More than half the applicants are from tourism sectors but rest are from other impacted sectors
Most applicants have their census in Trashigang, Samtse, Sarpang and Mongar
The Druk Gyalpo Relief Kidu which saw its first disbursement of Nu 150 mn to 13,006 people on Thursday could well be extended beyond the three-month period of April, May and June.
The current amount is Nu 12,000 per month for the full amount and Nu 8,000 for those on partial payment.
However, if the current situation continues beyond the three months and more people have to be supported then the 12,000 will be reduced to 10,000 for the next three months followed by 8,000 for three months, 6,000 for three months until it can be phased out.
However, a relative factor here is on how the ground situation plays out. If the situation worsens or does not improve at all then the amount could stay fixed for a while. However, if the situation improves dramatically then the amounts could also fall more strongly to phase it out quicker.
One assessment of the ground situation will also depend upon how the government can bring up various economic activities within the COVID-19 scenario so that people do not need kidu.
The assessment of the ground situation will be done by a team of more than 100 officials involved in implementing the Relief Kidu. The main committee overseeing this team is headed by the Prime minister.
As the Relief Kidu is granted to an individual for a period of three months, it will be critical for the recipient to actively seek employment opportunities that will come up with reprioritized 12th plan activities. The government will actively match the individuals with job openings which will allow affected individuals to find employment and enable them to transition out of the Kidu.
This is also because it is of the utmost importance for all Bhutanese to participate in the national building process to support their livelihoods and sustain national economic activities.
The Druk Gyalpo Relief Kidu has an additional support of Nu 800 per child per month which will be provided to eligible beneficiaries of the children. This additional child support will be disbursed from the first half of May following additional verification.
The first batch of 13,006 recipients were screened from among 18,880 people who applied for Kidu between 14th and 23rd April. Of this 5,564 pending applications are being reviewed and 310 applications have been withdrawn.
Among those not getting the amount now are also issues of incorrect CID numbers and incorrect bank account numbers which have to be reviewed.
Of the total 13,006 eligible, 9,716 were assessed as being eligible for the full amount of the Relief Kidu.
For the first round of assessments employees of affected businesses who have been laid off or put on unpaid leave and reduced pay; self-employed individuals in the tourism sector who have lost their earnings; and Bhutanese workers who have returned from abroad due to the pandemic but have no other source of income are getting the full 12,000.
Self-employed individuals in tourism linked businesses and other businesses affected by social distancing, mandatory closures and curfews have been assessed to get the partial amount of 8,000.
More than 20,000 people from 20 Dzongkhags applied for Relief Kidu between 14th and 29th April and total of 21,196 people applied from 14th April to 30th April.
Lyonchhen who sent the first payment to 108 individuals said, ‘The Royal Kidu for those affected is not merely a monetary support but a wish fulfilling gem that blesses every Bhutanese with renewed hopes and happiness.”
Lyonchhen had also formally launched the Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu on 14th April and chairs the committee looking at the implementation of the Kidu.
In terms of those applying for the Kidu the top five Dzongkhags in terms of the census registered with them are Trashigang with 2,245, Samtse with 2,205, Sarpang with 1,549, Mongar with 1,325 and Tsirang with 1,319. The other five are Dagana, Paro, Chukha, Punakha and Pemagatshel.
However, most of the above people are currently based in the tourism and commercial hotspots of Thimphu with 8,557 applicants, Paro with 3,143 applicants, Chukha with 2,000 applicant and Punakha with 1,103 applicants.
Closed to half the total 21,196 applicants till 30th March are salaried employees at 46.08 percent (9,767 applicants), self-operating or owned business at 39.4 percent (8,352), causal or wage labourers at 10.91 percent (2,313) those returning from abroad are 3.6 percent (764).
For the total people who have applied for the Kidu the numbers are led by the tourism industry or associated industries. The maximum applicants are from accommodation (hotels, home stays) with 22.3 percent (4,727 applicants), tour agencies comprising 16.76 percent (3,553 applicants), restaurants comprising 7.84 percent (1,661), transport and storage with 6.26 percent ( 1,327) and handicrafts with 2.45 percent (520 applicants).
However, while tourism and its related industries comprise more than half the applicants the varied nature of the COVID-19 fall out can also be seen in applicant for Kidu coming from a variety of economic sectors.
Other services have 20.87 percent applicants (4,423) and these include tailoring shops, home based workers and those who have wrongly chosen their category. Retail trade has 5.07 percent (1,074), entertainment and recreational services has 5.05 percent (1,071), 3.6 percent (764) worked abroad, 2.57 percent (545) are from construction, 2.06 percent (437) are from manufacturing, 1.49 percent (316) are from education, 1.31 percent (278) from agriculture, 0.67 (143) are from mining, 0.52 percent (110) from information and communication, 0.44 percent (94) from health, 0.25 percent (53) from airline services, 0.24 percent (51) from Financial Institutions and 0.22 percent (46) from real estate.
Of the 21,196 applicants, 17,659 or 83.31 percent are willing to work while 3,530 or 16.65 percent are not willing or not available to work.
Of the 17,659 willing to work 7,013 want to work in building tourism infrastructure, 5,602 want to work in agriculture, 2,180 in construction and 2,863 in other sectors.
Of the total applicants 19,816 or 93.49 percent have bank accounts while 1,380 or 6.51 percent have bank accounts.
In terms of the educational qualification of the applicants 0.4 percent have Masters degree, 11.15 percent are graduates, 3.19 percent have a diploma, 0.65 percent are TVET graduates, 1.59 percent have certificates, 24.5 percent have a higher secondary education, 20.44 percent have a middle secondary education, 7.83 percent have lower secondary education, 10.79 percent have primary education, 1.61 percent have a non-formal degree, 1.79 percent has monastic education and 16.07 percent have no education.
Of the applicants 54.55 percent are married, 11.15 percent are divorced, 28.11 percent are not married, 3.58 percent are living together and 1.08 percent are separated.
In terms of the age group the largest category is in the 25-29 age group comprising 25.91 percent of applicants followed by 30-34 at 20.88 percent, 20-24 at 20.41 percent, 35-39 at 11.04 percent, 40 to 44 years at 8.96 percent, 45 to 49 at 4.9 percent, 50 to 54 at 2.82 percent, 18 to 19 at 1.94 percent, 55 to 59 at 1.35 percent, 60 to 65 at 1 percent, those under 17 at 0.33 percent and 66 and above at 0.31 percent.
In terms of the gender of the applicants’ male applicants comprised 55.95 percent but females were not far behind with 44.05 percent.
The maximum applicants were received in the first five says from April 14th to April 18th and thereafter gradually tapering down with the occasional bumps.
Some 137 officers from across various government agencies and corporate offices have volunteered to work for the DGRK center in various capacities with some working even 12 plus hours every day since the launch of the Relief Kidu on the 14th.
The RMA Deputy Governor Yangchen Tshogyel said, “Their dedication has been truly amazing and we are all motivated and inspired by His Majesty. During His Majesty’s second visit to the center (on Thursday evening), His Majesty interacted with all the people helping at the center and extended His appreciation and thanks – this was an especially emotional moment for all of us. We are all feeling the weight of the trust that His Majesty has placed on us to implement this historic Relief Kidu which will touch the lives of many, many Bhutanese people in their hour of need.”
The Deputy Governor also thanked the officials in the Dzongkhags as well as the MOF e-PEMS team and the bank officials who are also helping.
The Relief Kidu website was temporarily closed for the next three days from Friday to improve the form and carry out some data analysis to be able to better target the Relief Kidu.
The relief kidu amount will be disbursed directly into the recipients’ bank account numbers and for those who do not have a bank account number the Dzongkhag Kidu officers will deliver the Kidu in cash form.