The Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) brought out a 12-point vision or action plan which serves as foundation for its manifesto. It covers broad areas that will ensure holistic growth and development, promote wellbeing and address multifaceted issues faced by the people.
“The fulfillment of these ambitious goals and targets, in which we hold great confidence, will eventually create the conditions to enable the people of Bhutan to pursue happiness and live better lives. The interest of all citizens is the central theme of our manifesto,” stated a news release from the DCT office.
1. A vibrant and caring democracy
The party will protect and uphold the full democratic rights of citizens and promote a strong democratic culture through three approaches: a) empowering all citizens to express their opinions, b) encouraging civic participation in local and national decision making processes, and c) inculcating a bottom-up approach in the drafting of laws and policies.
“We will raise the bar of political transparency and accountability to its highest level. We will be ruthless in our fight against corruption,” the DCT release stated.
The civil service identified as pool of highly intelligent and qualified pool was deemed absolutely vital to public service delivery, and the effective functioning of the government.
DCT would strive to build their (civil servants) morale and motivation through a system of rewards based on personal performance, initiative, and leadership.
“We will invest in developing leaders rather than protecting and advancing the entrenched power of administrators,” highlighted the DCT vision. It would also promote a free and independent media that serves as the active and intelligent voice of civil society, and not just the mouthpiece of government.
2. Creating a strong, self-reliant economy
Under this, DCT aims to build a sustainable economy by prioritizing wealth creation, economic prosperity, and self-reliance. It encourages an entrepreneurial culture based on research, innovation, creativity, and incubation.
The DCT vision to create a society that thrives on equality would encompass actions to address growing disparity in wealth which creates unnecessary divisions in society.
“Our policies will be directed at bridging income gaps and minimizing concentration of wealth. We will review and rationalize our tax regime so that lower and middle-income groups are not overburdened. We have learned from the U.S. and other consumerist countries that too much wealth and power in too few hands eventually undermines the values and strengths of real democracy,” stated the DCT action plan.
According to the DCT efforts to develop the private sector have been few although the sector is always looked at as an engine for growth. DCT believes the private sector can play a crucial role to create wealth, jobs and eventually a strong market-oriented economy.
“We will provide the much-needed stimulus through a supportive environment and incentives to enable the private sector to unlock its potential,” stated the party vision-plan.
3. Rural prosperity: reaching the neglected
DCT will promote equitable distribution of public facilities among communities in different regions of the country.
For this, it will focus on improving local communities’ self-reliance. Its policies will seek out sustainable ways to develop unreached communities that have been left by the wayside.
“We will endeavor to develop and execute policies that will address the socio-economic gap between regions, dzongkhags and people. Without this, social and economic parity between people and regions cannot be achieved,” stated the DCT action plan.
4. Toward a vibrant, harmonious society
The party aspires to put grassroots needs before modern and technological conveniences, such as better access to fundamental needs like, safe drinking water, adequate food, durable shelter, modern healthcare and education.
“We will ensure that tens of thousands of low and middle-income families have decent roof over their heads,” promised the DCT 12-point vision.
DCT aims to remove the social ills, which it believes are manifestations of economic deprivation, poverty, lack of education and the unavailability of meaningful work. The party would address these interconnected issues with careful data gathering and intelligent planning.
The root causes of growing social issues were identified as unemployment, farm abandonment, alcoholism, vandalism, domestic violence, teenage pregnancy, suicide, depression, etc.
DCT aims to bring appropriate policy interventions, including targeted programs of relief for those in dire need such as the disabled, the homeless, orphans, and single mothers.
5. Empowering our women
DCT puts women at the core of importance, citing that half of Bhutan’s population is women.
“We can no longer ignore the important role women play in nurturing a family, building a society, and strengthening a nation. Bhutan can only prosper when her women are happy, safe and secure and when policy decisions are responsive to all sections of the society,” stated the DCT 12-point vision.
6. Investing in youth, our future
Realizing the importance of youth for a better tomorrow, youth empowerment is one of the top areas of action for DCT. It will work toward empowered youth for progressive Bhutan by providing opportunities for youth to enhance their interests, skills, and abilities into their adulthoods complemented with appropriate structures, creating supportive relationships, providing positive social norms and opportunities for skill building built on a foundation of scientific research through a multi-dimensional approach.
The party will restructure the education curricula with positive reforms so that youth have the right values, skills, and competency to get employed not just in Bhutan, but anywhere in the world.
Party plans for this include new investments in infrastructure improvement in educational institutes, schools, colleges and universities, and step up the opportunities for “hands-on” or experiential learning that will include internships, externships, and volunteering.
“We will promote quality education through high-performing quality teachers and incentivizing teaching profession. We will incentivize the private and the NGO sectors to create and implement their own training programs to enable more youth to gain critical skills to become leaders and entrepreneurs in both of these sectors,” the DCT vision stated.
8. For a strong and healthier Bhutan
“Our smallness should be our strength,” stated the DCT vision plan. It stated that it should not be difficult to provide quality health care services for all.
Under this party plans are to promote healthy citizens by investing in research, and stepping up preventive measures and care for communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Plans also include mental health programs, creation of a pool of qualified healthcare professionals, and retain experienced professionals through attractive financial incentives, service benefits and better working conditions.
9. Promotion and preservation of tradition & culture
The party will invest in developing the arts through the institution of Arts Endowment Fund, and encourage a vibrant culture industry as it believes them to be the essence and core of national identity.
10. A green vision
DCT believes Bhutan’s natural resources belong to its citizens, and therefore, ensure that all enjoys the bounty of natural resources and its benefits while encouraging a socially-responsible mining sector as well.
At the same time, it would continue the green legacy of Bhutan’s ‘enlightened Monarchs’ through renewed efforts in the protection and conservation of environmental assets.
11. Investments in research and innovation
The country’s educated lot, academicians, and researchers, DCT believes, can make significant contributions in the progress of the nation.
Therefore, the party plans to provide the right environment, facilities and necessary assistance towards such research and innovation.
”We will boost our creative industry and invest in building a knowledge-based society through the establishment of research centers and think tanks,” stated the DCT vision plan.
12. Strengthening Bhutan’s foreign relations
Strengthening Bhutan’s friendly relations with India is a top item on the DCT agenda, while promoting goodwill with the international community is also on the list.
“We will foster respect for international law and treaty obligations, and encourage settlement of international disputes by peaceful in order to promote international peace and stability. We are committed to play a constructive role in regional and global affairs and in particular to further strengthen the close and collaborative relationship and economic cooperation with neighboring countries,” promises the DCT 12-point vision.