The Nu 2mn Grant shall be used to create income and employment generating programs and activities in the gewogs
To further strengthen good governance, decentralize power and responsibility at the grass root level, and to deliver services as required by respective communities, the government has initiated a system of Gewog Development Grant.
The grant, implemented and monitored by local governments (LG), shall be provided over and above the regular budget provided to the gewogs.
The gewogs, which are in the best position to know the diverse and specific local needs and priorities, would benefit from this grant by enjoying discretionary choice and flexibility in allocation across a range of sectors and activities. This will, in turn, allow them to make more independent decisions and enhance participation in the local development process.
The grant shall also help to bridge the resource gap faced by the gewogs in implementing the planned activities within the annual budget. Such flexibility would not only enable the gewogs to achieve their plan targets, but also help in facilitating quicker public service delivery.
Dzongkhag Tshogdue Secretary of Trongsa, Jamyang Chogyal said, “On 6 November, in the Dzongkhag Yargey Tshogdue (DYT), it was discussed only about the guidelines of the implementation of the GDG, and this grant will be used as per the guidelines.”
Dzongkhag Tshogdue Secretary of Lhuentse, Tashi Gyeltshen said, “The guidelines on implementation of GDG have been discussed during the last DYT meeting. The main issues discussed about the Nu 2mn grant was whether it could be used in the infrastructural development like maintenance of farm roads in the gewogs, and if it could be used for the maintenance of utility vehicles and power tillers which has been promised by the government during its campaign.
Amount, scope and criteria for the Grant
The grant shall comprise maximum of Nu 2mn per gewog and shall be used to create income and employment generating programs and activities in the gewog, or used to co-fund development activities covered by annual budget, may also be used to fund immediate disaster relief activities, shall cover and benefit the communities, shall cover and benefit all chiwogs broadly.
It shall not be used for financing like normal operation or recurrent expenditures of the gewog administration, purchase of office vehicles, acquisition of land and buildings, contribution and donations, a project, or any part thereof, which involves personal awards to any person in cash or in kind and buying shares, purchase of CGI sheets and barbed wire fencing and providing scholarships to an individual, celebrations, political campaigns and activities that conflict with existing government policies.
The grant shall be kept in the gewogs budget on an annual basis under a separate financing item code (FIC). It shall form a part of the annual national budget, and the total cost of the activities funded by the grant shall not exceed Nu 2mn per annum. All activities under the grant shall be deliberated upon and endorsed by the Gewog Tshogdue (GT) after consultation with the general public of the gewog in a Zomdu (public meeting). Upon approval by the GT, the gewog administration, through the dzongkhag budget / account officer, shall write to the Department of National Budget (DNB) for creation of activities in the Multi Year Rolling Budget (MYRB).
The gewog shall have full autonomy to carry out re-appropriation from one existing activity to another existing activity under the grant upon the GT’s endorsement. However, for re-appropriation to a new activity, the gewog, with GT’s support, shall request the DNB for creation of the new activity in the MYRB system.
Any unutilized portion of the grant shall not be carried forward to the next financial year. Cases of spill-over activities and unutilized funds shall be dealt with as per existing practice.
Fund release and accounting
Fund releases shall be made as per the financial rules and regulations-2001 (FRR-2001) and Public Expenditure Management System (PEMS) shall be used for recording all fund releases and accounting transactions. All disbursements shall be made by the respective gewog administrations and the gewogs shall maintain records and books of accounts as per FRR-2001.
Procedures for implementation of activities under the Grant
All activities under the grant shall be implemented in accordance with the established government rules and regulations, and shall be implemented directly by the gewog.
The dzongkhag administrations shall provide technical backstopping for the implementation of activities to the gewogs.
Transparency in the utilization of the Grant
The MoF shall confirm through the budget presentation in Parliament, the actual amount budgeted and made available for the grant and the gewog administration shall submit an annual report on utilization and status of their grant to GT, DT, and the MoF.
The concerned dzongkhag administration shall carry out monitoring and review of the activities under the grant at least three times during the project period.
Custodian of assets created
It shall be the responsibility of the beneficiaries to maintain the assets created through the grant and the gewog administrations shall maintain an inventory of all assets created under the grant.
The ownership of the assets so created shall vest with the gewog and any transaction, disposal, sale, or transfer of such assets shall be in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations.
The MoF shall be accountable for ensuring timely release of funds to the gewogs, and the GT shall be responsible for the selection and overall benefit, or lack thereof with respect to funds distributed under the grant.
The Gups shall be held responsible for timely disbursement of funds and implementation of the grant activities in accordance with the applicable rules and procedures.
The dzongkhag internal auditor shall conduct periodic review of the accounts of the grant-funded activities, and the Royal Audit Authority shall audit the account relating to the grant as per the auditing practice.
The primary adjective of establishing the grant is to achieve the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) government’s vision of “Wangtse Chirphel – Prosperity for All”, by empowering gewogs with greater financial flexibility. By providing additional resources over and above the regular budget, it is also aimed to help promote and achieve balanced and equitable socio-economic development. The grant also falls under the promises the ruling party had promised to deliver in first 100 days in office.
While the Opposition, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) has argued that the GDG is no different from the former government’s controversial Constituency Development Grant (CDG), the government have made it clear that the GDG is entirely different from the former government’s initiative.
One of the main differences pointed out is that the LG will have full authority over the GDG and parliamentarians will have no say in the matter whatsoever, except to provide check and balance. The government found it unconstitutional for assembly members to engage in the matter.
Also in September, during the second National Council’s (NC) first session, members called for the new government to avoid considering GDG implementation in a manner and form done earlier, during the term of the previous government.
Council members said CDG has high potential of getting misused by Parliament members, in claiming unfair political mileage, and create disharmony in society at the expense of scarce public resources. The house also said lapses were more at the implementation level than the policy level.