PDP says its manifesto is an expression of the collective dreams of the people for a better, stronger and more prosperous Bhutan
In 2013, People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) manifesto captured the imagination of the people. While some ridiculed it as bizarre, others called it excessively ambitious. For 2018 parliamentary elections, the PDP has released a 126-page thick manifesto, calling it ‘even more ambitious and daring than the last one’.
The party’s manifesto indiscriminately touches all major sectors and voter groups in the country. The party has also come up with 11 national flagship programs to ‘transform the Bhutanese economy and to ensure Bhutan’s graduation from the list of LDC countries’.
Speaking to Business Bhutan, PDP president TsheringTobgay said the party’s manifesto is an expression of the collective dreams and aspirations of the people of Bhutan. “In the past five years, we have served the people with utmost dedication and humility and this manifesto is our unwavering commitment to continue making our country stronger and more united and prosperous.”
Highlights of PDP Manifesto
PDP has identified five economic jewels to trigger Bhutan’s economic growth: hydropower and energy, mining, agriculture, tourism and cottage, small and medium industries. PDP promises to deliver 10% average growth in the next five years.
PDP has pledged to achieve 5,000MW by end of 2022 and complete Detailed Project Reports for all hydropower projects that are techno-economically feasible. The party has also promised to electrify all households by 2023.
PDP promises to ensure local communities are primary beneficiaries of mining sector and encourage community ownership of mines.
PDP promises to achieve a minimum 70% food self-sufficiency across all major food items. The party will provide one additional power tiller to every chiwog and subsidize cost of power tillers to encourage private ownership of power tillers. To boost agriculture trade and business, PDP has pledged to introduce buy back schemes of agriculture produce. PDP will also construct 700kms of new irrigation channels to irrigate about 50,000 acres of land.
PDP promises to pass the Tourism Act and designate industry status to the tourism sector. The party will identify one tourism product for every dzongkhag and open all dzongkhags to tourism. PDP will also open all southern gateways to facilitate arrival and departure of tourists. PDP also promises to expand the Gelephu domestic airport and explore additional airports in the east. Further, the party will procure additional helicopters for domestic helicopter services.
Cottage, small and medium industries
The PDP promises to enhance access to finance for CSME through Priority Sector Lending, Rural Enterprise Development Corporation Limited and Bhutan Development Bank financial products.
Private Sector Development
PDP has pledged to operationalize the industrial parks in Bondeyma in Mongar, Dhamdum in Samtse, Jigmeling in Sarpang and Motanga in SamdrupJongkhar. The party also promises to establish a mini-industrial estate in every dzongkhag. PDP also promises to introduce pension and provident fund scheme for private sector employees and enhance access to loans.
PDP promises to make JDWNRH into a super specialist hospital offering tertiary services such as organ transplant, cancer treatment, ENT and ophthalmology services. PDP will establish additional hospital in Thimphu and two additional referral hospitals in the country.
For the district hospital, PDP will provide one Gynecologist and medical specialist in addition to three doctors. PDP will also provide one doctor in every BHU and equip BHUs to provide diagnostic services such as minor OT, X-ray, ultra-sound and blood testing facilities.
PDP will also introduce MBBS program at KhesarGyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan.
PDP will establish a central school in every gewog and an Early Childcare and Development Center in every chiwog. PDP has also promised to declare Saturdays off for schools. The party will provide one laptop for every teacher and reduce teacher workload by reviewing Individual Work Plan, 18 hours of contact teaching and providing administrative staff to schools.
For civil servants, PDP promises to increase the vehicle quota from Nu 800,000 to Nu 1.5 mn and provide one-time vehicle quota of Nu 1.5mn to civil servants who are not eligible for quota. This group of civil servants would include drivers, administrative staff, and office assistants among others. PDP will also introduce pension and PF schemes for ESP and GSP category civil servants.
Youth, women and Children
PDP has pledged to provide unemployment and sustenance allowance for youth who have been actively seeking employment over a year. The party will also offer guaranteed jobs to youth living with disabilities and provide allowances for youth with special needs.
For women, the PDP will provide special support schemes for single mothers, increase paternity leave to one month and introduce baby-sitting services. PDP promises to establish crèche services in all government offices including corporations.
PDP has promised to establish a dedicated office to ensure every youth gets employed. It will also streamline Overseas Employment Program and introduce reintegration program to provide jobs to Bhutanese returning home after working overseas.
PDP promises to increase the Gewog Development Grant (GDG) to Nu. 5 million from Nu. 2 million. In addition, it will support a 20 million project in each gewog.
It will initiate One Gewog One Product (OGOP) program in all 205 gewogs.
PDP promises to ensure that every gewog has a minimum infrastructure such as helipad, communal warehouse, fuel depot, farm shop, waste management unit, and automobile workshop and repair centers for power tillers and farm machineries. PDP also pledges provide one backhoe excavator to every gewog to maintain farm roads.
In the thromdes, PDP pledges to expand amenities such as footpath, street lighting, sewer networks etc. to make the cities livable and resident friendly. It promises to create more parking spaces for motor vehicles in the Thromdes and install Quick Charging Stations.
PDP pledges to ensure each dzongkhag comes up with its own economic plan to enhance the dzongkhag’s productivity cutting across all sectors. It will initiate One Dzongkhag One Project (ODOP). PDP will build a cinema hall, waste management unit or facility, proper public toilets and sanitary complex, and warehouse and cold storage facilities in every dzongkhag.
PDP will also expand and build new terminals for public transport buses and parking space for taxis and ensure that at least one football ground in every dzongkhag has an artificial turf.
PDP’s 11 national flagship programs include: homeownership for all, 24×7 water for all households, and highland development program; startup Bhutan, One-Gewog-One-Product, and Digital Drukyul; tourism, organic Bhutan and central schools; rural enterprise program and poverty alleviation.
Chencho Dema from Thimphu