The recent decision of the government to discontinue the Constituency Development Grant (CDG) has created skepticism among general public.
The questions doing the round are that has the government really dropped CDG as the decision did not go through the Parliament as per procedure, and whether the ruling government will continue to use the funds till the end of its tenure.
CDG was subject to a lot of discussions and debates. After much disagreement from the National Council on its implementation, the Opposition calling it unconstitutional and even the Election Commission disapproving it, the government finally managed to bulldoze its way.
“Discontinuing CDG is just a tactic of the government; if the government plans to stop CDG, then it should be put before parliament” said Gasa MP and opposition member, Damcho Dorji
However, Trashiyangste MP Dupthob said that CDG is a policy of the government and not an Act which does not needs to be approved by parliament. adding that if the CDG is not put to use in its last years, people might take it as a bait from the government to vote them into power in the next general elections.
Another MP, requesting anonymity, said that the discontinuing of CDG is not finalized but it is still being reviewed.
Meanwhile, there are critics from the new political parties, too.
“Discontinuing CDG is one of the strategies of DPT for the 2013 elections,” said an aspiring politician who did not want to be named. He also asked that that if DPT thought that CDG was going to compromise fair elections, why did they use it till now.
The general feeling among the educated lot is that CDG benefited the rural people as it goes beyond the scope of the gewog development fund, but it could also be used as a political tool.
Chief Election Commissioner Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said,“If what we read in the media is correct, it may be better late than never. Therefore it is a welcome move from the cabinet, he said. “At the same time it may, as was also stated by some of the parliamentarians; work as a double-edged sword that can cut either way,” he said.
But the CEC hopes that Bhutanese voters will use their good sense in not getting won over by small short term gains but do the right thing while casting their votes.
The CDG was set up as a separate allocation of funds in the annual budget to be placed at disposal of the members of the National Assembly with the goal of promoting the highest level of good governance but as the Opposition leader pointed out in his blog, the Prime Minister’s statement that the Opposition might take the government to court for not stopping CDG at this point of time is just an excuse and nothing more.