DPT’s plan to revive the deputy minister’s post runs into a political storm

The DPT manifesto’s pledge to create the post of a deputy minister in the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, with the aim of reducing youth unemployment has come under fire from various political parties.

Members of political parties say that such a move is not in keeping with the Constitution, and will lead to more red tapes, protocol issues, and also create an additional burden on the taxpayers for an under developed country like Bhutan.

Some have even said that this is actually a political ploy by DPT, to keep candidates happy in the DPT and once a precedent is set, then many more deputy ministers will follow.

The DPT’s announcement may also give life to a position that has long been defunct, since early 2000 onwards.

PDP President Tshering Tobgay said, “It is an outrage against the sensibilities of the Bhutanese and shows an utter disregard and disrespect for the letter and spirit of the Constitution.”

He said that Bhutanese youth do not need more ministers to be created, but more jobs, which the government has failed to do.

He said that the problem of youth employment cannot be solved by externalizing it, by creating a deputy minister, and instead a government will have to take a leadership role to solve the problem.

The PDP President said that such an announcement showed a lack of leadership in DPT, and also a lack of understanding. He pointed out that the past month had shown a real lack of leadership in the DPT, with many incumbent candidates and the DPT doing everything to get new candidates from outside.

DNT spokesperson Dr Tandin Dorji said that when democracy was instituted, the post of deputy minister was not created. He said that all posts should be created according to the constitutional laws.

“In creating certain posts like this, there is a risk that people close to certain politicians can have posts created for political gains,” he said.

The DNT spokesperson said, “I don’t think this is setting a good example for a democracy, we should follow the rule of law.”

DCT President Lily Wangchhuk also echoed similar sentiments as other the party presidents, whom this paper spoke to, highlighting that it would not be in keeping with the Constitution, and would create a burden on tax payers, more red tape, and also protocol issues.

As per the Constitution, under Article 20 for the Executive, “Creation of an additional ministry or reduction of any ministry shall be approved by Parliament. Ministries shall not be created for the purpose only of appointing Ministers.”

However, the former minister of Labour and Human Resources, Dorji Wangdi said that the Constitution is not a manual guide to everything, and that the Constitution can give permission for additional ministers.

He said, “For the moment this is the only ministry for which, an additional post is being created to deal with youth unemployment.”

He said that the post demonstrated how seriously his party takes the issue of youth unemployment. He said that the deputy minister would serve in the office of the minister, and would help share the work load of the minister.

Dorji Wangdi declined to comment on the speculation that DPT would be creating more deputy minister posts in the future.

The post of a deputy minister was created in the time of His Majesty the third King, like Zimpon Sangay Tenzin, Dasho Shingkhar Lam, etc.

In the time of His Majesty the fourth King, most ministers like, Lyonpo Jigmi Y Thinley, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba and Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk had to serve as deputy ministers, before becoming full ministers. Deputy ministers were appointed to keep the number of ministers small.

From 1998 onwards, when His Majesty the fourth King asked an elected cabinet to take over the post of deputy ministers, and it was largely discontinued except in few exceptions. It is understood, for example, that Lyonpo Leki Dorji served as the deputy minister for the Ministry of Communications during the pre-democracy cabinet.

Currently, the only two deputy minister who held rank from the earlier time are chief advisor to the National Environment Comission, Dasho Benji Dorji , and Privy Council member,  Dasho Nado Rinchen. They are the last of the deputy ministers, until their retirement from active service.

A reliable source said that it is understood that except for those who continued from earlier times, there will be no more new deputy ministers, after the introduction of a democratic government in 2008.

In the past, a deputy minister’s pay was higher than that of a secretary’s, and slightly lower than the salary of a minister, but it came with almost all the same perks as a minister’s post, especially if he was a member of the cabinet. The Ministry of Finance in the past had a separate pay structure for deputy ministers. One notable difference was that the dearness allowance of a deputy minister was around 50 percent lower than that of the minister’s allowance.

Tenzing Lamsang / Thimphu

 

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22 comments

  1. Creating a Post of deputy Minister In Labor Ministry is a creative tool to FOOL the youth voters of Bhutan. What had been Labor Minister & Secretary doing all these years? We don’t need Minister to create a job. We require vibrant economy to create job. How can appointing deputy minister create jobs? Is he going to manufacture jobs? I don’t think so. This a an election gimmick to hang on to the power which most of them don’t deserve.
    I think DPT is now anxious, nervous and scared as election approaches going by the National Council election where most of the serving members were not re-elected and therefore coming out with all desperate but useless gimmicks. People cannot be fooled anymore and also people should not be fooled by rosy but thorny gimmicks of the parties.

    judge the party based on the past history of candidates and not by what they speak.

    • Who are you to tell others to judge the party?. Everyone has equal opprtunities/ right to decide oneself. Please do not show your dirty ego in this forum.

  2. oh come on DPT give us a break! Dear ex-lyonpo Dorji Wangdi, you should be asking what have i done to curb unemployment in last 5 years? 

  3. In that case… onethird of civil sercice is teachers who has a complete different role than what RCSC mandates, and work in complete different setting with different customers… They also need a Deputy Minister

  4. Political Storm? I didn’t remember any parties making issues until this paper instigated them to say. So think twice before you say to mudsling

  5. Again corruption and just a political ploy to attract voters….This DPT will ruin the nation…We bhutanese are fully convinced…..People should thimk twice before voting….

  6. instead of shouting at others manifesto, u make ur own good manifesto and fight election. If u win. it is upto u to whether have deputy minister or not. Making issue at this stage is like already conceding defeat. First fight and then concede defeat and issue later. Party leaders, pls don’t be stupid by responding every issue that useless media asks….  

  7. On july 16, DPT and its president should thank this paper for all negative campaigns. If our memory is not short, in 2008, most of the ex-chimi’s who were supporting PDP did all sorts of negative campaigns for DPT and ultimately it helped DPT n  DPT got resounding victory. This time, probably, dpt may get majority just coz of negative campaigns. In bhutan, people are not stupid to believe in whatever one says. They are much more matured and understands politics n know whom to vote.

  8. Since most of the MPs beside scheduled sittings in the NA they are all most ideal. So how about if they are appointed as deputy ministers, head of corporations and other organisations so that they continue to learn and put into practice their skills and knowledge. It could also applied to NCs

  9. The party that is criticized most becomes the most popular party and thereby win the votes. So, this paper and few people commenting in the line is only helping DPT become stronger and stronger. Many of you are asking us to think twice before voting. I think more than twice and I will vote for the best party. Fortunately, there is no other paper to write about other parties.

  10. I always keep myself updated with every news but I too am hearing about deputy minister only today through this paper. what about the people in the villages. What a political storm this paper is talking about. “A Stormy New Paper.”

  11. dep. min? doesn’t align with the policy of compact efficient government, the policy which doesnt help either by suffocating employment opportunities

  12. The issue with MOLHR can not be solved by deputy minister at all. When the driver doesnot know how to drive, the vehicle will meet with accident. similarly when the driver is a young  with great ego, disrespect the seniority and knowledge of all in the system and assume to know everything even driving, offcourse MOLHR has utterly failed.

  13. Hahahaha…A Deputy Minister to fight youth unemployment problem? A political ploy to fool young voters. Young voters must realize what they have done in the last five years not what they will do in the next five years. It is a sheer lie and lie only.

  14. what is wrong with Deputy ministers if they really need one. We Bhutanese look at budget cutting too much that we mostly compromise the outcome.Deputy Minister for curbing youth unemployment is a good idea.we need one. And moreover Constitution doesn’t prohibit from it, nor does the existing laws. Don’t really know whether those presidents have gone through the Constitution or are just barking one after another.

  15. Glorified Clerk

    If a deputy minister is required to solve the problem of youth unemployment then what will the minister do? look after ministerial enclave?

  16. Me thinks that DPT is very confident of winning and creation of the Deputy Ministers post is to reward and appease some of the candidates who otherwise would not have the opportunity for a Ministerial post. There are 11 Ministerial posts and many more aspirants. This is a good solution. Star witht Labour Ministry using youth employment as an excuse and followed by others with similar explanations. It appears to be a ploy and does not sound too genuine.

  17. What is the problem with other political parties when DPT appoints a deputy minister withing its own party? The ruling party will have its own mandate of functioning. I think other parties should better tell what they will do instead of telling what DPT should do. The people want to know what each political party is going to do, not advise another party.

  18. “Creation of an additional ministry or reduction of any ministry shall be approved by Parliament. Ministries shall not be created for the purpose only of appointing Ministers.”

    This Clause is nothing to do with appointment of deputy minister. The whole issue as I have understood is all about making the existing ministry more efficient and not for creating ministry. I don’t understand why the media is making so much fuss about it. In fact such creation of posts would help train more leaders for the future minister posts and prime minister. 

  19. Come on some guys here needs to have some logic when you write justification. The question here is not about other political party telling about the post DPT wanted to creat but it is us the people who should analyse do we need a dy. ministrial post to curve the unemployment problem. Which is an extra cost to our exchequer. That is what we don’t want any political party to go about. we need a strong leadership who can do it but not post..

    • We definitely need Dy. Ministers as well as Assistant Ministers. When we have these posts, we require many subordinates like-PAs,PSs, Programe officers, drivers, Peons and many more and we will reduce unemployment by that much degrees. Therefore, 10 Ministries will absorb 20 PAs, 20 PSs, 20 Programe Officers,20 Drivers, 20 Peons Etc. So around 100 Bhutanese will get job. Isn’t it logical?

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