Kuensel Feed

Subscribe to Kuensel Feed feed
Bhutan's Daily Newspaper
Updated: 2 hours 20 min ago

PM declares Saturday off for schools!

Sat, 05/04/2024 - 13:53

KP Sharma

The government has fulfilled one of its key campaign promises by officially declaring Saturday as a non-working day for schools.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay announced this during the Teachers’ Day celebration at Changlimithang in Thimphu on May 2nd.

The government’s decision comes after several months of delay, which also met with criticism from the public. Concerns were raised that the delay might have been a tactic to gain voter support.

However, the Prime Minister clarified that although the government had aimed to implement the changes shortly after assuming office, the process required thorough consideration and involvement of various stakeholders. This, he said, was essential to ensure that the quality of education was not compromised.

“We instituted a committee, consulted parents, teachers, principals, and experts both from within and abroad,” the Prime Minister said.

He added that, given the current education system in the country, making Saturday an off day would further standardise the education system. “With such a rigorous process, we have made this decision with confidence.”

He said that Bhutan should not fall behind and that the government’s aim was to improve the education system for the benefit of the younger generation. He added that it was also in alignment with His Majesty’s vision for the Gelephu Special Administrative Zone.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the efforts of the education fraternity in realising the vision of the Royal Kasho thus far, noting that there is still progress to be made. This includes conducting a thorough review of the curriculum and other aspects of the education sector.

“To ensure standard quality and a cohesive system, it is crucial to provide adequate training and professional development programs for our teachers,” Lyonchhen said, stressing that the government would prioritise professional development for teachers as a key area in the 13th plan.

Welcoming the changes in the system, teachers in Thimphu said that having Saturday off would provide sufficient rest for both teachers and students,contributing to a higher quality weekend. They noted that burnout during the weekdays is a common experience and believed that this adjustment would help alleviate such concerns.

A teacher said that with Saturday designated as a non-working day, teachers could enjoy a completely free Sunday. Tasks typically done over the weekend, such as laundry and completing lesson planning, could be accomplished on Saturday itself, he added, allowing for a more relaxed and rejuvenating weekend.

The ministry, one teacher said, should be clear and should not leave the usage of Saturdays solely at the hands of principals.

Teachers said that if professional development programmes and activities continue to be scheduled on Saturdays as is currently practiced, the change to designate Saturday as off day would have little impact on them.

They also noted that in the past, the ministry allowed principals the flexibility to decide Saturday’s programmes, resulting in a variety of activities being planned for the day.

“A clear set of instructions from the ministry should govern all decisions prior to implementation to ensure uniformity,” said a teacher, stressing on the need for clarity and consistency in directives regarding Saturday activities.

In 2019, the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) introduced the same initiative but mandated schools to utilise Saturdays for conducting professional development programmes and co-curricular activities whenever necessary.

The state of the media

Sat, 05/04/2024 - 13:52

The annual World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders is damning. Press freedom globally, including in Bhutan, has nosedived in just one year. As the world marks the World Press Freedom day, journalists and independent media outlets are facing increased repression, questioning both  sustainability and free speech.

Bhutan’s ranking has declined from 90 to 147 in just one year when the latest report was released. The ranking is based on five indicators: political, economic, and the socio-cultural context, the legal framework and security. This year’s analysis shows that the political indicator is the one that has worsened the most worldwide, falling 7.6 points on average globally and even affecting the top three.

The situation at home is a little different. Journalists are not repressed, nor are media outlets harassed by political forces.  That is why we scored the highest on the security and political indicators.  The Bhutanese media’s problem is unique. It surrounds sustainability and access to information even with legislation in place. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan guarantees freedom of speech and press. What is happening on the ground is a stark contrast.

Journalists are finding it difficult to get basic information that should be in the public or facts and figures without climbing the layers of bureaucracy. It is far easier to question politicians or the elected government than an official with data or information. The understanding of the media is so poor that some officials believe reporters are paid by the stories they write.

The importance of media was long recognised. Media was liberalised in 2006 with the wisdom that media will play a crucial role in shaping discourse in a new political set up. After more than a decade, the media is staring at a huge wall blocking access to information, as basic as the amount spent on a failed project.

If it is said that a society can be judged by how it treats its media, we can say that we live in a very secretive society. With social media dominating the media landscape, many are made to believe that with social media, there is no need for mainstream media. It is true that social media has better reach, is cheaper and instant in reaching information. But it is also a platform for misinformation or disinformation. A good example is how many were cheated out of their savings from social media scams.

The dependence on social media has deprived traditional media houses of their advertisement revenue, threatening their sustainability. While the government and its agencies can save advertising costs, it is creating a dependence on the unregulated media with risks of harm to society. Social media has taken over the public service role of entertainment. Education and information, judging by local content, is rare.

Trying to save  the meagre advertising budget has impacted advertising revenue important for media sustainability.  Local media know they have to adapt to changes and remain relevant to the changing media landscape. It is easier said than done. Without resources or recognition of the media, they are left to fend for themselves.

Bhutanese media, even with all the changes, are trying hard to sustain.  The fact is that with even just 25 percent of the journalists with experience of less than a year, they can fulfil the role of the watchdog if they have access to information, given that employers invest to train them.

Sustainability means independence. Some are forced to choose. Money deciding content is risky. When money creeps in, ethics and professionalism flies away. 

The Prime Minister’s assurance of support to the media on the media day is reassuring. Lyonchhen assured training and media development support. He called on those in the media to tell him and his government, in the journalists’ own words, of how, why, when, what and where the government could help the media. 

This is at least a consolation on World Press Freedom Day.

Rice importer fined for cheating

Thu, 05/02/2024 - 15:36

Ticketing agents asked to refund airfare

Dechen Dolkar 

The Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (CCAA) fined a rice importer and distributor in Thimphu Nu 1.027 million for adulterating the rice imported.

According to CCAA officials, the business imported low-quality rice last year and sold it to customers in superior-quality bags, charging  higher price. The authority came to know about it when consumers complained with evidence. 

“The supplier imported SK Gold ( a brand of cheap rice) from India and repackaged it in Raj Bog Basmati(another brand) bags upon reaching Bhutan, which was then sold at Nu 300 more,” said a CCAA official.

The CCAA imposed the fine according to the Consumer Protection Rules and Regulations 2015, which states that violations of general trade practices will be fined equivalent to the value of goods sold or services provided through unfair trade practices, or equivalent to the value of two weeks’ sale proceeds collected through such practices if the value cannot be determined.

The official said that they collected data on the value and quantity of rice imported from the Department of Revenue of the Customs Office of the business entity. The business is currently non-operational.

Meanwhile, the CCAA also asked an individual to refund Nu 98,000 to customers related to air tickets.Two passengers had booked tickets to travel from Paro to Toronto, Canada.  However, they were stranded in Bangkok, Thailand as they had not received their air tickets for the connecting flight.

The passengers complained to the CCAA, and the individual was asked to refund the total amount.

Nine consumer complaints were registered in April this year, of which five have been successfully resolved, while four are under investigation or mediation. Two complaints pertained to breaches of sales terms and conditions, two to delivery of sub-standard or poor-quality goods or services, five to other unethical business practices, and the last one to suspected operation of a pyramid scheme or Ponzi scheme in the market.

Youth advocates call for integrated global action on climate crisis

Thu, 05/02/2024 - 15:31

YK Poudel

Youth advocates highlighted the concerns of erratic rainfall patterns, retreating glaciers, glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF) and increase in temperature among others at the third Climate Action Champions Network (CACN) convention held in Dubai recently.

The regional discourse attended by over 100 participants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and experts from regional countries discussed the threats of climate change and its impact.

The participants presented and discussed the geo-political issues faced by mountainous countries like Bhutan and Nepal that affects till the mangroves growing southern plains of Sri Lanka.

Tshering Tobgay, research officer at the Royal Society for Protection of Nature, said that the increasing temperature has risked Bhutan’s vulnerability to GLOFs and flash floods. 

“Increasing GLOF and flash floods is a severe threat to Bhutan as  the country’s economy relies on hydro-power, the majority of the settlements and agricultural lands are along the river,” he said. “A  GLOF in Bhutan will severely damage infrastructure which are not disaster-resilient along with lives and properties.”

The regional discourse, he said, allowed the participants to learn about the challenges faced by South Asian countries, the actions taken, adaptation and mitigation strategies and financing scopes.

Tshering Denkar, a social media influencer (Denkar’s Getaway) raised concerns of rural communities and livestock impacted from increasing cases of GLOF and flash floods.

“GLOF, flash flood and climate change is a timely, if not a late discussion. Bhutan is facing the brunt of climate change,” she said. “Bhutan’s negative carbon contribution is acknowledged, but when it comes to taking accountability and climate financing the support provided is not adequate.”

Denkar’s Getaway reported mountainous communities losing their properties and livestock to climate change impact. “Not much has been done to include the local communities in the discussion and support their livelihood,” she said.

The responsibility, she said, to meet global climate goals falls not solely on world leaders and policy makers, but on all agencies, with youth playing a crucial role.

Vulnerability

While climate neutrality, climate and disaster resilience are identified in the six key areas of focus in the 12th Plan, the focus of GLOF and related issues aren’t a priority for Bhutan in the Nationally Determined Contributions, 2021.

Temperature increase, erratic rainfall pattern and timing, hydro-meteorological and geological disasters are some of the major climate change induced issues in Bhutan.

Bhutan has faced over 21 GLOF and frequent landslides damaging agricultural land, lives and properties. Bhutan and the Himalayan countries, under the projected future deglaciating scenario, are identified to face increasing GLOF and flash flood issues over the decades. A research study in 2023 found the Punatsangchhu basin with 17 gewogs vulnerable to GLOF and related threats.

As per National Centre for Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM) 2019 update, Bhutan has 17 potentially dangerous lakes. Regionally, the Hindu Kush Himalayas region is home to the largest ice reserves outside the polar regions, supporting 10 major rivers. These rivers sustain about 240 million people in the mountains and more than 1.6 billion downstream—who are at a high risk of climate hazards.

Although NCHM continuously monitors glacial lakes and provides weather forecasts and advisories, and has early warning systems in place through its 234 stations, the human resource constraints, awareness and funding are the main challenges.

The State of Climate in Asia report 2023, states that Bhutan scores better in observation and forecasting. However, the score is low on warning, dissemination of information and preparedness to disasters.

Bhutan is the 38th most vulnerable to climate change threats, while it stands 62nd in its preparedness.

Last year, the Asia-Pacific region suffered from multiple extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change. About 79 hydro-met related disasters occurred resulting in over 2000 fatalities.

Strategies

The secretary of the Energy and Natural Resources ministry, Karma Tshering, stressed the need for immediate and robust global action to address the escalating climate crisis at the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28). The Mountain Agenda got adopted by the member parties.

Developing and implementing early warning systems for GLOF risk reduction should include risk knowledge, monitoring and warning, dissemination and communication, and response capability.

In 2023, Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed USD 1.2 billion through technical assistance and loan towards climate and disaster risk management. Of which 9.8 billion was streamlined to climate finance. ADB also launched the Climate Change Action Plan, 2023-2030 at COP28 for actions hereafter.

Hardware distributors worry over their business operations

Thu, 05/02/2024 - 15:30

Thukten Zangpo 

The members of the Bhutan Hardware Association (BHA) expressed concerns over the transportation of hardware items, employee retention, access to loans, and illegal hardware distributors during their meeting in Thimphu on April 30. 

A hardware distributor, Choden, said that her business, dealing with the pipes and water tanks, faced difficulty in transporting these items using single-cabin Bolero pickups due to the Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority’s (BCTA) rule on the maximum permissible height of the load for vehicles.

According to the BCTA, the maximum height of the load in case of medium and heavy vehicles should be up to the cabin level of the vehicle. 

The Authority warned that defaulters should be penalised according to regulations and instructed vehicles modified to carry loads exceeding the permissible height limit to remove modifications by August 30 this year. 

Choden said that despite implementing safety measures while transporting goods in single-cabin Boleros, the hardware businesses have incurred fines and charges related to this matter. Members expressed that the government could set timing for the transport of the hardware items.  

On the retention of employees, president of the BHA, Thinley Dorji, said that the requirement of a no-objection certificate and concern letter from the employer if an employee wants to join another hardware business. 

Members also raised concerns on the distribution of the hardware items by Indian counterparts in nexus with the Bhutanese licence holders or contractors, and suggested constant monitoring by the concerned agencies. 

Additionally, the members asked the government to simplify the process of inviting business guests, suggesting that there should be no restrictions on the duration or frequency of visits throughout the year as these visits contribute to local businesses and all associated expenses are covered by the companies.

The Association had submitted several issues to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment during the ministry’s review on the business regulatory process. 

They requested the government’s active endorsement and support for hardware firms by facilitating easy access to loans, particularly through overdrafts (OD) against stocks. 

They also sought endorsement of a 24-hour transshipment permit at the mini-dry port to enhance logistical efficiency. 

Hardware community raised their concern on various charges levied by customs such as development fee, disinfection fee, demurrage fees, and overtime fee, increasing the cost of imported goods. 

Additionally, on delay in receipt of payments from various government departments and ministries, delaying in settling bills causing imbalance within the sector’s business operations.

The Association plans to discuss these issues with the executive members and submit their recommendations to the government. 

Police arrest suspect for alleged rape

Thu, 05/02/2024 - 15:29

Staff reporter

On April 15, the Punakha police station received a case of an alleged rape of a child above the age of 12 years.

The case was forwarded by the PEMA Secretariat upon learning about the case from the victim’s father.

The victim, a 16-year-old, gave birth to a daughter last month.

According to sources, the victim and suspect were in a consensual union and were living together.

According to police officials, the father of the victim reported the case to the PEMA Secretariat after learning that the suspect had an affair with another woman.

Police officials are yet to forward the case to the Office of the Attorney General.

Sawmillers struggle amidst changing timber trends

Thu, 05/02/2024 - 15:28

Neten Dorji

Trashigang—Ugyen Tshering, owner of the Kuenzang Choden sawmill in Rangjung, Trashigang, enjoyed successful sales of timber and furniture up until a decade ago.

Despite employing workers at the sawmill, Ugyen Tshering now has encountered a new trend—local preferences have shifted away from timber sourced from the sawmill.

Many individuals in the villages are opting to operate chainsaws, bypassing the traditional sawmill. The changes in timber pricing policies have also led to numerous well-established sawmills in two eastern dzongkhags teetering on the edge of collapse.

Sawmill operators blame it on the government’s timber pricing policy and the increasing prevalence of chainsaw operations in the villages.

Kuenzang Choden Sawmill, the sole sawmill in Rangjung, which commenced operations in 2000, has been partially closed. Ugyen Tshering, the owner, said that the timber pricing policy forced them into competition with the Natural Resource Development Corporation Limited (NRDCL).

He also cited the increasing prevalence of chainsaw usage in villages as a contributing factor to the decline in business.

Ugyen Tshering said that prior to the implementation of the pricing policy, sawmills used to earn between Nu 60 to Nu 100 per cubic feet (CFT) of timber. He said: “Besides pricing, about 50 percent of the wood purchased from NRDCL is going to waste.”

Ugyen Tshering emphasised that the major issue of the lack of demand for timber has led to idle machinery rusting away, becoming overgrown with vegetation.

Ugyen Tshering said: “If NRDCL could reduce the price for timber, we could then offer a lower price. Otherwise, selling timber at a government rate would result in a significant loss for us.”

Sawmill owners said that they appealed to the relevant authorities, but unfortunately, no concrete solutions have been forthcoming.

Dhendup Dukpa, the owner of Karsel Sawmill in Trashigang, conveyed that since its inception in 2013, the sawmill has experienced a decline in business. He remarked, “The business was profitable when there were construction sites. Now it is difficult to sustain since timber prices have increased.”

He further noted that while there is some demand for mixed coniferous timber in the locality, it is primarily available in Bumthang, and the transportation costs associated with bringing it to Trashigang are prohibitively high.

Dhedup Dukpa mentioned that the transportation cost of a truckload of timber from Bumthang to Trashigang ranges from Nu 48,000 to Nu 65,000.

“On the other hand, we are compelled to sell the timber at government-regulated rates,” he lamented. “If this situation persists, we may be left with no choice but to shut down.”

Sawmill owners in the East have pointed out that one of the reasons for the decline in demand for timber from sawmills is the increasing prevalence of chainsaw operations in villages.

“They are selling furniture at a cheaper rate than what the sawmill is offering,” one owner remarked. “While there is a proliferation of all types of furniture, the relevant authority must rigorously verify the authorisation letters.”

Another sawmill owner, Pema Gyeltshen, highlighted the dilemma faced when NRDCL increases prices while the Office of Consumer Protection insists on selling timber at government-regulated rates.

“It’s a significant setback for us when NRDCL raises timber prices, and we are prohibited from adjusting our local rates accordingly,” said Pema Gyeltshen. “It’s imperative to revise the rates based on the location.”

He noted that their main customers, contractors, now prefer to use chainsaws, while timber from community and private forests is being sold at lower rates.

NRDCL officials also attribute the decline in sawmill business in the eastern region compared to past days. “Not many development activities are happening in the east. This could be the reason why the saw business is down. Moreover, there are not many timber buyers in the east,” said one official.

Forestry officials stated that there is no discrimination in terms of timber rates between sawmill owners and NRDCL when timber allotment is made.

“The Department of Forests and NRDCL use standard measurements before loading wood. There should be minimal waste of wood,” said an official.

He further mentioned that the use of obsolete machines by sawmill owners contributes to timber wastage during the sawing process.

Some sawmill owners have asserted that forest authorities should closely monitor the movement of furniture from one location to another. “Some buyers procure wood from community or private forests at lower prices or through illegal logging activities.”

This practice could be a contributing factor to the lower prices at which furniture is sold, which affects our business,” said a sawmill owner.

The Thrimzhung Chhenmo (The Supreme Law)

Thu, 05/02/2024 - 15:28

The Thrimzhung Chhenmo enshrined comprehensive substantive provisions relating to the civil, commercial and criminal matters such as land, marriage, inheritance, weights and measures, loans, murder, theft, cheating, defamation, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, etc. It also enjoined important civil and criminal procedure, due process and fair trial principles such as the right of litigants to an independent judge appointed by the Druk Gyalpo, and the duties of judges to recuse from the case if there was a conflict of interest. It was one of the first reforms initiated by His Late Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the Third Druk Gyalpo. Although, it was tabled in the National Assembly in 1953, the law was adopted only in 1959. 

Recognizing the important role of His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, Richard Whitecross wrote:

‘The creation and adoption of the Thrimzhung Chenmo (Supreme Laws) was a conscious move initiated by the Third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (1952 –1972) soon after ascending the throne. According to Dasho Shingkarlam, a retired official, one of his duties when he was appointed secretary to the King was to “[jot] down ideas concerning criminal and civil laws, which … came through to His Majesty. There were already three such notebooks when I took over…It seemed His Majesty incubated the ideas… I was to draft the ideas found in these notebooks in some coherent structure and form” (Ura 1995:227). It is less clear to what extent this image of the King’s role as law maker is accurate. Several informants suggested that the late King was most directly responsible for the sections on hunting and fishing, leaving the remaining sections to be drafted by other officials. The role of the King in the drafting process may be unclear, yet the majority of Bhutanese describe the law code as the work of the late King. By this association with a deeply venerated monarch, the Thrimzhung Chenmo gains an important foundation legitimating its authority over all Bhutanese. A second important thread of understanding is intertwined with the role of the King as law-maker, namely that the Thrimzhung Chenmo was in effect a codification of the traditional laws of Bhutan.’

 

His Late Majesty’s initiative is reflected in the Menon’s report dated August 20, 1949:

‘As in Sikkim, the constitution of Bhutan has up to now been that of a feudal hierarchy… His eldest son, the Maharaj Kumar, obviously of strong character, was helping very much in bringing about this change. If these developments continue one may expect to see Bhutan becoming stronger and more unified in the future.’ 

I overheard His late Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck telling Kadroep, Dasho Kolay Lam in Trongsa in 1972 that he would like to devote his time to improve the judicial system with his experiences and expertise in law.

The Sen’s draft

Dasho Shingkhar Lam mentioned to me about the Sen’s draft of the Thrimzhung Chhenmo. According to Her Majesty Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck (Ashi Tashi Dori 2017.4):

‘Our Father retained Sirdar D.K. Sen, a prominent Constitutional lawyer, who had been Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, Chamber of Princes, to advise Bhutan on the Treaty. He was tremendous help to our Father and to Bhutan.’

The file called Sen’s law in Dzongkha had the following drafts:

Draft Bhutan Arms Regulation Statute, 1949/1950. ‘This Statute may be called the Bhutan Arms Regulation Statue, 1954, and shall extend throughout the territories of His Highness the Druk Gyalpo.’ This statue has 24 clauses with different schedules. 

‘This Statue may be called the Bhutan Land Regulation Statute, 1950, and shall extend throughout territories of Highness the Druk Gyalpo.’ It has 17 clauses, which were translated in Hindi and Dzongkha.

This Thrimzhung is called Menjong Drug-gi Thrim-zhung. This Thrimzhung shall extend throughout the territories of His Highness the Druk Gyalpo from 1951. This draft in Dzongkha only, which has 9 clauses covering citizenship.

‘This Statute may be called the Bhutan Nationality Statute, 1955, and shall extend throughout the territories of His Highness the Druk Gyalpo.’ It has 9 clauses.

A Scheme for the Organisation of Post Offices in Bhutan written both in English and in Hindi.

Title of the Thrimzhung Chhenmo

The first title of the Thrimzhung Chhenmo was Menjong Drug-gi Thrim-zhung. The title was changed to the Thrimzhung Chhenmo later on.

Thrimzhung Chhenmo means the Main Supreme Law. It was often written as the General Law.

The constitutional values

The Thrimzhung Chhenmo has a constitutional core value provision under OM, AA, HUM, which were not there in Sen’s draft. The constitutional values of the Thrimzhung Chhenmo are:

 

OM: Except for His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo, all other citizens of Bhutan, irrespective of their rank, social status or official position are equal under the Thrimzhung Chhenmo. This enshrines the principle of equality under law and a humanist value ‘Rex non potest peccare’, the king can do no wrong. 

AA: Other than His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo, no person is authorized or allowed to increase or reduce or commute penalties imposed under the law. This provision enshrines the Royal prerogative to reduce or pardon any penalties.

HUM: Any Kasho (royal edict) issued by His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo as an injunction or directive to the general public, the Dzongkhags (districts), villages or to private individuals shall remain in force as laws under the Thrimzhung Chhenmo until such time as they are withdrawn by His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo.

Section Da 1-7 of the Thrimzhung Chhenmo enshrines:

‘The Thrimkhang shall not convict any person without a full hearing and until the charges against the accused are proven and supported by witnesses or documentary evidences. No person shall be convicted on the basis of suspicion, doubt or hearsay.’ 

This provision entails important principles of criminal justice system such as right to a fair hearing and the presumption of innocence (every defendant is innocent until proven guilty). 

Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction of the Menjong Drug-gi Thrim-zhung with territorial jurisdiction over the whole kingdom under His Majesty (Nga Dag Gyalpo Chhenpoyi Nga-zhap) legalized total and absolute sovereignty over the other feudal chieftains by the King.

The Thrimzhung Chhenmo had an elaborate and detailed codification of law enacted by the National Assembly. It had Seventeen chapters under the Bhutanese style, Ka Kha to Tsa.

Legal system

The Thrimzhung Chhenmo marked beginning of a continental system like a Napoleonic Code as under:

Da 1-5 ‘The judge shall decide cases and award punishment strictly in accordance with the provisions of the law. He shall not allow himself to be swayed by any personal opinions while interpreting the provisions of law.’

The Thrimzhung Chhenmo was a digression from the customary and equity laws with a few fragments. It ushered in the Rule of Law and advent of the positive laws.

Conclusion

The Thrimzhung Chhenmo was debated from 1953 and it was enacted in 1959. The National Assembly recorded:

‘Keeping in view the welfare of the general public, His Majesty the King enacted the National Law (Thrimzhung) (Ka) (Ma), which was scrutinized by the members of the National Assembly. This would be made available to all Dzongdags. In this connection, His Majesty was pleased to command that all members should scrupulously conform to the above law. It was also informed that the provisions not covered under the above law would be enacted and framed by His Majesty.’ 

Contributed by

Sonam Tobgay

Former Chief Justice 

of Bhutan

2024 Bhutan Grand Prix records low turn-out

Thu, 05/02/2024 - 15:27

Thinley Namgay

The Bhutan Archery Federation (BAF) has opened online registration for the second Bhutan Grand Prix. However, since the opening a month ago, only 10 archers have registered from across the country as of yesterday.

The turnout is low compared to the first edition in 2022.

There were 22 participants in 2022, including a woman archer, in this international-style compound archery tournament.

The online registration was supposed to close yesterday. However, BAF coach, Tashi Tshering, said the registration would remain open until the tournament starts to attract more participants. “Even if some participants apply on May 9, BAF will allow that.”

Tashi Tshering said the BAF expects at least 20 archers for the competition. He said that out of the 10 applicants, four are women. “This is encouraging.” 

The 2024 Bhutan Grand Prix is scheduled to be held at BAF’s archery range at Langjophakha in Thimphu from May 9 to May 13. The distance of the range is 50 metres.  

The tournament provides an opportunity for archers to use accessories such as sights and triggers.

One reason for the low number of participants could be the expenditure involved in buying equipment, according to archers.

A bow costs between Nu 40,000 and 140,000. A sight charges between Nu 30,000 to Nu 70,000, and a trigger cost between Nu 7,000 and Nu 35,000. And, one has to spend a minimum of Nu 1,000 for a pair of arrows.    

Moreover, the tournament is held in the capital, and it is not feasible for archers from far-flung places to participate. Some interested archers are office workers, and some are engaged in private businesses.

Three of the four best archers from the first edition have underwent further training and represented the country at the 19th Asian Games in China in 2023. They reached the quarterfinals.

Tashi Tshering said the top four archers from this upcoming tournament would also get similar opportunities. “BAF will provide them with additional training and send them to participate in the Asia Cup Stage one.”  

The Bhutan Grand Prix is a national tournament. Although compound archery is gaining popularity in the country, not many are aware of international tournaments rules and format.

As of now, there is no permanent compound archers at BAF and so Bhutan has been able to compete only in the recurve category in most international tournaments.

The grand prix tournaments could address the issue, archers say.

BAF in collaboration with the Bhutan Olympic Committee will organise the tournament.

Protecting consumers

Thu, 05/02/2024 - 15:26

A rice importer was penalised by authorities for cheating. The importer had been repackaging inferior rice under different labels to turn a quick profit. Thankfully, a vigilant consumer reported this malpractice, leading to the perpetrator’s apprehension.

The authority’s action should teach lessons to those who seek easy gains through deceit. Cheating to maximise profit is as old as the business of buying and selling itself. Some benefit, some lose and life goes one. But it is changing. It must.

Consumers need to be protected, particularly when our dependence on imported goods, including essentials, are increasing by the day. The most basic items to prepare a simple meal on our shelves are imported. What is inside the package is not checked, the quantity not questioned granting the leeway to importer and retailers. 

A lot of things are taken for granted here. A consumer complaining of diluted milk supplied to his home, for instance,  would mellow down with the joke of the milking cow drinking too much water. Not anymore. With awareness and education, consumers are questioning what they buy or eat. This is a healthy trend. Their actions could help many unaware of their rights or responsibilities.

We have authorities tasked for the protection of consumers. Alerting them has ripple effects like controlling price, ensuring quality and safety. Unfortunately, there is much to be done. The responsibility falls on all of us. 

Shortage of human resources and budget is shortening the hands of the authority. They cannot be everywhere to monitor or investigate. They rely on the complaints and evidence to take actions. What we, as consumers, could do is to report if we are cheated or treated unfairly.

This, unfortunately, is happening on a daily basis at all levels. If cheaper imported rice is repackaged and sold at a higher price, spurious products have flooded our market, some even risking lives. Most of the branded products that come into Bhutan, suppliers admit vary. We can have a brand of electric wires that is manufactured in Delhi, Siliguri or at the company’s manufacturing house. All is not in the name when it comes to import.

The recent fine imposed on the rice importer serves as a clarion call. And the message is that if we feel wronged and complain, with evidence, authorities can take action. However, it would be unfair for authorities to wait for complainants.  Many are unaware and will not waste time and energy to complain for the fear of being  questioned and bothered.

Our authorities too could be more proactive, as our dependence on imports increases. Uncontrolled price, unchecked quality could cost us, whether it is adulterated food or quality of materials and fittings used in our houses. Most Bhutanese are taken for a ride by our partners, suppliers and our own people, who for the greed of profit, readily compromise quality.

Our authorities tasked to ensure quality and safety, fair price and consumer rights could do more. They also need the help of decision makers to equip them with the technology, human resources and many more. Do we have labs, for instance, to test if the spices or the numerous junk we import meets safety standards? Can our regulations ban the import of non-essential items that are detrimental to public health and the environment?

Finding answers to these, perhaps, could result in better protection of consumers.

Bhutan’s trade deficit narrows to over Nu 19B

Thu, 05/02/2024 - 15:25

…imports Nu 4.3 billion worth of electricity 

Thukten Zangpo  

The country’s trade deficit for the first quarter of this year, spanning from January to March, including electricity sale, stood at Nu 19.24 billion.

The trade deficit narrowed by 12.8 percent or Nu 2.84 billion compared to the same period last year. 

According to the trade statistics, Bhutan imported Nu 28.84 billion worth of goods, of which the balance of trade with India accounts to more than Nu 25.11 billion. This was a decline by 8.7 percent or Nu 2.75 billion during the same period. 

Last year’s import figure was recorded at Nu 31. 59 billion during the same period. 

A country experiences a trade deficit when the value of imports exceeds the value of export. 

Bhutan’s main source of export revenue, from electricity, saw a significant increase in imports impacting the country’s balance of trade in the first quarter. Bhutan usually imports electricity during the lean season from December to March.

Because of poor hydrology, the country imported Nu 4.3 billion worth of electricity in the first quarter this year, which is an increase by Nu 2.7 billion in the same period last year’s Nu 1.55 billion.

Had it not been for the electricity import, the country could have experienced a decrease in trade deficit at Nu 14.93 billion in the first quarter. 

The country exported electricity worth Nu 198.08 million from Nu 218.51 million in the same period.

In 2023, Bhutan exported electricity worth Nu 16.67 billion while import was Nu 1.88 billion. 

The decrease in the import bill was mainly because of the government’s import moratorium of non-essential vehicles from August 2022. 

At the same time, the government suspended all housing loans, including those for home and hotel construction, from June 9 last year. 

Among the top ten imports, the fuel import topped the country’s imports amounting to Nu 3.7 billion. It was an increase from Nu 3.3 billion and Nu 1.71 billion in the first quarter of last year and the previous year respectively. 

The country imported Nu 706.41 million worth of rice, which is a decrease from Nu 751.71 million last year, and Nu 677.19 million in 2022.

Moreover, import of smart phones was reported Nu 613.86 million, a decrease from Nu 635.85 million in the first quarter of last year.

The country also experienced an export figure increase by 1 percent to Nu 9.6 billion during the same period. 

Ferrosilicon, the country’s top export, witnessed a decrease to Nu 3.12 billion from Nu 3.73 billion in the same period. 

Conversely, the boulder export doubled to Nu 935.73 million from Nu 467.34 million. At the same time, orange export grew to Nu 351.7 million from Nu 291.51 million. 

This trade deficit, where the value of imports exceeds the value of exports, has serious implications for Bhutan’s foreign currency reserves. 

The unsustainable rate of import increase, inflationary pressures, and the depreciation of the ngultrum against the USD further contribute to the decline of foreign reserves.

As of November last year, the country’s external reserve stood at USD 533.29 million, a decrease of 31 percent compared to the same month of the previous year. 

ཨེ་ཤི་ཡན་གོང་འཕེལ་དངུལ་ཁང་གིས་ གནམ་གཤིས་དང་ལེན་ལུ་གཙོ་རིམ།

Wed, 05/01/2024 - 16:12

༉ ཨེ་ཤི་ཡ་དང་ པེ་སི་ཕིག་གི་ གནམ་གཤིས་གདོང་ལེན་དང་ ཡུན་བརྟན་དང་ཡོངས་རྫོགས་གོང་འཕེལ་ རྒྱབ་སྐྱོར་གྱི་དོན་ལུ་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༢༣ ལུ་ ཨེ་ཤི་ཡན་གོང་འཕེལ་དངུལ་ཁང་གིས་ ཡུ་ཨེསི་ཌོ་ལར་ཐེར་འབུམ་༢༣.༦ འབད་མི་ལས་ ཡུ་ཨེསི་ཌོ་ལར་ཐེར་འབུམ་༩.༨ གནམ་གཤིས་དངུལ་འབྲེལ་གྱི་དོན་ལུ་ཨིན་པས།

འཕྲལ་ཁམས་ཅིག་ཁར་ ཨེ་ཤི་ཡན་གོང་འཕེལ་དངུལ་ཁང་གི་ ལོ་བསྟར་སྙན་ཞུ་༢༠༢༣ ཅན་མ་ གསར་བཏོན་འབད་མི་དང་འཁྲིལ་བ་ཅིན་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༢༢ ལུ་ ཡུ་ཨེསི་ཌོ་ལར་ཐེར་འབུམ་༦.༧ ལས་ ཡར་སེང་འབད་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

རྒྱབ་སྐྱོར་དེ་ཡང་ སྐྱིན་འགྲུལ་དང་ ནང་བྱིན་ འགན་ལེན་ བགོ་བཤའི་མ་རྩ་གཞི་བཙུགས་ དེ་ལས་ འཕྲུལ་རིག་རྒྱབ་ཐོགལས་ འབད་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

ཨེ་ཤི་ཡན་གོང་འཕེལ་དངུལ་ཁང་གིས་ གལ་གནད་ཅན་གྱི་ལས་སྡེ་ སྐྱེལ་འདྲེན་(ཐེར་འབུམ་༢.༥) དང་ སོ་ནམ་(ཐེར་འབུམ་༡.༨) དེ་ལས་ ནུས་ཤུགས་ལས་སྡེ་(ཐེར་འབུམ་༡.༩) ཚུ་ལུ་ གནམ་གཤིས་གྱི་ མ་རྩ་གཞི་བཙུགས་འབད་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

ཨེ་ཤི་ཡན་གོང་འཕེལ་དངུལ་ཁང་གི་གཙོ་འཛིན་ མ་སཊི་སུ་གུ་ ཨ་ས་ཀ་ཝ་གིས་ གཙུག་སྡེ་དེ་ ལུང་ཕྱོགས་ནང་ གནས་གཤིས་དང་ལེན་གྱི་དོན་ལུ་ དངུལ་འབྲེལ་གྱི་ རྒྱབ་སྐྱོར་བྱིན་མི་ གཙོ་ཅན་ཅིག་ཨིན་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

གནམ་གཤིས་མཐུན་པའི་ སོ་ནམ་དང་ སླར་འབྱུང་ནུས་ཤུགས་ དེ་ལས་ ཀར་བཱོན་སྐྱེལ་འདྲེན་ཉུང་ཤོས་ འབག་ནིའི་ལུ་ འབྲེལ་མཐུན་དང་ ཐབས་ལམ་ཚུ་ལུ་ གཙོ་རིམ་སྒྲིང་སྒྲི་བཟུང་སྟེ་ ཡོད་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

དེ་བཟུམ་སྦེ་ མཉམ་འབྲེལ་ཐོག་ལས་ དེ་གི་ཕན་གནོད་ལུ་ འབད་བརྩོན་འབད་དེ་ ཨེ་ཤི་ཡན་གོང་འཕེལ་དངུལ་ཁང་གིས་ ད་རུང་ ཡུ་ཨེསི་ཌོ་ལར་ཐེར་འབུམ་༡༤.༤ རྒྱབ་སྐྱོར་འབད་ནི་ཨིན་པས།

སྙན་ཞུ་དང་འཁྲིལ་བ་ཅིན་ ཕོ་མོ་འདྲ་མཉམ་དེ་ ཨེ་ཤི་ཡན་གོང་འཕེལ་དངུལ་ཁང་ལག་ལེན་གྱི་ གཙོ་རིམ་ལྟེ་བ་ཅིག་ཨིནམ་ད་ དེ་ཡང་ ཕོ་མོ་འདྲ་མཉམ་དང་འབྲེལ་བའི་ དཀའ་ངལ་མར་ཕབ་དང་ གནམ་གཤིས་འགྲོད་ལུ་བརྟེན་ ཨམ་སྲུ་ཚུ་ལུ་ གནོད་པ་བྱུང་མི་གི་ གནད་དོན་སེལ་ཐབས་ལུ་ ཐབས་ལམ་བཏོན་ཐབས་ལུ་ཨི་ནཔས།

སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༢༣ ལུ་ ཨེ་ཤི་ཡན་གོང་འཕེལ་དངུལ་ཁང་གི་ ལས་སྣ་མང་ཤོས་ཅིག་ ཕོ་མོ་འདྲ་མཉམ་དང་ ཡོངས་རྫོགས་གོང་འཕེལ་ཁས་ལེན་འབད་ནི་ལུ་ ལྷན་ཐབས་འབད་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

ཡུན་བརྟན་གོང་འཕེལ་གྱི་ དམིགས་ཡུལ་གྲུབ་ཐབས་ལུ་ ཨེ་ཤི་ཡན་གོང་འཕེལ་དངུལ་ཁང་གིས་ མ་རྩ་འཛིན་སྐྱོང་གཞི་སྒྱུར་ ལག་ལེན་འཐབ་ཡོདཔ་ད་ མ་འོངས་ལོ་ངོ་༡༠ ནང་ ཡུ་ཨེསི་ཌོ་ལར་ཐེར་འབུམ་༡༠༠ དེ་ཅིག་ སྐྱིན་འགྲུལ་གསརཔ་ ལེན་ཚུགས་ནི་ཨིན་པས།

སྙན་ཞུ་ནང་ བཀོད་མིའི་ནང་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༢༣ ལུ་ ལྷོ་ཡེ་ཤི་ཡ་ལུང་ཕྱོགས་ནང་ དཔལ་འབྱོར་དེ་ཅིག་ར་ ཐོ་ཕོག་སྟེ་མེདཔ་ད་ དཔེར་ན་ རྒྱ་གར་དེ་ འཛམ་གླིང་ནང་ དཔལ་འབྱོར་མགྱོགས་དྲགས་ ཡར་འཕར་འགྱོ་བའི་ རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ཅིག་ཨིན་པས།

ཨིན་རུང་ སྐྱ་ནམ་གྱི་གོང་ཚད་ གནམ་བྱཱར་སྐབས་ ཆརཔ་དུས་ཚོད་ཁར་ མ་རྐྱབ་མི་ ནུས་ཤུགས་མར་བབས་སོང་པའི་ གདོང་ལེན་ཚུ་ བྱུང་དོ་ཡོདཔ་ལས་ དམིགས་གཏད་ཅན་གྱི་ གདོན་ལེན་དང་ ཐབས་ཤེས་བཏོན་དགོཔ་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

འཐུས་མི་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ཚུ་ནང་ དམིགས་བསལ་གྱི་ གདོང་ལེན་སེལ་ཐབས་ལུ་ ཨེ་ཤི་ཡན་གོང་འཕེལ་དངུལ་ཁང་གིས་ གནད་དོན་གལ་ཅན་ཚུ་ནང་ བར་འཛུལ་འབད་དེ་ སེལ་ཐབས་འབད་ནི་ཨིན་པས།

འབྲུག་ལུ་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༢༢ ལུ་ ན་གཞོན་ལཱ་གཡོག་ མ་ཐོབ་པའི་ཚད་གཞི་དེ་ ཚབས་ཆེན་སྦེ་ར་ ཡར་འཕར་སོང་ཡོདཔ་ད་ ཨེ་ཤི་ཡན་གོང་འཕེལ་དངུལ་ཁང་གིས་ རིག་རྩལ་དང་ སྦྱོང་བརྡར་ དེ་ལས་ གཞི་རྟེན་གོང་འཕེལ་ཚུ་ནང་ ན་གཞོན་ཚུ་ལུ་ ལཱ་གཡོག་ལྷན་ཐབས་ལུ་ ཡུ་ཨེསི་ཌོ་ལར་ས་ཡ་༣༠ གི་ སྐྱིན་འགྲུལ་གན་ཡིག་ཅིག་གུ་ མཚན་རྟགས་བཀོད་ཡོད་པའི་གནས་ཚུལ།

 

ཨོ་རྒྱན་རྡོ་རྗེ།

 

སྤྱི་ཟླ་༦ པའི་ནང་ བཟོ་གྲྭ་གཞི་སྒྱུར་གྱི་ས་ཁྲ་ གྲ་སྒྲིག་ཚུད་ནི།

Wed, 05/01/2024 - 16:11

༉ གཞུང་གིས་ ནང་འཁོད་ཐོན་སྐྱེད་ཡོངས་འབོར་ལུ་ བཟོ་སྐྲུན་ལས་སྡེའི་ བགོ་བཤའ་དེ་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༢༡ ལུ་ བརྒྱ་ཆ་༣༠ ཡོད་མི་ལས་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༢༩ འི་ནང་འཁོད་ལུ་ བརྒྱ་ཆ་༣༠ ཡར་འཕར་གཏང་ནི་ཨིན་པས།

དེ་ཡང་ བཟོ་གྲྭ་ཚོང་འབྲེལ་དང་ལཱ་གཡོག་བློན་པོ་ རྣམ་རྒྱལ་རྡོ་རྗེ་གིས་ བཤད་ཡོད་པའི་བཞིན་དུ་ བཟོ་གྲྭ་གཞི་སྒྱུར་གྱི་ས་ཁྲ་དེ་ སྤྱི་ཟླ་༦ པའི་ནང་ གྲ་སྒྲིག་འགྱོ་འོང་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

ནང་འཁོད་ཐོན་སྐྱེད་ཡོངས་འབོར་ལུ་ བཟོ་སྐྲུན་ལས་སྡེའི་ བགོ་བཤའ་དེ་ འདས་པའི་ལོ་ཚུ་ལས་ མར་བབས་སོང་ཡོདཔ་ད་ དེ་ཡང་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༡༠ ལུ་ དངུལ་ཀྲམ་ཐེར་འབུམ་༦.༣༢ འབདཝ་ད་ བརྒྱ་ཆ་༨.༩༣ ལས་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༢༢ ལུ་ དངུལ་ཀྲམ་ཐེར་འབུམ་༡༩.༨༨ འབདཝ་ད་ བརྒྱ་ཆ་༦.༧༣ དེ་ཅིག་ མར་བབས་སོང་ནུག།

རྒྱལ་ཡོངས་རྩིས་ཁྲ་གནས་སྡུད་དང་འཁྲིལ་བ་ཅིན་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༡༢ ལུ་ བཟོ་སྐྲུན་ལས་སྡེ་ལས་ ནང་འཁོད་ཐོན་སྐྱེད་ཡོངས་འབོར་ལུ་ བགོ་བཤའ་བརྒྱ་ཆ་༩.༠༦ ཡོད་མི་ལས་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༡༧ ལུ་ བརྒྱ་ཆ་༧.༥༡ དེ་ལས་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༢༡ ལུ་ དངུལ་ཀྲམ་ཐེར་འབུམ་༡༡ འབདཝ་ད་ བརྒྱ་ཆ་༥.༨༦ དེ་ཅིག་ མར་བབས་སོང་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

བློན་པོ་གིས་ སླབ་མིའི་ནང་ བཟོ་གྲྭ་གཞི་སྒྱུར་ས་ཁྲའི་གུ་ ལཱ་འབད་བའི་བསྒང་ཡོདཔ་བཞིན་དུ་ མཁས་མཆོག་ཚུ་གིས་ བཟོ་གྲྭ་དང་འབྲེལ་བའི་ བརྡ་དོན་དང་ དགོས་མཁོ་ཅན་གྱི་ གནས་སྡུད་ཚུ་ བསྡུ་ལེན་འབད་དོ་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

བཟོ་གྲྭ་བརྟག་ཞིབ་དང་ འབྲེལ་ཡོད་ལས་སྡེ་གྲོས་བསྟུན་ དེ་ལས་ དབྱེ་དཔྱད་ཚུ་འབད་དགོཔ་ད་ བཟོ་གྲྭ་གཞི་སྒྱུར་ས་ཁྲའི་ གཙོ་རིམ་ལས་སྡེ་༣ དུས་ཅི་ སྤྱི་ཟླ་༦ པའི་ནང་ བཟོ་ནི་ཨིནམ་ད་ བར་འཛུལ་དང་ ཐབས་ལམ་དགོས་མཁོ་ཡོད་མི་ཚུ་ བཟོ་གྲྭ་གཞི་སྒྱུར་ས་ཁྲ་ བཟོ་ཚར་བའི་ཤུལ་ལས་རྐྱངམ་གཅིག་ ཤེས་ཚུགས་ནི་མས་ཟེར་ བློན་པོ་གིས་ བཤདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

བློན་པོ་དང་འཁྲིལ་བ་ཅིན་ ལྷན་ཁག་གིས་ འཛམ་གླིང་རྒྱལ་སྤྱི་གོང་འཕེལ་ལས་རིམ་གྱི་ རྒྱབ་སྐྱོར་ཐོག་ལས་ བཟོ་གྲྭ་གཞི་སྒྱུར་ས་ཁྲ་བཟོ་ཡོདཔ་བཞིན་དུ་ ཡུན་བརྟན་གྱི་ བཟོ་གྲྭ་ཐབས་བྱུས་ལ་སོགས་པ་ཚུ་ལུ་ གཙོ་རིམ་བཟུང་སྟེ་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

དེ་ཡང་ ཐོན་སྐྱེད་ལེགས་སྒྱུར་འབད་ནིའི་དོན་ལས་ དམིགས་བསལ་ལས་སྡེ་ཐབས་བྱུས་བཟོ་ནི་དང་ སྒེར་སྡེའི་ནང་ མཉམ་འབྲེལ་བཟོ་ནི་ དེ་ལས་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༣༠ ནང་འཁོད་ལུ་ གསར་བཏོད་དང་འཕྲུལ་རིག་ཐོག་ལས་ འབབ་ཁུངས་ཆེ་བའི་ རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ཅིག་ལུ་བཟོ་ནི་ལུ་དམིགས་ཏེ་ཨིན་ཟེར་ བློན་པོ་གིས་ བཤདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

གཞུང་གིས་ བཟོ་གྲྭ་གོང་འཕེལ་གཏང་ནིའི་དོན་ལུ་ མཐུན་རྐྱེན་ཚུ་ གཞི་བཙུགས་འབད་དེ་ གཞི་རྟེན་གོང་འཕེལ་གཏང་ནི་དང་ སྒེར་སྡེ་ཚུ་གིས་ ཆོག་ཐམ་ལེན་ནི་ ཞབས་ཏོག་གི་ ལམ་ལུགས་ས་གོ་གཅིག་ནང་ལས་ ཐོབ་ཚུགས་བཟོ་ནི་ རེ་བ་ཡོདཔ་ད་ དེ་ཡང་ དཔལ་འབྱོར་ལྷན་ཐབས་ཀྱི་ གཙོ་རིམ་ཅིག་གི་ འཆར་གཞི་ཅིག་ཨིན་པས།

བློན་པོ་གིས་ སླབ་མིའི་ནང་ གཞུང་གིས་ ཕྱིར་ཚོང་འོས་འབབ་དང་ ལཱ་གཡོག་གི་གོ་སྐབས་བཟོ་ནི་ དེ་ལས་ ནང་འཁོད་ལས་ཐོན་སྐྱེད་འབད་བའི་ ཅ་ཆས་ཚུ་བཟོ་ནི་ལུ་ གཙོ་རིམ་བཟུང་དོ་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

འདས་པའི་གཞུང་གིས་ སི་ལི་ཀཱོན་ཅིབསི་དང་ རྡོ་གནག་གི་འཕྲུལ་ལྟོ་བཟོ་གྲྭ་ གཞི་བཙུགས་འབད་ནི་ འཆར་གཞི་ཡོད་མི་ལུ་ དྲི་དཔྱད་འབད་བའི་སྐབས་ བློན་པོ་གིས་ སླབ་མིའི་ནང་ ད་རེས་ གདོང་ལེན་སེལ་ཐབས་འབད་ནིའི་དོན་ལས་ བཟོ་གྲྭ་ཁང་ཚུ་ལུ་ ལྷན་ཐབས་དང་ རྒྱབ་སྐྱོར་ཚུ་འབད་དོ་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

ཨིན་རུང་ གསར་བཏོད་ཅན་གྱི་ གནས་སྐབས་གསརཔ་ཚུ་ལུ་ རྒྱབ་སྐྱོར་འབད་ནི་ལུ་ ཞིབ་འཛོལ་འབད་དགོཔ་ད་ དེ་གིས་ དཔལ་འབྱོར་གོང་འཕེལ་གཏང་ནི་ལུ་ ཁེ་ཕན་ཅིག་ དགོ་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

བློན་པོ་གིས་ སྒེར་སྡེ་གོང་འཕེལ་གཏང་ནིའི་དོན་ལུ་ གཞུང་གི་འགན་ཁུར་དེ་ སྲིད་བྱུས་ཚུ་མ་གཏོགས་ ཚོང་ལམ་འབྲེལ་ཡོད་དང་ དོ་འགྲན་ཅན་བཟོ་ནི་ལུ་ ནུས་ལུགས་ལེགས་བཅོས་འབད་དགོཔ་ཨིན་ཟེར་ ཨིན་པའི་གནས་ཚུལ།

 

ཨོ་རྒྱན་རྡོ་རྗེ།

 

48 knee replacements to save the govt. Nu 38M

Wed, 05/01/2024 - 15:23

Lhakpa Quendren

Gelephu—The Central Regional Referral Hospital (CRRH) in Gelephu initiated a knee replacement surgeries. Besides the much-needed health care, the initiative could save the government millions of Ngultrums otherwise spent on referring patients out of the country.

The six-day camp is conducted by a 22-member team from Operation International, USA, including five orthopedic surgeons joined by four orthopedic surgeons from Bhutan.

Forty-eight patients—19 male and 29 female—aged between 45 and 87 with chronic knee pain, are undergone surgeries to replace their knees. Considering a total cost of Nu 800,000 for each referred patient, according to the hospital, the replacement surgery would save over Nu 38 million.

The government, in recent years, has approved referring patients with chronic knee pain to India for total knee replacement surgery.

X-ray after total knee replacement surgery

While the government initiated total knee replacement surgery services at the national referral hospital at the end of 2022, the costly procurement of implants and limited operating theaters hindered the provision of regular services for chronic knee problems. An implant would cost between Nu 200,000 to Nu 400,000, depending on its brand.

The medical team in Gelephu, meanwhile, performed three surgeries on the first day on April 28 following the case presentations to select the cases.

Metals were used to replace damaged joints, which would restore mobility and reduce pain. About eight to 10 surgeries would be performed each day.

Medical superintendent of CRRH, Dr Choeda Gyaltshen, said that patients came from as far as Trashiyangtse. “As they age, there will be wear and tear at the knee joints, which causes pain and difficulty in walking or moving. After the replacement surgery, patient scan have a pain-free life, which will help improve their quality of life.”

A patient, Khando, said that he refused to undergo the surgery initially. “Not being able to endure the pain, I decided to undergo the replacement surgery upon hearing that foreign doctors were coming to perform it. I am forever grateful for this initiative.”

This is the second visit of Operation International, USA to Bhutan and the first such surgical camp being conducted by the team in the country.

During their weeklong camp at Mongar Eastern Regional Referral Hospital in March last year, 20 medical professionals performed 60 life-changing procedures, including laparoscopic hernia repair, two gastric cancer resections for patients previously waitlisted for overseas treatment, pancreatic tumor resection, and facial reconstruction for micrognathia.

Operation International, USA is a non-profit organisation specialising in organising medical missions, during which volunteer healthcare professionals perform surgeries and provide medical treatment to underserved communities.

Opposition calls for government accountability

Wed, 05/01/2024 - 15:22

Staff Reporter

The Opposition Party (OP) yesterday alerted the government about the pledges the Party made during the election period.

While acknowledging the progress made by the new Lhengye Zhungtshog in fulfilling the pledges such as the waiver of pedestrian fees at the Phuentsholing Pedestrian Terminal, establishment of the Economic Development Board with the Prime Minister as chair, among others, the Opposition Party called for faster implementation in other pledges.

OP claims that after more than 90 days since inception of the government, the tangible development of the remaining nine pledges outlined remains pending or unfulfilled.

What are the pledges?

The Opposition Party lines them up so:

Making Saturdays ‘off-days’ for teachers and students.

Commission a comprehensive review of the business regulatory processes, including at the exit and entry gateways; requirement of the review to be submitted in three months with concrete recommendations to remove all barriers, and ease the conduct of the businesses.

Instruct relevant agencies to revise the FDI policy 2019 to make it business friendly and to attract FDIs in large numbers, including FDI in small and medium sectors.

Instruct the Ministry of Education and Skills Development to review the IWP and develop a performance measurement system specific to the needs of the teachers in consultation with the Royal Civil Service Commission.

Review the SDF regulation for tourists in the southern border towns to explore possibility of allowing tourists from the bordering towns without the levy of SDF.

Issue office order to all the Bhutanese embassies abroad to submit recommendations and ideas on how the embassy can promote inbound tourists to Bhutan.

Issue office order to relevant agencies to develop a separate action plan to achieve in-bound tourist number to 300,000 annually.

Establish a sub-committee of Lhengye Zhungtshog with working members from relevant agencies to work on regularisation of contract employees.

Instruct relevant agencies to undertake feasibility study for the construction of five airstrips in strategic locations across the country.

The Opposition Party said: “We cannot overlook the crucial importance of maintaining the integrity of promises made by the political parties … The failure to uphold and fulfill these pledges undermines the very foundation of trust, casting a shadow not only on the government but on the broader concept of governance itself.”

The Party said that in light of accountability to the citizenry, the government must engage in transparent communication with all relevant stakeholders, and the people. “It is imperative that the status of the aforementioned pledges (damchas), be disseminated openly and comprehensively to the Bhutanese populace.”

Bhutan leads the South Asia region in globally recognised primary healthcare system measurement

Wed, 05/01/2024 - 15:22

Jigmi Wangdi

Bhutan is the pioneer in primary healthcare (PHC) measurement in South Asia.

This is according to a study carried out by Ministry of Health (MoH), in partnership with the World Bank and with funding support from the Government of Japan and The Global Fund.

But what does it really mean?

The assessments were carried out to response to evolving challenges and to develop a more resilient and future-fit health system, to assess the current status, and to identify strengths and opportunities within the existing PHC system.

The assessments focused on Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI), Service Delivery Indicators (SDI), and Bhutan’s Healthcare Costing Analysis.

The findings of the PHCPI and SDI assessments show that Bhutan has a strong foundation for quality PHC service delivery.

Health Minister Tandin Wangchuk said that the SDI survey would provide critical insights into the quality of health service delivery. “It is timely for the 13th Five-year Plan’s baseline.”

Lyonpo added that the PHCPI would offer a better understanding of the state of PHC in the country. “The findings of the assessment look impressive and it will serve as the baseline to monitor PHC in the country.”

The Bhutan Healthcare Costing Analysis will be useful in planning sustainable health financing while fulfilling the constitution’s mandate of providing free basic health services, Lyonpo said.

Bhutan is the first country in the South Asia region to conduct a comprehensive set of internationally recognised and standardised PHC system measurements.

As a result, Bhutan is leading the region in its dedication to innovation and accountability through its pioneering set of comprehensive PHC-focused assessments.

The findings will provide timely, actionable, and policy-relevant evidence to make an impact on health care and population health at scale.

 

Tshewang Tenzin’s journey: Triumphing through challenges

Wed, 05/01/2024 - 15:21

Neten Dorji

Kanglung—At Sherubtse College in Kanglung, a small room is abuzz with activity as Tshewang Tenzin organizes his belongings. Despite being visual impairment, Tshewang is a dedicated massage therapist in Kanglung, bringing positive change to the lives of many.

Tshewang grew up in the quiet village of Gomchu in Khaling. At the age of 21, he faced a life-altering challenge when he lost his sight entirely. Reflecting on that difficult time, he says, “I woke up one morning and couldn’t see clearly. I was in the 9th grade, and it affected my ability to continue my studies.”

With his mother, also visually impaired, life became difficult.

However, instead of allowing his disability to dictate his life, Tshewang chose to embark on a journey to redefine his purpose and achieve self-sufficiency. Reflecting on the impact of losing his sight, he says, “Losing my sight felt like the worst thing imaginable. At 21, while most people were focused on studying, I was engulfed in depression.”

Undeterred by obstacles, Tshewang sought opportunities to enhance his skills and contribute to society. He found inspiration in the transformative potential of massage therapy during his training at the Norbu Healing Arts Centre. He dedicated himself to mastering quney therapy, a specialised massage technique.

Armed with his newfound skills, Tshewang set up his massage service in Kanglung, envisioning a sanctuary where individuals could find relief from physical ailments. Despite encountering financial challenges and resource constraints, his sense of purpose remained unwavering.

“I took this step hoping to secure some livelihood assistance from the business,” Tshewang says.

Navigating the world without sight, Tshewang relies on his keen sense of touch and intuitive understanding to alleviate his clients’ discomfort. “I can’t see 100 percent. I do it with my eyes closed half of the time,” he admits humbly. Guided by mental images and empathy, he provides relief with unmatched skill and compassion.

Transitioning from a student to a business owner presented its challenges, especially with muscular degeneration adding to his obstacles. However, Tshewang remained determined.

“Making a living through massage services is challenging. I didn’t stay complacent,” he says.

Through diligent saving and perseverance, he has a plan to expand his enterprise, ensuring access to necessary tools and equipment.

Looking ahead, he aims to grow his business and hire people like himself. “I know the challenges disabled individuals face in society. I want them to be independent too.”

Today, Tshewang is a symbol of resilience. Despite facing adversity, he refused to succumb to it. Beyond his remarkable massage skills, he exemplifies the power of courage in overcoming challenges and persevering through difficult times.

“Although I can do what I do well, what truly distinguishes me is how I overcame losing my sight at 21,” he says.

Water water, not everywhere

Wed, 05/01/2024 - 15:21

The recent notice from the Thimphu Thromde on the reduction in the volume of drinking water at source, by up to 70 percent, was aimed to prepare Thimphu residents of upcoming erratic drinking water supply.

But experts warn that if the current ways of water management and consumption continue, residents not only in Thimphu but throughout the country, should be prepared to face permanent and continuous loss of natural drinking water reserves in the future.

Snowfall, and rain replenished our springs and streams – nature’s water source in Bhutan. However, according to environment experts, it would be flawed to blame the changing pattern in snowfall and rainfall – a manifestation of the adverse impact of climate change, and the increase in water consumers, as sole responsible for the drying water sources in the country.

For them, the most crucial issue, and which could take a very long time to resolve, was the poor water management and consumption pattern which had detrimental effects on the health of the watershed in the country.

It is embarrassing to complain about water scarcity when there is a river flowing through the middle of the city, says an environmental expert. Sadly though, the value and role of the river remained, for now, reduced merely to wash away human waste.

Otherwise, from cooking food to flushing toilets, and from farming to washing cars, only fresh, clean, and pristine natural spring water was used. The sources of which, unfortunately, had been moving further and further away from human settlements while also becoming smaller, if not drying up altogether.

As a study pointed out, while even assuming the smallest 10 litres cistern, and a minimum of flushing twice a day, a resident in Thimphu would flush away 20 litres of mountain spring water down the toilet in a day. When considered for the entire population of Thimphu,  thousands of litres of clean and pristine natural spring water would be flushed down the toilets each day.

The demand for water had continually increased, while mindless consumption patterns and mismanagement went unabated. Water leakage both in the  supply and consumption process wasted a considerable amount of water, while its improper use – simple as not turning off the tap when not in use, drained away the precious natural water. It is no wonder then, when research presented a much higher per capita water consumption in Bhutan than in socio-economically advanced societies.

From drinking directly from the water taps back in the good old days, to drinking only bottled water today, Bhutanese have become conscious of the quality of the water, it shows. But evidences available also prove we have not become conscious of the way we consume it.

Today, there are about 23 water bottling plants in the country, selling bottled water for all types of consumers. Our conservation achievements in other areas are likely to be watered down, if, on the other hand, drinking bottled water is the only option left.

Water shortages, experts say, would get worse every year. Changing our consumption habits and supply system could help us at least in the short term. The belief is that there is enough water for everyone if the leakages, illegal tapping and equality in distribution is ensured.

 

1M Euros for digitalisation of education

Wed, 05/01/2024 - 15:20

KP Sharma

The European Union (EU) and UNICEF committed one million Euros to enhance student’s learning experiences and skill development to boost employability and economic growth while reducing disparities.

The EU and UNICEF announced the funding yesterday at the end of a two-day stakeholder consultation workshop. The workshop discussed  a detailed plan for leveraging technology in education to tackle digital exclusion and promote modern skills.

The Ministry of Education and Skill Development’s STEM and Innovation Division, together with UNICEF, will implement this plan, according to a joint press release from the partners.

As of 2023, the World Skills Clock reported that about 66.9 percent of young people aged 15-24 in Bhutan don’t have digital skills, and around 79.8 percent lack the skills expected at the secondary education level.

The three-year programme will support the initiatives of the government to create a conducive environment for digitally transforming basic, secondary and technical/vocational education.

It aims to bridge the digital gap that learners faced during the pandemic and complements existing initiatives in Bhutan.

The initiatives is expected to further enhance the quality of digital learning by improving governance and policies, ensuring inclusive education and skills development for children. It will also build the capacity of stakeholders, including teachers, parents, and students, in digital skills, cybersecurity, online safety and digital content creation.

In addition, the programme will test and implement connectivity models suitable for digitalization.

Minister and Chargé d’ Affaires a.i., delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan Seppo Nurmi, said that the initiative is a step towards empowering the youth by strengthening digitalisation in education and skills, for inclusive socio-economic development by ensuring systems, capacity and connectivity models are in place to enhance digital learning.

“Given the pervasive role of digital technology, improving digital skills would boost Bhutan’s economic competitiveness, while promoting social equality,” he added.

UNICEF Bhutan Representative, Andrea James said  that digital learning solutions must be designed and implemented in ways that promote inclusive learning for all children.

“As part of the initiative, the MoESD and partners will identify 10 schools across Bhutan and engage 2,000 students to test suitable and feasible connectivity models for digitalisation and scale up.”

Director General of the Department of School Education, Karma Galey, said that the funding support arrived at a crucial moment as Bhutan continues to transform its education system, with a strong focus on adopting digital technologies.

He added that the funding will support the government’s ongoing efforts to digitalise schools and adapt learning methods to meet the changing needs of the times.

 

འབྲུག་གི་དགའ་སྐྱིད་ལྡུམ་ར་འགྲེམས་སྟོན།

Wed, 05/01/2024 - 13:22

རྒྱ་ནག་གི་ས་གནས་ ཅེང་ཌུ་ལུ་ རྒྱལ་སྤྱི་ལྡུམ་ར་འགྲེམས་སྟོན་ནང་ འབྲུག་གི་དགའ་སྐྱིད་ལྡུམ་ར་ཟེར་ མི་མང་ལུ་ འགྲེམས་སྟོན་འབད་དོ་ཡོདཔ་ད་ ལྡུམ་ར་དེ་ཡང་ ས་ཆ་ཌེ་སི་མཱལ་༣༧ ནང་ འབྲུག་གི་ ལྡུམ་རིག་མཁས་མཆོག་༡༠འབད་མི་ སྡེ་ཚན་ཅིག་གིས་ བཟོ་ཡོདཔ་བཞིན་དུ་ སྤྱི་ཟླ་༡༠པའི་ཟླ་མཇུག་ཚུན་ འགྲེམས་སྟོན་འབད་ནི་ཨིན་པས།

འབྲུག་གིས་ རྒྱལ་སྤྱི་ལྡུམ་ར་འགྲེམས་སྟོན་ནང་ འགོ་དང་པ་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༠༦ ལུ་ བཅའ་མར་གཏོགས་ཡོད་པའི་གནས་ཚུལ།

Pages