As one of the current government’s austerity measures is to control chadri expenditure the Ministry of Home and Culture Affairs was directed to examine the chadri protocol. The Minister, Lyonpo Damcho Dorji, said that protocol has been revised, approved and already been implemented. He confirmed this at the 16th meet-the- press that the ministry had sent directives to all the Dzongkhags to strictly follow the new simpler and much cheaper protocol. There are very drastic changes in the revised chadri compared to the existing practice before. The main reason of this radical reform, the minister emphasized, is that the government is being very serious about its austerity measures.
Minister Damcho Dorji said, “we want to reduce unnecessary expenditure as far as possible”. Chadri has been categorize into three levels; one for His Majesty the King; one for the Prime Minister and one for others. There are differences between how they should be conducted during special occasions such as the National Day celebration and the His Majesty Birth Anniversary celebration. Chadri also includes how preparations are made for the visit of the prime minster, ministers and even for members of the parliament.
The minister explained that there were strict directives for dzongda to refrain from coming all the way with meals for the reception because a result is that common people who need services will have trouble as there will be no officials to deal with. He said that many things in chadri are streamlined. One example is that dzongdas have to receive guests and see them off in a guest house instead of going to the special places for reception. All the meals being offered to the guests are paid by a particular ministry, not by dzongkhag, so that dzongkhag resorts to adjusting their budget to meet their expenses for entrainment. Meanwhile, big national events such as the National Day celebration are exempted.
Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said, “I am sure some of the reporters might have travel with the former cabinet members. You might know how long it took to reach the destination and the amount of the food prepared according to chadri”.
Lyonchhen said that being grand at the expense of the government budget not only meant more expenditure but could also push the egos of officials to unthinkable levels.
Lyonchhen explained that government had minimized most of chadri. “We have cut back so much that some people even think that it is diluting our culture. But the fact is our focus has been on services unless it is a significant event where we should ensure that our culture and tradition are respected. We are here to serve to Bhutanese people”. He added that it was not only for money as the country’s economy was recovering. Though the reform was started as a part of the austerity measures, now the focus is more on simplicity he added.