcare service.
Although there is no constraint in access to primary education, the report states that only one household in Lhuentse reported their children pursuing tertiary education. “In Zhemgang, physical access even to high school has been a challenge; and that perhaps (partially) explains the significant drop in high school enrollment.”
The report states that less than 40 percent of households had applied for G2C services through Community Centres in the last year.
At the event, BTI also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with five colleges – Paro College of Education, College of Natural Resources, Sherubtse College, Gaeddu College of Business Studies and Royal Thimphu College to engage youth in governance programmes to expose and empower them mentally to shoulder the responsibility of nation building.