With the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) now forming the new government, The Bhutanese, reproduces its various pledges in the manifesto released during the election campaign.
From promising unemployment allowance to the youth and old age homes for seniors, the PDP presents a manifesto that pledges to table the Right to Information (RTI) act, do away with Pedestrian Day, and start a ‘Meet the People’ initiative.
PDP, sticking true to its slogan and ideology of Wangtse Chhirpel, puts the local government (LG) at the centre of its development philosophy. And the recently publicized party manifesto prioritizes empowerment of the LG.
Empowering Local Government
The PDP pledges aim to empower the local government to give it more administrative powers, whereby, it will be given maximum autonomy to take decisions, to prioritize developmental activities, and even change developmental activities based on the need and urgency.
It would receive more financial powers, as PDP believes the local government bodies have limited financial power, in terms of available funds or the discretion to use it.
Within the first week of forming the government, PDP will call on the Pay Commission to look into the salary and benefit packages of local government officials. It will look into the possibilities of doubling the salary of gups, and increasing the allowances and other benefits.
Besides this, the party promises to include a delivery of at least one utility vehicle, black-topped motor road in every gewog centre, a fuel station that will sell kerosene, gas cylinder, petrol, and diesel, at least one FCB shop to sell subsidized goods and commodities, and a farmer’s bank are listed on the manifesto.
PDP also promises to make a special loan schemes under which the farmers can buy utility vehicles likes power tillers, and bolero pick-up trucks, and every chiwog/ village will have at least one power tiller.
PDP will establish a thromde in every dzongkhag headquarter, as required by the Constitution. Every thromde will have a Thrompon. The establishment of the thromde will expedite the uniform urban development in all dzongkhag towns in the country.
Every dzongkhag is promised at least one good school with boarding facilities under the dzongkhag administration, and it will encourage having students from within the dzongkhag.
Besides that, the party pledges one excavator for every dzongkhag, a fire fighting unit in each dzongkhag, two ambulances for every hospital, and three doctors per dzongkhag hospital with one specialist among them.
The manifesto specifically mentions that “DPT promised this, but failed.”
The party besides ensuring ‘guaranteed employment for youth’ also promises to initiate unemployment allowance for youth while it would also offer student discounts for public transport including air travel.
The party will look into the possibilities of establishing quota for women in the Parliament, and the local government, and extend maternity leave for new mothers.
PDP will initiate a house rent allowance of 20% for civil servants, and also revise the salary and all allowances including TA/DA in the civil service.
Also, the Bhutan Civil Service Rules (BCSR) will be revisited and necessary changes would be made. It will encourage home posting of civil servants and couples in the civil service to be posted together. It promises to come up with special schemes for civil servants posted in rural areas, and initiate rural posting allowance.
The PDP pledges to do away with preliminary exams before the Civil Service Board Exams for entry into the civil service for university graduates.
PDP manifesto aims to promote corporate social responsibility and offer schemes including tax relaxation to businesses that value, respect and fulfill social obligations, and promote environmentally friendly businesses.
The party pledges to revisit the Company’s Act while studies will be done to explore possibilities of enhancing productivity of existing industries. It will be a priority to encourage FDI promotional activities and felicitate private entrepreneurs to new opportunities.
Efforts will be made to renew existing bilateral trade agreements, and PDP will prioritize to spread business and business opportunities across the country, particularly to the east.
It will promote self-employment and will initiate support schemes like loans for new entrepreneurs. PDP will study the possibilities of introducing a cap on taxi numbers in the country, and introduce business licenses to run taxi services in the country.
The party encourages worker’s associations, which will be able to voice the collective concerns of employees.
The PDP promise growth rate of 10%, to promote special economic zones and industrial estates, to promote FDI, initiate special schemes for green industries and encourage gree businesses.
Welfare and Social Security
PDP will start homes for the elderly near monasteries, construct wheel chair ramps at public places, and bus terminals, special seats in public buses for those with special needs, and introduce insurance for disabled workers.
A Blueprint to Develop eastern Bhutan
PDP will fast-track tourism projects in the east and prepare a special international marketing package for the eastern districts. Accessibility to sites of historic, religious and architectural importance will be enhanced and tourism facilities at places of natural attractions will be increased.
The hydropower power projects in the east will be fast-tracked and mini-hydel projects will be planned.
The party will institute an Eastern Bhutan Development Committee that will look at an economic package for the east and also identify viable FDI projects in the region, start three colleges, and explore the viability of Yonphula airport
The East-West National Highway will be made double-lane to decrease the time of travel and also to improve the movement of goods. And Samdrup Jongkhar will be developed as a port of entry for the whole of eastern Bhutan.
PDP Pledges in the First 100 Days in Office
PDP will initiate the ‘Meet¬the-People’ program where the Prime Minister will dedicate the two weekend days to meeting people. All other cabinet ministers will also be available in their office on Saturdays where any citizen can walk in to meet the ministers without appointment.
It will start a Social Media Wing that will use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to keep Bhutanese across the globe to be connected with the government.
The party also pledges to table the Right to Information (RTI) Bill and do away with the Pedestrian Day rule
PDP will initiate a nationwide poverty census within the first 100 days of its governance to identify the poor people living under the poverty line in the country and then initiate a special poverty alleviation program to help all the identified poor in the country.
To promote meritocracy in the civil service, the PDP government will initiate prestigious scholarships in prestigious universities around the world which will be given to civil servants based on their accomplishments, performances, and their potential.
The party also pledges to revise the Tenancy Act to make it more practical and implementable. At the same time, it promises to review the nutrition level in food given to students in boarding schools and appropriately improve it to meet the required nutrition levels.
“The extent of students suffering from the lack of adequate nutrition has not even been studied and the need to provide good food.