Moral Responsibility important while applying for interest waiver under Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu: RMA Official

The Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu to all the affected individual needing the Monthly Income Support Kidu and the Interest Payment Support Kidu of 50 percent waiver for all eligible borrowers will be extended for another 15 months, from April 2021.

A release from the Prime Minister’s Office said Royal Command has been granted that the next tranche of the National Relief Fund is be financed in its entirety from His Majesty’s Kidu Fund and the Sungchob Fund. His Majesty’s Kidu Fund has been used to grant Kidu to thousands of Bhutanese to alleviate hardships and provide the ultimate social safety net.

The Sungchob Fund was established by our Kings as a security fund for the country during times of need.

For the last one year over 37,000 people and their children have been granted the monthly income support Kidu, while close to 140,000 loan accounts benefited from the interest payment support.

A total of Nu. 2.25 bn has been granted as Kidu for monthly income support kidu applicants.

Interest waiver Kidu

As of March 2021, total interest payment support amounted to Nu. 11.06 bn out of which Nu. 9.18 bn was granted as Druk Gyalpo Relief Kidu (DGRK) and Nu. 1.88 bn was borne by the Financial Service Providers for 139,096 loan account holders.

A senior Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) official who did not want to be identified said that His Majesty’s Kidu is for everybody for the next 15 months but he also called upon people to practice moral responsibility while applying for loan interest waiver.

He said that the website will be open from Monday to receive applications for interest waiver and all eligible people can get the 50 percent interest waiver Kidu after applying.

However, he said that if a big business house or even an individual who are doing well and can pay the loan interest should take into account moral responsibility while applying. He said that they should keep in mind that the source of the funds which is there for social causes.

The official, however, clarified that even if they still apply for the Kidu they will still get it.

The RMA official said that be it business houses or individuals there will be a system to publicly recognize those who do not need and do not take this interest waiver.

He gave the analogy that every Bhutanese is eligible to some timber to build a house but that does not mean that irrespective of need everybody applies for it, and those who do, will do it with a proper process and filling of forms to ensure it is transparent and systemic.

The RMA official said that some people may wonder why there is an application process for the loan interest waiver but he said that is to ensure accountability, equity and efficiency.

Once a person fills in the details the site will also list the past interest waivers received by the person and ask him if he wants more.

The official said when people have to apply for it the genuine ones who need will apply and those who do not need it will think twice before applying. He said this is where being a ‘real Bhutanese’ and ‘Tha Damtshi’ comes into play.

He said the recording of this information will ensure accountability including with the banks as people can verify the waiver they get. It will also be transparent in terms of the information and equitable as everybody can access it.

The interest waiver will be reviewed after every three months to ask people if they want to continue getting and also to allow for new applicants if they feel the need.

Individuals and businesses with loans outstanding as of 10th April 2020, including non-performing loans that were availed from Bhutanese financial service providers are eligible. However, Loans to Government, Loans given to Financial Institutions, Staff Incentive Loans and Credit Card Loans are not eligible.

Income support Kidu

A total of 52,644 individuals applied for the Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu in the last one year (14th April 2020 – 31st March 2021). Of the 52,644 applicants, 45,766 accounting for 86.9% of the total, received Kidu at least once. A substantial proportion of them received lockdown support Kidu. 14.2% of the total applicants received Kidu for all 12 months while 23.3% received Kidu once and 10.8% received Kidu twice.

The people who have applied in a phase and not withdrawn were the tourism sector with 86.2 percent followed by returnees with 81.8 percent. The average number of times persons working in the mining sector applied for Kidu. These were mainly people working in the boulder export which was heavily affected during the initial months of the pandemic.

A total of Nu. 2.25 bn has been granted as Kidu for DGRK applicants. The highest increase in Kidu disbursement was observed in August 2020 and January 2021 which saw an increase of 71.9% and 84.9%, respectively, because of the grant of the lockdown support Kidu.

The Kidu amount includes child support Kidu of Nu. 70.89 mn which accounted for about 3% of the total Kidu granted in the last one year. Child support Kidu was granted to 9,614 applicants (18.3% of the total applicants) covering a total of 15,464 children. Among them, the majority i.e. 53% of them had one child while 35.2% had two children. Around 6,000 children were supported each month. By amount, 9,339 individuals have received Nu. 100,000 or more as of March 2021. This included child allowance if they had children.

People came out on social media to thank His Majesty The King for extending the Kidu and this time from the funds created by His Majesty. Many said that tears came to their eyes as they heard and news and most said they are lucky to be born in Bhutan under such a King.

The Prime Minister aptly summed it up for many when he compared His Majesty to the Dharma King Drimed Kuenden. 

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