For Ministry of Information and Communications, the Bird Year began with launching of the government’s first data centre in March. The centre was launched to address the issues of cyber security and to provide efficient and effective online public services.

A new Road Safety and Transport Act was drafted in April due to the rising number of vehicles, offences and accidents coupled with the worsening state of Thimphu’s traffic.

Random test conducted by Bhutan Civil Aviation Authority and Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority found a pilot and a flight attendant of DrukAir and a flight attendant for Tashi Airlines positive for controlled drugs.  A helicopter pilot and a Drukair crewmember also tested positive during the second test on July 25 and 26.

The matter dragged on until August. Two more airline staff tested positive for drugs during the third test on August 2.

The two pilots, one each of Drukair and Royal Bhutan Helicopter Service who were found clean when tested again resumed their duty.

The following month, three bus drivers, including a non-Bhutanese, tested positive for controlled substances. Two tested positive for tramadol and one for marijuana.

Towards the midyear, WeChat hack left the users worried. Hackers shared obscene videos and photographs from the account of the users.

Bhutan Computer Incident Response Team (BtCIRT) received reports on scam emails and people using social media sites to con people with promises of overseas employment.

The ministry saw a positive end with resumption of domestic flights after much debate between the government and the national airlines, Drukair. The government decided to provide Drukair a subsidy of Nu 0.30 million per flight to resume its domestic flights to Gelephu and Yonphula. The government also agreed to provide Drukair with Nu 7.6 million as one time additional cost to cover the expenditure that would be required in establishing the office in Gelephu and Yonphula. Domestic flights to Gelephu resumed on November 11.

Karma Cheki