Salary deduction for welfare fund not compulsory: Home Minister

According to the Home Minister, Damcho Dorji, the deduction in civil servants’ salary as welfare fund is a voluntary scheme.  He said, “It is important to know that it is not compulsory to contribute to the welfare fund, and it is not allowed for any organization to make it compulsory,” said the Home Minister while responding to a question from the Member of Parliament (MP) of Nanong-Shumar constituency, Dechen Zangmo.

Lyonpo Damcho Dorji said the reason for instituting the welfare fund is to help the many civil servants who come from a humble background.  He said the fund is collected, on a voluntary basis, to help the civil servants who are not in the position to get money from the banks or other sources in times of sickness and death.

MP Dechen Zangmo said that The Royal Civil Service Commission is directly deducting a certain amount of the civil servants’ salary towards the welfare fund. Likewise, she said the ministries could also be making similar deductions from their employees, in the name of welfare fund, and thereby, making double deductions.  She said that it is becoming difficult for the individuals to make an objection to such deductions.

On RCSC’s plan of the welfare fund, the Home Minister informed the House that RCSC is in process of forming the welfare fund and that it has not been implemented as yet.  He added that interested individuals can fill up the forms and contribute on a voluntary basis, either through RCSC or their respective ministries.

Opposition Leader, Dr Pema Gyamtsho, said that apart from civil service welfare fund in ministries, he said there are many people who come to seek for donations. He said some civil servants feel such deduction and donations are becoming almost compulsory. OL said there needs to be clear rules and regulations on this matter.

“When it comes to donations, it is not that we don’t have law. We have religious organization which are allowed to collect donations, but after approval from Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs,” the OL added.

Lyonpo Damcho Dorji said it is important to look for the seal of approval from MoHCA when someone comes asking for donations. He said the police are also on the lookout for the dubious donation hunters.  “Religion and culture is a national priority, and culture includes lhakhangs and chortens across the country.” The Home Minister said that there is an inadequate fund to maintain the religious and cultural places, as it requires huge fund and investment. “When someone comes to collect donation to do such works privately, it will not be fair on our part to stop them as per the law,” said Lyonpo Damcho Dorji.

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