Government claims vehicle quota for each household pledge was shot down by ECB

DNT’s pledge of vehicle quota for each household grabbed attention during the election last year. However, speaking on behalf of the prime minister on Friday at the national assembly, Foreign Minister Lyonpo (Dr) Tandin Dorji said the talk on pledge was discontinued after the election commission notified the party to not go beyond the party manifesto during the general round election campaign last year.

The question was raised by oppositions Maenbi-Tsaenkhar, MP Choki Gyeltshen in the context of including the pledge of vehicle quota in the fourth pay commission and government’s way forward to fulfill the pledge.

“Among the many favorable and important pledges of the present government, one was the provision of vehicle quota up to Ngultrum 1.5 mn for every household and people are very excited and hopeful about it”. He further added there however there is no mention of this provision in the fourth pay commission.

In an answer to the opposition, Dr. Tandin said it was announced after the first round of election taking in consideration of the need of the people which was learned during the first round of election campaign.

“There wouldn’t be anyone who would deny this offer and it would be one way to narrow the gap as well” said Lyonpo Tandin further adding, “But when it when it comes to pledge, this wasn’t a part of our manifesto.”

He said the pledge was discontinued after the party was notified by the election commission of Bhutan (ECB) to not go beyond one’s primary manifesto during the general election round in 2018.

While fulfilling the pledges highlighted in manifesto, he said the execution is exclusively on priority basis. “We found the need to fulfill the pledge on education sector first and subsequently followed by agriculture and economy sectors.” Dr. Tandin added there is four more years to serve as a ruling government while rest of the pledges could be executed on basis of priority.

If necessary in future, foreign minister added the vehicle could be a provision during the next pay commission. “But what needs to be understood is our pay commission only applies to the civil servants and if the vehicle quota extends to each and every household, a separate law should be introduced.”

MP Choki Gyeltshen said the notification from the ECB didn’t stop the pledge on vehicle quota to be announced. “It was in fact announced throughout the electoral process which infused excitement in people and garnered votes in the election.” He added the pledge is felt as a need and the opposition will have a strong support if it is ever brought for to discussion.

Meanwhile, during the Friday press-meet on February 8th, Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering said the government would review the vehicle quota system and would implement it if needed. He said the government is passionate on the pledge to provide vehicle quota to each household but it was shot down by ECB.

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