Member of Parliament (MP) Karma Thinley from Wamrong constituency questioned the Foreign Minister on the plans and programs to address the problems faced by those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic after 15 months of Kidu support.
Foreign Minister, Dr Tandi Dorji, said Bhutan is doing better in terms of managing disease from spreading, and in terms of supply of essentials goods in the country under leadership of His Majesty.
He said, “His Majesty The King has not only supported our people through Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu (DGRK), but has also made sure that everyone gets to eat during the pandemic. So, to pay back to His Majesty, it’s our responsibility to follow the COVID-19 protocol and to stop from the virus from spreading.”
During the session, Lyonpo highlighted that in one year 45,766 people have benefited through DGRK as a monthly income support, and of the total beneficiaries, 13,000 plus people are from the tourism sector.
Through Interest Payment Kidu (IPK) support, 140,000 plus people have benefited, of which more than 2,000 people are the beneficiaries from the tourism sector.
He also added that with an extension of Kidu support for another 15 months, in two months time, more than 15,000 people have benefited with the monthly income support Kidu. As of now, His Majesty has supported people financially amounting to Nu 2.3 bn through various Kidu programs.
Meanwhile, Lyonpo said, “Youths were given opportunities to get themselves trained in TTIs under Build Bhutan Project (BBP) for better employment opportunities.”
Likewise, he said that they have given people an opportunity to avail loans at lower interest rates.
They also have engaged more than 1,500 people for the construction of restrooms along the highways. That way the government has created various opportunities, he added.
He added, “Hotels are used as a quarantine facilities, and the staff are working there. We are trying to inject more money into the National Resilient Fund to keep providing financial support. We have also engaged more than 2,000 people by introducing Druk Neykor and Druk Kora and have promoted local tourism.”
Lyonpo said that they see the opportunity to allow entry of tourist in the country after the administration of the second dose of vaccine with proper guidelines in place. If the 75 percent of the eligible Bhutanese if protected from COVID-19 after getting vaccinated, he said that the tourism sector will improve.
The situation is expected to get better in another one year’s time, he added.