Last year, the department of local governance (DLG) recruited 30 gewog administrative officers (GAOs) in various dzongkhags, citing a high attrition rate, according to the annual local government report 2016-17.

Published by DLG, the report states that the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) as an interim measure to address the shortage of GAOs allowed the government to recruit 30 GAOs on contract in 2017. Their contract is for two years, which can be renewed, if need be.

The 30 GAOs were recruited in two batches. The GAOs were provided a weeklong orientation and sensitisation programme on their job responsibilities, relevant laws, rules and regulations and basic Driglam Namzha.

With the rapid pace of socio-economic development and political reforms taking place in the country, especially in terms of furthering functional and fiscal decentralisation to local governments, the role of GAO has become significant.

“As part of the permanent bureaucracy, GAOs have been critical to the smooth functioning of gewog administrations, which forms an integral part of the executive branch of the government,” the report states.

GAOs, as civil servants in the key and strategic position in their respective gewogs, are entrusted with important roles and responsibilities. The provide continuity to the gewog administration and support the local government in planning, implementing and monitoring local development plans and programmes.

The report also states that there has been a high attrition rate of GAOs in the recent year, adversely affecting service delivery and functioning of the gewog administrations.

The report also states that the distribution of utility vehicles (Boleros) to all 205 gewogs last year has enhanced the timely execution and monitoring of local development plans through the enhancement of mobility of local government officials.

The government initially provided a driver each, annual running and maintenance budget of Nu 60,000 each to a gewog. The amount was later revised to Nu 100,000.

The department of local governance, according to the report, procured the Boleros through a national open competitive bidding process. The vehicles were procured with the help from Government of India.

The report states that a total of 172 women were elected in the 2016 local government elections as gups, mangmis, thromde thuemis and tshogpas.

“At a time when gender equality and women’s empowerment are gaining momentum worldwide, there is a great hope and potential for gender transformative change,” the report states. “Such a change can help ensure increased well-being of our communities, and equal sharing of development and decision-making benefits among women and men and girls and boys as well.”

MB Subba