There may be some uncertainties surrounding the dzongkhag and yenlag thromde elections in the 16 dzongkhags. But what is certain is there will be 280 vacancies created excluding the coveted thrompon’s post and that of the executive secretary.
From an employment perspective, this is good as creating jobs has become an uphill task today. Jobseekers are continuously encouraged to become entrepreneurs and create jobs rather. Although the details are being worked out, the thromdes will create openings for many technical or vocational institute graduates.
What is also certain is that the pressure on the government’s coffer would increase as we chart out salaries and benefits for the 312 new posts. The Election Commission of Bhutan that will conduct the elections will not have to be concerned about the budget. It is guaranteed from the consolidated fund. Nu 275 million has been already allotted.
Officials have finalized the delimitation of Pemagatshel thromde yesterday, the last thromde to be finalized. Elections to the local government will start with the election of thrompons in three thromdes later this month and is expected to be complete by December this year.
The idea is that one year from this month, all 20 dzongkhags will have their thromde tshogdes in place and function as thromdes.
Then come the uncertainties of sustainability. With 30 people estimated in each thromde, the recurrent expenditure is going to eat into the exchequer. The concept is to make each thromde sustainable.
It may not be possible immediately. But from the experience of the four big thromdes, it is easier said than done. The existing thromdes are not meeting their current expenditure from the revenue collected from taxes and levies.
There are proposals to increase taxes, but this is not easy. Some villages are fighting to be out of the thromde boundaries fearing heavier urban taxes, which is identified as a source of revenue for the thromdes.
The new thromdes will take years to generate revenues. On the other hand, we have the Constitution mandating the local government to strive to achieve its developmental objectives “within its financial and administrative capacity”. The Constitution also states that the government should allocate some budget towards making thromdes self-sustaining and self-reliant.
The decision is final. All the 20 dzongkhags will have dzongkhag thromdes. The real implication will be seen from the next fiscal year.
The thromdes are approved with an expectation to facilitate proper town planning and development in all dzongkhags and bring about balanced socio-economic development. If this objective is achieved, the cost will be justified. But how and when we achieve that is another uncertainty.