As per the guidelines for gewog annual grants 2019, gewogs with their centres located more than 50 kilometres from the dzongkhag headquarters may get an engineer and an accountant each.
“The dzongkhag administration must designate an engineer and an account personnel for each gewog from the dzongkhag pool. However, for far-flung gewogs (gewog centres located more than 50 km from the dzongkhag headquarters), the dzongkhag may a provide dedicated annuitant and an engineer,” states the guidelines.
The guidelines, which will come into effect from July, has been released at the backdrop of lack of engineers and other human resources at the gewog level.
At a time when local governments’ (LG) capacity to implement budgeted plans is being questioned, the guidelines empower the gewog to use annual grants for national priority activities with approval from the Gewog Tshogde (GT). About 50 percent of the 12th Plan budget is allocated to LGs.
The GTs, however, must seek technical backstopping, problem solving and implementation support from the dzongkhag administration to determine cost and ensure effective implementation.
The annual grant replaces the annual gewog development grant (GDG), which used to be provided at the rate of Nu 2 million (M) for each gewog.
Finance Minister Namgay Tshering told Kuensel that the guidelines were final and the GDG would be discontinued. “Gewogs will get more budget through the gewog annual grant,” he said.
The government at the 10th cabinet session held on January 22 decided to establish gewog annual grant starting from the fiscal year 2019-20 to empower gewogs and to deepen the decentralisation process.
Scope of gewog annual grant
The guidelines do not fix the amount of grant a gewog can receive in a year. However, an investment above Nu 20 million (M) should be submitted to the dzongkhag finance committee.
The grant consists of two components – current and capital.
The MoF will determine the grant based on current expenditure requirement, while the GNHC will allocate the capital grant based on the resource allocation formula (RAF).
The capital grant will be used for construction and improvement of farm roads, renovation of community centres like schools, BHUs, and maintenance of water supply irrigation schemes.
A gewog can also spend the capital on ad-hoc programmes that fall within national priorities such as creation of employment opportunities, waste management and environment protection, among others.
Unspent grant amount at the end of the fiscal year will lapse, but the unused capital grant can be adjusted and made available in the next fiscal year.
The guidelines prohibit gewogs from spending the grant on unproductive spending such as hospitality and entertainment and procurement of vehicles.
The gewog administration may receive views and suggestions from the dzongkhag, drungkhag administration, and even the members of Parliament to prioritise development activities.
The dzongkhag or drungkhag administration will periodically monitor the implementation of the gewog development activities. GNHC will be responsible for ensuring that they are aligned with Five-Year Plan through regular mid-term reviews.
DDG guidelines 2019
The government has increased the annual dzongkhag development grant (DDG) from Nu 7M to Nu 10M to support priority activities not included in the Plan. This has been incorporated in the DDG guidelines 2019. The grant will form part of the dzongkhag’s annual capital budget ceiling.
Depending on the need, the guidelines allow the dzongkhag to use 20 percent of the grant for preservation and promotion of cultural and religious heritage. Activities under DDG must be submitted to the dzongkhag finance committee, which will then be submitted it to the Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) for endorsement.