July 24, 2022
To recapitulate the issues and observations that surfaced over the week, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering met with the dzongkhag, gewog and thromde officials before exiting Bumthang today.
“Why are you here and what is your vision for Bumthang?” prime minister asked. “What are the strengths to build on and what are the weaknesses that need fixing?”
His Majesty has reminded that creating greater economic prosperity for our people and the nation remains an important national goal.
“We must all work towards that,” he said.
Aligning with the central plans, closing gaps between dzongkhag and gewog administrations, paying less attention on formalities and more on ground realities and actions, while being accountable, were some areas highlighted.
The major flagship initiatives of water, technology, health, education and tourism, among others, were reiterated. All the officials were encouraged to focus on high impact projects while taking advantage of technology, as opposed to superficial spread of resources.
Dispelling the rumour that more than 11,000 individuals will be removed from the system in the process of the reform, prime minister said the major transformation underway in the country is to build and strengthen public service, and not to pin someone down. But there are redundancies that need scrubbing.
“As long as you are crystal clear about your responsibility, as long as your performance propels the quality of services or brings about improvement in the average household income, there is nothing you should worry about,” prime minister said.
One simple example was the concern people raised regarding the varying Jersey milk production during seasons that compromised their income, particularly in winter. How are the officials in Bumthang finding ways to make it more efficient year-round or exploring alternatives to stabilise the family income?
Prime minister said the ongoing construction of Bumthang airport terminal and runway expansion, costing around Nu 300 million, will have huge impact on not just Bumthang. With tourism policy revamp, Bumthang is gearing to receive flights from regional airports. So, while working in Bumthang, he urged the officials to analyse and draw plans accordingly.
There is also huge scope to study Bumthang as the hotspot that will attract not just the visitors but families looking to settle for good, thus decongesting other urban areas.
“As the average income of the people improve, the dzongkhag has the strength to attract educated youth and all other Bhutanese. You all have the potential to contribute to national economy in a big way,” he said. “Study which group of families and individuals would want to settle in Bumthang and work accordingly.”
Over the visit to the four gewogs and town, more than 40 submissions were recorded that needed intervention, some immediate and others for coordination with agencies.
Prime minister also shared the rationale behind decisions like removing “cut-off” marks for Class 10, passing on major mines to DHI, dissolution of bars, lifting tobacco ban, closure of Drayang and recent discontinuation of Gaydrung posts, among others.
The general contest is always between “popular decisions” versus “right decisions”.
“We are clear,” prime minister said. “Irrespective of political implications, we will always go for the decision that benefits the nation for all times.”