Age should not be the barrier: Labour minister

Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji

Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji

The new labour minister, Ugyen Dorji, 32, is the youngest member of the Cabinet in the country’s history.

“I felt happy and privileged. I did not expect to be on the list. It is a wonderful opportunity to contribute my bit to nation-building,” he said. “But I am always prepared to take up new challenges.”

When young people of his age like to own and drive a car, Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji does not own a car and has no driving licence. “What is the use of licence when I cannot afford to buy a car?” he asked.

During his campaign period, he hitched ride with the supporters and passersby, mostly on boleros, to make it to the campaigns and common forums on time.

Humble and soft-spoken, Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji served as a desk officer in foreign ministry after topping the civil service exam in 2011. He started his career as a reporter with Bhutan Today and The Journalist.

He ran for gup elections in 2011 before appearing his civil service examination. “I wanted to serve as an elected representative ever since 2006 because to me there is no greater and nobler way of serving Tsawa Sum,” he said,

“Many question a 32-year old being offered a Cabinet portfolio,” he said. “But why not?”  He said that in some countries there were ministers younger than him. “My age should not be a barrier. Bhutan can have millennial ministers too.”

The young labour minster said that he came to the ministry with youthful drive and imagination in addition to his background in public policy.

Asked what kind of changes the labour ministry should expect from a young minister, Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji said DNT had many plans in the manifesto, including on jobs and livelihood improvement.

“We are not so much for change within the ministry, we are for improvements within the context of wider society,” he said.

He said that five years down the line the government would have contributed significantly towards solving problems related to employment and labour.

“I wish to thank everyone who made this happen. I will give my best for our beloved King, Country, and the People,” he said.  Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji

Tshering Dorji

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