The weekly news-roundup for politics in Bhutan, compiled from Kuensel Online, BBS, Business Bhutan, Bhutan Observer, Bhutan Today, and The Bhutanese.
The Bhutanese, 28. April 2012
Bhutan and GNH : from the sidelines to the centre — I believe when faced with a problem or a challenge, one can truly understand one’s capability. Our most recent problem, the rupee crisis, as has come to be known, is one such challenge and I hope, collectively we can prevail and grow stronger through it. Recently the Government decided to address the nation on the issue on the national television; a most welcome effort considering the amount of panic and concern that was beginning to spread and show. It could have come much earlier and should have been the first step as a precautionary measure, if for nothing else. The sporadic interventions by the central bank did not help too, especially given our poor financial literacy. But even otherwise, many educated lots failed to see the bigger picture, it all appeared to indicate grounds for panic instead. So when many of the Bhutanese say they are not happy with how the Government and the Central Bank mishandled the situation, I tend to find reasons to agree with them.
Kuensel Online, 28. April 2012
Health Human Resource getting the basics right — Health human resources are the backbone of health systems. The distribution and mix of healthcare personnel would vary depending on the context of each place. The skill mix and deployment of these resources would ideally reflect the overall views of the State regarding health. A State with a professed primary care orientation would build its human resources on a strong foundation of well trained, committed and adequately incentivized primary and secondary level workers.
Inflation climbs to 9.4 percent in first quarter — The price of goods and services in the first quarter of this year, ending March 31, has increased by 9.4 percent, compared with the same period last year according to the National Statistical Bureau’s consumer price index. Changes in average retail price of 363 consumer goods and services purchased by Bhutanese households in the 23 urban centres and townships in the country are captured to produce the quarterly price index. According to the latest CPI bulletin, price of food items went up by more than 11 percent, and non-food products by more than eight percent, compared to the same period last year.
Business Bhutan, 28. April 2012
Internal immigration highest in Bhutan among South Asian countries — Rural-urban migration has become a norm in almost all parts of the world, but not many people wandered as much as Bhutanese among the South Asian countries. Bhutan has the highest rural-urban migration in South Asia with 6% of internal migration, primarily fueled by reasons as such as employment, moving with family, education, training and transfers. This is according to a case study of youth in the cities which was presented by a youth wing of the Youth Development Fund (YDF), the Young Volunteers in Action (Y-VIA), to be started in Changjiji.
Global action on climate change must begin at local levels – PM — Climate change affects everyone and while countries around the world are failing to reach a global agreement on the issue, it is at the local levels that global action must begin. This is what the Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley emphasized during the two-day Conference on Climate Change and Energy Cooperation in South Asia organized by the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) in association with the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on Sunday.
Bhutan Observer, 28. April 2012
Microfinance in the offing — There is good news in store for the agriculture sector and the rural poor. Bhutan’s central bank, Royal Monetary Authority (RMA), has received five applications for the establishment of microfinance institutions in the country. Microfinance means provision of financial services, such as small loans, to poor people or new businesses at lower interest rates. With the central bank finalizing the Financial Inclusion Policy (FIP), it is expected to enhance microfinance in the country, which will strengthen the agriculture sector.
Policy to ensure equitable use of biological resources — To ensure conservation and sustainable use of Bhutan’s biodiversity, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests has formulated an Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) policy. National Biodiversity Centre (NBC) drafted the policy with the vision to recognize fair and equitable sharing of economic benefits from biological diversity among local custodians and the Bhutanese people as a whole. It is also expected to incentivize sustainable use of biological resources and lead to fulfillment of conservation mandate of the constitution of Bhutan.
Bhutan Today, 30. April 2012
THE PARTY OFFICE DEBATE — Though the requirement to maintain party offices in every dzongkhag has been waived off temporarily, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) says the requirement is good for political parties. The Chief Election Commissioner, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi, said, “The requirement is for the benefit of a political party to facilitate touching the base.
BBS, 01. may 2012
Bhutan’s inflation at 9.5 percent — A report on consumer price index released by the National Statistics Bureau recorded the country’s inflation rate of 9.5 percent in the first quarter of 2012. This means, on an average the price of commodity in the economy has increased by 9.5 percent. According to National Statistics Bureau, this was due to import of essential commodities during the last three months. The price of food items increased by 11.4 percent while non-food items increased by 8.39 percent between January to March this year.
Kuensel Online, 01. May 2012
Buddhism without borders — An international conference on Buddhism will be held in Bumthang, this month. The conference, organised by the home ministry and the centre for Bhutan studies (CBS), is themed “Buddhism without Borders”, and will see “eminent” Buddhist practitioners, scholars, and academics of the international and local community, attending the event. “Buddhism in the 21st century has become increasingly globalised, and there is at present a growing international interest in furthering the discussion on the creative and innovative applications of the wealth of Buddhist resources across the spectrum of creative and academic fields including, but not limited to, liberal arts, humanities, social, environmental and economic studies, conflict resolution and mediation methods, medical and cognitive sciences, as well as the ever expanding field of technological advancements,” states a CBS press release.
Kuensel Online, 02. May 2012
What’s cooking in the political pot? — Almost half the former People’s Democratic Party candidates, who ran for the first parliamentary elections in 2008, are going to re-contest next year, claims opposition leader and the party’s president, Tshering Tobgay. “About half our ex-candidates have confirmed that they’ll run in next year’s elections,” he said. After managing to secure only two of the 47 seats in Parliament, most former PDP members went on to start up consultancy firms, work with private and corporate sectors, and non-government organisations.
BBS, 02. May 2012
Bhutan phases out Ozone depleting substance — Bhutan’s commitment to phase out Ozone Depleting Substances under Montreal Protocol has made a remarkable achievement. Chloroflurocarbon or CFC was completely phased out in 2009. The substance is mostly used in refrigerators. In 2005, the government banned the import of electrical appliances with CFCs especially refrigerators. The dealers were allowed to bring in only eco-friendly refrigerators. The demand for refrigerators has only grown over the years according to the dealers.
Bhutan Observer, 04. May 2012
Government needs to be more honest— There’s something dubious about the functioning of the DPT government. It’s not quite how a democratic government ought to function. The taskforce set up to study the rupee crunch in the country, it is believed, has done a commendable job and made a number of recommendations for the government. But its report still remains a secret. Except for a few points from the report that the government chose to disclose to the media, and through them to the public, the report is out of reach for all the citizens. And it is an important report that the people should read, analyse, dissect and discuss. It should lead to a more informed public discourse on a crucial public issue, and not be consigned to oblivion. It’s about the people’s right to information, the right enshrined in the constitution. It’s about putting issues of national interest to public discussion so that the government will take democratic – and not arbitrary – decisions.
Bhutan Today, 04. May 2012
EDUCATION: DAWN OF A NEW CENTURY — The introduction of comprehensive education system in Bhutan came along with the economic development initiated in 1961. Prior to that time there were virtually no modern education facilities in Bhutan. However, the monastic form of education existed and continued to exist even today. Now there is an extensive network of Schools and other educational institutions spread throughout the country.