Budget planning not necessary for pledges: PM

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The opposition has criticized the government for lack of vision and clarity and unambitious 12th Five Year Plan

The government has not allocated specific budget for some of the pledges but it is confident of fulfilling them and achieving self-sufficiency, said Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering at the Friday Meet session yesterday.

On Thursday, the Opposition Leader DrPemaGyamtsho (Phd) had stated at the opposition’s press conference that the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) lacks ambition and the government has no proper vision about the way to achieving the plans outlined.

Panbang Opposition member, DorjWangdi, said that the government lacks the clarity of vision and direction in fulfilling their pledges. “I have been in touch with the area of planning FYPs since the 7th Plan but the 12th FYP is not ambitious, targets are conservative and their priorities are not clear.”

He added that apart from these, the government lacks clarity on what it wants to achieve. Other than the normal targets, the government is planning a flagship program but it is not actually sure what the program entails.

Additionally, Panbang MP said that the flagship program is just a name and the government is not at all clear about what it wants to do under the program. “Most of their popular pledges are not budgeted and are not included in the 12th FYP. We are also confused because the pledges are not included in the 12th Plan and neither are they in the financing plan.”

However, in response, the PM said that to fulfill the pledges, budget is not necessary but it is the duty of the government to seek funds from various sources.

Lyonchhen said that the government agrees with the Opposition’s view that most of their pledges are not budgeted.

“I am not too happy to take criticism on the budgetary aspect and I don’t think it is necessary to discuss it in the Parliament as the Opposition pointed out,” said Lyonchhen. “It is the duty of the government to fulfill the pledges and it will definitely fulfill all of them.” 

The Prime Minister also mentioned that to achieve self-sufficiency, the government cannot afford to invest everywhere without proper planning. “We will achieve self-sufficiency and fulfill the pledges through grants and loans; we will use the money wisely.”

Additionally, Foreign Minister, Dr. Tandi Dorji said that every government has different vision and plans. “If the government can fulfill their pledges and plans without budget, then it shows the government’s capability.”

Dr. Tandi Dorji also said that the government has developed the pledges through a lot of research therefore it will definitely fulfill all the pledges.

According to MP Dorji Wangdi, initially, when he heard about the common minimum infrastructure, he thought it is something that DrukPhuensumTshogpa (DPT) had implemented like common minimum programs in terms of electricity, rural telecommunication and drinking water for all.

 “But if we look at the common minimum projects of the government, they are very small projects like putting up of four quick charging stations for EVs which actually cannot be called national projects.”

Meanwhile, the OL also spoke on the responsibility of the Opposition.

He said the Opposition was meant not only to criticize government plans and policies but to support the government for the good of the people and the country.

OL said that the Opposition opposed only if government plans and policies did not benefit the people and the country.

“We will support the government where there is a need and we will also oppose where there is a need,” said the OL. “The main responsibility of the Opposition is to see, give suggestions and alternatives to government regarding their plans and policies. We will also remind the government whether they are fulfilling their pledges or not.”

He also mentioned that the Opposition would play a constructive role by not opposing for the sake of opposing.

Jigme Wangchen from Thimphu

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