Saturday, June 24, 2017

Fiscal Incentives and Money Bill confuses comprehension.

Just went through today's Kuensel Front page news. " Govt. dismisses Fiscal Incentives accusations".

Money Bill needs the approval of National Assembly. The same bill if approved by National Assembly goes to National Council for its views and recommendation though these are not binding upon the National Assembly. The National Council has no mandate to reject a Money Bill but it can shape public opinion with critical review. It can also make suggestions which if accepted by the National Assembly, would be incorporated.

According to Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, "Fiscal Incentives" are within the authority of the Executive/ Government. This in reality means that approval  of even  National Assembly is  not required. The precedents support this contention of the Prime Minister.

Now one wonders why the Government introduced  "Fiscal Incentives, 2016 " as a Money Bill when it declares that " Fiscal Incentives" are not required to receive approval of the National Assembly before implementing. 

What the Government seems to have tried to do was prevent another Government from doing away with the "Fiscal Incentives"  that it has granted by coating these " Fiscal Incentives"  as a Money Bill.  If a differen Party Government comes, that Government can immediately stop " Fiscal Incentives "  given by the previous Government though not with retrospective effect. This is possible only if the " Fiscal Incentives" are the prerogative of the Executive as put forth by the Prime Minister. However, to undo a Money Bill, the new Government has to go back to National Assembly and also receive Royal Assent. And that takes more time and effort. So the " Fiscal Incentives" granted by this Government cannot be instantly done away by a new different Party Government. The subsequent effect is that  it gives the industries receiving " Fiscal Incentives " the crucial  lobbying time and avenue. Generally any reigning Political Party would be reluctant to withdraw "Fiscal Incentives" unless political  vendetta is warranted to the extreme. In Bhutan political vendatta can be very narrow sighted.

The present Government cannot have the cake as well as eat it. Unless a Money Bill or any Bill passed by the National Assembly or the Parliament can be applied with retrospective effect ( most unusual), the " Fiscal Incentives" granted by the Government prior to the approval of this Mony Bill is subject to full recovery. And that is quite an uncomfortable prospect for the present Government. 

I do agree with the Prime Minister in his view that the call by DNT for resignations of the Finance Minister and himself is more a publicity stunt than Constitution based. ( I do also accept that all over the world,  political parties are prone to hype self achievements and hype even more the wrong doings of others. That's the nature of party politics. So DNT call is normal rather than exception).  

The Government did not breach the Constitution. But it does look like the Finance Ministry out witted itself in the Fiscal Incentive issue. The Government must comply with its own call for standard. If another Government is expected to follow the Money Bill standard for Fiscal Incentives, hereafter,  then PDP Government must set the example. Thus the present Government must  recoup back what the National Exchequer lost through grant of  " Fiscal Incentives" by it during the period uncovered by the Mony Bill.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Toilet Cleaners.

The most famous toilet cleaner in Bhutan is Chaplop Passang. His dignity derived from menial labour of cleaning toilets has been distinctively recognised and applauded by His Majesty the King and thus the title, " Chaplop ".

I clean toilets. No, not just toilets within my house. I clean toilet pots and pans and scrub shower room walls of flats vacated by tenants with my bare hands and a rag. My finger nails are short and my shirt sleeves are rolled up. I scrub toilet pots inside and outside and scrub the toilet floors. Toilet pots are easier to clean than the oily dirt cakes on the tiles of shower walls. Sometimes, I wonder how occupants had managed to avoid cleanliness whilst cleaning their physical person.

But I do not complain. It is the least of welcome services that we can do for our incoming tenants and a kind of thank you to the last tenant.  Afterall, our tenants are our main source of livelihood. And by the way, I am just one of the whole family team though I guess as the head of the family, I have some influence in developing the attitude in social and self responsibility. We just want the Triple Gem to know that we are grateful to be a hard working happy  family with the opportunities granted.   And for us cleaning toilets is an opportunity not a penalty. Nothing to be ashamed of and no reason to boast. Just part of our responsibility as life goes on.  

Toilet cleaning is an honest labour but it cannot be anyone's ultimate passion. I did what is necessary to make possible an honest livelihood. I did many things besides cleaning toilets so would most people in their journey of life.
 
Also by necessity, I am an excellent house electrician, an intelligent plumber and even a mediocre carpenter with more skill in guiding than sawing. These  low paying menial jobs for which I never got paid except that no payment had to be paid out to others, contributed to my family welfare along with my many executive posts with revolving chairs and private offices in the Government, the Corporations and even the Media world. By necessity too, I taught myself about laws of the land, religious scriptures,  politics of the day and the happenings of the world in general. Jack of many trades with fortunate proficiencies in few fields including cleaning toilets. Thank Providence that rules Fate and Life.

I became quite an expert, too , in getting babies delivered at home and ofcourse hand-washing all the clothes and bed sheets after a wonderful giddy filled sensation that births at home bring about. From cutting and then tying the cord ends of a new born baby to even cutting children hair to save money on barber service is a job that comes along with fatherhood. I value money and I believe most Bhutanese would not shy away from honest work including cleaning toilets if these  pay adequately. My domestic weakness is that I am a lousy cook and I dread cooking though making tea is an easy job. This handicap in cooking, I partly attribute to my beloved mother. From early childhood , my mother told me, " prepare for the tasks outside the house. Leave the home management to me". And by providence, what a home manager she was! The light of our home lit my life path. On my part, I never shied away from honest works outside the home. Thank you so much incredible mother and home manager. My sole goddess guide.

I have no qualms about doing menial works but it would be incorrect to declare that I enjoy doing them. And now with passing years, there is physical discomfort associated with physical labour. Anyway,  If I had the ultimate choice, I would rather be watching a good movie or reading a novel undisturbed. I can while away a whole day writing or reading or simply being in front of a radio those days but now a TV screen without actually paying much attention to what is happening in and around me in the room. In fact at times forgetting the where I am.  I can even forget about meals. Now you know how I would love to spend most of my days at this stage of life. Still if  called for, I would not mind cleaning toilets.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

PLIGHT OF CIVIL SERVANTS and RCSC.

A positive signal that RCSC is concerned about plight of retired civil servants. Hopefully such concerns are gradually translated into real positive actions.

I see 2 areas that RCSC can set it's goal to ease retirees' agony.

1. RCSC as a central agency could play a lead role to do away with income tax on pension of all retirees whether of private, ngo, corporation, civil service or retired elected officials.

2. Recently much was made about the 20% house rent allowance that was made applicable to all civil servants few years back.  And calls were made to dismantle Civil Service system and introduce contract system. The civil servants were accused of being greedy.  The truth is that in reality most civil servants just got the benefit  only 4% increase in basic pay whilst all elected officials received over 60% hike. RCSC remained totally silent and did not clarify the true situations and roles of civil servants.  Let me elaborate what I feel about RCSC and Civil Servants.

a) That the 20% house rent allowance though a welcome effort to parity within the civil service, a lot of the civil servants  already had Government quarters provided at officer level and lower category staffs, where available, had  quarters with subdised rents. Therefore, they were not eligible for house rent allowance. That is the reasons why the  majority who got only the pitiful 4% increase felt aggrieved and feel continued to be insulted and neglected. 

b) The institution of civil service remain the stabilising force especially in a political environment where individual and political party interest overtake national goals. This is the reason why some forces are out there publicly calling for dismantling the civil service. Such forces who are instigating and leading such calls are well aware that it is the well qualified and dedicated civil servants that stand between ambitious political forces and the sanctity of the Tsawa Soum. If existing civil service system is done away then forces disloyal to the nation could infiltrate civil service in greater numbers. In such an event, even the loyal security forces cannot prevent national subversion.  RCSC must see through these malicious intent of such activists and protect the sanctity, the dignity and welfare of civil servants. Do not allow unhealthy  forces to neglect and dis- honour the civil service group.

c) RCSC must play a proactive role in ensuring a sustainable monthly salary for civil servants in the same way it is ensuring quality out put from civil servants. Whilst elected officials goes all out to help themselves and each other, civil servants have only the RCSC and the Blessings of the King who alone fully comprehends the indispensable role of civil cadres. His Majesty the King cannot directly intervene. It is the RCSC which must directly shoulder the task of ensuring a fair deal for all categories of civil servants. A genuine relief for civil servants who retire would be a better remuneration and respects whilst in active service. It  does not do much good to extent empty sympathy to retired people. However, I applaud RCSC for being aware of the many problems the retirees undergo and the attempt to tackle such issues within the limitted capacity / resources  that RCSC has at its disposal. 

On a personal note about house rent. I never paid house rent whilst as a civil servant. For over 12 years the Government paid the house rent and after that I managed to build a hut of my own in what was then a far corner of Thimphu Valley and thereafter never claimed housing allowance from Government. A cow, few pigs and chickens supplemented my family needs. It was hard work but I was motivated to improve welfare of all at home in Haa and my immediate family in Thimphu.  Today the situation is different for all including civil servants. It is most difficult to acquire a spot for a hut even in remote Bhutan and most anyway lack the will and stamina to labour ( from dawn and even after dusk ) even if what I did some decades back is possible in some corners of Bhutan.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Melom Chhenmo and Chhathrims.

Mainly due to the huge investment of his personal commitment, financial contributions  and exhaustive time devoted, His Holiness the Jhe Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra has heralded an era where the people of  all 20 Dzongkhags in Bhutan now conduct a yearly Melom Chhenmo.

In all the Dzongkhags, the Melom Chhenmo were initiated and made possible by private people with the active blessings, endorsement and participation of His Holiness. The Dzongkhag Administrations and Dzongkhag Dratsangs naturally played very active and vital roles during the conduct of the annual Great Prayers. However, the main motivators and initiators and the central force behind all the Melom Chhenmo in the Dzongkhags are from amongst the general public ( private as well as officials in private and individual capacity) of respective Dzongkhags. It is not just the funds raised but also the meals served and enthusiasms demonstrated in celebrating and mass attendance by the general public that makes annual Melom Chhenmo such a celebrated and hugely successful spiritual  event. The public have a sense of ownership, responsibility and community togetherness for their Dzongkhag annual Melom Chhenmo. 

Against this backdrop, there is an ongoing process that kind of, hereater, converts this people sponsored and celebrated event into an officially managed affair.  I am told that His Holiness had ordered for a Melom Chhenmo  Chhathrim to be adopted by each Dzongkhag. And such a Chhathrim already adopted by some Dzongkhags specify that successive Dasho Dzongdags as Chairman and the Lam Netens as Vice Chairman of Melom Chhenmo. This naturally transfers the management of accumulated Melom Chhenmo Fund under the authority of respective Dzongdags and Lam Netens. And Melom Chhenmo becomes an official event.

I am rather dismayed that public role in what they so fervently built up, will be diminished to an extent that in few years time,  public say will be rendered nil. I am not surprised that Dzongdags and Lam Netens are so readily accepting the roles of Chairman and Vice Chairmanships. Maybe,  they feel that their institutional roles should be rewarded more or that they should have their hands into the funds which is not subject to official audit.  Maybe they are only submitting to the wishes of His Holiness.

It is possible that His Holiness hopes to ensure Melom Chhenmo durability in the years ahead through a Chhathrim that places the annual Melom Chhenmo event under the authority and management of the Dzongkhag administration and the Dratsang.

I humbly feel that to remove the central role and say of the public from Melom Chhenmo is like removing the soul from the body. The durability of Dzongkhag Melom Chhenmo can be most effectively assurred by simply having the Central Monastic Body formalise for the future the  successive Jhe Khenpos gracing the Melom Chhenmo of each Dzongkhag in the footstep of His Holiness the present Jhe Khenpo. . Such a Dratsang  commitment would be whole heartedly and most gratefully cherished and welcomed by the public of 20 Dzongkhags. And Melom Chhenmo event will be celebrated in the grandest of spirit and faith even after the time of His Holiness Trulku Jigme Choedra and without a Chhathrim.       

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What I call a Glaring denial.

I would never belittle any Political Party whether old or new or in the process of formation and their Party heirachy. It is a herculean task to establish and maintain a Political Party in Bhutan.

Democracy cannot make headway without Political Parties and differing personalities. The Parties do shoulder heavy respinsibilities. There is no easy way to even form a Political Party given the restrictions and requirements in place. I value and respect all political parties.

Therefore, actually today,  I just wanted to listen rather than raise doubt at this juncture.  But I just cannot convince myself that the founder of BKP did not indicate that BKP would like Dasho Neten to head the Party whilst approaching her. Also such crucial matter would have had to be discussed among core party members even if for sake of formality.  All else and views are what a party would want to promote or percieve and one can await further concrete development. Today's interview had to be what one calls a soft approach. I did not expect the new BKP President to come up with concrete ideas at this introductory BBS appearance. But this denial of having a prior idea of her position in the Party hierachy creates an unnecessary black hole. Can a politician of whatever calibre truly respect and trust the public with even a simple plain truth?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Beware of what World Bank economist Martin Rama said.

I read today's Kuensel article titled " Hydro revenue ..." highlighting what Martin Rama said about Bhutanese economy.  I am thunder struck with the recommendation that states " park additional hydropower revenue instead of giving a pay hike". Park yes because we need to have reserves but why emphasis do not raise civil servants pay?

Normally,  I would not see the devilish intent behind this advice but for the ongoing fb post of grievances about pay by some civil servants. And The Bhutanese attacking such sentiments.

The fact is majority of civil servants received an increase of 4% of basic pay the last time when MPs and other elected officials got over 60% increase. Earlier Local elected officials had also received substantial increase. This time Local elected officials got on the average over 50% increase in salary. I am happy with the increase and other benefits given for multiple reasons.

I would not begrudge what elected political officials get but I also can understand why civil servants desire for better pay. Whether the nation can afford or not can be of economic or political basis. I also understand that within the nation there have to be opposing views and I do not begrudge even the attacks upon the civil servants by The Bhutanese which some view as an unofficial PDP Party mouth piece. I reserve my opinion on this particular assumption. But when an outsider like Martin Rama of World Bank makes unwarranted interference into a hot national issue, my antenna goes up. World Bank is not just a monetary institution. It is highly political in composition and strategy.

What our leaderships  think of this is possibly beyond the humble parameters of most of us the common citizens including myself.  But at personal  level, I see it as a divisive advice. Why did Martin Rama feel particularly obliged to throw a World Bank spanner into this local issue about civil servants pay raise or no raise. All over the world the intellectuals instigate and the masses respond. Is a foreign factor introducing a disruption between the engine that runs the national train and the driver that directs the train.

The Bhutanese has concluded that civil servants are too few in number to influence the outcome of an  Election. I do not even know whether every civil servants will vote or not and if they vote for whom they will vote let alone concluding that they can or cannot  change election result.  All I know is civil servants are of diverse make and inclination and I have no basis to draw a conclusion that civil servants act as a group in political or any other major issues except in their common responsibility to serve the Tsawa Sum.

For me salary has always been an economic matter never a political issue. And I hope it remains so for many employees dependent solely on one income: Their monthly salary.

Monday, May 22, 2017

President Trump of America, King Salman of Saudi Arabia and President Rouhani of Iran.

The King of Saudi Arabia and the President of United States declares that  Iran as a nation funds and provides safe haven for terrorists and spearheads terrorism. But both the leaders puts the blame upon the Iranian regime. The people of Iran are innocent they declared. Somehow, I feel the world super power and the richest Arab Kingdom are way off regarding the supposed disconnect between the populace and Government of Iran. Perhaps targeting only the regime could be part of possible ongoing clandestine activities of fomenting insurrections  inside Iran by the two nations 

In my view, the Iranian people have elected their leaders. Just few days back President Rouhani was re- elected for a second term. The world in general view President Rouhani as a moderate and intelligent leader. He negotiated the Nuclear Deal with America plus other 5 nations. His re-election proves that he is a popular leader among the populace. So there cannot be disconnect between him and his people who gave him a very convincing second term. 

Facts of history.

1. Iran is the only Islam nation who successfully stood up against American might. From throwing the Shah out to takeover of American Embassy in Teran to withstanding decades of American lead sanctions and freezing of its world assets including bank accounts until the Nuclear Deal.

2. Iranian President is directly elected  by the people of Iran. So majority votes is required.  Not by delegates as in America where Trump became President although Hillary got majority votes. So Iranian system is more democratic in the sense of choice of the majority.

3. Iran is not like Saudi Arabia which is ruled by an absolute Monarch and thousands of Royal family members who own the national wealth and have total say in national affairs.  

4. Iran opposes aggressions of weak nations in the Middle East by America, Israel and Saudi Arabia. That is why Iran helps Hezbollah in Lebanon bullied by Israel,  Islamic force in Yemen invaded by Saudi Arabia and Palestine people persecuted and walled in by Israel.

5. Iran did not create ISIS. America created ISIS out of Taliban forces  and the disbanded Army of Saddam Hussain of Iraq. Taliban was created by Osama Bin Laden who was a member of Saudi Royal Family.

6. Iran has not attacked any country in modern history. America has conquered Iraq, destroyed Libya and now attacking Syria. Refugee floods have been unleashed by American conducted wars.  Saudi Arabia is funding the Opposition Forces of Syria and invading Yemen with American supplied war planes and bombs. So if Allah ever delivers justice, probably Iran will triumph in the ultimate fight between what President Trump has termed the war between " Good and Bad ".

Monday, May 15, 2017

China's Belt and Road Initiative Conference at Beijing ( 14 and 15 May 2017) that India did not attend. Bhutan shied away as usual.

India is a member of AIIB ( Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and NDB ( New Development Bank). However, India  did not participate in this mammoth China conference on Belt and Road Initiative. It is said that over 120 nations and international organisations including Heads of UNO, WTO and IMF attended the Conference. India's reluctance to attend is to do with Chinese investment ( some 54 billion dollars ) in Pakistan side of Jammu Kashmir which India interprets as offence to Indian sovereignty over whole of Jammu Kashmir region.

All other SAARC nations except Bhutan attended the conference and they are also members of AIIB. The China promoted Belt and Road Initiative is welcomed by almost all nations including America, all East and West European nations, Japan, two Koreas and Russia. The ASEAN countries and African nations are enthusiastic participants. This initiative is to bring the countries of Africa, Asia and Europe closer through trade and economic linkages.

China is promoting in a modern way,  the old silk routes both overland and over the sea. It is considered an ambitious giant economic venture that will transform world approach to economic, trade and social progress. It could very well even change the political landscape.  The initiative would generate an investmrnt of over one trillion dollars. No nation would want to be left out as it could very well bring about a new World economic order. America which was initially reluctant, has had to  change her stance in the last minute because she had much to lose if isolated. 

Maybe India, too, will have to reconsider her present stance in view of the vast economic opportunities. India like America just cannot exclude herself from all the rest who are actively participating.  BBIN was in a way a small effort by India to hinder China's 3 Continents trade and economic plan. Until recently India had American support but the Super Power has undergone a change of heart and now favours the Chinese land and maritime silk route ventures.

Participants from Europe, America and some international organisations have asked for more clarity and transparency. The President of China may have done just that in his addresses to over 1200 delegates including 29 Heads of State and Government attending the Conference .

America and Western European nations could be seeking opportunities for their own Corporations without actually making financial investment from their respective national coffers. However, China and her national companies are undertaking huge projects in many countries under this umbrella and building sea ports, airports, railways, roads, bridges and developing industrial zones. A major portion of investments in these giant development projects are funded by China. Most Asian and African nations are grateful to China for  successfully taking up projects that other developed nations and international banks had refused to fund. Chinese Companies are reputed to execute huge projects within project time frame and with excellent quality. In that way both China and the host nations benefit.

So it is quite a different scenario from that of our  own Indo- Bhutan hydro projects and especially not like the Chukka-  Damchu 29 Km length bypass motor road under construction by the Indian national military wing DANTAK for almost a decade. Maybe that explains the absence of India and  Bhutan at the  Beijing conference. With the the kinds of delays and cost escalations that we are suffering in both motor roads  and hydro projects, it is just not possible to stomach the goals of One Belt and One Road Initiatives that span across 3 Continents. Om Mani Pedmi Hung to that phobia.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Traffic Management and School Buses.

The introduction of bus services by Thromde for two schools in Thimphu will positively ease traffic congestion and provide time relief to many parents. The drivers have great responsibilities. Even sudden braking could cause injuries.

Buses are packed to the maximum limit including standing spaces. Therefore,  students also must exercise utmost discipline in the constricted environment where both big and small girls and boys are jam packed. I do not think such jam packed travelling condition even for short duration is socially a desirable environment. The trip would be around 35 to 45 minutes considering  embarking and waiting for bus to be filled to the brim and in the process of struggling to reach the exit whilst disembarking from the bus.  Peer pressures, eve teasing, physical harrassment could become prevalent in congested enclosure of a moving bus with hardly room to breathe. 

I would like to thank most gratefully the Traffic Police men and women for the superb job they did till now. Every morning and evening so many cars came to drop and pick up students at YHS and Lungtenzampa School Parking and yet traffic flowed with certainty and free of accidents.  Thank you so much RBP particularly the Traffic Division.  I also appreciate the concerns and care of parents who in caring for the safety of their own children also contributed in  preserving the safety of children of other parents.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

JAB and Journalists.

Congratulations to the Winners of Awards. And keep at it all members for awards are not booked in advance. Only earned through process each year.

Hard News does not come on a platter unless the source has a motive to share it. News especially tell tales type have to be dug. If officials do not provide information at your convenience especially a telephone call at odd hours, maybe thats not how you get hard news. Be up and awake when others are working.

There is long standing tradition of building personal contact network and watching out for those who leak informations to serve their own purpose. Soliciting rather than demanding could be a way. And investigative journalism is more than gathering gossips, better than police or official narrative and consist of views from multi angles and tying of numerous threads and loose ends. 

Financial difficulties of a media agency  can limit choice of coverage but is in no way related to quality of Press Freedom. If you are fair and free then you can get away with almost all your lines. In other words create your own space of media freedom. Earn respect through your output.  Its hard work on continuous basis.Tenacity is the call. However, Government support to cover major events will help providing wider information to general public.

Limitted readership and advertisement sources plus lack of financial discipline among media agencies are hindrance to overall media development. Journalists too must practice quality standard to gain public confidence which is a different yardstick from social media/fb popularity. 

Personal attacks even unsubstantiated and anti establishment stands attract popularity in our society and social media. However, only substantive journalism can earn long term credit and also create positive impact. May good journalism contribute to building the nation. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Rejoice not for BBIN delay. It could come back in this or another form. Beware.

BBIN is not as much a sub regional economic agreement as it is a sub regional political club for India leaving out other SAARC members especially Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

Bhutan does not face any official difficulty in motor vehicle road access in the sub region. Bhutanese trucks already ferry apples and oranges into Bangladesh transiting through courtesy Indian territories. Indian trucks come to Bhutan and Bhutanese vehicles have access to  Indian roads. However, except for the must transit route through India from one point of South Bhutan to another, most Bhutanese trucks and cars do not foray much into Indian territories. Not forbidden but because it is quite unsafe.

And Bhutan- Nepal bulk trade is non existing. Further, BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement will not cover for Bhutan the desired transmission lines of electricity or other communication means to Bangladesh or Nepal.  Thus the supposed BBIN additional benefits of economic and other developments are conjured figments by a PDP Government put under duress from neighbourly pressures. Forgive but do not believe the Government about BBIN roses. No flowers just the thorns.

BBIN cannot achieve anything over and above SAARC forum. It is self defeating for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal to dilute SAARC with BBIN formation. The reason that BBIN could come alive is because India deems it necessary to consolidate political and economic grip over the immediate neighbours. And at the same time isolate out those more  independant SAARC members and their backers especially China and America with observer status in SAARC. China even wants to become a member. 

Whatever BBIN goals maybe, definitely it is not at all to enhance movement of Bhutanese goods or people. If transport of Bhutanese  goods and people were so crucial , the proposed South Bhutan Highway would not have been killed. The ADB fund was secured and the plan ready for immediate execution. The highway project was on take off mode when our Government had to abruptly cancel it. And to add insult to injury, the construction of Samtse to Phuentsholing road already begun by DPT Government has been moving at snail pace under PDP watch.  Why?

For the PDP Government or that of any other Bhutanese Political Party, the priority would be development and catering to the needs of the people. The votes and trust of people in the South are equally important to any Political Party. Therefore, a Party in governance just on its own wish, would not kill such vital national life-lines : Constructions of South Bhutan Highway and  Amochu Hydro- Project.

What the leaders of Bhutan would or can  do, hereafter, is hard to tell. There is relief in that Bhutan has asked the other three BBIN Signatories to go ahead. And trepidation in that lingering sign, " that Bhutan shall join later after Parliament's ratification of BBIN Agreement.

Any Government whether of PDP or that of other Parties,  would be hard pressed to tackle political pressures from close quarters. We as ordinary citizens, unaware of all the pros and cons of national and regional challenges and pressures , can only voice our honest thoughts in such open forum and pray that somehow, the Tsawa Sum acting in unison will triumph in the end. 

Against all odds, HM Third King had  secured UN membership for Bhutan. Against all odds, HM Fourth King had routed the cross border heavily armed Indian Militant Groups thus eradicating once and for all times the possibility of occupation of South Bhutan by the Indian Army in planned  pursuits of those very Indian militant forces. And against all skepticisms, HM reigning Fifth King has gallantly ushered in and skillfully shepherded the era of democracy. Thus odds did not stop the steadfast royal march along dignified destiny of the sovereign Kingdom. And therefore,  odds should not daunt our Prime Minister
especially when any PM of Bhutan could always have such reliable fall backs.

A plea to respected Cabinet and honourable MPs of Bhutanese Parliament. I believe that foreign Ambassadors even those of most friendly nations Bangladesh and India cannot lecture the people of Bhutan in public into joining BBIN. The Royal Government could not prevent them from doing so. Now this time, I pray that the Parliament provide an appropriate response by soundly rejecting the BBIN Agreement in the Joint Session.

On BBIN Vote Day, may every MP of the Parliament place one hand on the heart that already belongs to Pelden Drukpa by oaths taken and press the vote button by the other hand. The resultant tally of votes "  Yes or No "  will cast the destiny of the nation. Lets hope each MP does not forfeit national respect and self soul for short term personal or Party political gains. Pelden Drukpa! Gyelo!   

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Memorial Chorten of HM King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

A tribute by HM Queen Phuentsho Choden Wangchuck to her son who illuminated a Kingdom in ways never could have been foreseen.

Creations: A new national capital. A new system of governance incorporating the active participation of people from grass root level and from religious institutions. Established the National Assembly, Royal Advisory Council, Judiciary and Defence Forces, Cabinet and a young bureaucracy staffed by a fledging national civil service cadre. A seat in the United Nations. A path to the 21st Century. Empowerment of all class of subjects: men, women, serfs as equal citizens with equal rights. 

A simple and very confident King with immense intellectual capacity, compassion and courage. A King who even  in 1952 could fortell and accordingly shaped what Bhutan should be in the 21st century. A King who could comprehend the need and the impact of modern education for the young generations. A King who underdstood the unifying impact of a common national language and developed Dzongkhag. A pioneer of justice who shouldered the onerous task of drafting  the Laws of the Land " Thrim-Zhung- Chhenmo " mainly during the wee hours of the night,  " the only time he could truly claim as his own " he said. This Mother of all Laws was debated and  passed by the National Assembly.  

A King who laid the  foundations of Judiciary, education, health, roads and communications, industries, trade, foreign relations and even laid the ground rules of low volume high quality tourism policy. A King  who attuned religious institions to meet modern challenges, institutionalised the development and preservation of ancient arts and crafts, culture and tradition. A King who declared , " would rule as a sovereign King or not at all "  as he called upon his male subjects 15 years and above to defend the sovereignty of the Bhutanese Kingdom during those tumultuous years in the Himalayan region.

A King who knew the sunset time of his own reign and diligently in a very short span of time (18 months or so ) prepared the very young Crown Prince for succession. I remember that winter evening at Motithang Hotel when His Majesty expressed his anxiety about the  generation gap. The King said,  " We are aging fast and you all are too young and preoccupied with academic studies".  I was just a high school student and class-mate of the Crown Prince and could only  humbly submit that , " maybe the Crown Prince could be simultaneously engaged in national administration affairs. For a Leader, among all studies the most crucial was the art of managing people and that was not available in text books". 

A year and half later, on 22nd July, 1972, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck passed away. The Speaker of the National Assembly mourned, " darkness has fallen at midday upon the Kingdom ". Thankfully that darkness possessed a young glow at its depth. For by then the young Crown Prince as Chairman of Planning Commission had in his mind the road map of his Kingdom and in his heart the knowledge of each of the Cabinet Ministers and many other officials including important Indian leaders. And the succession to the Dragon Throne had already been formalised with the Crown Prince installed as the Trongsa Penlop.

Every time I drive past the Memorial Chorten. I thank the stars for the brief personal glimpses into the universe that His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck was.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why Haa Dzongkhag stood alone.

Sometime back, I came across a fb post about a study conducted in Bhutan that concluded that Haa Dzongkhag stood first in dedication to Tsawa Sum. I felt proud but was also a little anxious. I believe that majority of Bhutanese have to be equally dedicated to Tsawa Sum and probably are. If only Haaps, the nation does have a huge problem to overcome.

This morning I came across a post shared by a fb friend ( PM visit to Bji Geog of Haa ). The content suddenly provided a pleasant relief to my anxiety. I now realise that the outcome of that study was probably based on two physical facts. Quite ironic!

1. The only Dzong in Bhutan surrendered to IMTRAT ( Indian Military ) is Haa Dzong. As contribution to defence of Bhutan?

2. The only Central School surrendered to Defence Forces of Bhutan is Haa Chhundu Central School. For enhancing national defence capability?

And ofcourse since 1959 with closure of Bhutan- China Tibet border, Haa lost her national number one trade route status. A huge economic sacrifice for the nation though who remembers such old facts. 

Thus whoever conducted that recent study must have drawn the conclusion based on above two physical evidences. So fellows, no one needs to be anxious or curious as to why Haa Dzongkhag was thought to be number one in dedication. I do not think another Dzongkhag would want to compete with Haa Dzongkhag by handing over their Dzong to Indian Military and Central School to our Defence Forces.

Keep your Dzongs and Central Schools. I believe all Dzongkhags are equally dedicated to Tsawa Sum with or without Dzongs and Central Schools.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Can Bhutan differentiate between living culture and fear culture.

Analysis of continuing Thimphu Thromde dictate against wearing tracksuits by students on games day:  

1. A tell tale of a nation in confidence distress and therefore enforcing mass submission through culture whips.

2. Gho and Kira our cherished living heritage converted to uniform of political  slavery. 

3. A confirmation that elected and  appointed leaders when intellectually bankrupt will be out to curtail the society. Not lead the nation. Happens anywhere and happening in Bhutan.

4. Cultural bigots managing to cause social crevices even in a tiny nation. Promoting clone population cast in gho and kira.

Appeals:

1. Do not impose policies that create lame and systematized youth population who maybe easy to control but devoid of initiatives to build the nation.

2. Please save the youth ! Stop decimation  of youth who are the foundation of healthy Bhutanese nation.

3. Thoughtful and concerned citizens must   pray for Cabinet intervention or a lightening from blue sky to spark national forward spirit. We need to do away with the cultural witch- hunt and cultural rigidity.   

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What smooth flow of traffic means in Bhutan.

Yesterday I posted a comment on traffic direction and deflection. And came across two views of young people. One felt all should be equally inconvenienced without partiality and another felt people should plan ahead. It seems they were born after 1970s and therefore unaware of national philosophy on normal life and normal traffic flow. In case some are interested let me share what I learnt over the years.

At one time even Ministers had pilots in Thimphu and sirens were used to announce VIP convoy. Then sometime in mid 1970s His Royal Highness Prince Namgyel Wangchuck decided to discard the use of pilot and that decision made other Ministers follow suit. His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck ever the epitome of simplicity never liked the sound of pilot siren and gradually His Majesty would not permit the pilot ahead of his car to even honk to seek right of way.

That is how important to the nation to preserve normal flow of life and traffic in the capital city of Bhutan where all VVIP and VIP live and also visit. I am sure this national philosophy must have been passed down through the traffic managers and coordinators at Royal Bhutan Police. The general public even seniors, I doubt, even noted such noble gesture and essence let alone younger generation ever comprehending such art of nation living.

The goal and objective of planning and coordinating traffic flow especially during emergencies and VVIP visit has to be, minimum disruption to normal way of life and flow of traffic and maximum convenience and security for the convoy of visiting VVIP or most easy way of tackling emergencies. If the goal was to forget all else but concentrating 100 % on tackling emergencies or only securing undisturbed convoy passage then easiest would be to declare no motor traffic day. That way everyone would be equally stranded at home or wayside and young people's thoughts of impartiality and planning for the day would be fulfilled.

The most important national philosophy that His Majesty the Fourth King pursued was no matter what,  Normal National Life Must Flow . People should read between the lines of the royal statements made even at the height of problems in the South. Students must stay in school and continue studying ; business people must continue the activities of commerce. The King did not ask all to drop everything and take up arms. Many leaders may have done just that and I do not fault them for their limitations. But for His Majesty the Triple Gem King, the greatest task of a leader was to protect the normal flow of national life,  come what may. Unfortunately very few new democratic leaders care to uphold this greatest goal of nation administration.

And I doubt even at RIGSS, any Speaker had as yet conveyed this main essence of national life and living as pursued by our Monarchs. People jump to declare how noble the Kings are but most never even cared to understand the essence of nobleness of our Kings. For many it's just a chorus they want to be seen acclaimng  publicly.  

Many components of new laws and rules only portray hardliners way of governing the nation ( recent examples: exhorbitant penalties and unnecessary prohibitions  like sport wear ( track suit ) in schools and over Nu:1000 penalty for failing to slow down at zebra crossing ). Laws and Rules are necessary but need to be tampered with common sense to protect essence of national life and living. Heavy fines that call for hammer to kill flies and stupidly adopted cruel rules that demonise self expressions and general convenience only sow seed of social oppression and animosity. As in even  flow of normal traffic so highly valued by the King so must Governments value the essence of national flow of life and living. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Trongsa land case: The third battle between ACC and OAG.

The third battle has began. The first the Gyalposhing case was won by ACC. The second Lhakhang Karpo case was restructured and won by OAG. Personally I felt from the start that the Haa Dzongdag case was more of administrative lapses which did not amount to criminal offence. 

The outcome of the two cases resulted in three high profile political victims. I call them political victims because if the present stand taken by OAG is constitutionally correct then Gyalposhing court case should not have happened. And so the former Speaker and the former Home Minister would be MPs today. And in case of Lhakhang Karpo, the main defendant the then Foreign Minister though ultimately declared innocent had paid a heavy political price. The trial process cost him his ministerial berth.

I kind of recall that Supreme Court had denied ACC to takeover the Lhakhang Karpo case prosecution. After the Dzongkhag Court ruling,  ACC was unhappy with the approach adopted by OAG ( diluting the charges against the defendants ). The same kind of argument as in this Trongsa land case was expressed by ACC then.

As a fellow citizen, I feel it is high time that a proper constitutional ruling is made to draw the line as thin as it maybe between ACC and OAG.  The political victims whether high profile or low profile are equal citizens of the Kingdom and  therefore equal subjects of the same King. We are all bound by the same laws of the land and  should not be additionally  subjected to the whims and personal prejudices of those at ACC or OAG.

When we view this tussle between ACC and OAG, it is important that we do so  with the objective of preserving and protecting fair and impartial investigative and  judicial processes and not base our views on who are being affected or not affected in a particular case.

In general if we believe that the nation has a reliable judicial system then it should not matter who prosecutes the case. However, in cases where ACC takes up prosecution of a case dropped by OAG and loses then the defendants must be adequately compensated. Besides their normal entitlement of salary or daily wage, there has to be substantial monetary award to cover defamation injuries.

Both ACC and OAG cannot be construed as being totally free from political influences or personal prejudices. So there are possibilities where ACC may drop or take up an  investigation for reasons other than just lack of evidence or existence of credible evidence of wrong doing. . And OAG too could favour alleged perpetrators by declaring that the case does not warrant prosecution or even dilute the charges against the defendants. 

Therefore, the Supreme Court has to ponder over more than just the black and white words in the Constitution. The Apex Body need to consider at depth and width all the colours and implications for the ultimate well being of a nation state and the larger goal of delivering justice over preserving power or autonomy.   

Friday, April 14, 2017

The magic of XI Jinping the President of China.

In 2015, there was pitch high feverish allegations against China on industrial and military espionage and cyber attacks and currency issues by Western media and  American public figures. Then President XI Jinping came to United States. And suddenly all such allegations evaporated. He stood very tall that day on the White House steps facing the Western Press Corps and they had no issues with China.

Also America under President Obama, did her best to derail AIIB and the Currency Basket but in the end even her European allies jumped on the AIIB wagon whilst some countries adopted Chinese yuan for trading.  And the silk route is taking shape despite America, Japan and India putting up obstructions.

This time President Trump had been attacking China on every issue from trade to currency manipulation, North Korea nuclear tests, the  One China policy and South China venture.  Then President XI met President Trump on his home turf and in that instant Trump turned around 180 degrees. China is not manipulating her currency and China is doing all in her power to resolve situations regarding North Korea. There was no public mention of South China Sea. 

It is said that President Trump informed President XI Jinping over dessert that America was firing missiles at Syria at that very moment. But if one considers the later decision of China to abstain rather than side as usual with Russia on the Syrian gas condemnation vote at UN, actually it is possible that President Trump gave the go ahead to fire the missiles only after confirming over the course of that same dinner that President XI Jinping was with him  on the Syrian gas attack.

Now China has increased her military presence near China- North Korea border and also China has refused to buy more coals from North Korea on which North Korea depend for hard currency income. But neither of the two developments can be interpreted as China fixing North Korea. The increase in troop numbers by 150,000 can work both ways: as deterrent to North Korea or as bolstering North Korea in case of American attack. And as for turning back coal shipments, North Korea can be helped by simply giving the hard currency without buying their coal.

One thing is for sure, China will never accept American hegemony over North Korea.  During 1950s , China was too weak to prevent South Korea following under American umbrella. Not now.  And it seems that  America has been made to understand the red line of China for Korean Peninsula and possibly also the South China Sea. The redline on  One China Policy had already been delivered much earlier and publicly  accepted by the Trump Washington. 

President XI Jinping came through an incredible journey of personal and political  life to reach at the helm of Chinese leadership. Therefore it is of no surprise that  each time he has been challenged or tested by other nations and leaders, he comes out into the territory of the enemy and takes away the banner. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A national lesson in maintenance and operation. Any Government should learn this art and adopt in practice.

Many years back Bus Services was privatised in Bhutan. And private bus companies faced huge malpractices in misuse of fuel, fares, spare parts and huge maintenance costs. After years of management difficulties, looks like someone decided to handover all the headaches to the one person who  held the central role of all management headaches and solutions. He was the driver. Hand over the bus to the driver on a monthly fee. All the problems of exorbitant fuel and lubricant demands, short changes in fare tally, frequent breakdowns of bus, irregular timings and even sanitation inside the bus became a nuisance of the past. No deed for bus conductors and wayside inspectors, no fuel slip controllers or cashiers. Today there are many bus companies whose business are managed efficiently by individual drivers who actually operates a one man transport service. That is why today we have fairly good and timely public bus services.  

Adopt this same principal for power tillers.  Train one person for every tiller and handover the charge  Fix the hiring rate, minimum amount of hours of work especially during cultivation season,  percentage of allowance for maintenance including minor spare parts, fuel per hour and wage per day of work. Put the GAO in overall charge to supervise all operation and maintenance of Geog power tillers.  All should be fine.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Depression a disease we dread rather too late!

There is a killer that kills not just the individual afflicted but also all that are near and dear in some sort of many ways.

WHO had chosen the World Health Day  this year to highlight the traumatic illness known euphemistically as " depression ".

In Bhutan this illness is not socially abhorred as leprosy and it is not dreaded as AIDS. It seems to be an illness of the mind but quite different from what we generally categorise as "chhelo" ( insane or mad ) though some  symptoms could be familiar.  And yet when one goes over what Doctor Chencho the Psychiatrist had to say about it, it is quite startling. Seems that suicide tendency is interlinked to depression. This illness seems to be difficult to diagnose and tedious to treat. Looks like the doctor, the patient and family members have to be exceptionally patient and be in possession of the deepest of faith in finding a cure. There is no certainty that normal equilibrium can be re- established and if possible when? But if diagnosed on time, it seems that full successful treatment is possible like that of any other disease.

On and off, I have come across Doctor Chencho talking about it on BBS or through  some  writeups.  But this time, the good Doctor really made an all out effort to penetrate that public screen that most of us shield ourselves and unmask in the most literal sense this illness called " Depression". Really appreciate your endeavours Doctor Chencho.

Last night I saw part of the interview BBS had with Doctor Chencho. This morning I read the Kuensel article which quoted him and this afternoon, I came across in fb what the Doctor said courtesy a lady named Tshering Wangmo.

Depression appears to be like the Bhutanese nation animal " Takin ". Impossible to make out what it really is by examining the hoofs, tail, body, head or horns. It's such an assorted kind of animal and so seems to be this illness.

I want to thank the good Doctor who appears to be such a concerned Samaritan in his sincere and earnest quest to combat so many parts of " Depression" : The attitude of the society, the characteristics of the disease, the inadequacies of the facilities and insufficiencies of medicines within the country, the lack of trained health workers, the vulnerability of any age, status or otherwise healthy looking people to depression and so on. As many as 20000 citizens could be suffering from amongst the 680000 national population but so far identified or known cases are just about a 1000. And even this number cannot be adequately treated for so many reasons he outlined. 

The best cure seems to lie in TALKING  about it. Depression seems to be a consequence not the starting factor. Like drops of rain that result in flood or landslide. A patient of such nature might not be able to reveal his inner thoughts or fear to his family or even to his regular intimate friends. Just my own perception. If it was possible maybe depression would not have set in because he or she would always have  access to regular friends and family members. The thought or fear that trouble the patient may be related to the family or friends and that may inhibit openness with those very people.  A regret or frustration or extreme guilt that arose from having hurt or resulted in hurting the status of well being of oneself or someone close by for which one is helpless in finding a remedial solution. Such a dilemma of mental health could give rise to depression.

The ideal companion for a mentally depressed person would ofcourse be a professional psychiatrist. Bhutan has too few of them. Also a small society environment is not conducive to the need of incognito that a patient may desire and feel comfortable to share open the inner thoughts or fears. A complete stranger may also not serve the purpose as trust could be the key factor in opening up a patient's emotion. So next to a good Doctor who may have limited time to spare, a reliable acquaintance  ( not intimate nor stranger) to talk to might be ideal to help a person under depression.

Maybe any of us who are good sincere listeners and have the time and patience to hear out and respond can be of beneficial help to such patients. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A follow on about school track suit in Thimphu.

Kuensel issue today has a front page article on the thoughts of Thromde Executive Secretary. Looks like the official has staked his pride on this implementation as he had in the two road bumps at Langjophakha.  By the way congratulations to the technical professionals who when finally permitted to practise their trade unhindered, did a good job about the bumps (achieved the purpose of caution unaccompanied by disruption).  How the public feels and the inconveniences to the students do not seem to matter.  For some officials, political correctness is the only right of way for their professional advancement. 

Sounds like the Executive Secretary wants to replace tracksuit with half pants. I guess some officials feel that in a co-education school, display of physical asset is more appropriate than display of sporting ability. Any way half pants do not overcome the difficulty associated with re-wearing the gho uniform. But then the executive does not care for solution. Outside facade of national identity supersedes any common sense.  

Dasho Thrompon seems to have gone through proper schooling ways and earning professional dividend through merit. His response quoted by Kuensel reveals that he is aware of the problems and does not think that the people are voicing concerns  just for the sake of disagreeing. However, I do not think the tracksuit restriction was an initiative of the Thrompon in the first place. He can undo it but even an elected head of local government must accommodate Central Government for various public and personal reasons. Moreover, the few political fanatics heading the schools will reimpose the restrictions favoured by their behind the scene  bosses.

All I wish to reiterate is that a particular student does not wear track suit six days a week. It is just one day a week. To those who have no school going kid, it may seem students are always wearing track suit. And to such people the restriction is no big deal. You all are lucky to be removed far away from the hassles of  reality. For general well being, the nation requires an enabling social and political environment not characters of political correctness who promote regimented groups in gho and kira. If however, the present restriction is converted into an outright ban order, I will not be writing about it. Darkness will ultimately have to give way to light but ofcourse it takes time. I appeal only when I believe the light is still there.    

     

Monday, April 3, 2017

How grevious is life imprisonment sentence for acts of robbery or vandalism related to religious properties?

Life sentence for chorten ( stupa ) vandalism! Somehow the penalty seems as sacrilegious to life as the vandalism crime is to any faith.

Before democracy, Buddhism was the  official state religion of Bhutan. A natural Faith for a Buddhist Kingdom. And with the introduction of democracy, Bhutan has been declared a secular nation. However, in most cases, anything that is part of or related to Buddhism is still considered sacred and equally sensitive as when Buddhism was the state religion. This deeply entrenched emotion in most cases is important because Buddhism was not just a spiritual faith in Druk Yul.  It was and still is central to our culture, tradition, cherished heritage and infact the guide and guidance of everyday life. Even so, under Democracy, I had hoped for a more considerate and reasonable national attitude towards those criminals involved in chorten vandalism.

Chortens or stupas are scattered all over the wilderness of Bhutan. These religious monuments are different from temples in terms of preservation and protection.  The temples are usually placed in the custody of caretaker or a Lam and serves as centre of religious and cultural activities of a community. Whereas chortens are left near abandoned and often never attended to. It is a fact that religious sentiments that a Buddhist has for temple or chorten or a scripture or even a statue of a Lam are equally deep and sacred. Perhaps that is why whether a criminal robs a village  temple which is protected and regularly looked after by the community and a chorten left in the geographical wilderness, the penalty under the law of the land is same. It is life imprisonment for robbing a temple or vandalising a chorten. 

It would be considered sacrilegious to suggest that attacks on religious properties does not warrant heavy penalty.   But a distinction needs to be exercised between vandalism of a derelict chorten left always unattended and that of robbing  a community temple. Also though religious properties are sacred and we have a duty to protect and preserve, is it really a correct way of Buddhism to avenge so mercilessly?  Most robbery or vandalism are committed out of greed for wealth. Not for reasons of animosity towards a particular religion.  Is it possible to do away with life imprisonment for any robbery unless caretaker was physically attacked? And could the level of penalty vary between robbing temples and that of act of vandalising an abandoned chorten?

I believe that even under a secular nation, Buddhism must  remain the primary national Faith. Buddhism is the hallmark of our sovereign heritage. For this reason, I had earnestly appealed during the national exercise in the framing of the Constitution that Buddhism should be preserved as the state religion whilst endorsing the freedom of practise of other Faiths. However, as a born Buddhist and with renewed maturity in my faith in the goodness of Lord Buddha, I am disturbed by life imprisonment sentence for chorten vandalism. Our religion an art of compassion and our law relating to it " life imprisonment " a terror of life and living.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Leadership heirachy of Bhutan all out to control and contain the democratic process and expression?

Are Bhutanese leaderships both local and national stunting the society instead of leading the nation? This time the cultural zealots attacked track suits for physical education with the goal to slaughter the lambs in the schools. From legal perspective, it is an unhealthy and unwarranted interference into what is a clear domain of autonomous School Management Board.

1.It demonstrates that the nation has too many over paid Dolittle elected and appointed officials who can do nothing progressive. All they can think of are rules and regulations to harrass, control  and demean general public and  particularly the young generation.   

2. Track suits long adopted as sports uniform by individusl schools has been now branded as uniform of disloyals and indisciplined packs by an ad hoc assembled group that does not even have necessary legal standing.

3. The non-traditional trouser and shirt uniforms of defence forces, desuups and bureaucracies glorified as cloaks of triple loyalties. But non- traditional sports  track suits of students condemned as disrespectful attire by a grouo of officials under Thimphu Thromde.

4. School kids are being made the helpless guinea pigs of ceaseless experiments by local governments and the  Education Ministry. The ultra short hair cuts for boys; the halving of winter vacation that require students to put up with freezing class rooms of himalayan winter.  And now this move against track suits with ulterior objective to demote  physical health activities after repeated labelling of students as drug addicts with stunted growth . Did we elect  fascist or communist leaders at local and national levels who are out to degrade, control and condition young minds?

All schools have regular gho and Kira uniforms. Track suits are only for one day a week for those students who have their physical exercise period. Why must this  essential part of school sports culture be declared officially intolerable?

The cultural hawks bemoans that some students are in track suits whilst most are in gho and Kira school dress during morning school assembly. " It does not look respectful ",  they declared.  Please do not let cultural dictum run haywire. Students are not soldiers and school assembly is not a regimental parade. Restrain acts of  social aggression and stop disrupting education environment of schools. And stop interfering into the rightful domain of School Management Board. The offering of prayers to Jampel Yang and respectfully standing in attention singing the national anthem by all students and teachers during  the school morning assembly should more then quench any reasonable thirst of cultural and political zealots.

5. I am perplexed by this horrific attack on the school physical education activities.
Track suit issue was raised by a local government in the East and then Thimphu Thromde suddenly picked it up and implemented it. This means the policy has Central Government backing. Now I wonder why this is happening against the backdrop of progressive strides made by the PDP Government?

The Government of Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay brought about a lot of economic improvements to individual Bhutanese life. His Excellency's Government had  provided house rent allowance to all civil servants and six months maternity leave for mothers in civil service and public corporations; established Central Schools; enhanced by 10 times the in- country education  tax deductible  amount;  provided electricity subsidy to rural dwellers;  improved farm roads; provided power tillers for every Chiwog and opened rural fair price shops with marketting outlets for farm products ; adopted economic liberalisation and tax relief policies; provided grassroot soft loans to promote commercial activities and education loans to needy students; doubled the non- taxable personal income amount from one lakh to two lakhs ngultrums; provided  incentive to save money especially for salaried  employees by  waiving off tax on accrued interests from fixed deposits; provided incentives for Bhutanese oversea workers to open hard currency accounts in Bhutan.

6. Sometimes, I am made to deduce that two sets of teams are running the nation on alternate days: The devils one day and the angels the next day. That's how perplexed I am. Do we have a divided Cabinet or simply a confused Government that cannot co-ordinate or has now run out of productive steam at this penultimate stage. Or is this a strategy of diversion from debacles in other fields like  rising national debts and shameful, corruption soaked  delays in hydro- projects. 

Perhaps the strategy is more sinister. Could the Government be providing  economic incentives and curtailing basic human rights. Very much like powerful Countries providing financial assistance to weak nations and taking over their national freedom. This seemd the only plausible explanation. The young generation is our future. So political  control is exercised from school stage? Could  establishment of Central Schools also be  a pivotal project to control and shape the youth?  Are we sowing the seed of turmoil or raising social brigades? If the PDP Government does not have intent of a communist regime then the Prime Minister must rein in the hawks of local government and culture Agencies who exercise extraordinary powers to disrupt  national life and social well being. 

7. Such regressive rules are  heading in the direction of enslavement of thoughts and dress. I thought excessive cultural indoctrination was part of early Chinese cultural revolution long since rejected by more civilised Governments. But somehow who ever came  to  hold the reign of power in Bhutan, this culture fixation has been central to their administration. How much discipline and obedience is sought? Pacific width, Atlantic depth or Everest height? Apart from North Koreans no others praise their nation and leaders as Bhutanese do.

8. Can any Bhutanese leadership heirachy ever develop the leadership confidence to go for genuine unadulterated comprehensive and inclusive national growth? Can successive local and national leaders stop dwelling upon dress codes and behaviour codes? Why feel so damn insecure and be  intellectually bankrupt? Do the leaders not believe that they came through the democratic process to lead not contain the nation?.

9. Gho and Kira the pride of national heritage is being continuously codified as status of obedience and discipline. What was a showcase attire of proud national heritage now turned into a compulsory uniform of artificial allegiance. Should patang and gyenta form part of every Bhutanese traditional attire to induce everyone to wear gho and Kira even to visit public toilets?

10.  The common people of Bhutan and our students  cannot be against Tsawa Sum. They constitute national vitality and is the soul of Tsawa Sum. Therefore, I appeal for  national sense of cohesion to prevail. This victimisation of every day life by leaders  who feel either insecure or omnipotent, must stop for sake of gross national unity and decency.

Gross official intolerance causes not only consternations for basic human rights but creates unnecessary fear and frustrations among a populace that only want peace and happiness.

11. The main thrust of any 5 year Plan objective has become the reproduction of clones who are prone to sing national praise like native parrots.  Can a society of clones and parrots invigorate the nation, uphold  the crucial monarchy institution and most importantly defend the sovereignty of Druk Yul ?

Conclusion:

A national realisation is urgently needed.  Rigidity breaks not binds society! Please, Please! Be sensible. Not culture or political demons. We each have a responsibility to secure a peaceful and true GNH national society. Demonstrate genuine love and care not domination of the most important element ( the people) of Tsawa Sum.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Losar Greetings.

Dear all fb friends

I wish each one of you and your families a very Happy Losar! 

May I also share a small personal thought. Dawa Dhangpa is always considered in Buddhism a holy month though I have till date never restricted my diet to observe the occasion. I became a Buddhist by birth. Not by any outside compulsion or inner desire to gain merit. So I feel free of any obligation to prove being a Buddhist. 

I hope to spent time to pray for my near and dear ones as well as for beloved ones who have departed for the next world. I will read the Dhoma and Jhathom and recite mainly Diksha.  Cannot comprehend the meanings in  these scriptures but I usually  read clearly each word as I believe this would benefit those who believe. A matter of faith.

Regarding meat diet and alcohol, I think moderation is alright though complete refrain is good for many. However, I am not a person who believe in doing what others do nor  expect others to follow  what I do or do not choose to do. I cherish truth and tolerance when I read what His Holiness the Dalai Lam said about meat diet. His Holiness stated that he tried giving up meat for 10 years but later because of his health condition, he followed the advice for his medical doctors and resumed non vegetarian diet. However, His Holiness said that if one can give up meat, it is good.

On my part,  I hope to refrain from meat diet this holy month. Tobacco and alcohol is easily abandoned. As for sex, it is a joy of marriage and I am happily more than married.

Some Buddhist believe in earning merit through abstaining be it meat, tobacco, sex, normal earthly work or family responsibities.This can be accepted as  admirable in a way. Some believe in gaining merit by chiding others about meat diet and alcohol. Maybe, that too is a way of paving their path to the next world.
A matter of mind.

Some may admire the ways of Drukpa Kuenlay. Do all in excess but remain pure in thought and action. I think performing miracles or being excessive  like Drukpa Kuenlay is beyond ordinary being. However, being truthful and having good thought is possible.

I usually pray for strength of being honest and seek guidance in faith and truth. And this month  I devote in prayers  for expressing my  gratitude to gifts of life and love and good health of the beloved family members.

May we all earn merit in our own ways and be content thus far. With respects and regards to all of you. Hopefully,  will be in communication after Dawa Dhangpa.  Till then humbly Wangcha Sangey..

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Understanding a little of our vibrant entertainment industry.

I should not be writing again today. But then it's holiday time and some events just spark their own vibes. So here goes again.

You have no way to realise how hard some really work and plough their way to recognition. Maybe one thinks that Tandin Bidha the scintillating Bhutanese actress can smile her way into any goal or producer/ director Pem Tshering is immune to movie success. One cannot be more wrong and last night at BNFA award, it was a moment of truth ( courtesy BBS live telecast).

Tandin Bidha was so emotional about finally making it to the best actress of the year after " ten long years of hard work ". Congratulations!  And Pem Tshering after 21 years in the movie making business was thrilled that his movie was one of the selected  three top films that also received BICMA's  cash price of Nu:1 million each.

I am very proud and appreciative about the incredible progresses achieved by collective efforts of so many artists in Bhutanese movies and music. But I confess,  I know so little about the artists and particularly their depth of endeavour in the success stories. My interaction with almost all is through BBS telecast except for very few.

I knew Dasho Gem Dorji. After he became an MP, I told him not to remain a stranger to his acting profession as it was his very own. Glad he is at it. Never met Tandin Bidha and only had one brief talk with producer Pem Tshering wherein he told me he was into movies. The one actress I followed with some interest was Lhaki Dolma. I did not meet her but I know her Dad and her brother ( not venerable Tsula Lopen but the engineer brother). This lady  can sing, dance and act well. I have met the Beauty Queen and actress Tshokey Tsomo Karchung. Always impressed with her personal humility and professional successes. Another top dynamo of ceaseless hard workers in our entertainment industries.

The one pioneer movie and music personality  that I came to know a little is Ngedrup Dorji. I think of him as an adventurer and explorer who shows the way but maybe like all explorers in history books, he, too, does not reap rich monetary harvest. But abilities he is all of it. I wonder who first came into rigsar?  Aum Dechen Pem or Ngedrup?  Presently Ugyen Pandey seems to be ruling the young roost of rigsar professionals.  

All in all,  there is no shortage of composers, singers, musicians, actors and audience if numbers of Bhutanese films and TV song competition programmes are our measuring yardsticks. And altogether the entertainment industries provides one nation binding venue that enables social integration and highlight the Bhutanese ways in all spheres of national life and progressive culture.

Thank you and congratulations to President of BNFA Mila Tobgay and his fellow colleague Organisers for the 16th Award Show. Congratulations to Award Winners, Nominees and all Participants in  Films and Musical industries. It was a great night graced by the honourable Prime Minister. The national commitment to build cinema halls is great for films and live shows. I feel entertainment halls will prove to be  the real concrete contribution towards promoting the entertainment Industries of Bhutan. .    

The hosts: Kuenga, Lhaki and Gem " You three steered and entertained superbly". Great Showmanship in Live Performance!

With reverence to all artists from a person who cannot sing, dance or act. Nevertheless, in my youth, I could skip a meal to save money  for a good movie. My first noble possession was a tape recorder cum radio to listen to news and music. 

Facts about Bhutanese Politics.

Editor Tenzing Lamsang recently wrote in The Bhutanese that Local Government officials supported PDP in 2008 and DPT in 2013.. And both Political Parties lost when supported by local officials. I believe he got it right. But I would not consider such support as  jinx.

I think the influence of Gups and Tsokpas in Primary or General Election is more of an illusion rather than real.The fact that most of the former Gups lost their re- election in 2016  is a good indication of their lack of lasting political clout.

They have one influence and that is getting the public to attend political campaign gatherings. They understand the line of communication to let the public know when and where such is held.  However, they are in no position to assure votes.

The most influential people who can influence public votes are civil servants and corporate and other educated employees . They have strong influence within their extended families and communities and even beyond their constituencies.

And in education institutions and defence forces, word of mouth is a big factor as group belief prevails in such conditioned social environments. And beyond all factors of influence, the most reliable is the art of money politics. I think in all nations, money have effective influencing roles. Political Parties and candidates have to have adequate finance at their disposal. What Election Commission provide is just the startup fund in national Election. You need money to cover all nooks and creeks; to put up impressive road shows; to hire locals to guide and advice and to put ads in TV and sponsor radio talks. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ignorance is not a bliss when Ignorance rules the roost.

Schools have tracksuits as sports uniform. The defence forces, Dessung, Forest officials, Revenue and Custom officials, Security firm Officials, Football Teams and Olympic Teams etc. all have uniforms. And all those wearing uniforms stand proudly in attention and sing along as and when the  national anthem is sung.

Today BBS Televion shared a News about Pemagatsel Dzongkhag Tsogdue decrying students in sportswear paying respects to the national flag and anthem in their Schools.

It seems the local government officials of Pemagstsel  Dzongkhag wear their respect for the nation on sleeves of their gho and tego. Perhaps such elected officials realised how important the outer facade is in their line of duty. Well good luck to such Bhutanese including those at Culture Department if the proposed Culture Bill is of such nature. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

What Democracy is and what it entails.

Today is the 3rd Phase of State Election in Uttar Pradesh the largest State in Indian Union. Election in Uttar Pradesh State is being conducted in 4 Phases.

Today the 3rd Phase is being  conducted in 12 Districts with 24 million voters. And it  involves 69 Seats with over 800 candidates in the fray.

Just learning to imagine the vastness of the largest world democracy when an election in 1/4 section of a State is so gigantic. 

Foot note:

It is said that this Uttar Pradesh State Election will determine the effect on BJP of the demonitisation policy of Prime Minister Modi Government. But for me,  I am just waiting to see the impact on SP and Congress alliance and the family feud in SP of a rising healthy son versus the aging frail father. How do the voters of Uttar Pradesh view family feud for power and political alliance of temporary convenience ?

Friday, February 17, 2017

The issue of stunting in Bhutan.

Both Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk and Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji reiterates that today Bhutan has a stunting status as 28% in the West to 40% in the East. Under advice of Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, I Googled and found the same information. I just wonder who provided that statistic.

If under K5, this is the status, then in 1972 when K4 came on the Throne, stunting must be 56% in the West and 80% in the East. Afterall Bhutan has developed leaps and bounds since then. And yet throughout the last 40 years I have not come across such number of stunted adults. Does stunting effect wear off as one gets older? Or is there a different definition of stunting.

Could I, Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk and Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji be categorised as adults who suffered stunted growth during our childhoods? We are physically healthy but not tall. If so, only then the present statistic of 28% and 40% are believable.  On the average Bhutanese youths even today are not tall  like those in the West. . Otherwise someone played a game of manipulation for some purposes.

I recall an incident ( in 1980s) in a meeting where I expressed my disbelief with Bhutan population figure of 1.2 million. Dasho Dorji Tenzin was very annoyed with me.  How could I contradict his figure when he was the Director General of Immigration and Census, he demanded. Few years later the population figure came down from 1.3 million to around 500,000.

At that time,  I just could not imagine how we got such a population when the whole nation including the capital city was so scarcely populated. and  And today I am in disbelief with the stunting statistic figures because I have not seen such proportion in the villages and schools I came across. Please understand this is not to say children do not need nutritious meals. And we do need more world height basket ball players.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Is DANTAK an integral part of Bhutan?

The ball is in the Court of the sacred institution that guard the sovereignty of Bhutan. 

The Chief of DANTAK ( DANTAK is part of Border Road Organisation of India)  Brigadier PKG Mishra declared to Kuensel the main National Newspaper of Bhutan that:

To quote Kuensel, " DANTAK  considers itself as an integral part of this Country." Unquote.

KPG Mishra is reported to have told Kuensel that Bhutanese Media should ignore the concerns of Bhutanese people about DANTAK putting  Sign Boards welcoming visitors to the Kingdom of Bhutan.

He further went on to say that he himself  had not bothered to even respond to the letter sent to him (more than 10 months ago )  by the Secretary of the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement regarding the gate that welcomes visitors to Bhutan by DANTAK at Paro Bondey where Bhutan's only International Airport is located. In all essence, the Brigadier has declared that DANTAK has every sovereign right to do as it damn pleases in Bhutan.

Every Bhutanese citizen may want our Government to respond in kind to:

1. How did Border Road Organisation and it's branch DANTAK of India become integral part of Bhutan?

2. Why does the Royal Government of Bhutan find it alright to be ignored by Brigadier PKG Mishra of DANTAK in the matter of letter sent by the Government Secretary to DANTAK. Why did Bhutanese authority fail to take that gate down? What happened to that Patang and Kamni responsibility? Only for subjugation of powerless Bhutanese or for post decoration?

I thank Brigadier PKG Mishra for making  his declaration through the main National Newspaper Paper " Kuensel ". The Boarder Roads Organisation of India  has put the Tsawa Sum of Bhutan on Notice not just the Cabinet of Bhutan. And he has a point in saying that the Media should ignore the concerns of the Bhutanese people. Afterall we have our King and Prime Minister to address national concerns of such magnitude. The crystal ball of DANTAK is now in the Courts of our deeply respected and beloved Leaders.

PS.    Read the front page article titled  " Paro locals question Project DANTAK welcome sign " in  Kuensel issue of today the 11th of Feburary, 2017.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The 2 holy Buddhist Teachers who.must take rebirth only in Buddha Heaven.

There are so many Khenpo, Khentse and Trulku Rimpoches. I suppose all will die and many reborn again. But the two Lams of Kuensel Phodrong Buddha complex and Takila Guru complex should be reborn in Buddha Land.  Not again in this or another world.

Venerable Lam Karpo has died recently and may the Lam gain Buddhahood. Venerable Lam Tshering Wangdi is in good health still endeavouring to devote much energy to Kuensel Phodrong. And when the Lam dies, may he gain Buddha hood. 

Holy projects like Takila Guru and Kuensel Phodrong Buddha are never meant to be completed in one or two lifetimes. Progressive establishments can never ever be really completed. There is a beginning  but no end to growth of goodness.

I have only seen videos of Takila Guru complex  but visited Kuensel Phodrong complex few times. I wondered how on earth did the two venerable Lams ever imagined the Holy Projects. Did they see in dreams the shapes of the complex they ventured to build? How did they gather so much faith in Providence and what kind of rays of light energised their indomitable spirit? Such lungtenchen disciples of 1st and 2nd Buddha and so totally and originally Bhutanese in blood and spirit. The Buddhist Kingdom is very much still the Land of living Buddhas.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Can democracy function free of money power influence?

I have immense insatiable curiosity about democratic governance in nations  like the United States. Just awaiting how national polity in America is shaping up with Justice Department appealing a Federal Judge  suspending the  " Travel Ban " imposed by the American Executive Branch.

Apart from self affected communities the world over,  the main forces within United States with  substantial political clouts opposing the  "travel ban"  are the Democratic Party and the high tech companies. The Democratic Party has been wounded deeply by Trump victory and so would want to oppose the President anyhow. The super duper rich high tech corporations which thrive on highly skilled but cheaper and more docile foreign human resources are naturally unhappy.  The travel ban gravely affects the pool of labour through whose services  the Tech companies reap high profits. The opposition from high tech companies is purely based on money matters " company profit ". Nothing to to with race or religion or freedom of movement although maybe disguised as such. 

If democratic way of governance  is to work then each compartment of national governance ( legislative, judiciary and executive) must uphold strictly their sovereign responsibilities without fear or greed of encroachment. Here the so  called " travel ban "  only applies to entry into United States by several categories of foreign citizens for a short period of time. It has nothing to do with American citizens' freedom of travel which the Courts must defend and preserve. 

Therefore, the Executive Order banning entry into United States by citizens of several countries for a certain period of time to allow introduction of improved vetting procedures falls under the  domain of the Executive Branch of governance. Thus I feel that the ruling by a Federal Court temporarily suspending the " travel ban " will have to be lifted by the same judge after due considerations  or overturned by an Appeal Court. If Executive Branch is prevented from exercising power in domain that is Executive in nature and essence then democratic franchise exercised by voters fails.

I think it is futile to debate on ethics of travel ban because before any definitive conclusions can be reached the travel ban will expire on its own within few months time. However, the effect on principle of power separation is far reaching. Thus my particular interest on the outcome of the appeal.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A true national joyous celebration.

An authentic national euphoria of celebration for young Bhutanese souls on the occassion of the 1st Birth Anniversary of HRH the Crown Prince would have been:

A commitment by Education Ministry to endeavour to provide PP seats to all who have completed 5 Years of age on 1st March, 2017.

Instead Education Ministry chose to freeze the occassion in the minds of the students by mandating that Schools open early in the cold weather from 3rd February, 2017. 

The way our Crown Prince is growing, HRH would be in Class I or II certainly not  in PP by the 5th Birth Anniversary. Such visible physical growth progress of Bhutanese children in this era should convince the Education Ministry that the mandatory completion of 6th birth anniversary for admission into PP is simply not in the interest of growth of young minds. Unless ofcourse we believe in cold storaging growth by forcing schooling in wintry months. 

Taxation structures of Bhutan and India.

The Indian taxation structure is very favourable to lower income population than Bhutanese taxation structure. In India upto Personal income of Rs.3 lakhs is tax free. In Bhutan it is only Nu: 2 lakhs. That too courtesy PDP Government.

And in India the tax is only 5% for those with personal income between 3 lakhs to 5 lakhs. In Bhutan it is 15%. Living cost in Bhutan is far higher in Bhutan than in India.

Businesses in Bhutan pay 30% income tax. In India about 96% of business entities pay 25% income tax.

The PDP Government has enhanced tax exemption amount  from 1 lakh to 2 lakh ngultrums for PIT purpose. And also had done away with tax on Fixed Deposit though concerned Banks have not been notified by the Finance Ministry through RMA.

The next Bhutanese Government should be able to enhance PIT  tax exemption amount upto Nu: 3 lakhs. And also reduce to 5% the tax on personsl income of 3- 5 lakhs ngultrums.

The Government should ensure proper collection of taxes on imported taxable products at the border entry points. Also ensure better royalty collections. And identify individuals and business entities that should be paying taxes. All these three areas of tax avenues need better monitoribg and enfircement. That way even if taxes are lowered for lower income population, the revenue from tax collections will increase by collecting due taxes that must be paid. 

Bhutanese authorities have to be more tax friendly towards vast majority of lower income group of population. Presently the rich and business class enjoy tax breaks in numerous ways. And low income salaried employees are taxed comprehensively on their total personal income after allowing for minimum income  exemptions. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Facts about Court verdicts for those interested in knowing facts.

1.Verdicts are judgements passed by a Court of Law.

2. It is the responsibility of the  Court of Law to enforce  verdict upon the litigants if the same is not complied with. The litigants cannot enforce judgement contrary to what some journalists wrote. 

3. The plaintiffs and the defendants must either comply with the verdict or make appeal to higher Court ( in Bhutan the appeal must be done within 10 working days from the date of verdict). The highest Court in Bhutan under the Constitution is the Supreme Court. So Supreme Court Judgement cannot be appealed.

As a subject of His Majesty the King, a Bhutanese litigant could make appeal to His Majesty the King after Supreme Court decision.   But not for another judgement. For Kidu only. And if one be so fortunate to receive the grace of Kidu then show gratitude and respect by accepting the outcome of Kidu appeal. It is out of bounds of  decency for a law abiding subject to mount direct or indirect ugly attacks on national institutions when the outcome is not upto individual expectation after seeking Royal intervention. Such behaviours reflects badly upon the Kingdom's code of social conduct and equal service.

4. The plaintiffs and defendants must note that if they do not go for appeal then they have to comply with the verdict. And compliance has to be done within the time frame set in the verdict.

5. In the event due to some unforseen problems,  the  plaintiffs or defendants are not able to comply with the provisions of the verdict, then they must approach that particular Court for time extension with valid reasons before the legal time bound expires. Do not expect the Court of Law to seek the courtesy of the litigants for enforcement of the verdict if not already complied within the time provided.

6. It is not alright to express intent to comply with the provisions of the verdict after the legal time frame expires. The Court is required by Law to enforce it's verdict upon the litigants if the litigants do not comply within the time frame provided. 

7. All Bhutanese and Bhutanese Institutions must respect and comply with the judgement passed down by the Supreme Court of Bhutan. However, it  looks like that some feel different and mount ugly attacks upon the  Supreme Court or individual Justices of the Supreme Court. Perhaps they have their own designs and motives. Only time can tell. Freedom of expression or depression of sovereignty under foreign influence?   Not much to feel overly disturbed, I think.The Kingdom has survived outer or inner disruptive forces in the past. The present undesirable trends are sugar coated in the name of freedom of expression and so must be handled in like manner.  

It is necessary to keep in mind that His Majesty the King has never expressed displeasure with Supreme Court Landmark judgements let alone other lesser verdicts. Both the two democratic Governments of Bhutan and the Election Commission of Bhutan and the 1st and 2nd Parliament have  respectfully accepted the judgements of the Supreme Court and abided by the verdicts issued.

Against this background,  many silent spectators in Bhutan who never had reasons to question national Institutions, would be intently watching how judiciary now defends itself and Justice  against vicious attacks by some forces. Does different standard apply to different sections of Bhutanese society? Does quality of Justice depend on who can shout the loudest and attract outside attention or is it an inbuilt culture within the system?  Can journalists with personal agendas hold justice to ransom in the name of freedom of speech that is music to international media?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Making the rich richer.

Royal Monetary Authority (RMA)  has overall authority over Banks and account holders. When RMA feels a heightend sense for responsibility for the money of account holders, it issues order to the effect that Banks cannot withhold depositors' money. And when it wants to  display magnanimity to Banks, it issues orders to freeze certain amount of money from depositors accounts.

This time RMA has issued notification to the effect that account holders with cheque faciliy must maintain a minimum account balance of Nu:1000:00. This means the Banks can use that much amount from each account with the bank without having to account for it physically.

There has to be thousands of account holders because most salaries are paid into Bank accounts. Out of many thousands, probably a bank would have minimum 10000 account holders with cheque facility. And under  RMA new order, a Bank would have access to free fund of one crore/ ten million ngultrums  to do as it prefers. A good bonus to fellow Financial Institutions from their Supreme Regulator.

Banks levy a fee on every cheque book they issue. Further Banks like BOB and Druk PNB levy annual maintenence fee on every account. And now these banks can keep 1000 of customer cash. It is one kind of a formula of rich made richer by absolute authorities..

A matter of legitimate process?

Just went through two headline news of Kuensel and both covering the same defamation case. I can understand the mood of perplexity of some of us non legal people. But why legal professionals are  questioning, that too anonymously,  the appropriateness of withdrawl of cases after they themselves quote the law that permit the same. Perhaps some interested parties feel cheated out of their spectacle of gladiator fights. Court cases are experiences that most would want to do without. Only those with money and power might enjoy the process. I am glad for the three individuals that their case has concluded.

Regarding the hype associated to the withdrawl of the cases, actually in life you are quite free until you make a commitment. Like there is no legal  penalty in falling in love until you tie the knot and then later attempt to untie it. You can discuss a deal and work towards a deal and be free of liability if you backed out in the last minute before signing the deal. Likewise, in regards to  Court cases until the verdict is out, there are rooms for litigants and even judges to determine the course of the case.  Once the verdict is declared then not much can be done even by the judge of that particular Court.  That is why there is an appeal Court.

Even in cases where a party withdraws the case filed, I think the other party can appeal to the next higher Court if dissatisfied with the decision of the lower Court.  If that is not at all possible then one can initiate a new case against that person/ party. The deemed harassed party should not have to be satisfied with the compensation awarded by a Court.

In case  of the two defamation cases in Thimphu Dzongkhag Courts that were ultimately  withdrawn by the initiators, both the initiators were not let go free. They were subjected to consequences of their actions. Now if those defendants were  still not happy and feel justice has not been served to their satisfaction,  they should seek rooms to appeal. 

But it is not upto to the spectators to make decisions for such defendants. Spectators can speculate.But why would legal professionals and main stream media hype the issue? Did they discover something behind the sudden development? Was the initiator bribed or threatened to withdraw his case. Were the two defendants cajoled to succumb to the Court verdict?

So far none of the defendants in the two defamation cases have publicly expressed their desire to appeal against the final Dzongkhag Court verdicts. Perhaps the closure of the second defamation case brought relief to all three involved individuals. They did not sound particularly aggrieved by the conclusion.  That's more than what can be said about DPT in the first defamation case. For DPT the case is over and yet it is just blowing up. A restrained stance from media and anonymous few legal professionals could prevent another hype.