Press release: Pay Revision

It was an honour for the government to submit to the National Assembly and the people of Bhutan the recommendations of pay revision based on the report prepared by our fourth Pay Commission. Led by finance minister and his team, and within the wisdom and framework laid out by the pay commission, we worked over the months to come out with a revision that best suited the interest of our public servant and the nation. As our efforts inch toward the overarching goal of narrowing the gap, I see pay revision as one of the opportunities, just as we were convinced that allowing students of Class X with passed percentage to continue to higher standards would help those from poor background. As many perceive, the revision is not intended to “even out” the pay and entitlements of different levels. Instead, we are trying to ensure that our public servants are compensated and incentivised for their responsibilities, and also to ascertain an income that matches economic reality of the country. In the spirit of narrowing the gap, we tried to increase incentives for the ESP and GSP staff, the lowest paid in the public service, to the highest possible. Besides a raise of 35 percent, we have ensured Nu 3,500 monthly house rent allowance. This would raise the gross pay to Nu. 12,950 monthly for ESP and Nu. 14,005 montly for GSP. Except for some core urban areas, it should comfortably cover house rents of the support staff in most of the districts. We have also put in place, for the first time, retirement benefits for these public servants so that their livelihood is secured to certain extent, even after completion of service. If the pay revision comes through as proposed by the government, teaching becomes the highest paid profession in the country. For example, a senior teacher with more than 30 years experience would receive 55 percent raise and additional allowance of 20 percent as “distinguished category” on Bhutan Professional standards for teachers (BPST). That takes the total to 75 percent. In contrast, the sub and super specialists would receive only 60 percent. But again, doctors are products of teachers. As pledged, our focus is on according due motivation to the teachers, while also improving quality of the profession, which in turn will benefit our education system. Salary is just one aspect. As part of our flagship programs, we are also targeting capacity building and career advancement for teachers. But we haven’t disregarded our health workers, who are working relentlessly to take services to the people. They might deserve more and health is this government’s priority but within the limits, we have tried. We are also mindful that health services are provided by every healthcare worker across the country and not just one doctor or two. I personally feel our public servants are very deserving and if not limited by the coffer, we could have proposed for an even higher revision. However, within the limitations, we have tried to motivate individuals through other allowances. We have also tried to encourage regular trainings in-country, knowing that we have enough resources and infrastructure within. While the government has presented its version to the Assembly, we still have rooms for discussions as the legislative committee reviews what is now the money bill. If we have overlooked any detail, we will be more than happy to be told. Meanwhile, we have also alerted checks on implications that could be triggered by the pay revision, like the spikes in market costs and house rents, as was the practice in the past. But we also expect our citizens to be aware of legal provisions and inform relevant agencies should you notice any such development. Please get in touch with our Public Service and Grievance Redressal Division or feel free to walk in or write to us here. As soon as time permits, I make sure I go through all the responses. I would also like to assure you that we will work harder to strengthen our public servants and motivate them to work for the benefit of our people and the country. Dr Lotay Tshering Prime Minister Note: Please contact Public Service and Grievance Redressal Division at