As Bhutan grapples with the challenges of cultural erosion in the face of globalization, the political parties, Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP), Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT), and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are supporting comprehensive strategies to preserve and promote the nation’s rich cultural heritage.
BTP focuses on community vitality and security. The party aims to improve socio-economic opportunities in rural areas, preserve and promote traditions, and enhance community vibrancy, safety, and well-being. The party envisions a secure and inclusive future, emphasizing the importance of affordable housing, managing borders, and reducing crime.
In the pursuit of its goals, BPT plans to introduce a one-time home loan with concessional interest rates for rural areas, construct affordable public housing, and incentivize private sectors to supply affordable housing. The party also pledges to increase rural life insurance compensation, institute crop insurance schemes for farmers, and strengthen disaster management.
DNT commits to supporting and assisting indigenous communities in preserving their culture while sustaining their unique livelihoods’ pledges to encourage and support communities in continuing their local festivals and rituals. DNT aims to review the curriculum of Dzongkha, encouraging its use, and identifying professions where Dzongkha is required plans to establish funds and infrastructure to promote Bhutanese films, music, and documentaries nationally and internationally.
DNT pledges to prioritizes the promotion of traditional Bhutanese crafts, including training, technological support, and international marketing. The party aims to strengthen immigration services to facilitate trade, investment, tourism, and movement of goods and people across international borders.
DPT is proposing a multi-faceted approach, such as the establishment of a world-class research center for Himalayan Studies, creation of Bhutanese cultural centers in countries with a growing Bhutanese diaspora. Strengthening cultural education in schools. Promotion of traditional arts and crafts internationally. Support for local artisans and artists in exploring global markets. Preservation and promotion of traditional festivals, music, dance, language, and literature. Review of existing Acts, rules, and regulations on cultural conservation.
Recognizing the importance of the entertainment industry, DPT plans to create more platforms and events for local talents. Foster collaborations between local and international artists. Invest in cultural conservation through various media channels. Explore incentives such as tax breaks and subsidies to boost industry growth. Strengthen copyright laws to protect intellectual property. Promote film tourism leveraging Bhutan’s cultural and scenic beauty. Establish a transparent regulatory framework for the entertainment industry.
In response to the increasing elderly population, DPT aims to: Ensure access to high-quality healthcare services for seniors. Implement social security programs for financial freedom. Support spiritual teachings. Provide priority provisions for senior citizens in public transport. Collaborate with NGOs for additional support to elderly citizens. Initiate programs to instill intergenerational responsibility in caring for seniors.
Exporting Gross National Happiness (GNH), DTT aims to leverage the brand of GNH through the export of GNH-related services and collaborations in studies at the intersection of Buddhist philosophies and modern empiricism.
DTT proposes the adoption of an innovation policy at the intersection of Buddhist philosophies and modern empiricism plans to develop a Science, Technology, and Innovation Park through Druk Holding and Investments (DHI).
DTT intends to introduce a Buddhist pilgrimage circuit program covering Bodh Gaya, Kathmandu, Paro, and Lhasa to tap into the rising middle-class Buddhist market.
DTT proposes the creation of cultural parks and zones in urban centers to attract investors, executives, and innovators through the economy of agglomeration plans to increase investment in cultural enterprises, particularly intangible cultural creations, in line with the global trend.
Acknowledging the social challenges arising from cultural shifts, DTT addresses issues like substance abuse, broken families, and neglected elderly citizens. The party emphasizes the need for understanding between generations and proposes measures such as compensation for parents and protection for children based on social norms.
PDP envisions a vibrant film industry that not only entertains but also preserves and promotes Bhutanese culture on the global stage. The party has outlined a comprehensive plan to achieve this vision, including the construction of movie theaters in every Dzongkhag, the development of a film city through a Public Private Partnership model, and support for post-production services to enhance the quality of films and music.
To foster creativity, the PDP pledges to establish a National Film Development Fund, sourced from outside government revenue, to support artistic innovation, Bhutanese films participating in international film festivals, and the production of high-quality films and documentaries. The party also aims to facilitate international co-productions and collaborations by revising existing film regulations and signing co-production treaties with other countries.
Recognizing the importance of an independent and accountable media, PDP promises to empower the media to question, criticize, and scrutinize the government without fear or bias. This includes revamping the Film Review Board with members who appreciate creative values and promoting international collaborations for Bhutanese filmmakers.
PDP’s commitment extends beyond the film industry to encompass all forms of arts and culture. The party plans to fund a National Arts Competition to honor contributions of artists, support private initiatives promoting works of art, and revamp the Royal Academy of Performing Arts into an institution for excellence in research and performing arts.
To showcase Bhutanese culture abroad, the party proposes exploring the establishment of culture/community centers in cities with a significant Bhutanese population. This initiative aims to promote Bhutanese tradition, culture, and language, especially for Bhutanese children living abroad.
PDP recognizes the growing entertainment industry in Bhutan and seeks to harness its potential for economic growth and employment generation. The party pledges to review policies governing entertainment enterprises, explore the possibility of reviving drayangs (entertainment venues), and support and promote various forms of performing arts.
As the election draws near, parties are placing culture at the forefront of their agendas, recognizing it as a cornerstone of Bhutan’s identity and a key factor in achieving GNH.