July 24, 2016

NDMA failed at its task

‘There was a total lack of seriousness in managing disaster’ – RAA

| Kinley Dema, Thimphu

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the nodal agency for disaster management in the country, has failed in implementing its plans and policies. It is included in the lists of the agencies that the Royal Audit Authority (RAA) had lashed for finding series of shortcomings and lapses in its functioning.
According to the RAA, as per the section 19 of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, ‘the NDMA as the highest decision making body on disaster management shall meet at least once every six months.’ However, despite the requirement of the Act, the NDMA had held only two meetings so far.
The RAA noted that the agency had delineated roles and responsibilities of various agencies involved in disaster management. However, it was neither carried out and nor was there any follow up to verify the status by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM).
The second lapse stated in the report is non-existence or non-functioning of Dzongkhag Disaster Management Committee (DDMCs). It has been noted that most of the dzongkhags have not initiated the formation of DDMC despite written instruction from the government dated 15th may 2014, and also found out that many of the dzongkhags has not formed the committee.
No dzongkhag administration had carried out any function as laid down in the Act, thereby violating the roles and responsibilities of the act, the report states.
The report further states that dzongkhag administrations have not even convened a single meeting to coordinate and manage the disaster related issues in their jurisdiction, and also that they have not adhered to the instruction of the government.
“Such inaction to the provision of the Act indicated a total lack of seriousness in disaster management in the country by all parties concerned,” the report states.
Non-constitution of Inter-Ministerial Task Force (ITMF) is another shortcoming. Despite the requirement of the act and importance of such team, NDMA and DDM had not finalized the constitution of IMTF even after two and half years since the enactment of the DM Act.
The RAA report also mentioned that the lapses include non-recruitment of dzongkhag disaster management officer (DDMO). It was observed that DDMO has not been recruited as of date in any dzongkhag as required under the DM Act 2013.
“Most of the inefficiencies in disaster management at the dzongkhag level are attributed to the absence of a proper DM focal person,” the report states.
The report further states that meetings and correspondences held between DDM and Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) indicated that the DDM had initiated the recruitments of DDMOs but RCSC did not encourage it on the principle of ‘small, compact and efficient’ civil service.
It is also found out that lack of fund and frequent change in the focal person is the primary reason for not being able to carry out the functions that are in DM Act.
The lack of national disaster management plan is another lapse. The DM Act requires preparation of disaster management and contingency plans at gewog, thromde, dzongkhag and ultimately at the national level.
However, the reports also shows that out of 205 gewogs, the disaster and contingency plan was initiated for 26 gewogs as of date and the gewog disaster plans were found out to be prepared primarily by the village folks with some assistance from focal person on disaster management.
And in the absence of the strategic planning and the lack of expertise at the gewog level, the implementation of bottom up approach to disaster management planning has been rendered difficult, the report states.
It is mentioned in the report that lack of disaster management unit in agencies contravenes a provision of the Act.
Although the Act necessitates coordination among the agencies for an integrated disaster management, it has been observed that there was minimal or no coordination, thus, resulting in lack of effectiveness in combating disaster.
Absence of hazard zonation maps and vulnerability report is another shortcoming. RAA noted that as of date, there is no fundamental baseline data on disaster in the country. In absence of such primary information, RAA could not authenticate and ascertain how the isolated and piece-metal activities would ultimately result in macro-objective of building a safe and resilient nation.
The report also pointed out that there was lack of central database system on disaster management. At the moment there is complete lack of information at the central level due to which the RAA faced tremendous difficulties in gathering even basic information on disaster management.
The report shows that fire safety in the dzongs and the public buildings such as hospitals, government houses and offices are either absent or minimal.
As per the Act, ‘there shall be a National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) established by the DDM including Dzongkhag EOCs. These EOCs are meant to be the primary information and coordination centre for management of disaster, especially during the times of disaster. However, RAA found out that no EOCs had been established till date.
Irregularities in management of equipments were also revealed by the RAA officials. Inadequacies and inconsistencies in funding arrangement support for disaster management was also included in the audit findings.

July 24, 2016

Govt. bringing party politics into play: OL

|Karma Yangzom, Thimphu

Putting party politics above the national interest by the government is the reason behind shooting down all their recommendations and motions moved in the parliament, the opposition party said.
In last the session, the opposition camp moved four motions but none could get a smooth sail over the government’s table. There were also numerous recommendations given to the ruling party but all fell into the deaf ears.
“Politics should come after the interest of the nation but the government seems to be taking it otherwise. What we had recommended were for the nation and the people. Sadly, time and again, we fail to get support from the government,” said South Thimphu Member of Parliament (MP), Yeshey Jimba.
He said that the government is shooting down everything that the opposition propose or recommend.
“But then this is how democracy functions. Ours is only two-party democratic system and thus, it is natural that there will be some rift between the parties,” he said.
He mentioned that as the opposition party, it is their responsibility to look for a hole behind the back of the government and tell them.
One of the opposition member said that sometimes ego-play also comes in the House.
According to Lamgong-Wangcha, MP Khandu Wangchuk, if not from the government, they do get attention from the media and the people.
“Ultimately, it is the people who will give the final verdict. We shouldn’t fail to discharge our duties and we will keep voicing our say whether the government listen or not,” he said.
“Sometimes, I tell the MPs of ruling camp that they will fail to garner support from the public in the next election. I remind them that their cabinet members will come back but some of them may not because they have done nothing other than supporting their party to vote out our recommendations in the sessions,” said MP Khandu Wangchuk.
The Panbang MP, Dorji Wangdi, said that the government may not have acknowledged their recommendations publicly but the government do evaluate their proposals and work accordingly.
“All through these many sessions, we have been asking the government to address the issue of housing crunch confronted by the residents of Phuentsholing. Many people are pushed to the other side of the border gate and this is a serious issue. Now, we are glad to know that the government is constructing a high density housing complex to bring in our people who live across the border,” he said.
MP Dorji Wangdi mentioned that this is a fine example of how things are working.
“Call it ego or whatever; this trend will go on in days to come. But it is very important that we do not get distracted and endure to fulfil our duties. We have a huge responsibility to work for the nation and the people,” he said.

May 15 2016

A matter of favoritism – corrupt practice  

|Tashi Wangmo, Thimphu

The case of double funding for a fraudster, non-assessment of applicants on selection of candidates for further studies and incomplete performance appraisals considered for promotions were three predominant cases found by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in the civil service.
As per the investigation report of ACC/ID/2011/CASE-5, five seats were allotted by a Donor Agency to pursue Post Graduate (PG) course through an agency which is outside the purview of Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC). Despite securing a full scholarship from this agency, Nima (name changed) applied and secured a government scholarship for the same study. This is forbidden as all civil servants should work with integrity and it is blatant violation of Civil Service Code of Conduct and Ethics of Bhutan Civil Servants Rules (BCSR) 2010.
In 2009, he had applied for a scholarship to his concerned office and in return, he was asked to find training institutes. Although no vacancies were announced, he had applied and secured 2nd position. But still, he got on the move.
On 9 may 2011, the scholarship implementing agency informed the parent agency to release eligibility and tuition fees of the candidate. Subsequently, Chief Human Resource Officer submitted nomination to RCSC for the RGoB scholarship. He signed undertaking with the agency only to present himself as the employee of the scholarship implementing agency to secure admission for the studies.
On 13th May he had also executed an undertaking with the RCSC, and the parent agency had disbursed Nu. 108,223 as a daily subsistence allowance (Nu. 12,000 per month as a stipend) and also disbursed Nu 5,000 to account officer of scholarship implementing agency as the registration fee.
Later, the investigating revealed that he was already receiving a monthly stipend of Rs. 25,000 from the Government of India and all the expenditure during training was also being covered.
He was asked to refund Nu. 108,336 with 24% penalty and administrative action of withholding annual increments of him were taken by the parent agency. A slot for specialized PG studies was also wasted as he was not allowed to continue his studies.
In another incident, RCSC’s HR Audit Report, 2014, stated that the performance of an autonomous agency got affected for 2 months since a key personal assistant (PA) left the organization for better opportunities.
On 23rd September, 2012, a new PA was recruited defying all code of conducts that interviewers were mandated to preserve while selecting new recruits. While some of the interviewers gave overrating, some failed to charge their duties by not following selection process properly. It was found out that it was due to carelessness and negligence or to favour someone over other candidates.
There has been no record of action taken but the HRO on interview duty was held accountable and liable for necessary administrative action for negligence.
The costs have not been monetized but the question of suitability of the selected candidate for the post lingered. Unsuitability could have an influence on the productivity of the organization and there is a possibility that the organization might have rejected the most suitable candidate who can perform better and required lesser training and supervision.
At the organization level, other employees could also be demotivated due to such practices and at the societal level, the society could lose faith in the system.
Similarly, the report mentioned one of the ministries decided to promote 41 staff without carrying out proper performance appraisals. This not only violated BCSR but it is also against the rationale of PMS and promotion.
Promotion without complete performance evolution (PE) forms with latest performance evaluation ratings, inconsistencies in PE ratings, promotion without fulfilling required qualification and without complete documents such as audit clearance certificate and last promotion orders were uncovered by the audit observation.
The RCSC did not directly address the issue but decided that the agencies are required to strictly adhere to the requirement of performance management system and maintain complete performance appraisal forms accordingly in future.
According to BCSR 2010 chapter 13: Promotion, clause 8.3 states that the officials will have to have consistently ‘Outstanding’ annual performance rating for last three consecutive years.
This case showed that there are huge gap between HRM, particularly, the PMS policy and practice. The HR audit observed breach of BCSR 2010, especially presence of gross inconsistency between promotion rules and actual practice in the Ministry.
This shows that the RCSC’s performance management system was not effectively implemented for some cases. And the existing rules were violated due to RCSC’s decentralized performance managements system at the level of agencies appear to lack effective monitoring and accountability procedures.

May 15 2016

On to fulfill His Grandfather’s wish

|Tashi Wangmo, Thimphu

Son of a Tshogpa from Pam chiwog, Trashigang, and grandson of a person who served as a Royal Advisory Counselor, Jamyang, 30, remembers his “meme” say that service for the people and country should stand on the top of his many priorities. He is finally prepared to do it and fulfill his grandfather’s wish, if he wins in the forthcoming Thrompon elections.
A beautiful town with 24 hours water supply; footpaths for pedestrians and the shops bustling with tourism and local products. “This was my grandfather’s dreams of Trashigang,” he says, underlining that he would put his body, mind and soul to achieve it, if people provide him the platform by electing him Thrompon of Trashigang town.
He has observed his father working for development of the communities for 15 years and knows what the town needs. Moreover, having spent more than half his life in Pam, his native village, Jamyang says he is well acquainted with the potentials and challenges of transforming Trashigang town to a “Dream Town.” “Unlike others I have always wanted to complete my studies, come back to my village and do something here,” he says, highlighting that if elected, he has a host of programs to reduce rural- urban migration.
Holder of a Bachelors Degree from Kalimpong, Jamyang has been “observing his town” for the last three years. “Trashigang has 15 gewogs and every gewog has its unique and special product. I will ensure that there is uninterrupted market for the products,” he says, highlighting that as Thrompon, he would not just sit on his chair at Trashigang.
Extension of the town would be another priority. “People say it is a problem and there is no land in town. But there are areas towards Melphey and Pam for the town to extend.”
His friends know him as a person with integrity and very generous. “During our school days, he used to even buy my clothes,” Tshering, a close friend said.
Meanwhile, Jambyang has no qualms of winning or losing. “As our saying goes, when two bulls fight, one should win and the other will lose,” he says, adding that even if he loses, he would stay home and start a venture to benefit the community. “My roots are calling me. I hear the words of my grandfather. I will go home, no matter what.”


May 15 2016

Lauding helicopter service

‘Next helicopter will arrive by 21th July’ 

|Karma Yangzom, Thimphu

It is only into the sixth month of its operation but the lone helicopter in the country has already provided a commendable service to the people. From extinguishing wild fires to evacuating ailing patients from remote pockets to the capital, Royal Bhutan Helicopter Service Limited (RBHSL) is serving its purpose diligently.ssssssss
According to the chief executive officer (CEO) of RBHSL, Chewang Gyeltshen, so far they have not failed in providing their services to the people despite being very new establishment in the country.
He said that they are entrusted with the responsibility of providing emergency services and charter services.
“Within emergency services, we provide medical evacuations (MEDEVEC), casualty evacuation (CASEVEC) and fire-fighting service. This is inline with the multi-mission capability of the helicopter H130,” said the CEO.
He said that the charter services are meant for transporting passengers and ferrying cargos and freights.
The health minister, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk, said the helicopter service has helped them save many lives. He said 17 patients were air-lifted to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) for treatment from various parts of the country in the month of November, December and January.
“Most of the patients brought to JDWNRH were under critical condition. The patients suffering from cardiac arrest , pregnancy complications, Tracheo-oesophageal fistula, accidents, head injury and chronic liver disease,” said the minister.
He added that another six patients were also air-lifted to JDWNRH last month.
The minister for agriculture and forestry, Lyonpo Yeshi Dorji, said the helicopter service played crucial role in containing forest fire in Sangaygang and Samazingkha in Thimphu that razed thousand acres of land.
“Had it not been for the helicopter service, forest fire at Chuzom could have swallowed more forest. Our forest officials and volunteer fire-fighters were fighting losing battle on the rough terrain and windy weather near Dongkola monastery until it came to our rescue,” said Lyonpo.
He mentioned that not only in Thimphu, even in Wangduephodrang and Haa, it has helped us to contain the wildfire.
In regard to the fees charged for hiring their service, the CEO said they charge based on the hourly utilization of the helicopter.
“With a seating configuration of six passengers and subject to helicopter performances, the fees are about Nu 175,000 (USD 2,500+5% surcharge) for locals and Nu 315,000 (USD 5,000+5% surcharge) for the tourists,” he said.
He mentioned that they also provide services to contain fires at the request of Department of Disaster Management (DDM) under the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs.
The CEO said another new helicopter will be arriving by the third week of July. “The new one will be similar to the existing helicopter.
“All the painting works have been completed and at the moment the Airbus Helicopters are fitting the equipments.
The helicopter is certified with a maximum seating configuration of six passengers and one pilot.
Meanwhile, RBHSL formally started its operation on 11th November last year coinciding the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. The helicopter was procured the cost of USD 3.65 million.


May 15 2016

Thousands attended 13th Annual National Job Fair

‘Mismatch between jobs available and choice of jobseekers attribute to rising youth unemployment’

|Kinley Dema, Thimphu

At the 13th National Job Fair, the Labour Minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, said although Bhutan could achieve full employment in 2015, but the female unemployment and youth unemployment was on upward spiral.
Lyonpo mentioned that there are still around 42,000 jobseekers in the “Our government’s pledge was to achieve full employment by providing jobs to all those who are willing to work. The overall goal of 11th FYP is also to achieve full, productive, gainful and decent employment for the people of Bhutan so as to steer the nation to a greater height,” said Lyonpo.
In his address, Lyonpo said the rationale behind organizing the job fair is to provide a common platform for the employers and jobseekers to interact, and to enable on-the-spot recruitment so as to save time and cost.
According to the minister, one of the main reasons for rising unemployment in the country is mismatch between the choices of the jobseekers and jobs available in the market.
“Work location choices have also resulted in rising unemployment rate. Most of the people prefer working in urban places, aggravating the urban unemployment rate further. The choices of the employers, looking for experienced workers, has also attributed to unemployment among youth,” he said.
In order to curb youth unemployment problem, Lyonpo said that the government initiated a new program called Guaranteed Employment Program (GEP). This programme is specifically targeted at unemployed youth of class 10 and above to keep them engaged in meaningful works.
“The various programs under the GEP are Direct Employment Scheme (DES), Overseas Employment Scheme (OES) and Employment Skills Scheme (Graduate Skills Program (GSP) and Youth Employment Skills (YES) Programme,” said the minister.
He mentioned that from 2013 till now, a total of 27, 737 jobseekers have registered in the job portal system maintained by the ministry. And as per the statistics maintained, 9,893 jobseekers have been placed in various government, private, corporate and NGOs through regular placement schemes.
“Apart from the regular placements, 3,231 jobseekers have been engaged through the DES, 2,603 engaged through the OES, 318 engaged through the GSP and 946 engaged through the YES,” said Lyonpo.
In this job fair, the minister said that there were 40 different employment agencies from various private, corporate and government sectors including new overseas employment agents displaying various job vacancies, training opportunities and job information in line with the current situation of our labour market.
One of the jobseekers, Jigme Wangmo, a class 12 graduate who attended the fair for the first time, said it was indeed helpful for people like them since they get to know the true picture of the job market.
“Since most of the employers are looking for experienced and skilled workers, we are deprived of most of the better job opportunities. It is really disheartening,” she said.
Another job seeker, Dago Denkar, a graduate from the Manipal University, said that the fair helps them to know about jobs available in the market.
“But sadly, most of the jobs available are blue-colours such as technicians, cooks and carpenters,” she said.
Talking to The Journalist, the employer of Jai Prakash Associates Limited, Colonel Ashok Sharma, said that it is helpful for them to get better candidates without having to go through lengthy interviewing process.
“It is beneficial for us to recruit candidates with right aptitude to work with us. In last two days, we have received many applications from the jobseekers,” said Ashok Sharma.
Meanwhile, the two days national job fair concluded on Friday. Thousands of jobseekers thronged at the Changlimethang stadium parking to attend the job fair. The fair with the theme ‘Be Employed, Be productive, Be Useful’ was inaugurated by the labour minister. Similar job fairs were also organized in Trashigang, Samdrup Jongkhar, Gelephu and Phuentsholing.


Towards a successful second LG elections                                                                                             May 15 2016

|Puran Gurang, Thimphu

To observe free and fair election, familiarize electoral process, and facilitate election by helping voters and applicants and to prepare them on their roles and responsibilities, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) started training national observers and returning officers (ROs) from May 13, 2016. This is in preparation for the upcoming Local Government Election of Bhutan, the second in Bhutan.
The training will impart observers and returning officers their roles and responsibilities, familiarize electoral process, facilitate free and fair election and the guidelines of elections in Bhutan. Coming to the end of this training, Election Commission will have trained 170 returning officers and observers (micro, national and international).
Chief Election Commissioner, Chogyal Dago Rigzin highlighted the importance of the Local Government Elections and the need for dedicated services of the electoral officials in ensuring that the 2ndphase of the Local Government Elections is successful as envisioned by our Kings.
“The trainings for the returning officers and observers are to provide them the legal basis of the electoral process and to impart them roles and responsibilities of ROs and observers,” said Chief Training Coordinator of ECB, Chimmi Dorji. He added that “owing to the need of more numbers of ROs and observers, ECB divided them into three groups”.
Elections for the Phase-2 of the Local Governments shall be called sometime in June; Phase-3 in July and finally Phase-4 in November 2016. The four phases of the Second Local Government Elections are inevitable due to differing dates of completing term in office.
Meanwhile, all Local Government Elections in the 20 Dzongkhags will be conducted in Phase 2 except for elections in the five Gewogs of Chhumig (Bumthang), Phuentshogling (Chhukha), Goenshari (Punakha), Sang-Nga-Chholing (Samtse) and Mendrelgang in Tsirang Dzongkhag which will be conducted in Phase 3 and 5 Gewogs of Bjabchhog and Doongna in Chhukha and Samkhar, Bartsham and Uzorong Gewogs in Trashigang Dzongkhags in Phase 4.
Phase- 2 of the LG elections will be held tentatively around June. The elections will be conducted in all 205 Gewogs, 16 Dzongkhag Thromdes (Class B) and 18 Yenlag Thromde, during the conduct of Phase-2, ECB declared vacancy for 16 Thrompons, 205 Gups, 18 Yenlag Thuemi, 205 Mangmis and 1044 Tshogpas.


Airbus  A319 to join the fleet by June end                                                                                               May 15 2016

|Karma Yangzom, Thimphu

The national airline’s Airbus A319 that sustained damages due to an unexpected hailstorm over Guwahati on April 16 will soon be flown to Singapore for maintenance and repair besides a mandatory maintenance that is due in August.
Drukair officials said that the components that have to be replaced are all set and it will take less than four weeks to fly to Singapore where all repairs and maintenance will be done. druk-air-759
“After a teleconference with Airbus, in order to qualify for a ferry clearance, we have to replace some more parts. Repairing the aircraft at Guwahati is not practical and thus, we had to reschedule our plans and do some more detailed defect analysis before we can ferry it,” said an official from Drukair.
He said that only after submitting the analysis report to Airbus, they will get a ferry clearance.
Ferry clearance, according to the official, is the permission to fly the airplane for the purpose of returning an aircraft to a maintenance facility or delivering the aircraft from its place of manufacturer to its customer.
The official also said that the initial plan of ferrying the flight to Paro has been ruled out, and instead will be ferried to Singapore where the necessary maintenance and repair facilities are available.
He mentioned that it will remain grounded for at least another 4-5 weeks from now for the repairs.
A mandatory maintenance which is done after every 12 years of this aircraft is due in August 2016. This is a complete structural check where a detailed inspection on the aircraft is carried out for any damages, replacement of parts and other modifications.
“In a way, it is timely that we have to do repairs alongside the mandatory maintenance works,” said the official, adding that the aircraft will be back to service by the end of this month.
Regarding the cost estimation for repairs and maintenance, the official said it will be the insurance company.
“We are working with the insurance companies on the formalities required to cover the cost,” said the official.
He said that in regard to flight operations, they are maximizing the utilization of our existing fleet optimally. “Since the aircraft will be grounded for a longer duration than anticipated we are working on various means possible so that our service is not affected much,” said the official.
However, he mentioned that on some days when loads are less they cancel Singapore 3rd frequency and mostly fly direct routes by airbus to cut the route shorter and make optimum utilization of the existing fleet.
“In such cases we transfer the fifth freedom customers to other airlines,” he said.
The official also mentioned that they regret for all the inconveniences caused as a result of this unfortunate incident.
“We would like to reiterate that the safety of the customers and crew always remains our top priority,” he said.
Meanwhile, Flight KB-140 was bound for Bangkok via Guwahati with 103 passengers onboard when the incident occurred.
On approaching Guwahati, the pilots were circumnavigating thunder storms when it flew into an unexpected hailstorm. The pilots could safely land the aircraft.

Driver shot by security guard                                                                                                                      May 15 2016

|Puran Gurung, Thimphu

A security guard of Punjab National Bank (PNB), Thimphu, shot a driver of the same bank with a .303 rifle around 12.30 pm yesterday. The bullet hit the victim’s left arm and pierced through the wall of the adjacent building.
While the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) refused to comment saying that the case is under investigation, people who were in the bank when the incident occurred said that it happened in the lobby.
The Journalist learnt the incident occurred following a scuffle between the two over some official matters.


Favoritism cutting all HRM process                                                                                                         May 15 2016

|Puran Gurung, Thimphu

Since Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) establishment till March 2015, it received 314 complaints related to Human Resource Management (HRM). Human Recourse (HR) complaints analysis indicates a decreasing trend in the number of complaints received by ACC.
According to ACC report, it shows that the highest number of HR related complaints received was in 2009 and the lowest was recorded in 2008.
76 percent of the complaints were lodged by unknown implying the need to further work towards building public confidence in ACC as it is one of the indicators.
The report shows that 128 complaints were received against the head of organizations or departments while there were only four complaints against human resource officers.
Of all the complaints, 46 percent were against males and three percent were against females. 51percent of complaints did not specify gender as they were either against agencies or committees.
Majority of the complaints were against civil servants, with 46 percent, and 22 percent were against corporate employees. There were also complaints against political party and hydropower authorities.
The report states that no actions were taken against 41 percent of the total complaints while 26 percent had been closed. While some had been already investigated, a few are still being investigated.
The report also shows that HR complaints are also against the favouritism and lack of professionalism in HRC functionings. It further states that this could affect working relationship and environment and can make employees lose faith in the HRC and decrease their job performances.
The reason that causes favouritisms, according to the report, are misplaced compassion and absence of integrity role. Sometimes HROs cannot provide complete or sufficient information to the HRC to make the right decisions due to poor data management.
Similarly, it states that the weak enforcement will cause favoritism. Finding reveal that RCSC policies and regulation have been well designed but it is the enforcement part that is lagging behind. There is no proper channel for lodging complaints at the agencies and the RCSC.
Most of the respondents believe that strong social ties will influence all HRM process. “It is difficult to hurt people in a small and close knit society,” said one of the respondents.
Many respondents perceived the existence of influence by the higher authorities beside political influence within the civil service across all HRM process.
The report also states that HR plans are mandated to execute properly in all the agencies but it is not being followed. In terms of HRM process recruitment, training and transfer issues were complained most.
The quantitative analysis reveals that recruitment decisions are not influenced by bribery. Recruitments process in the civil service is consider as very clear. But, they marked on high level of centralization in recruitment where the RCSC reserves the sole right to recruit from P5 level.
There are some cases of compassion influencing recruitment as the selection panel members may assigned higher scores for the people who shared their hardship during interview thereby resulting in their recruitment.
One of the concerns raised by the respondents was about mentoring. They identified lack of mentoring programs particularly for the new recruits.
The short term trainings for the staffs at the Dzongkhag level are not aware of training opportunities and come to know when someone has left for the trainings. Dzongkhag has no control over the process of nomination of their sectors staff for ex-country short term trainings.
There is no clear view about the executive selection among the respondents in the organizations at the central, Dzongkhag and Thromde levels, according to the report.
A few respondents had expressed that there could be elements of favoritism or political influence in executive selection in the form of handpicking or preselecting individuals without considering performance and feedbacks from agencies where they worked.
Moreover, the respondents from the Dzongkhag are of the view that the candidates from Dzongkhags are rarely shortlisted in the executive selection. Further, it is noted that the relevancy of educational background and experience to the agencies are overlooked in the selection process.

BBIN MVA – In the Political Cauldron?                                                                                                  May 15 2016

| Puran Gurung, Thimphu

The Bangladesh, India and Nepal (BBIN) motor vehicle agreement issue is now taking a new turn, with apprehensions arising from a few people and political observers that BBIN is going on the political ring road, where interest groups can be used by political parties, which is very unhealthy and dangerous for a 1young democracy.
This comes in the wake of a submission made by members of the Coordinator of Truckers Association Committee of Bhutan (CTACB) to the Opposition seeking their help, saying that BBIN will do more harm than h
elp for them. In response, the Opposition has said that the issue will be tabled in the next session of the parliament.Read More

With thousands of registered truckers and taxis in the country, it is a huge vote bank and a section, which observers say “cannot be ignored“. Though it is not clear if the (CTACB) represents the interests of all the truckers and taxi drivers of the country, a member of the CTACB, Tshering Nidup, said he has collected over 1,000 signatures of truck drivers that will be submitted to the Prime Minister, Speaker, Chairman of the National Council and the Opposition Leader.

Those apprehensive of the development have their views. “If whatever is happening is being done for national interests, the government should go ahead and I do not see why political parties are making an issue of it, if they are doing so. And in the interest of the nation, some sacrifices has to be made,” a former editor said. When asked if this tantamount to politicization, he said it definitely is. “Every political party knows that the truckers are a huge vote bank. But to reiterate what I said earlier, in the interest of the nation, sacrifices has to be made,” he said, underlining that BBIN could affect 1000 people, but about 100,000 could benefit.
A senior corporate employee said that the move made by the CTACB is a demonstration of interest groups using political parties and the latter using the former. “This is not good for a very young and unique democracy like ours. If the Truckers had issues, they could have approached the Prime Minister or the MoIC Minister. Why are they dragging the opposition in? Today it is the truckers. Tomorrow it could be the unemployed. Such precedents should not be set”.
However, a freelance writer said that the Truckers have every right to approach the opposition. “I support that interest groups should not be used by political parties and that this (BBIN) issue may set a trend. But the opposition getting involved is how a democracy functions”, he noted.
A contractor who did not want to be named added that most of the people who signed for the letter to be submitted to the Prime Minister do not know even the full form of BBIN. “I have been following this development. My truck driver said someone is collecting signatures and when I asked him what it was about, he did not know anything. There are a few players with their vested interests pushing their agenda, not realizing that political parties could take them on a joy ride”.
The Bhutan Kuenyam Party (BKP) President, Sonam K Tobgay said that due diligence must be carried out exhaustively. “Because on reciprocity alone we lose out. It is not just BBIN per se but other issues like immigration, transport business for locals etc that one needs to consider.”
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s Tenzin Lekphel, did not comment on the issue of politicization, but said that Bhutan must stand firm and not fall to pressure from others. . “While BBIN will strengthen relations with Bangladesh and Nepal and ease trade – Bhutan must be cautious with its policy – given that our economy is heavily based on hydropower and tourism. The risk with this is environment and tourism – the main economic sectors can be affected in the long run”.
Meanwhile, the Coordinator of Truckers Association Committee of Bhutan, B.B Tamang said that If the government pushes through the BBIN agreement in the upcoming parliament owing to their numbers, “we as a public will not allow the BBIN agreement to operate in Bhutan and we will continue protesting against it by going to higher authorities.” He further stressed developments like BBIN is too early for a nation that is very small with a low population.
The government on the other hand is confused. Secretary of Information and Communications, Dasho Kinley Dorji said that the “government has been very conscious of the industry to expand. The government has taken all their concerns into account and I really don’t understand what their real concern on the motor vehicle agreement is.”
The National Assembly MP from Panbang, Dorji Wangdi said that their party “stands in solidarity with the government in all regional and international cooperation.” But for any such relationships we have to weigh the pros and cons and for a country that has a unique culture, tradition, economy and other social aspects, we have our own ways and BBIN is one such proposal that opposition is not in favor for the terms stipulated in the agreement for now.” Adding on it, he also that the opposition will consider the agreement if they bring changes to the terms stipulated in the BBIN agreement.
BBIN in its later stage will form ‘go BBIN+’ roping members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to, into the sub-regional cooperation plot. “Would Bhutanese truckers lose, if they do not join BBIN? Are the truckers aware of this,” a civil servant said, underlining that whether it is interest groups or political parties, the future should be considered.

NC members call for revision of land reparation rates

| Sonam Penjor, Thimphu

Members of the National Council (NC) Friday morning voiced concerns over the low compensation rate when the government leased private land for infrastructural developments and the need to re-examine the compensation rate processed by the finance ministry.
The members opined that the ministry has violated its onus to appraise the reimbursement rates when, in accordance to the Land Act, the law has to be revolutionized every after three years. The prevalence of public dissatisfaction, NC members accredited, was because of the failure by ministry of finance to review the compensation rate rectified in 2009.
NC member from Samtse affirmed that the quandary faced by the affected people concerning individual Dzongkhag, its end page will soon exacerbate national ramification.
He also held up the design that the reparation rate for private land seized by the government does not follow the norms of land laws and that the need to revisit the rate, either through cash or land replacement, must be shouldered by the concerned authority.  Read More

Pico Hydropower – an alternative energy innovation

| Dawa Norbu, Thimphu

Pico Hydropower, which is designed to generate very small power from drinking water available at every household and stream water, can be used as an alternative way to supply power to both rural and urban areas, according to its innovator Karsang Dorji, the deputy executive engineer of Tala Hydropower Plant in Arekha, Chhukha.
The Pico Hydropower is Karsang Dorji’s second innovation. His first innovation, Dehydrator (dryer), won him the first position in Business Idea Competition of Bhutan 2014 conducted by IT Park, Thimphu. He also bagged national award for his product.
This innovator, meanwhile, participated in the First National Technical Innovation with his PICO Hydropower experiment, conducted by labor ministry on October 29-30 this year, where he also won a certificate.
“It can be operative,” says Karsang Dorji, deliberating about his innovation.
“All materials are available within the country and there is no need of hiring expertise and importing of materials. It is our own invention. It can also be used as a backup for lightning system anywhere; during war, disaster situation, and power cutoff, camping, medical aid and during emergency power supply requirement. No need to worry if this unit is available,” he adds.  Read More

His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo offered Tenzhug

| Staff Reporter, Thimphu
His Majesty the King, Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen, along with Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother, Their Majesties the Queen Mothers, and members of the Royal Family joined the Zhung Dratshang at Tashichhodzong, Thimphu to offer Tenzhug to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo in commemoration of His Majesty’s 60th Birth Anniversary according to lunar calendar.
The Tenzhug was offered to pray for the longevity and wellbeing of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, as well as to express gratitude for the peace, progress and prosperity that the people of Bhutan have enjoyed under His Majesty’s benevolent reign.
The Prime Minister, Cabinet, Speaker, Chairperson of National Council, Opposition Leader, and senior government officials also offered their prayers at the ceremony.
The Tenzhug, offered on an auspicious day marked by a rainbow around the sun, was led by His Holiness the Je Khenpo. The Zhabdrung Daknang Sungchok commenced at 4 am, with senior members of the clergy from across the country participating in it.
Following the Thrusol (purification) ceremony, the Zhung Dratshang offered Tshebum, Tshechang, Tshedrang and Tsheril symbolising the longevity of body, speech and mind, and Tashi Dzegyed, Gelsey Nadhun and Tashi Tagyed.
The Tenzhug concluded with the offering of Mendrel, Ku, Sung, Thuk, Yonten and Thinley, and other auspicious and traditional offerings with Zhabten and Tashi Moenlam.
The Prime Minister offered, on behalf of the people of Bhutan, a golden statue of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
The year-long celebrations of the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo were also launched the next day at Changlimithang.

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