In a clear and unequivocal message His Majesty the King in the 107th National Day Address said that the highest risk to development in Bhutan is corruption.
“Our national development efforts will be hindered by unchecked corruption,” said His Majesty.
This strong message of His Majesty the King was also carried by a host of international media agencies.
His Majesty said, “The formulation of plans and programs may be done well, aimed at the wellbeing of the people. Impressive amount of budget may be disbursed in line with these plans. But as the activities become too numerous, oversight and monitoring may fall short, allowing some people to be corrupt.”
His Majesty said that as a result though a large amount of resources are spent, projects may not be accomplished as designed and quality of the projects may suffer seriously.
“At the end, such activities may become a matter of regret and disillusionment for the people and immense loss for the government and the country,” stated His Majesty.
His Majesty said, “Corruption is unambiguous- there is no great or small corruption. And no one can be above the law.”
His Majesty highlighted that the greater threat would be in ignoring corruption.
“When the corrupt are not held to account, those who observe due diligence, work hard and professionally are most likely to be discouraged,” said His Majesty.
Highlighting the need to recognize those performing well His Majesty said, “We mustn’t allow the latter to lose morale by rewarding everyone indiscriminately, irrespective of his or her performance.”
“That is why, corruption must be curtailed and, more than ever before, extraordinary service must be recognized and rewarded,” added His Majesty.
His Majesty said that from the next National Day three new categories of awards would be instituted to recognize various individuals for their service to the nation.
The first will be for extraordinary service to country, for those bureaucrats, civil servants, teachers, business owners, and private individuals, who have rendered services beyond their duty at the cost of great personal sacrifice.
Secondly, individuals who display outstanding innovation and creativity for the betterment of the country in various fields will be recognized.
Finally, in view of the great bearing that efficient management of limited resources will have on national progress, those individuals who contribute to efficiency and cost saving will be recognized.
On His Majesty the Fourth King
In line with the ongoing 60th birth anniversary celebrations His Majesty the King paid rich tributes to His Majesty the Fourth King.
His Majesty said, “It is a momentous occasion for the people to be blessed with the gracious presence of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo.”
“We owe our exceptionally advantageous circumstances today to the noble and tireless efforts of His Majesty our beloved Fourth Druk Gyalpo,”
“The triple gem and our protective deities favored us extraordinarily by giving us His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo during a critical moment in our history,” added His Majesty.
His Majesty said that the country has seen incredible progress since His Majesty’s Coronation in 1972, when the third five-year plan budget was a mere Nu 350 million. At present, Bhutan spends more than Nu 7 billion a year on food imports, let alone the plan budget size.
“Our people are now more prosperous, proficient, and astute regarding matters of the world; and Bhutan is stronger and more advanced than ever before. From a life of hardships and limited opportunity, His Majesty has brought us to the radiant today that we have,” said His Majesty.
His Majesty said that His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo brought the nation out of darkness to light and for this remarkable transformation, the people consider His Majesty to be the embodiment of Rigsum Gonpo.
“When the nation’s security was threatened, his form was like Vajrapani (Chana Dorji) defending bravely the country without fear for his life. His Majesty took the cause of wellbeing and happiness of his beloved people like a manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokitesharva (Chenrizig). The clarity of His Majesty’s visionary policies that still shine and guide us in our path of good development was similar to that emanating from Manjushri (Jambayang),” said His Majesty.
“For these reasons, it is an opportune day for all Bhutanese to collectively express the debt of infinite gratitude to His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo and to join together in heartfelt prayer for His Majesty’s long life and good health,” added His Majesty.
On the Economy
His Majesty the King like in the previous National Day addresses also spoke on the state of the economy.
“Last year I expressed concern about certain economic situations. We were burdened with debt, and rupee shortage led to acute liquidity crunch, putting pressure on banks and hampering businesses, and causing inflation. These problems continue to persist,” said His Majesty.
His Majesty commended the government for the ambitious scale of the 11th plan, and the manner in which they have handled the 4 hydropower projects, which are under construction. His Majesty said he looked forward to the Kholongchu Hydropower Project, with the anticipation that it will be hugely beneficial to the six eastern dzongkhags.
His Majesty, however, highlighted concerns on the capacity to implement such numerous works.
His Majesty said, “Our national ambitions, and the corresponding workload are increasing progressively.”
His Majesty said the budget for the 9th five-year plan was Nu. 70 billion and one hydropower project was initiated during that time. During the 10th five-year plan, the budget increased by over 100% to Nu. 146 billion and 4 hydropower projects were initiated.
“With the 11th five-year plan, we have a budget of more than Nu. 213 billion, and besides the Kholongchu project, feasibility for 4 more hydropower projects are being considered. This means in the near future, we will be tasked with the implementation of 9 hydropower projects, which is a heavy responsibility for the government,” said His Majesty.
His Majesty said that while it is good to be ambitious the question to be asked is ‘are we willing and able to take on this responsibility? Can our financial resources be matched by our human capital?’
“The main aspiration of the people is that the 11th plan will succeed, and prosperity will grow all around the country. The realization of this goal depends more than ever on the government’s commitment to good governance, which should include check and balance, openness and transparency. The people must take individual responsibility and make a collective effort, instead of depending solely on the government,” said His Majesty.
His Majesty expressed profound pleasure to celebrate the significant occasion in Kanglung, with people from the remote corners of the East.
His Majesty said that the nation is at the crossroads where the decision to act will make all the difference between success and failure.
“I hold our national goals, concerns and our destiny as a nation close to my heart, having received this sacred responsibility at an early age from my Father, His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo. From the day I became King, I have solemnly vowed to serve the people and country arduously and put the aspirations of my people above all else. In this endeavor, you, my people, have placed your support, trust and affection upon me,” said His Majesty.
“Our dreams, aspirations and prayers are one- to ensure that our security and sovereignty, peace and harmony remain intact- that our society grows increasingly enlightened and prosperous, that we establish a strong democracy, which will fulfill all the aspirations of our people, and build a bright future for successive generations,” added His Majesty.
His Majesty talking about the importance of unity said, “We shall create unity and harmony amongst the people so that they continue to take pride in being Bhutanese and have a deep sense of belonging to the glorious nation of Palden Drukpa.”