Parties come up with ambitious pledges for rural development

People’s Democratic Party

PDP’s ideology places great importance on Wangtse Chhirpel to empower every citizen in the country. The party believes that decentralization of power enhances the democratization process by empowering people to self-determine their own development needs and priorities, leading to equitable and balanced socio-economic development, and ultimately uplifting living standards and overall wellbeing of communities at the grassroots.

The party has pledged to increase the Gewog Development Grant (GDG) to Nu 5 mn from Nu 2 mn and initiate One-Gewog-One-Product (OGOP) program in all 205 gewogs. The party will fund Nu 20 million worth project in each gewog to be identified by the people.

“We shall provide sufficient human resources, such as engineers, accountants and land record officers to gewog administrations to effectively and efficiently implement plans and activities.”

The party has also pledged to construct a helipad in every gewog to facilitate emergency medical evacuation and swift response during disaster emergencies. The party has also pledged to build a communal warehouse in every gewog to facilitate storage of agricultural produce and trade and construct an integrated meeting hall in every chiwog to provide space for public gathering and community events and activities.

“We shall build an Early Childcare and Development (ECCD) Center in every chiwog to provide a congenial learning environment for children. We shall ensure every gewog has a fuel depot and a farm shop. We shall introduce guaranteed buy-back scheme of agricultural produce to purchase farm produce and facilitate agriculture trade and business. We shall establish a waste management unit in every gewog. We shall establish an automobile workshop in every gewog to facilitate timely repair, maintenance and servicing of vehicles,” PDP pledges.

The party has pledged to provide an additional power tiller to every chiwog to ensure minimum of two power tillers in every chiwog, and at the same time, establish repair centers for power tillers and farm machineries in every gewog.

In order to take financial and banking services to the rural doorstep, every gewog is expected to have a gewog bank.  PDP has pledged to connect all chiwogs with farm roads by end of 2023 and ensure that gewog center roads are properly maintained.

“We shall ensure all major farm roads that connect chiwog centers and populated villages at least have a base course (if not blacktopped) and proper drainage system to ensure the roads is pliable throughout the year. We shall provide one backhoe excavator to every gewog to maintain farm roads. We shall ensure that every BHU has one doctor, two nurses and suitable number of technicians. Every BHU shall have a minimum healthcare facility and treatment services such as OT facilities for minor operations, X-ray, ultra-sound, and blood testing facilities. We shall provide one ambulance to every gewog to enable timely evacuation,” pledged the PDP.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa

DPT has pledged to continue and complete black-topping of roads to all gewog centers and rehabilitate and improve the existing farm roads by providing WBM/GSB surfacing with proper drainage. DPT has also pledged to provide 30 percent electricity charges concessions to rural industries, upgrade single-phase to three-phase power supply in rural areas, provide on-grid electricity to all households and solar energy to those non-viable pocket households.

DPT has also pledged provide 3G/4G connectivity throughout the country, and do away with the 5 percent voucher tariff and restore emergency usage balance. DPT has plans to provide BBS TV link to all communities throughout the country, expand the national fiber connectivity to the gewogs, and greatly enhance and ease public service delivery through optimal operationalization of Community Information Centres (CICs). They also plan to provide free Wi-Fi at bus stands, hospitals and parks.

DPT has pledged to provide safe and sufficient water for all by exploring rainwater-harvesting and other appropriate technologies for enhancing water supply. The party has also pledged to shift from subsistence farming to prosperity by providing all the necessary support needed to improve farming practices that the PDP has initiated.

The party plans to decentralize forest management and make dzongkhags and local communities stewards of their own resource reducing implementation by central agencies leading to reduction in costs and administration. DPT also plans to build the future from grassroots by creating an inclusive education system.

The party plans to provide hot lunch to all children in rural schools, provide 3G/4G services to all schools and institutions, and facilitate teaching-learning through ICT, provide transportation to rural schools where children have to walk more than one hour, strengthen non-formal and continuing education with better curriculum and pedagogy in both Dzongkha and English, review and improve central school policy to make them more equitable and sustainable among lot of other new initiatives in the plan.

DPT also plans to promote healthy rural Bhutan, provide roofing over head for all, make gewogs economic hub by establishing at least one economic hub in every gewog in potentially strategic locations as market hubs for local economy including business incubation centers.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa

DNT stated the ineffective agriculture marketing policies and systems continue to be the dominant factor in low agriculture production and rural income, and therefore, DNT plans to establish a network of agriculture marketing centre through outlets. “We will ensure all farm produces that are left unconsumed internally will be exported and sold through innovative marketing strategies.” DNT also plans to establish cold storages and warehouses in strategic locations.

DNT aims to develop a modern auction yard with appropriate facilities to make it easier for both the buyers and sellers. The party pledge stated, “We will make farming easier and cheaper by supporting farmers with essential facilities. We will remove tax for farmers on income generated from primary agricultural produce; we will support employment in agriculture, we will enhance agriculture productivity and reduce imports.”

The party also pledged to ensure availability of irrigation water throughout the year. Where it is not possible to provide irrigation because of lack of water source, the party will consider allowing conversion of wet land to dry land. “We will enhance agriculture productivity and reduce imports, and provide crop insurance.

Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party

BKP pledges to initiate 100 percent functional irrigation water on existing infrastructure by creating a smart and resilient agriculture corresponding to climate change. The party also aims to address human-wildlife conflict through improved technology and wider coverage, review the Forest and Nature Conservation Act 1995 and create enabling provisions.

BKP will also institute a national organic program under the Prime Minister’s Office and promote premium markets based on dzongkhag comparative advantage, improve farm roads, improve auction and sales at production centre, establish cold storage and warehousing in facilities in production centers. The party has also pledged to provide 24 hours drinking water services to every household.

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