Dechen Dolkar

Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) has committed to addressing the pressing issues of a decreasing fertility rate and population exodus by introducing special allowances for newborns and enhancing rural life insurance.

President Pema Chewang, during the party’s campaign in Gelephu and Shompangkha constituencies, highlighted the challenges posed by the declining fertility rate and the exodus of skilled professionals.

The President said that the country is currently facing twin challenges, fertility rate decreasing and exodus.

“It will lead to dwining population. Population is the most important factor in economic development because it gives you a ready market. We must provide special allowances for newborns in the country,” the President said. 

To encourage childbirth, the party plans to provide special allowances for newborns. President Pema Chewang urged couples to consider having a minimum of three children, allocating one for each parent’s replacement and an additional one for overall population growth.

Bhutan currently faces a fertility rate of 1.8 births per woman, contributing to a complex demographic situation with increased life expectancies averaging 71 years.

Pema Chewang pledged to introduce yearly Alu Sarkey Tendrel Thue of Nu 15,000 to all newborns up to 18 years, aiming to incentivise families and support the well-being of children.

 The President said that the country will have the impact of a mass exodus, stating that the departure of highly skilled professionals seeking better opportunities elsewhere can lead to a workforce depleted of expertise.

The President said that the reason for introducing allowances is that the highly skilled professionals, seeking better opportunities elsewhere, leave behind a workforce depleted of their expertise. This exodus can result in a gungtong or a gap in the workforce, especially in sectors crucial to public service and business.

This departure could pose challenges in delivering efficient public services and negatively affect the overall quality of life for the population.

To tackle these issues, the BTP pledged to implement family-friendly population policies, including measures such as paid parental leave, flexible working arrangements, affordable childcare services, and financial incentives like tax benefits or subsidies for child-related expenses.

Furthermore, the party aims to alleviate the financial burden on families during times of loss by increasing rural life insurance compensation from Nu 30,000 to Nu 150,000, maintaining the existing premium rate of Nu 75.

This higher coverage is designed to support families, particularly in the face of rising inflation, providing financial assistance for rituals and ceremonies associated with the loss of a family member.