As we straddle the two years, the new and the year gone by, we look back on the successes we have achieved as a people and a nation in the last 12 months and look to the future with greater hope and aspirations.

The Fire Male Monkey Year leaves with us so much to recall and reflect on the many momentous events that we experienced. As a nation that depends largely on agriculture, we saw some notable developments in the sector. For the first time we exported eggs to Kolkata. Recognising that our farmers need agriculture services that they can afford, we established the farm mechanisation corporation. Among other developments in the sector, we saw the launch of the national mastiff breeding centre in Gasa, native poultry breeding and conservation centre in Lhuentse, regional tiger and cat research centre in Zhemgang and southern wildlife rescue centre in Sarpang. These are testimony to the special priority we give to the sector that supports more than 60 percent of our population.

2016 was a special year for the Bhutanese also because of two significant events that we celebrated; it was the birth year of Guru Rinpoche, a Buddhist saint who brought Buddhism to the Himalayas. We also celebrated 400th year of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal’s arrival in Bhutan. In doing so, we celebrated the life of an important political and religious leader who gave shape and soul to the nation that we call Drukyul. The year also marked the completion of His Majesty The King’s 10 years on the Golden Throne.

Even as the need was felt to establish thromdes and conduct thromde elections in all the dzongkhags, the supreme court on August 5 issued a writ to the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) to defer the elections until such a time that legal and administrative issues pertaining to local government elections are cleared. These could be interpreted as signs of a maturing democracy.

Despite some glitches in the electoral process, in 2016 the ECB successfully conducted the second local government elections since the adoption of the Constitution in 2008.  Local governments received the highest level of recognition from His Majesty The King.  His Majesty The King awarded patang to the dzongkhag tshogdu chairpersons. His Majesty The King also conferred Gyentag to women poenkhas across the country to recognise women’s contribution in society.

The year that went by was singularly special because the nation celebrated the Birth of HRH Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck, heir to the throne of the great Wangchuck Dynasty. For a nation that has always enjoyed unparalleled leadership of the great Wangchuck Kings, the birth of HRH Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck spoke of continuity.

As we bid farewell to the Fire Male Monkey, we have every reason to feel thankful and soar with the Fire Female Bird to greater heights.

Losar Tashi Delek.