There will also be a focus on Digital Drukyul
The government, during the Friday Media Meet acknowledged the existence of the current taxation policy where employees earning more than Nu 18,000 in a month are being taxed on their pensions.
“Research by international experts found that there is not much evidence of any substantive steps being taken to narrow the gap in the country. One of the main factors contributing to the income equality in the country can be attributed to such taxation on the pension for those employees whose earnings are not even enough to make ends meet,” said Lyonchhen (Dr.) Lotay Tshering.
Lyonchhen also added that the low salaried employees like the support staffs don’t get the deserving benefits after retirement unlike other senior officers who not only draw fat pay cheques at the end of every month but also receive a hefty pension amount after retirement.
“Since the pension entitlement depends on the amount deposited, if we are to bring in any changes we have to review the taxation policy. The government has also recommended the fourth pay commission to look into measures to ensure that support staffs are also entitled to pension. The fourth pay commission is expected to come up with a researched framework on the issue,” said Lyonchhen.
Although nothing has been finalized, decisions will be made based the framework by the fourth pay commission and will also depend on the availability of the budget with aim being bridging the gap between the haves and haves-not, stated Lyonchhen.
One approach to narrow the gap between the poor and rich is to address the grievances of low income earners, so we have plans to review the national pension scheme.
Digital Drukyul as one of the flagship programs of the govt
Lyonchhen said that although the government wishes to digitalize every aspect of the service, it will be difficult to pursue such ambitious plans.
“This is why we plan to go digital wherever possible and relevant. Digital Drukyul is one of the flagship programs and we are in the process of coming up with the modalities of implementation to digitalize sectors that require such service. To start with, we will start with the taxation policy, digitalization of patient record keeping systems at the hospital, bill payment system and will gradually plan to keep track of all the citizens of the country,” said Lyonchhen.
The Prime Minister said that although such project can be expensive, he is nonetheless excited about it as society and the country at large will stand to benefit from its establishment.
“As of now we will look into the cost of internet and make sure that internet is affordable for every user,” said Lyonchhen. “At the same time we cannot just lower the cost and not reap benefits from the package. It should be a package inclusive of cost of internet as well as the utility of the inbuilt program.”
Digital Drukyul as one of the government’s flagship programs aims to provide IT related services and plans to achieve effective health services, improved ease of doing business, integrated public services and improve access and quality of teaching and learning.