There has been much discussion and views expressed on the outgoing cabinet handing over their duty Prado vehicles.
The giving up of the duty vehicles entitlement is a recent development as the earlier culture of entitlement saw all classes of senior public servants and even corporate bosses jealously guarding and hanging on to their duty vehicles -with the expectation that they can take it for free or even buy it at reduced rates.
The issue here is not just about duty vehicles as it is only a symptom of a much bigger problem of the entitlement mindset within our public servants.
Like corruption flows top down, the culture of entitlement does the same. So, traditionally, when junior officials see their bosses taking vehicles and living it large at the public expense then a similar expectation develops.
This may be the reason why it has always been considered okay to fill in and submit fake TA/DA forms.
In our economic set up, public servants are generally the best paid and have the most secure jobs compared to their counterparts in the private and agricultural sector.
Imagine the disaster, if the vast majority of ordinary Bhutanese folk developed the same attitude.
The culture of entitlement turns public servants into public masters and as a result public service suffers. At a societal level, the culture of entitlement, if left unchecked, can even pervade families with children having unrealistic and unhealthy expectations from their parents.
This is the reason why this paper was the first paper to break the story on the then ministers taking Prados.
It is in part due to the impact of public feedback and pressure generated then that this practice of taking duty vehicles is being shed at the highest levels. The ‘Prado move’ sets a new and good precedent with the hope that this attitude flows down the line to reduce the entitlement mindset and redefine public service at all levels.
“Most people do not deserve everything they need.”