In June 2014 Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay announced that he would be donating upto Nu 50,000 every month from his salary to charity which meant that of the Nu 180,000 pay he would be getting only around Nu 130,000.
Lyonchhen had made this commitment after the National Assembly had passed the 2014 pay hike which included Civil Servants, Constitutional Post holders and MPs.
The Bhutanese enquired with the Prime Minister’s office as to the outcome of the then pledge.
The Prime Minister’s office shared that since mid 2014 the Prime Minister had given away Nu 2.190 mn to various charity organizations and causes.
The recipients have been Bhutan Nuns Foundation with Nu 533,385 in 2015, Ability Bhutan Society with Nu 535,000 in 2016, Bhutan Toilet Society with Nu 200,000 and Bhutan Red Cross Society with Nu 100,100 both in 2017.
Care Bhutan got Nu 500,000 and Vast Bhutan got Nu 171,607 in 2018.
Apart from that Robin Biswa who did well in the Druk Super Star was given Nu 150,000 to support her for the launch of an album.
A bank account called the Prime Minister’s Charity Fund account was created to deduct the amount every month and it was jointly managed by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Secretary.
The usual practice was to allow the account to accumulate the money and then the money was given at different points of time.
After tax deduction at source of Nu 6,042 and one percent health contribution of Nu 500 liable on the Nu 50,000, the exact amount donated was Nu 43,458 per month.
In response to a question on the selection of charities, Lyonchhen said that his staff gives him suggestions. He said that all charities are all doing a good job and this giving of the money to them does not mean that it was a competition or some prize.
Lyonchhen said that Care Bhutan is a small charity that reaches out to youth battling with addiction with drugs and alcohol. He said they convince help youth to agree to go for rehabilitation and even send and escort them to Siliguri. Lyonchhen said all his requires funds and since the Charity needed funds he made a contribution this year.
Lyonchhen said that, likewise, Ability Bhutan is also a small charity which looks after children with special needs and where even parents are involved.
The PM pointed out that Bhutan Toilets Organization is doing something to address a public problem and also show that they should not feel dirty about bathrooms, apart from providing service during public occasions.
On Bhutan Nuns Foundation, Lyonchhen said that a lot of work is being done. He said it is important to support Nuns as they are important part of the spiritual heritage of Bhutan.
Apart from the Nu 171,606 given to Vast Bhutan from the PM’s salary the organization in 2016 also got 200 pieces of various gifts given to Lyonchhen by foreign leaders for auction. The auction raised more than Nu 500,000 for Vast.
Lyonchhen said that the subsequent and remaining gifts he has received would again all be given to Vast Bhutan to auction and raise funds.
Talking about Vast Bhutan, Lyonchhen said, “They are really doing fantastic work and really epitomize the Bhutanese socials sense of concerns and obligations. They are doing social work and giving back and Asha Karma has been doing decades of good work.”
On the support to Robin Biswa, Lyonchhen said that he had been impressed by how she sang in the national language and so he supported her when she approached for help.
Lyonchhen said that Red Cross Society is very important and that he is in fact one of the first registered members of it.
Lyonchhen said that he had requested to charities to keep his donations anonymous as it was not much in the first place but now that the media wanted to know about his pledge and was asking details he was sharing the accounts.
Lyonchhen talking about the 2014 hike said that the previous Parliament from 2008-13 had already set and approved the pay scale for the ministers and PM and it was actually supposed to be enforced from the first day of the new government. He said that the new government did not accept this and brought the matter for re-discussion to the house again.