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.