MB Subba 

The Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu has seen 32,088 applicants between April 14 and June 10, out of which 22,963 or 71.6 percent were found eligible for the relief kidu.

Most applied for the kidu in April where more than 21,080 applicants were received, while 10,385 applied in May and 623 in June.

With 11,045 recipients, those in the tourism sector benefited the most followed by those in the transport and communication sector with 4,705 recipients.


A total of 1,626 Bhutanese who returned from abroad also received the kidu including 796 unemployed and unpaid individuals. 17 individuals in the public and corporate and public sector also benefited from the kidu.

In terms of educational qualification, more than 24 percent of the recipients, 7,845, finished higher secondary school,  6,465 finished middle secondary school while 5,661 did not have any educational qualification.

There were 3,272 recipients who finished bachelor’s degree and 113 recipients had master’s degree or above qualification. 528 people with monastic education and 195 technical and vocational education and training (TVET) graduates also received the relief kidu.

There were more male, 17,453 or 54 percent among the kidu recipients. Female recipients totalled 14,635.

Of the total 32,088 kidu recipients, the highest was from Thimphu with 12,306. This is followed by Paro with 4,584 and 3,188 in Punakha. The least number of kidu recipients was from Gasa with 53.

Segregated by age, the maximum number of Kidu recipients were between the ages of 25 and 29, which is 26 percent of the total. This is followed by 6,896 in the age range of 20 to 24 and 6,391 between the ages of 30 and 34.

There were 68 recipients who were 70 years old and 74 between the ages of 66 and69.

Out of the total kidu recipients, 16,948 were married, 9,420 never married and 3,675 were divorced. There were also 1,077 living together couples, 535 widows and 433 separated beneficiaries.

The beneficiaries assessed for the full amount get Nu 12,000, and others get Nu 8,000. Additionally, each child of the affected family would get Nu 800 a month.

The three-month kidu granted as a temporary relief to those who lost jobs or their livelihoods were affected by Covid-19 will end this month. The continuation of the kidu would depend on the gravity of Covid-19 situation, according to the officials managing the relief kidu. Kidu recipients were encouraged to seek jobs during these three months.


Loan interest waiver beneficiaries

The country’s oldest bank, the Bank of Bhutan Ltd. (BOBL), waived a total loan interest of Nu 320 million (M) in April, which was the highest among all the lenders as part of the monetary and fiscal measures to tackle the Covid-19 situation.

In terms of the number of beneficiaries, however, the Bhutan Development Bank Limited (BDBL) benefited the highest number of account holders.

The interest waiver benefited 54,901 BDBL accounts although the amount came to only Nu 173M. Only 30,512 accounts of BoB benefited compared with that of BDBL.

Officials explained that the BDBL was rural-oriented and that the amounts borrowed were smaller.

Bhutan National Bank Ltd. (BNBL) waived the second highest amount with Nu 268.564M in interest waiver. A total of 15,744 BNBL loan accounts benefited from the waiver.

The RICBL, whose primary mandate is not lending, waived more than Nu 160M, after BNBL. But the number of beneficiaries is only 5,452, which means that the principal amounts were bigger.

The total interest for April amounted Nu 1,251.93 million (M). Interest waivers for May and June are being worked out.

Other organisations, including Bhutan Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAOWE), RENEW and Bhutan Care Credit Ltd., also waived interests for three months.

At a ceremony at the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) on June 11, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said that health was taking a backstage and that the economy had emerged as a more critical issue for the government to tackle. He expressed his satisfaction with the role played by the central bank and the financial institutions.

Dzongkhag-wise, the highest amount (Nu 781.68M) was availed in Thimphu followed by Chukha (Nu 159.46M), and Paro (Nu 50.15M). 

As an immediate intervention, the government announced various fiscal and monetary measures for the period April to June.