Budget: The Dzongkhag Development Grant of Nu 7 million (M) each is now ready for implementation with the approved guideline.

The budget of Nu 140M has been allocated in the fiscal year 2016-17 to empower the local government in utilising the fund and prioritising the activities. The government had in the past said that the grant is one of the moves to further deepen their ideology of Wangtse Chirphel.

The guideline is being issued for strict compliance to generate maximum social benefit and to ensure that the money is not wasted.

According to the guideline, the grant shall be used for funding one or more activities that will strengthen economy and generate employment,  income and benefit the local communities.

The grant can also be used to supplement the planned programmes if the fund secured for the planned programme is insufficient.

Up to 10 percent of the grant may be used for activities related to preservation and promotion of cultural heritage if need is felt strongly.

However, the fund cannot be used for recurrent expenditure of the local government, to purchase vehicles, as contribution and donation. Celebration and gatherings, political campaigns, games and sports are some of other areas where funding from the grant is restricted.

The dzongkhag administration is responsible to submit activities proposed under the grant to the Dzongkhag Tshogdu for approval, meaning the DT has the authority to decide where to pump Nu 7M.

After approval, the dzongkhag administration is again the responsible agency for implementing the activities.

The guideline also says that the grant shall be kept in the annual budget of the dzongkhag under separate code. To ensure that the proposed activities are in pursuance to the approved guideline, the department of national budget would incorporate the fund only if activities are in line with the guideline.

The dzongkhag administration and elected LG members concerned are asked to institute a proper monitoring and asset inventory mechanism of the activities. All information relating to the activities undertaken with the grant must be made public.

The government’s initiative of Gewog Development Grant (GDG) of Nu 2M for each gewog came under the scanner of the Royal Audit Authority because in many cases activities executed under the grant in the last two fiscal years (2013-14 and 2014-15) were of no economic value. About Nu 799 million (M) was spent on 2,181 small activities that are similar to normal planned activities. The RAA’s performance audit report on GDG says that a sizable amount of public resources was spent on activities that have no long-term impact.

It is hoped that Dzongkhag Development Grant coming with a condition will contribute to strengthening the local economy, generating the job, income and enhancing people’s income.

Tshering Dorji