Though the government has pledged that it will develop Suung Joen app, provide free WI-FI and free access to online data in the country and solve the problems of taxi drivers within 120 days which started from November 7, 2018 and ends in March 2019, the government could just begin with the preliminary works and will need more time to implement it, according to Minister for Information and Communication, Lyonpo Karma Donnen Wangdi.
In regard to the Suung Joen app, Lyonpo said, “Under 120 days pledge, the government has pledged to develop Suung Joen app, a social media application similar to WeChat and WhatsApp to enable Bhutanese to communicate freely without having to use cellular vouchers to activate the service. Although the preliminary works to develop the app began as soon as the government was formed, we are further exploring the app’s utility—the different services we can add and how we can expand it in the future.”
Lyonpo said, “Social media applications like WeChat, WhatsApp and Messengers often do not work and need to be updated from time to time. Similarly, with Suung Joen app there are so many stages, various tests that we need to carry out and we are still working on it. It might take us some time to come up with the Suung Joen app. The application development can be completed within 8 months to 1 year but a minimum of 5 years will be required to operate it.”
He said, “We would like to provide free Wi-Fi but for that we need to develop infrastructure in public places like vegetable market, hospitals and airports including 205 gewogs. We would also like to provide free access to all the services the government is providing and this would also take some time.
Providing Wi-Fi in just one place like Thimphu can be done but we want to provide free Wi-Fi to the entire country.”
Lyonpo said, “Suung Joen app can be compared to a car and Wi-Fi hotspot to the road. So both Suung Joen app and Wi-Fi need to be in good condition to be able to provide the services.”
Lyonpo also said, “In order to address issues facing taxi drivers over parking space, professional driving license and ownership, age of vehicle and age of drivers, we met the taxi association, thromde representative and other agencies. We were informed to discuss and come up with the proposal and as soon as the proposal comes in, we will implement it.”