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DNT pledges change

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) offers near to radical changes in areas such as economy, education, agriculture and connectivity if the party wins in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Kick starting the party campaign along with the manifesto launch at Department of Youth and Sports on Thursday, party president Lotay Tshering told the audience that comprised mostly youth that his prayer is not that DNT would win but the country and the people.

Talking on youth-related issues at the conference, Lotay Tshering said that just because a literate youth starts farming does not mean he is an educated farmer. “You can’t do with an unspecialized school education. You need specific know-how on farming.”

Lotay Tshering said that DNT if elected would review class X cut-off point so that there is no high school student who is labeled a “drop out.”

The party president said that underemployment is a greater problem than unemployment in the country referring to the mismatch in skills and employment opportunities.

“The labor ministry has no power to create jobs. They are just middlemen. If DNT comes to power we will create a separate agency to address the unemployment issue,” he said.

He added that for this they will need to tie up with civil society organizations that are doing a great job at present.

“For example, we need flush toilets everywhere. DNT would tie up with CSOs like Bhutan Toilet Organization that are suffering for want of funds to fulfill this need.”

Commenting on the economy, Lotay Tshering said the income gap has widened and wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few.

He narrated an incident whereby he asked a menial laborer about his earnings and the latter replied that his whole day’s labor was worth only Nu. 200.

The laborer told Lotay Tshering that a kilogram of chilies cost Nu. 200 in the market so how was he and his family supposed to survive?

“If DNT comes to power, we will increase the minimum daily wage to Nu. 450,” said Lotay Tshering.

Additionally, Lotay Tshering said that imposing the 5% voucher tax on every citizen is not equality so DNT plans to do away with it.

DNT wants to establish free Wi-Fi access points and allow free hosting of local contents.

Lotay Tshering also thanked the former governments for building roads and said that DNT would improve on it by constructing roads to every chiwog and establishing a chiwog center and office.

He also talked about drafting Bhutan: Vision 2045 document in close consultation with all stakeholders because the year, His Majesty resigns.

DNT will also focus on providing specialist services to every Basic Health Unit in the country and open a new referral hospital to lighten the load on the present one in Thimphu.

The party president concluded that strengthening an individual party is not democracy but if all parties are equally strong, it is a sign of a vibrant democracy.

DNT national commitments:

HEALTH

Establish a multi-disciplinary super-specialty hospital in Thimphu to provide various healthcare services

Ensure access to specialist services like endoscopy, ultrasound and blood test at gewog levels

Upgrade hospitals in strategic places to enable Bhutanese to avail of specialist services within halfday travel time

Improve working condition of health workers through better incentives, allowances and recognition of service

Promote our indigenous medicine system as a center of regional and global excellence

ECONOMY

Recoup Nu 10B by strengthening tax collection and regulating tax evasion

Increase PIT ceiling to Nu 300,000

Exempt BIT for businesses with less than Nu 200,000 turnover

Generate additional 5,200MW of hydropower by implementing projects already in Plan

Strengthen tourism sector by establishing Tourism Development Board to spearhead the sector. Invest 10 percent of tourism royalty to promote and market tourism Work towards a vibrant private sector by implementing recommendations of the Private Sector Development – The Way Forward, 2016

Legalize informal sector and establish an agency to protect, promote and support some 70 percent of Bhutanese workforce engaged in it

Draft Bhutan: Vision 2045 document in close consultation with all stakeholders economy.

WATER

Establish a dedicated agency to manage water distribution

Map all water sources for proper management of the resource

Explore conversion of wet land to dry land, where irrigation water is unavailable

Protect watersheds and sources to sustain water supply.

CULTURE

Convert Samrang project into a vegetable farming project

Provide endowment fund to community lhakhangs to conduct historical rituals and annual festivals without having to raise funds from common people

Support livelihood and promote nomadic culture of our highland residents of 10 dzongkhags

Encourage vegetarian meals at official functions

JOBS

Establish an employment and livelihood corporation to address the country’s unemployment issue

Support private sector to create 5,000 jobs annually to achieve full employment

Increase minimum daily wage to Nu 450

Reintroduce one-year national service program for graduates to gain experience, understand national issues and plan careers

Make agriculture attractive for livelihood and employment through our Sonam Gongphel project

SONAM GONGPHEL

Procure farm produce from farmers at a price announced a year ahead

Ensure the state introduces new crop insurance schemes for farmers

Install cold storages at strategic locations.

CONNECTIVITY

Save on recharge through Suung-joen, an app offering free call and messaging services, entertainment and multi-media

Enhance and support online business opportunities

Establish free Wi-Fi access points and allow free hosting of local contents

Remove 5 percent voucher tax

CIVIL SERVANTS

Increase salaries twice during the tenure

Institute fortnightly salaries

Save for executives, provide uniform travel allowances (TA) and daily subsistence allowance (DSA) to all civil servants

EDUCATION

Review Class X cut-off point to enable financially challenged students to continue until Class XII

Enable students who passed Class X but were disqualified by the cut-off point to return to study until Class XII

Do away with examinations until Class VI

Make teaching a profession to vie for by offering the best scholarships, better pay and allowances and providing more administrative and support staff

Review central schools to make it better and reopen community and primary schools beneficial to certain communities

ROADS

Base course all farm roads and make it functional throughout the year

Blacktop or concrete all roads to important lhakhangs and Basic Health Units (BHU), schools and remaining gewog centre (GC) roads

Increase load carrying capacity for trucks

Build a southern east – west highway by linking towns and dzongkhags through settlements along the way

Shorten travel time by initiating tunnelling projects

WOMEN & CHILDREN

Review and adopt domestic workers’ policy

Initiate six-month maternity leave in all corporations and private firms

Introduce allowances that match daily wage rate for women in rural areas during initial months of childbirth

Provide free sanitary pad to all girl-students in schools

EFFICIENT SERVICES

Establish tshogpa office in chiwogs to assist people avail of public services

Control stray dog population

Establish convenient cremation grounds with adequate facilities

Youth detained by law for substance abuse will be considered for reformative measures

HOUSING

Build 2,500 flats for home ownership

Initiate subsidized interest loan schemes for low-income groups

Lift existing rule limiting houses beyond two-storey in dzongkhags

Peky Samal from Thimphu