The government deserves an appreciation for bringing people together and putting efforts to be more inclusive in decision-making, according to the Opposition’s assessment of the government’s 120 days in office.
However, the Opposition stated that the government has provided a “feel-good and flattering assessment” of its 120 days pledges.
Contrary to the government’s earlier claim that its pledges were easy to fulfil as thorough consultations and researches were carried, the Opposition Leader, Pema Gyamtsho (PhD) said that most of the pledges required further review.
A press release from the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa stated that the government’s pledge to convert Samrang project into a vegetable farming project was reverted, for instance.
“The government’s own assessment of its 120 days achievements is overrated and hyped,” he said. On the delivery, he said the people’s expectations were not met.
According to Opposition’s assessment, only one pledge-to institute a Pay Commission- was fully achieved; about four others were achieved partially, which includes the removal of Class X cut off point and Class VI examinations, resolving taxi issues, establishment of tourism development board and private sector development committee. The rest remain unfulfilled.
Concurrent to foreign minister’s statement that ‘every pledge has to be read for what it stands for,’ a press release from the Opposition Party stated that there has to be a distinction between the pledges “to establish” and the pledges “to initiate.” Likewise, it stated, one has to interpret the verb “develop” differently from “review” as they differ in intent and scope.
For instance, the Opposition pointed out that out of the four “to establish” pledges,only tourism development board is put in place and could be rated as partially achieved.
The establishment of a high level committee to draft the vision 2045 document, a dedicated water agency and a private sector development committee, remain unfulfilled and are in a preliminary stage of discussion at best, the Party said.
Of the two “to institute” pledges, the institution of fourth pay commission to revise civil service salaries and allowance was fulfilled, according to the Opposition.
The Party also stated that no tangible actions were taken to institute mechanisms for delivery of public services in gewogs and thromdes through one-stop shops. The Opposition said this pledge was not fulfilled.
The pledges “to develop”Sung-Joen App, provide 24/7 free access to all online data within the country, enumerate and provide budget to all community l hakhangs, use electric/hybrid cars by cabinet ministers, among others were also not fulfilled as no visible actions are seen.
“When one says, establish or develop, it would mean that by the end of 120 days, the pledges would have been fulfilled and not just initiated or reviewed,” the Party stated.
For pledges with the verbs such as “identify,” “review,” “initiate” and “contribute,” the Opposition stated that there are no basis to offer an objective assessment as a single meeting regardless of the outcome, could be construed as an achievement.
The most significant pledge that the government has tried to implement was the removingof the Class X cut-off point.
This, according to the Opposition Party was a controversial move. The Opposition leader said that the government has bulldozed the concerns expressed by the Opposition and other stakeholders.
“The resolution of the education conference to implement the move next year was good enough,” Pema Gyamtsho (PhD) said.
He said that why and how this pledge was implemented leaves more questions than answers considering the country’s social and economic woes.
“It will distort the whole education system and labour market,” he said adding that it is even more difficult to fathom as to how this major change in education system would narrow the gap or enhance quality of education.
“Going by the media reports on how this move was implemented, much tongue-twisting and arm-twisting was done to get the private school owners to agree to the government’s terms,” Opposition Leader said.
The Opposition Party has also expressed its concerns over what mechanisms are put in place to deal with the thousands of Class XII students who would not qualify for higher studies.
“We understand that the government needs time to study and experiment, but the question is whether or not, we can afford this luxury,” the press release stated.
The party said that it was up to the government whether to give attention to the Opposition’s concerns.
“We realize that we stand to be criticized if we do not provide our views, as the government would then say that we have not raised any concerns if the outcome turns out to be bad,” the press release stated. “Likewise, we also stand to be blamed for obstructing and not allowing the government to function if we aggressively oppose the government’s decisions,”
The Opposition claims that it has also given enough opportunity and space for the new government to settle down and learn the ropes of governance.