The National Assembly will deliberate on the Civil Service Bill 2022 today amid an exodus of Bhutanese exiting the country for long-term study and work. 

We are gradually feeling the heat of the brain drain, be it in private, government or corporate sectors. Among those who leave are our senior teachers, nurses, and a number of doctors. There are a number of others who are seeking greener pastures, some for professional and many for financial reasons. 

It is a problem that we cannot ignore; it may have to be tackled while we still can. And with all the reforms gaining roots with the legislation, mostly expected to pass this session, we might as well fix the leak in time before it becomes a pond. 

We are conscious of the push and pull factors in the departure of professionals from the government, corporations, major private institutions, and the country. While we may not be able to do so much on the pull factors, we can certainly focus more on the push factors. 

Some commonly cited reasons are working conditions, incentives, job satisfaction, recognition, and sometimes relationships with colleagues and bosses. From experience, we know that for most young and talented individuals these things matter more than their end-of-the-month paycheck. 

We could still do more to recognise and reward deserving professionals in the civil service and elsewhere in terms of transfers, promotions and training. 

The Civil Service Bill has the answers to most of these questions as we can see with some of the reforms already underway providing flexibility and the space to grow. 

The Bill would legitimise the ongoing civil service reform to revamp its system and structure for a right-sized, efficient, and effective civil service. 

Tha-Damtshi to the Tsawa-Sum is challenged today by many new factors. If someone is determined to leave purely for a better-paying job, there is little that we can do about it. But if capable professionals leave because they are not given the right opportunities, or because their worth is not recognised, it is a tragedy. 

With autonomous agencies being subsumed under various ministries through the reforms, the Civil Service Bill (Act) could greatly help to keep this trend in check. Here is our opportunity. And here is a gentle reminder, as our MPs begin to deliberate on the historic Bill in the august Hall today.