Five civil servants unable to cross the training hurdle to join three political parties

logoFive civil servants who are all looked at as potentially strong candidates for the three political parties of Bhutan KuenNgyam Party, Druk Nyamprup Tshogpa and Peoples Democratic Party have to either pay up hefty training bond fees or not resign at all.

The civil servants who have been told this by their respective ministries or the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) are appealing to the RCSC but so far the commission is clear that it will go by the Bhutan Civil Service Rules.

However, the most serious case among all of them is the DNT candidate for Sipsu, Nima Tshering who due to a mistake of the Human Resources Division of the Education Ministry now faces the prospect of not only being barred from politics but also not getting back his old job. To make matters worse the DNT candidate will have to pay the government Nu 1.3 mn.

In 2004 Nima Tshering who until recently was a Position 2 level curriculum officer had done a 3.5 years Monbosho Masters scholarship in Japan. When he put up his resignation to join politics the Education Ministry approved it on 1st February 2013 and he subsequently received all his benefits, no objection certificate and audit clearance.

He then joined the DNT and was even a registered candidate with the ECB, and his name and profile was released to the media recently.

However, what had been overlooked by the Education Ministry was uncovered by the RCSC as part of its due diligence.

RCSC Commissioner Sangay Dorji said, “We came to know of the issue when the Ministry sent us a copy of the reliving order and before putting it to the commission we did our research and found that he still has two years and eight months to serve.”

The RCSC subsequently informed the Ministry who informed Nima on 12th March 2013.

However, unlike the other potential candidate who can opt to remain with the civil service if their resignation is not accepted Nima cannot rejoin the civil service for three years.

The RCSC Commissioner explained that legally Nima Tshering had resigned from the service, collected his benefits and joined a political party as a candidate. He said as per BCSR rules even if Nima opted out of the party he would not be eligible to join the service for another three years as a cooling off period for a politician. Also Nima has to mandatorily pay the Nu 1.3 mn.

The Commissioner said that it was primarily the failure on part of the Human Resources Division of the Education Ministry which had not gone through the records properly.

A RCSC official also said that Nima could have also himself pointed out the calculation mistake to the MoE to avoid the current situation.

A potential DNT candidate from South Thimphu, who is also stuck, is Dr. Lotay Tshering a medical specialist with the JDWNRH hospital in Thimphu.

According to Dr Lotay he is still appealing with the RCSC and hopes that his case will be solved especially after the RCSC dropped his initial bond period from around 15 years to 4.4 years.

However, the RCSC has made it clear that the doctor can only join politics on paying Nu 6.69 million mainly on account for his 18 months specialist urology training where he was trained for 12 months in USA and 6 months in Singapore.

Commissioner Sangay Dorji explained that Dr Lotay’s 15 year period was dropped to 4.4 years after the Commission took a decision recently to count only the exact time period served for pre service training and not double it.

PDP has also two of its potential candidates unable to clear similar training obligations one of whom also announced himself as a candidate in the media.

In the first case Senior Statistical officer with the Ministry of Labour, Karma Lhendup, according to the RCSC, still has two years and three months to serve. That or he could pay Nu 2.96 million on account of his BSc in statistics program on Monbosho scholarship in Japan.

Another potential PDP candidate Dr Lobzang Dorji who is a Senior Medical Officer with the Gelephu hospital is also unable to resign due to training obligations.

He has the option of serving nine more months for his Masters in Public Health or paying up Nu 1.8 mn to the government.

The final candidate who is also caught in the same problem is the BKP’s potential candidate, Karma Thinley who is a Deputy Chief Programme officer in the Tertiary Education Division under MoE.

In a relatively short period Karma Thinley availed several long term trainings which included a 10 month training in Japan and a Humphrey Scholarship in USA according to the RCSC. He has the option of either serving one ear eight months or paying Nu 3.6 mn.

Sangay Dorji made it clear that the RCSC would be going strictly by the rules in the on trainings and its obligations.

Till date 30 civil servants have resigned to joining politics of which 25 cases have been accepted.

The maximum number of civil servants resigning has been from the Ministry of Education followed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests which in themselves are two large ministries.

(Clarification: This article has been edited online in two places to correct the name of the Commissioner as Sangay Dorji)

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79 comments

  1. if you have obligation, you will have to fulfill. There is nothing called free ride!

  2. If civil servants are not allowed to join politics due to this bond, who will form government? Fresh graduates? 

  3. Dr.lotey is a surgeon and not a medical specialist 
    Dr.Lobzang works @ the ministry of health as the Cpo for public health division and not @ Gelephu hospital 

  4. People can not have both cream and the butter. Obliged employees had minted huge money while in Australia and US and now they want to enjoy MPs plus Ministers’ emoluments. People are really greedy. God will give us enough to satisfy our need but not our greeds!

  5. This is merit of poor health managment system of Bhutan, all bright dr. wants to leave, Zangley will ask for help to tranfers Doctor from Livestock, likely !!!

  6. I feel Doctors will be not a good politician; if you really want to serve people, being doctor can do much more better rather than jumping into uncertain future and becoming dirty at the worst case!…

  7. What abt this ex zimpon wongma Nima Tshering who did lot of studies on goverment money

    • I have the same question…. why is there a double standard here…. when others are being blocked… i am wondering now… Its a sad event unfolding…. very
      sad

    • RCSC has to answer this question, but as always, when it becomes awkward for them, they will just sweep the problem under the carpet. While for others that are not as fortunate as the Zimpon  Wom, they will follow their rules without any compromise whatsoever.

    • people say he is sponsored from the throne

  8. Dr.Lotay should not join politics: Politics is for people without any skills:
    Its important that we retain Dr. Lotay in the JDWNRH to serve people of BHUTAN.
    If he resigns the common and poor people of Bhutan will suffer. The top management of MoH should do something to motivate and retain such specialists: We have no problem if top management resigns or leave we have so many much more capable and competent people available to replace them but not the specialists like Dr. Lotay.

    • Its not just MOH responsible.. Only if we have Red Scarfs and Medals in the Health Sector would Doctors remain back!

    • who said politics is for people without any skills. I think you know nothing about politics. Read some books on it.

  9. If fresh graduates who are unemployed can take up politics to run the government, god save our nation 🙁 . 

  10. serving in the party is also part of serving people so rcse should not give chance to those wishing to join pollitics after all, bhutan is short of well educated people with experience and if the rcse retain the civil servent, then lots of bad politician will come up.So civil servent should b given chance rather than charging bound or watever.

  11. serving in the party is also part of serving people so rcse should give chance to those wishing to join pollitics after all, bhutan is short of well educated people with experience and if the rcse retain the civil servent, then lots of bad politician will come up.So civil servent should b given chance rather than charging bound or watever.

  12. RCSC is adding salt to already salted dry fish curry to enhance pressure of the aspiring MPs.

  13. RCSC should be in a position to see larger picture. The need of the hour today is good people to join politics to offer better alternatives. You don’t wanna leave politics in Bhutan to what it is in the region. If good people are interested RCSC should facilitate rather than restricting them for it cannot hold them forever.

    Look at Mr. Tshewang of RIM. RCSC restricted him in the first election because of such bond. He resigned on the day he finished his obligation and he is not in the country any more. What have we gotten out of him?

    • I don’t know who this Tshewang is, but it is because of people like him that the RCSC is behaving the way they are. It is clear that Tshewang only wanted to join politics to get out of the civil service so that he would not have to fulfill his training bond and then go to some alien land. So please don’t use him as an example, if anything, he has set a bad example.

      • Please don’t jump to conclusion like this. Think and look from other persepctive. Had RCSC facilated his move to stand for election, people of that Dzongkhag would have got the choice at least (They had to settle for yes and no). Who knows, he must have even got elected given his adacemic background and experience. And if he got elected, he would have been here serving Bhutanese and not international organizations today.

        • So you mean to say, if he got elected he may have remained in the country, the fact is that he is no more in the country and his wanting to join politics only points to one thing, that he wanted to leave the civil service and leave Bhutan. Otherwise why would he leave, if he really wanted to serve the country.

  14. Terminate these civil servants. You know which type of people get maximum oportunities for ex-country trainings….and then again wanting to be “good for nothing Bhutanese MPs”. SHIT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. I support RCSC in retaining qualified professionals  who acquired such qualification at the expense of the royal govt. and other Bhutanese. For us the most important institution in Bhutan has been the civil service and it’s commission and it will be so for many years to come. In fact the services to the people are delivered by the civil service not the politicians. As once a commissioner said the civil service need the best.

    • you must be one of the thick headed guys in RCSC…Attitude of animals working in RCSC secretariat demotivates competent  civil servants working under it. duhh!

  16. Yea! what about the other Guy Zimpom Wogma Nima Tshering…who did studies Government Scholarship? Enlighten us on this RCSC..

    • I think Nima Tshering secured all scholarship for his studies by himself. I believe the guy has genuine interest and passion in serving the country. He is the only candidate who is not looking joining politics as a place for employment.

      • Haha, so you know him like an open book or what.

      • ppraix FYI civil servants who secure scholarship on their own doesnt mean that he dont have to serve the bond period since he/she is being paid while on studies..If he or she resigns from civil servant and go for studies then its not a problem..
        I am saying this for the interest of larger public.
        After all who doesnt want to serve the nation..

        • Sonam thanksFYI, I don’t disagree with you at all. However, I believe he has and will contribute more to the country than what is spent on him. 

          • i do agree Zamin…but have atleast seen Dr. Lotay’s contribution?…He served so well and still he is barred from joining polictics due to his obligations,,,Be mindfu l both of them are in same Party FYKI….But i suppose there shouldnt be even a trace of double standarts….by gauging the amount of contributions they have made…Dr Lotay is far more better…he is even capable of being Health Minister…….but we dont want to drain out talented people like him….Zamin pls dont get over influenced….after all for a healthy nation we need a healthy people(pls dnt mistake for other reasons)…they belong to same league after all…… I suppose rules and laws are same for each and every citizens in this tiny kingdom………….

  17. Does this mean that RCSC is not accounting the undergraduate period as a bond for the number of years to serve the government? I would also like to request the author to find out what RCSC means by going strictly by the rules? Like somebody mentioned above, there are many people who were also trained under governments money and has silently slipped out of Bhutan. RCSC rather has a role to make government jobs in Bhutan attractive than to jail its employees with bonds…….Remember, you can take a horse to the river but you can’t force the horse to drink the water………We are going wrong bitterly ! 

  18. Dr. Lotey should not leave JDWNRH because he is a doctor with human heart. In the hospital he can really bring a lot of good changes and care for the patient. Ask any ordinary people  who has been treated by/seen Dr. Lotey, they will have lot of good things to narrate to you for his treatment & touch. Where as in the parliament where there will be a lot people with unclear ideas &  views will simply confuse you. He may be able to push for good legislation but when ther are no good people like him in the field to implement, it is of no use. So, Dr. Lotey please DO NOT LEAVE at least for now. You will definitely get the call on a fine day and to a post post of Health Minister.
    And of course I don’t mean other doctors are not good but he is one of the good lot.

    • If health ministry needs  reform, some competent doctors like lotey and some more should resign(only then the authorities will realize things are rotting in MoH

    • Then pay him well for his good service. I believe doctor like him with great potential should be retained as a human doctor so that one day we may be able to see kidney surgeon or heart surgeon in our country. However we cannot coerce any doctor to stay back by paying them less. Money is important in our life that is why everyone opts for better paying job. It is a universal fact. So government should pay our brilliant surgeons at par with MPs atleast otherwise we will never see real Bhutanese surgeons anytime soon. I am sure we can pay them well if they really become great surgeons. Motivate them through remuneration…..i for one believe that strongly though i am not one of them. I strongly believe that we need best surgeons in our Thimphu hospital.

    • I am with you Karma..Yes Dr. Lotey Should not join Policits…He is one of the best and most reliable Doctors i have ever come across…You are serving so well until now and dont let our hopes down by leaving your profession..We are in need of more Dr. Loteys…

  19. Bhutan’s MPs will consisit of mixture of young and old, fresh and experienced to make the laws in Bhutan. But at least the Party Presidents will see into the matter and choose the best amongst parties. But NCs will consists of mostly young ones who are unemployed and with no job experiences. So in conclusion, the fresh graduates will review the Laws and work of those experienced ones.
    I wish there is a age criterion or limit for the NC qualification of NCs.

  20. It is quite disheartening to see this people giving 101reasons to avail their trainings in the first place  and now giving 101 reasons why they should leave their profession. The same people under pseudo names here are bashing the RCSC. Most of them are openly talking bad very bad about the RCSC. we now understand that the attacks on the RCSC come from these selfish people.  If these people continue with such attitude, we are definite they will not serve us well as politicians. In fact they will only serve themselves. the way these people are damaging the system may force the RCSC to terminate them based on breach of civil service codes, INTEGRITY in particular.

  21. These days, it has become a trend in Bhutan that everyone wants to change every rule in one’s own favour. Rule is rule and everybody must abide by rule. When those civil servants availed their prestigious trainings, they must have surely pledged to fulfil the bond of service. Now, they want to break that bond? If they did not avail the training, the opportunities would have gone to others. Another thing is that, five political parties is too much for Bhutan. In the name of serving the people and country, our politicians are greedily forming too many parties instead of combining together and form stronger and less number of parties. Even if these civil servants are allowed to resign, what will happen to their skills and knowledge if they do not get selected? Only 47 out of 235 candidates in all parties will have seat in the National Assembly. Because of too many parties, some parties are forced to enroll a lot of fresh graduates in their group.

  22. I’m extremely sorry to learn that there are two rules for two Nima Tsherings in Bhutan. I think we need another Am Neten to head RCSC.

  23. The political parties and NC seats have become sources of employment for our unemployed youths. It’s just a matter of time before our country is governed by leaders in twenties. I have been watching the NC debates and so far the fresh graduate aspirants did not prove worthy.

  24. It is irony for Bhutan. On the on hand we say good people should come forward and join politics. But on the other hand we have very stringent rules preventing people from joining. And of course, many good people are either not interested or they lack courage or do not want to leave their comfort zone! This way we are discouraging people from politics or discriminating people joining politics. Whether we like it or not it is our system and we must live with it. In order to make it people friendly or attractive we have to change certain rules. We must think broad and big. Is it possible to let any civil servant participate and come back if s/he fails to make it? This is a radical idea I know many may not be comfortable but it will then bring out the best ones and we will have good and capable politicians. Currently many people are interested but are scared their job security if they loss. We as a Nation need to think and think hard. I also hear that cooling period for any one associated with parties is 3 years which is not fair. It is detrimental to good politics.

  25. @ Wisdom It looks like topside down is right side up! You want to have butter on both sides of the bread. How can it happen yar?

    • Laksam, it can happen. the problem with us is we are not able to open up and think broad and wide. Actually that would open up lots of space for good people to come into politics and will benefit our Nation. I believe, politics is more important than civil service.If we do not get good people then we will not get good laws and you the consequences like Tobacco Act. However, there should be specific by laws/rules including can and cannot do while in the civil service. That way Like I said we will get best ones to rule us. At the moment this is not happening because of our own parochial outlook as well as thinking and existing rules. Do you know that those enlightened people say what we see and do are all not real! Think la. It is possible. I am not talking of my own personal benefit, but that is what I believe should happen. Many may like you may not be comfortable with since we are conditioned to think in certain way. No offense meant la. No worries.

      • That is one way of looking at your way. In reality the law is initially conceptualize and drafted by the expertise from the civil service not by the MPs. Which law, except the entitlement act, is really done by the politicians? all are fed in by the bureaucrats and they say yes or no and in the process make few changes here n there. This is the universal truth. So don’t under estimate the importance of the civil service, especially in the Bhutanese context. 

  26. Rules are rules!. There should not be any exception. Heaven will fall down the moment we make the exception. If people have to serve for few more days in service due their bond, then they must serve. No more no less. As simple as that. Do not blame RCSC for imposing the rule. They must answer if they have exempted somebody for whatever reasons.

    • Yes rules all must follow. No argument on that. But are our rules fair??? what about those who study at Sherubte? Similarly those in other institutes? Do they also need to serve? I am unaware of that? excuse me for my ignorance. Is it not scholarship? why only professionals?

  27. What use will these five persons be in the civil service with an exception to Dr. Lotay? Many of them have stop attending to their offices. The fact that they shall not be released has overtly signaled that they are higly indispensible individuals when the truth is that they have become a liability. How would RCSC treat this and ensure that the productivity of these individuals are not affected? What we all know for sure is that these individuals would simply wait for the years to get their bond through. As for Nima’s case, he shouldn’t be penalized for no fault of his own. Instead, the relevant competent authorities of the MOE should be brought to task. Isn’t it being cheeky to pronounce by the RCSC that the current episode could be averted if Nima himself addressed the issue prior to resigning? 
    RCSC has to do thorough soul searching on why many people wanted to leave the system. Just solely holding on to the bond isn’t a way forward to make civil service attractive. The system has lost some of the best people in the recent years, and before it becomes a flood gate, RCSC needs to be revamped both in terms of its statutory mandates and the people who currently hold the fort. I have always been skeptical of RCSC viz-a viz PCS, wherein it undermines the wisdom and professional knowledge of the professionals. Who adviced RCSC that the professionals are bad administrators, and therefore, any professional, however learned and renowned s/he may be has to function and operate under the administrative control of somebody who could be for various reasons could be inferior to the former. I may be wrong, and please correct me if so, that the best of institutions and corporates in the world are headed by professionals not by individuals with general background. I feel something not right when somebody with a background in commerce heading a department of agriculture, and likewise an engineer being the director of teacher training college. 

  28. I stand with the RCSC decisions. My full support! If the RCSC fails to administer the very rule it has formulated, what will happen in its 10 ministries and many institutions. Amend the rule, but don’t break.

  29. Listening to the debates in the BBS, sometimes it makes me laugh. Most of the Council aspirants have been creating awareness on the functions of the Council rather that telling what is their plan if they are elected. Now on the issue of RCSC letting or not letting, I think RCSC is non but an institution of the RGOB. It thinks in the interest of the nation. When people opted for training they said all the good words to serve Tsa-Wa-Sum bla bla bla ….. normal cliche…. but now that govt. has given them wings, they want to fly. I think no one in indispensable. MOH cannot understand the inner feelings of anyone. But knowing that there was only one kind of Dr. Lotay, there should have been plans. More people should have been trained. But sadly, the very ones who are trusted leave … so no one can predict … let us wait and see who the next Sowai Lyonpo will be… will he/she really be able to make systemic changes in a complex Ministry like Health? I doubt… it is easier said than done. If you have no worries buy a horse … if you have no stress, join Health.

  30. Is the NIma Tshering different from the Zimpon Wom Nima Tshering, it is getting a bit confusing. And if they are not one and the same person, why should one pay and the other be allowed to go scot free, after all they have the same name.

  31. Release them because they will only serve our country. Once a man decide to leave civil service, he will certainly leave sooner or later. So there is no point of retaining them in the system that they wanted to leave desperately. Why would Dr. Lotay leave the profession that he worked tirelessly for decades to build it? Because current job satisfaction for highly learned professionals are 0. Especially doctors.

  32. RCSC may amend the rules for the better cause, but these civil servants must abide by the existing rules since they availed the training under existing rules. If these five or other civil servants cannot follow the nation’s rules, how can we expect them to enact or review the country’s laws by becoming members of parliament?

  33. In the media, it was mentioned that Zimpon Wom Nima Tshering had gone to USA for his trianing. Who is responsible to hold him accountable? Was he under EOL, did he take salary. The fact that he was civil servant and holding very important postion, he should pay the trainng obligation if he had availed salary while on training like any othe civil servant. His case will keep on featuring till it is resolved.

    • I wanted to comment on Dr. Lobzang & Dr. Lotey Tshering. Politics is a food for thought for the medical professionals, espicially Medical Doctors. Ofcourse to have an aspiration and the will to opt for the politics is at ones right, but one has to see all hte barricates of civic obligations of the RCSC and human needs obligations. And to worsen an individual’s life of a bluntness of politics. Need to bring and forecast the diaster before triumph. Too late for 2013. If ever comes through and relieved by RCSC or Parent Agency….Only 20-30 % of chances that you all may be able to catch the vote banks.

    • It is the duty of RCSC to clarify on this issue…or else let other affected civil servants to join the politics. other wise a precedence might be created…

  34. If the rules are fair and consistent, nobody would mind paying…. meanwhile “dogs” … out there stop barking….

  35. Dr. Lotay loves his profession, we all know it. But he has to sacrifice it because he wants to change the system in the Health. Although it is unfortunate that he resigns for the ‘other’ good cause of changing the system, he will bring reforms. At the moment, many other doctors are working under the suffocating system. A doctor cannot even avail EOL. A frustrated doctor cannot also resign. Even if he gets his resignation approved, he cannot practice his profession privately. Forget joining in the big hydropower projects where many casualties are happening from collapse of tunnel or explosions used. In short, they don’t see their future. It is a human nature to look beyond their career and lives if some may argue ‘doctors should be selfless and work for tsa-wa-sum for life etc.’ 
    “I only have the option to commit suicide,” one doctor joked. But there sure must be a substance behind his comment. Therefore, while we will miss Dr. Lotay as surgeon, I have a belief he sees what he has to do to produce many Dr. Lotays out of his colleagues.

  36. Many Doctors will opt to resign simply because they are paid very less. They need to be financially paid at least double the amount of their current salary for another 10 to 15 years till we have excess graduates like engineers. Many people like Dr Tandin, Dr Lotay will opt for politics because that is much easy job than the practicing Doctor where they have to be with the patients. How do we motivate our Doctors, how do we retain them? How do we overcome the shortage? Not easy answers to find solutions. But temporary measures to motivate the existing practicing Doctors could be : pay them higher allowance- double their salary; provide them car and fuel allowance; provide them mobile vouchers; pay them higher over time allowance. The reward should be tangible. Our argument that they have been sent on RGOB scholarship and therefore they should continue their work in MOH will no more hold water. We should come up with plans and strategies to retain them with more incentives – both intrinsic and financial rewards. When these MPs and NCs are paid unnecessarily huge amount, why can’t we retain Doctors by payment of higher amount than those of MPs and NCs. Many can become MPs/NCs but only a few can become the Medical Doctors, I don’t think it is too late to recognise their profession and pay them fairly for what they deserve!

  37. If Nima Tshering’s case is definitely true, now, what does DNT party say about their Paro candidate, Nima Tshering? Does the party support RCSC or the candidate?

    • I am waiting for Nima Tsherings’ case…but i am sure DNT will keep mum on this issue as long as it is not clarified…What ever said and done truth will prevail..We want a justice since all the aspiring politicians aspire to serve nation to the best of their ability..I am afraid creating double standards might create a division among the members in the same party….RCSC please enlighten us on the issues relating to two Nima Tsherings…

  38. Ladies & Gentlemen, Civil Servants,

    Please note the following from the article: 

    ” Commissioner Sangay Dorji explained that Dr Lotay’s 15 year period was dropped to 4.4 years after the Commission took a decision recently to count only the exact time period served for pre service training and not double it..”

    “According to Dr Lotay he is still appealing with the RCSC and hopes that his case will be solved especially after the RCSC dropped his initial bond period from around 15 years to 4.4 years.”

    What this means that RCSC must have first tried to force Dr Lotay to accept 15 years bond period but finally must have relented when they ran out of ‘rules’ to throw at poor Dr Lotay.

    The sad truth is that RCSC which is supposed to also look into the interest of civil servants has always worked against civil servants and been part of most problems than solution. One of ‘solutions’ – the introduction of PCS system has proved an utter failure. 

    Coming back to civil servants & politics: every knows that one of the mistakes the drafters of the Constitution made was making it mandatory for civil servants to resign before signing up for politics. On the other hand for democracy to succeed we all know we need a mix of young and experienced.

    His Majesty the King has been urging Bhutanese to serve the nation by participating in politics. In other words government insitututions should ‘listen’ to HM’s call and see how to facilitate civil servants joining politics not putting hurdles and bash them on the head. The day RCSC steps in to protect civil servants who have been vicitimized by politics and nepotism will the day the nation can rejoice and thank God we have an RCSC.

    Karpo

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