Benefits: Local government leaders will be eligible for retirement benefits as given in the Local Government Members Entitlement Act, home minister Dawa Gyaltshen said at the Meet the Press held on April 22.

“The local leaders will receive their entitlements as mentioned in the Act but there are procedures we need to follow,” Lyonpo Dawa Gyaltshen said.

The ministry is waiting for the endorsement of rules and regulations of the Act by the Cabinet.

However, the members will not get their provident fund.

The lapse was with the delay in the enactment of the Act despite the Parliament tabling it as an urgent legislation.

The Act was enacted in July last year and by the time it came to the home ministry, it was already August.

“Then there was less than a year for the local government leaders to retire and it made no sense to deduct provident fund because there was no time and they won’t be eligible of the claim,” a home ministry official said.

National Pension and Provident Fund rules and regulations state that for its member to be entitled to pension a minimum of 120 monthly contributions have to be made.

“For provident fund the deductions have to be made for at least one year,” the home ministry official said.

The entitlements given to a LG member includes salary, allowances, and retirement benefits that include gratuity and provident fund.

The LG entitlements Act states, “The Government shall, in accordance with the laws in force, make statutory deductions from the salary, allowances, benefits and other emoluments of a Member.”

“A Member shall be entitled to provident fund benefits in accordance with the National Pension and Provident Fund rules.”

The Act entitled the local government leaders, including those of thromdes, to pension, provident fund, and gratuity with leave entitlements similar to civil servants.

There are 1,044 elected LG members today.  Most of them are expected to retire early to re-contest in the next election in June.

 Tshering Palden