One of the many ways the government interacts with the general public is through its ‘Meet-the-People’ program initiated after it took up office in August.
Meet-the-People program is a feedback and public grievance redressal system where the people can directly meet the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers, without seeking appointments, every Saturday. It also forms a part of any Cabinet Minister’s plans while on tour across the country.
First conducted on August 24, 2013 in Thimphu, 277 people have approached the ministers through this program as of November 22.
Labour Minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo said, “In the Meet-the-People program, most of the people are the youth, it comprises of 57%. Till now,
the bulk of programs are being held in Thimphu. We normally conduct here because all the ministers are stationed here in the capital and majority of the population, especially the youth stay in Thimphu.”
Lyonpo said the government, till date, has conducted the program in other dzongkhags as well. “Till now, we have conducted this program in Thimphu, Gangtey in Wangduephodrang, LhamoyZingkha in Dagana, and in Paro. For rest of the dzongkhags, as the ministers go for the official trips to different dzongkhags, we try to meet the people, as it is a part of our program,” Lyonpo said.
Many of the youth have raised various issues with the ministers, especially unemployment problems.
“The youth think that their problems can be instantly solved at the program, which can’t be. Meet-the People is mainly geared towards giving easy access to people who cannot make it during office hours. We try and listen to grievances and refer to concerned organization to readdress the issues raised,” the Labour Minister said.
Lyonpo also said the government has assisted in getting employment for many people through the program. “We don’t have an exact figure, but we are in process of assimilating the figures which we are going to do periodically. We call up the various corporations and private agencies, wherever vacancies are available, depending upon the skills and qualification of the people who come and approach us.”
As of November 16, through the last 13 Meet-the-People program held, 147 people have approached for employment, 11 for t transfer requests, 12 for the census problem, 15 for the business report, 10 for scholarships, 3 for matters relating to housing, 4 for land issues, and 7 approached for issues relating to visa issues .
The 14th Meet- the- People program will be held today in the NRDCL conference hall, Thimphu with registrations beginning from 9.00 am. The Prime Minister and Labour Minister will be attending the program.
The primary objective of the program has been to provide the public easy access to meet their elected leaders, freely interact with them, and get the opportunity to resolve their problems and grievances, particularly in relation to public services.
However, the program does not address cases that are under the purview of His Majesty the King’s prerogatives including land and citizenship kidu, and those under the purview of the courts.