MB Subba 

The government has decided to discontinue the post of gaydrungs (gewog clerks) permanently from the local government functionary.

“With the tenure of the existing batch of gaydrung coming to an end this month, the government informs the decision to discontinue the post altogether hereafter,” stated the executive order from the Prime Minister’s Office on April 6.

The decision follows the Royal Civil Service Commission’s (RCSC) rejection of the government’s proposal to recruit the gaydrungs on a consolidated contract under the civil service to retain the post.

The gaydrungs had also appealed for an extension of their contract to the Department of Local Governance (DLG), which had suggested the government retain the post.

The PM’s executive order stated that the decision was arrived at after deliberations among cabinet members and consultations with relevant agencies including the home ministry and the RCSC.

The contract of the existing gaydrungs expired on April 2. However, the executive order states that the gaydrungs can work until the end of this month and hand over the charges to the gewog administration.

The executive order stated that it was important that we “keep striving to streamline” the public service delivery.

“We have to consider the relevance of gaydrung in today’s context, as we insist on professionalism, leadership and innovation of officials involved in local governance,” it stated.

The decision, it stated, was taken in the larger scheme of governance to keep pace with new developments.

The government has stated that it would provide assistance to the gaydrungs to stir up private ventures at grassroots level.

The executive order also asks gewog administrations to redesign the overall structure of the organisation and engage gewog administrative officers to the maximum by redefining their roles and responsibilities.

“The decision should, in no way, compromise the service delivery in the gewogs,” the order stated.

However, the executive order adds that the government would depute additional people to gewogs based on their initiatives. 

They will be selected based on the “innovative projects and enterprising ideas” proposed by the gewogs so that skills match the responsibilities.

The DLG recently had submitted a proposal to the Cabinet on the need to retain the post in local government administrations. The gaydrungs had jointly appealed to the government through the DLG on March 7 for an extension of their term by another five years.

Gups said that gaydrungs help service seekers to fill up forms and draft letters for illiterate residents besides carrying out regular works like collections of taxes and insurance. 

However, over the years these services have been also offered online by relevant agencies.

Sarpang’s Chhudzom Gup Bisnu Prasad Rai in an earlier interview said that services would be affected if the post of gaydrungs were done away with.

“The gaydrung stays at the office to provide services to the public when the elected officials like the gup and the gewog administrative officer (GAO) attend meetings at the dzongkhag headquarters,” he said.

The LG officials said that gaydrungs are not entitled to retirement benefits, as their appointment is not governed by the RCSC rules.

Successive governments have extended the gaydrungs contract in the past. The Cabinet had last extended gaydrungs’ contract in April 2019 as per the resolution of the National Assembly.