The PDP manifesto, which is the longest of all parties, is titled ‘13th Plan Plus 13 Pledges’ saying that the 13th plan and the 13 pledge manifesto should complement each other in achieving national goals.
The PDP President Dasho Tshering Tobgay in the manifesto said the nation is in the midst of unprecedented challenges.
“If we are unable to reverse these trends, the very viability of our nation will be in jeopardy. If we do not course correct immediately, the very survival and sovereignty of our beloved nation will be at stake.”
The party said that from 2013-18 it rebuilt a collapsing economy as it inherited an economy in 2013 reeling under the rupee crisis, soaring inflation, import bans, frozen credit and minimal business activity.
The PDP said its economic goals are to increase the GDP from US$ 2.5 billion to US$ 5 billion, increase GDP per capita from US$ 3,400 to US$ 12,000 in the next 10 years, create full employment (97.5%) in the next five years, with annualized creation of 10,000 jobs, including 2,000 jobs in the digital sector and boost private sector investment from 40% to a robust 60% in the next five years.
It wants to increase the contribution of manufacturing sector to GDP from 6% to a substantial 30% in the next five years, increase the number of tourist arrivals to an annual average of 300,000 tourists, with 50% originating from third countries, and increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Nu.43 billion to Nu.500 billion in the next five years.
PDP said a high-powered and dynamic Economic Development Board (EDB) will be established with the Prime Minister as its chairperson to attract and fast track the establishment of businesses and Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
PDP shall promptly mobilize Nu.15 billion immediately upon assuming government leadership and utilize this stimulus fund to stimulate various sectors of the economy.
Under Hydropower PDP wants to undertake the development of six mega hydropower projects like Nyera Amari, Dorjilung, Bunakha, Kuri Gongri, Chamkharchu and Sunkosh, develop of seven small hydropower projects and expedite the completion of Kholongchu Hydropower Project.
PDP also wants to develop a 500 MW solar farm.
PDP has said it will review the Tourism policy including the Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) levy and its rules and regulations to eliminate barriers hindering the growth and development of the tourism sector and enable participation of various stakeholders in the sector.
It will promote tourism in Dzongkhags with less or no tourist arrivals by various special promotional measures and fiscal incentives, expanding Yonphula, Bumthang and Gelephu Airports, establishing exit and entry points for tourists for Samdrup Jongkhar, Nganglam, Gelephu, Samtse, Panbang, Jomotshangkha and mandate the Dzongkhag Administrations to develop tourism packages and promote tourism.
Red tape and taxes
A comprehensive study of all public service delivery interfaces will be done to identify and eliminate unfriendly, and unnecessary regulations that burden the general public, establish a Citizen’s Charter, which will serve as a minimum right of the citizens in receiving public services and conduct periodic assessments and service delivery ratings of public service agencies.
PDP wants to revise rules and regulations to relax wetland utilization and to ease the processes for conversion as permitted by the Land Act.
The party wants to empower the Gewog Administration to approve the construction of traditional houses within a day in the villages without the need for detailed drawings. If needed, government will provide a general code for village house construction.
PDP says it will allow felling of trees within one’s own thram without having to seek approval from the Department of Forests and Park Services.
It will do away with the need to convert kamshing into Khimsa for the purpose of constructing a house and allow conversion of a plot from the orchard into khimsa for the purpose of house construction to those without land for house.
Streamline and ease the exit and entry processes in the border gateways for easy and smooth entry and exit of people and goods.
Taxation policy and regulations shall be reviewed to rationalize taxes on land, property, business, vehicles and incomes.
Manufacturing and FDI
To encourage manufacturing, it wants to fast track the approval and land allocation, ensure fair power rates, and engage the private sector in manufacturing and supplying essential goods and services for hydropower projects and an ambitious 13th Plan.
To attract FDI PDP wants to establish Special Economic Zones or Autonomous Economic Areas and Export Processing Zones, enable Bhutanese entrepreneurs to invest in businesses outside the country providing targeted support for enterprises seeking to expand Bhutanese businesses into international markets, allow FDI in small and medium-sized investments, particularly in agriculture and ICT sector.
PDP wants to allow establishment of casinos in the southern border towns as part of a broader strategy to attract investment and tourism.
To remove regulatory burden and unnecessary processes PDP wants to review the FDI policy on Access to foreign exchange, Expatriate employment, Investment protection and Compliance.
It wants to establish robust e-payment gateways, review cooling period for foreign workers, review external commercial borrowing guidelines, review and reform banking and financial systems to make it private sector friendly in consultation with RMA, and ease foreign workers recruitment process.
CSI and Exports
The party wants to establish a dedicated CSI window that is specialized to serve the financial needs of CSIs, promote international export market for CSI products and introduce “Buy Bhutanese Product” initiative, mandating all government agencies to procure Bhutanese products and provide special support to informal businesses like hawkers to operate.
It wants all the larger Dzongkhags to features CSIs as key players and identify land for them.
PDP wants to develop Samtse as a Special Economic Zone for manufacturing and export, have Kanglung developed as an education hub while Nganglam will be developed as an economic hub.
PDP wants to complete the South-East-West Highway by building the remaining stretches and improving the rest.
It wants to enhance inter Dzongkhag connectivity between several Dzongkhags and double lane several highways.
PDP has said it will base course/stone soling all the farm roads and blacktop all farm roads to big Chiwogs and resurface and maintain all Gewog Centre Roads with proper drainage facilities.
PDP wants to ensure that the transportation needs of government-owned corporations are met through private transporters and truckers.
It will promote convenient and more taxi parking spaces in urban areas and install adequate number of charging stations in major towns and along highways.
Water and Power
PDP said the mandate for the Department of Water (DoW) will be further prioritize to make water available to every home 24 by 7 and every farmland and spearhead collaboration among various relevant agencies to ensure the comprehensive realization of the goal of providing water for all.
For reliable power supply PDP wants to replace outdated components, implement state-of-the-art technologies to enhance the overall reliability of power supply and implement grid resilience measures.
A flagship program called “Rent to Own” will be instituted through which the government will develop housing stock that will be made available to civil servants, private sector salaried employees, and low-income groups. These houses will become eligible for ownership after a specified number of years of occupancy. For first time home/apartment purchase or first house constructions in consultation with stakeholders including RMA, PDP will reduce interest rate to 4% including for rural homes.
On the telecom, front PDP said it will initiate reduction of telecom charges, such as data charges to 50% of the current rate or equivalent to the rates in India.
It said it will ensure stable and high-speed internet connectivity is available in every Dzongkhag, Gewog, and Chiwog, including all institutions such as government offices and schools.
Health and Education
PDP will empower all schools with ICT enabled teaching-learning facilities such as high-speed internet connectivity and smart classrooms.
PDP will allow the establishment of international schools.
Teachers will receive a minimum of 80 hours of annual professional development training.
Teachers workload will be rationalized so that teachers are not overburdened with excessive administrative responsibilities.
PDP will review Individual Work Plans (IWP) for the teachers and institute an alternative performance measurement system responsive to the unique needs of teachers in consultation with RCSC. It will declare Saturdays as non-working days for teachers.
PDP will ensure that all Gewog health centres have one doctor (depending on resident population) and adequate health staff, including one female health worker. It will ensure that every district hospital has dialysis service facilities.
It will upgrade Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) as super-specialist teaching centre with capacity for organ transplant and other super-specialized medical services.
Upgrade Regional Referral Hospitals (Mongar and Gelephu) to multi-specialty hospitals. Establish Samtse hospital as a Regional Referral Hospital.
It will establish a cancer hospital in Thimphu.
PDP will recruit retired health personnel to address the shortage of healthcare professionals.
PDP said it will establish special interest free loan facilities to purchase power tillers and other farm machineries.
Reserve minimum acreage of wetland for paddy cultivation for which government will provide special support like buy-back, machinery, fencing support and adequate water.
Review immigration laws and policies to permit foreign workers in the agriculture sector to address the critical issue of farm labour shortage.
Support setting up of animal feeds plants to ensure adequacy and fair price of the feed.
Taxation policy and regulations shall be reviewed to rationalise tax on land, property and business incomes.
Initiate development of cold storage, warehouses, and auction yards at Dzongkhag levels.
Support every Gewog to identify at least one product that will receive prioritized support from the government for production, processing, packaging, and marketing.