Submits petition seeking clarity on post and entitlement

Petition: Gewog clerks or gaydrungs from across the country had submitted a petition to the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and the local government department last week seeking clarification on the status of their post and their entitlements.

They want the posts secured as per the Royal Civil Service Act. The petition, which was drafted in consultation with all gaydrungs states that following the Local Government (LG) elections in 2008, gewogs announced vacancies for gaydrungs post that required a minimum qualification of class XII with three months training in computer applications.

Respective dzongkhag human resource committee in line with the civil servant selection procedure conducted the selection interview.

“Gaydrungs do most of the work in the gewog, but there are no entitlements and incentives besides the monthly salary,” the petition stated. “We feel discouraged as none of the agency seems to be supportive,” the petition stated. They have approached parliamentarians during their constituency visits.

Gaydrungs started serving in gewogs since 1960s. They were exempted from goongda woola (customary labour contributions) and were compensated in various ways. Their main duties then were to collect taxes and draft correspondences for the gups.  That changed over time, along with their benefits and salaries.

Local government rules and regulations mandate gaydrungs to collect taxes and insurance premium from villagers, facilitate land transactions, and take care of documents in the gewog office.

The rules say that a gaydrung should be at least a class 12 graduate, above 18 years and below 40 years.  There are 202 gaydrungs today. Most of them are not class 12 graduates.

Lamgong gewog’s clerk, Dawa Tshering on behalf of the clerks, said besides the importance of the post, gaydrungs are not recognised. He said that since clerks are neither a post under the civil service nor the local government, the job was insecure.

In 2002, they were paid Nu 4,000 a month that increased to Nu 9,500. Daily allowance was increased to Nu 300 and porter pony charges to Nu 250 a day.  Following the revision last year, they are paid a consolidated salary of Nu 13,000.

Dawa Tshering also said that, gaydrungs do not mind serving as contract employees but with benefits such as daily allowance.

“The daily allowance revision has just remained on paper. We walk for two to three days to collect taxes from far flung villages but without any allowances,” he said. They are also not entitled for casual leave.

Department of Local Government’s director general, Dorji Norbu said the post of gaydrung is not a new issue. Few years ago, the post was to be done away with, but it was decided to retain until the gewog administration was fully equipped with enough manpower.

During the recent organisation development (OD) exercise that the RCSC carried out, the issue came up, Dorji Norbu said.

“If local government said we do not need gaydrungs, the gewog administrative officers (GAO) would be overburdened,” he said. “We can’t say anything until we get the final OD exercise recommendation.”

The director general said the entry level for gaydrungs was raised to class XII from Class X to strengthen the gewog administration and expecting that the gaydrungs post could remain for many years to come.

Gaydrung is the only post that GT has the authority to hire and fire. Gewog tshogde also has the sole authority to recruit gaydrungs for a term of five-year.

In the Parliament session last year, it was resolved that gaydrungs should not be mentioned as civil servants, as proposed by the house’s good governance committee.

Of the 202 gaydrungs, four are Dzongkha degree graduate, 67 have completed class 12, 36 completed class 10, three finished class nine, 12 were class eight drop outs.

Others consist of lay monks, technical diploma graduates and non-formal education graduates. A few studied only till pre primary.

By Nirmala Pokhrel