According to the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), its manifesto was built by the voice of the people and every decision in creating it was taken from the people that the grassroots. The manifesto has 13 key areas, of which health is the first priority.
The party manifesto was officially launched on 23 August, and followed the campaign launch with the youth in Thimphu. The Party President, Lotey Tshering, highlighted some of the pledges in the manifesto.
During the launch, DNT President said that the issue on poverty, health, education, water shortage and unemployment were always present the country. He added, “People know and say that there is need for more opportunities and improvement, but there is no one to take the initiative.”
In terms of health, DNT has given health as their top priority. DNT pledges to establish multi-disciplinary super-specialty hospital in Thimphu, upgrade hospitals in strategic places, improve working condition of health worker and promote indigenous medicine system.
DNT President said that the value and quality of education is not as good as it should be. The main objective of DNT, in this sector, is to target the teaching profession. DNT has a plan to encourage the brightest to take up the teaching profession, through scholarships and guaranteed further studies and career enhancement opportunities. “We will develop and implement a Master’s program that will attract and retain the best students in the teaching profession,” stated the DNT President.
He also said that when it comes to the Master’s program, they will leave up to the individual so that they can go with their own interest whereby, they can change their career path, if they want, after completing their studies.
In addition, he also said that the maximum scholarship opportunities after class XII are given to the science student. If they get elected, he said that, they will give scholarship opportunity to 5 to 10 non-science students in the best universities, as most of the administrative work and bureaucrat work are done by them, thereby, leading the country.
During a familiarization tour, he said, that DNT met many people who are class X drop-out, and this is because they did not qualify for class XI and they could not continue their studies due to financial constraints.
“There are few who did not qualify for college and a few graduates are seen in rural areas,” he said, adding, “Given such reasons, DNT will do away with cut-off point for class X students, and enable all to proceed to Class XII.”
In addition, the manifesto pledges that DNT will support private schools to improve standards. In order to enhance the quality, they will do away with school examination until Class VI, and they will make teaching the most attractive profession in the country.
The Party President also emphasized on issue of unemployment in country. He said that, if unemployment is a problem, under employment is a bigger problem. “If we are to solve the issue of unemployment in the country, then we should take one step ahead. If we get elected, to solve this issue, we will establish a dedicated body where we will train jobseekers as per the job demand in the market,” he added.
He also said that DNT will support the private sector to create 5,000 jobs every year, increase minimum daily wage rate to Nu 450, reintroduce the one-year national service program for graduate to gain experience, understand national issues and plan their careers.
“We will make agriculture attractive for livelihood and employment through our Sonam Gongphel Project,” he added. Through the project DNT aims to solve unemployment issue and also address issues on gungtong, migration and fallow land in the rural areas.
In terms of economy, the DNT manifesto states it will create a vibrant economy and a fairer society with decent livelihood opportunities for everyone, irrespective of the background. Given Bhutan’s limited financial sector and its currency being pegged to the Indian Rupee, their attention will be to build a robust economy that, in the long run, contributes to the country’s long-held vision of self-reliance.
They pledge to recoup Nu 10 billion by strengthening tax collection and regulating tax evasion, increase PIT ceiling to Nu 300,000, exempt BIT for businesses and with less than Nu 200,000 turn over and generate additional 5,200MW of hydropower through Sankosh, Kuri-Gongri and other projects.
In addition, they also pledge to strengthen the tourism sector by establishing a Tourism Development Board to spearhead the sector, invest 10 percent of tourism royalty to promote and market tourism and work towards a vibrant private sector by implementing recommendations of the Private Sector Development – The Way Forward, 2016.
DNT will also legalize the informal sector and establish an agency to protect, promote and support approximately 70 percent of the Bhutanese workforce engaged in it, and draft Bhutan: Vision 2045 document in close consultation with all stakeholders.
Women and Children
DNT takes into the account that more women have entered the workforce, juggling double responsibility of childcare at home and work in the office. In the process, many women consider giving up their career, therefore, DNT pledges to review and adopt a policy to employ foreign domestic workers so that mothers have a helping hand to raise their children amid a right environment.
In addition, they also commit to initiate six months maternity leave in all corporations and private firms, introduce allowances that match the daily wage rate for women in rural areas during initial months of childbirth, protect women and children from violence and abuse and provide free sanitary pad to all the girl-students in the schools.