We have 20 dzongkhags and 205 gewogs. Our administration system, dependent on progress, had to have 205 gewogs. The settlements were scattered and connectivity was a major problem. And so, a bureaucratic structure has to be shaped in a way that could be more efficient. We have come a long way. However, with a different reality today, there is a need to reshape the whole system of governance because governance is all about effective service delivery. The attempt to bring down the number of gewogs is both sensible and timely so.
This restructuring process must succeed. The faster we can do it the better. We are looking at the third local government (LG) election that will take place towards the end of 2021. The Department of Local Governance (DLG) in 2012 suggested paring down the number of gewogs by 54. Another DLG report in 2015 suggested doing away with 57 gewogs in view of unnecessary administrative and financial burden on the government.
What happened after all these reports? Nothing. Why? The bigger the number of gewogs, the better for politicians. But that is not the requirement today. What we need today is a logical arrangement of our administration system to achieve both cost cut and efficiency. The support of the present government to bring down the number of gewogs this, therefore, bold. At a time when direct contact can be had between gups and prime minister, we might not even need drungkhags.
The rationalisation process will mean that some of the gewogs will be merged with the nearest gewog, which means some of the gewogs could become part of a different dzongkhag. What we must appreciate is that nothing will change. Development activities will continue irrespective of the rationalisation drive.
As a small country, our administration has to be efficient. That is why our gewogs should bring down to a reasonable number. There is no issue of sensitivity involved. There is also an argument that rationalisation could contribute towards job creation and administration efficiency. We have been facing the shortage of human resource in the local government offices.
When we have enough human resource in the local government offices, we can focus on job creation, why not. But this is just one of the many advantages of bring down the number gewogs.