There will be another salary raise for civil servants in the 12th Plan, according to the draft plan the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) has drafted in consultation with the stakeholders.

A GNHC official presented the draft at the meeting held to present the final report on the 11th Plan to civil servants, local government leaders, and a select audience from the gewogs in Thimphu yesterday.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that a provision for pay and allowance amounts to Nu 73 billion (B) in the next plan. “Of this, Nu 20 billion covers the salary raise,” he said at the meeting.

He said that his party, the People’s Democratic Party, had pledged to revise the civil servants’ salary twice during its term in office.

“However, we couldn’t do so as the hydropower projects did not complete as expected on schedule,” Lyonchhen said.

The 12th Plan aims for a just, harmonious and sustainable society through enhanced decentralisation.

According to the draft 12th Plan, the total outlay of the Plan, estimated at Nu 336B, is 50 percent more than the 11th Plan, which was worth Nu 223.6B.    

Of the outlay, the capital budget for local government includes Nu 300M for each dzongkhag and Nu 5M as gewog development grant, an increase from the current Nu 2M, and Nu 31.975B through the resource allocation formula. The 12th Plan would also have an increased common minimum infrastructure budget of Nu 17B from Nu 5B in the 11th Plan.

Among the sectors, education has the highest proposed budget amounting to Nu 48.82B, of which Nu 35.3B is current budget and Nu 13.515B capital budget.

Health proposed for a budget of Nu 27.98B, Nu 15.7B current and Nu 12.284 capital.

RNR sector has an estimated budget of Nu 21.92, Nu 13.5B for current and Nu 8.42B for capital infrastructures.

Road sector has a total budget of Nu 16.3B and culture Nu 9.6B.

The local governments will get Nu 2B for local economy and job creation programmes under the flagships programmes. The ministries will have Nu 17B under this programme. 

The draft plan identified eight flagship programmes including water security, organic Bhutan, and Digital Drukyul.

Others are cottage and small industries and startup Bhutan, highland livelihood, tourism, one gewog one product, and central schools.

GNHC officials said that the plan would empower local governments through the provision of greater financial, planning and administrative responsibility and authority. The government will enhance resource allocation, improve public service delivery and capacity building.

Lyonchhen also clarified the misconceptions on JDWNRH corporation issues, debt, and Samrang mega farms, among others. He said that it might appear as campaigning but he is only informing the people of the progress the country has made.

He also presented the final report on the 11th Plan. However, data for agriculture production, and livestock production were until 2016 end and some other reports were based on records until the end of 2017.

There was also some confusion as the Thimphu dzongkhag’s final plan report mentioned that farm shops have been established in all the gewogs. There are no farm shops at least in three gewogs including Naro.

The dzongkhag reported that of the 54 key performance indicators, 45 have been achieved and seven are on track and would be complete by the end of the Plan.

The Prime Minister has completed the presentation of the 11th Plan report in Haa and Paro. Similar presentations would be held in Wangdue and Punakha today and Gasa on Sunday.

Tshering Palden