LG: The government has allocated a total of Nu 75.9 million (M) to the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) for various activities in the financial year 2016-17.

According to the new annual budget report, Nu 20M of the total allocation is for holding local government (LG) polls and other poll related activities such as delimitation of parliamentary constituencies and by-elections.

The LG elections are expected to be held in late August or September. The ECB has already released a revised atlas of the LG constituencies with the number of voters.

The upcoming phase of  the second local government elections will be held in all dzongkhags including new thromdes, except for 10 gewogs.

Elections in five gewogs of Chhumig (Bumthang), Phuentsholing (Chhukha), Goenshari (Punakha), Sang-Nga-Chholing (Samtse) and Mendrelgang in Tsirang will be conducted in the third phase. The final and fourth phase will see elections in the five gewogs of Bjabchhog and Doongna in Chhukha and Samkhar, Bartsham and Uzorong gewogs in Trashigang.

Nu 7.457M will be utilised for improving participation in electoral and political processes through the Bhutan Children’s Parliament (BCP) session. The children’s parliament is expected to promote active and constructive youth engagement in discussions that could contribute to the policy consideration at the national level.

This will also cover expenses for electoral experience sharing and collaboration network, training of party functionaries and study tours.

Another Nu 13.65M of the total allocated money is for strengthening the institute and enhancing the electoral system. These activities include developing an e-library, research and publication, review of electoral documents, learning from experience programme and ECB conference.

Meanwhile, the four thromdes of Phuentsholing, Thimphu, Gelephu and Samdrupjongkhar will receive Nu 1.656 billion (B) for implementation of their planned activities. Another Nu 961M has been kept aside for schools under the thromdes.

During the National Council’s recent question and answer session, works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden said: “The government is prepared to finance and provide professional manpower to begin work on urban planning and development in all thromdes.”

Lyonpo said that the government has requested the Royal Civil Service Commission for an additional 150 staff for thromdes.

MB Subba