Phub Dem | Paro

As the local government held their last dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) in Haa and Paro, the issues related to gaydrungs or gewog clerks resurfaced again.

Gups proposed allowances and benefits such as leave encashment, Leave Travel Concession (LTC) and annual salary increments.

Bji Gup Passang said that gaydrungs were essential in the gewog as they took care of most of the clerical work. He said that they were deprived of allowances and couldn’t even avail of loans.

“I have received many requests from gaydrungs all over the country to voice out their problems,” he said.

Gaydrungs had been in the system since the 1960s. They helped the gup in clerical tasks and collecting taxes.

Bji Gaydrung Sonam Wangchuk has been serving since 2007. He said that many gaydrungs had invested their productive years in helping the gewogs despite unequal remuneration.

He said that after investing more than a decade in the job, there were no benefits after retirement, adding that there was no job security and no saving for his children. “We have been running from pillar to post, but the issue remains.”

He said that gaydrungs had to work as an accountant without training and cash handling allowances. “There are no entitlements or incentives besides the monthly salary. We feel discouraged as none of the agencies seems to be supportive.”

The dzongkhag human resource committees recruited them following the civil servant selection procedure.

While discussions are already on about the status of the gaydrungs, Uesu Gup Nima Tshering said that raising the issue in DT and its resolution would further voice the challenge facing the gaydrungs around the country.

According to some DT members from Paro, there was no uniform qualification and recruitment process for the post, which is why it was difficult to convert their service to regular contracts.

Except for the house rent allowance of Nu 3,500, gaydrungs survive on a monthly  salary of Nu 16,120.

DT Thrizin of Haa Thinley said there was no uniform financial rule as some gaydrungs received leave encashments and LTCs. “I don’t know why there are different rules for people in the same post.”

Considering the importance of gaydrung, Haa DT passed a resolution to consider the provision for provident fund, gratuity and provide uniform benefits such as leave encashment and LTC.

Lyonpo Namgay Tshering, who attended the Paro DT, said that the budget department under the finance ministry was working on the gaydrung issue.

He said that there was no other benefit for consolidated contracts as per the Pay Revision Act 2019. “If the finance office follows the circular sent by the ministry, there shouldn’t be any confusion.”

Edited by Tshering Palden