Q&A: 1. What was your first task after your joined office besides receiving khadhars?
As soon as I joined office on August 3, I started with introductory discussions and briefings with the secretary and some of the heads of departments. For a clear understanding of functions, mandates, challenges and issues of the various departments of the home and cultural affairs ministry, departmental briefing started with the department of civil registration and census followed by department of disaster management.
2. What according to you is the most challenging issue at your ministry that needs to be addressed immediately?
The home and cultural affairs ministry is one of the oldest ministries, and with the blessings of our visionary monarchs, the necessary rules and regulations were framed and are now in place, presently manned by able, dynamic and dedicated civil servants like the secretary, heads of departments and other officials. I am in the process of discussing with them and looking into the possible challenges and issues. Disaster management is one of the challenging issues.
3. With about 30 immigration officials in Phuntsholing currently under trail and some suspended in connection with bribery and corruption charges, what implication did it have on the department as a whole?
A most important thing we need to understand is that the immigration department is a regulatory authority with very stringent rules and procedures namely immigration, information management system and bio-matrix where every foreigner has to submit the necessary documents for getting approvals including finger prints on entry and exit, from the country. With thousands of foreign workers coming in to work for the various projects in Bhutan, the immigration officials are required to work round the clock since there is shortage of staff. It is unfortunate that 30 immigration officials in Phuntsholing are currently under trail for bribery and corruption charges but one is innocent until proven guilty. Since the case is already in the court, the guilty will be dealt as per the law of the land.
4. A student, a Bhutanese private employee and an expatriate worker who were abducted since last year are yet to be released. What is your take on the security issues along the southern borders especially kidnapping?
Bhutan and India have very good friendship and both the governments at various levels are working very closely in maintaining law and order along the southern border. And also, through the various initiatives of His Majesty The King and the government, the southern borders are kept safe. However, the public has to also play their part and follow the guidelines issued and must not take unnecessary risks.
5. What is your biggest concern when it comes to preservation of tradition and culture in the country at the moment?
Globally, the media has both positive and negative effects on the youth all around the world. Youth tend to get influenced mainly by the foreign movies, culture, tradition, and fashion, among others and tend to adapt them without realising the implications. But for a small country like Bhutan, we cannot afford to be influenced by the other countries’ culture. We need to maintain our unique identity and preserve our culture and tradition, which is every Bhutanese citizen’s sacred responsibility to safeguard the security and sovereignty of our nation.