Speaking to the media as the outgoing Prime Minister on August 9, Dasho Tshering Tobgay said that his government received about Rs 44 billion (B) from India’s total financial commitment for the 11th Plan. 

The Government of India (GoI) had committed Rs 45B for the five years, which is 21 percent of Bhutan’s total Nu 213B-11th Plan outlay. The remaining Rs 1B, the outgoing prime minister said, would be released anytime soon. 

“The remaining money will be arriving anytime. This is the reason why the 11th Plan concluded with a resounding success,” Dasho Tshering Tobgay said.   

Outgoing finance minister Namgay Dorji said that the government also received all the money for the government’s ambitious Economic Stimulus Plan (ESP). The GoI had committed to provide Nu 5B separately for ESP.   

According to the outgoing finance minister, the government also implemented a number of spillover projects. Namgay Dorji said the government also received more than Rs 3B from the GoI’s commitment for the 10th Plan. 

However, he added that Bhutan still had not received a total of about Rs 668 million from India’s total commitment for the 10th Plan. “There were lots of spillovers (from the 10th Plan),” he said.

The outgoing prime minister said that the previous government could not receive GoI’s commitment in full because the former could not fulfil the procedure for the release of small development projects (SDPs).

One of the members in the previous cabinet, however, said that the previous government had received 91 percent  of the money under SDPs.

The GoI had committed Rs 34B for the 10th Plan, which is 23 percent of the five-year outlay of Nu 149B. 

India’s share of contribution to the first Plan (1961 – 66) and second Plan (1966 – 71) were 100 percent of the total outlay. The share of GoI support in the subsequent plans has decreased on an average although the actual amount has been increasing from Rs 107.2 million in the first Plan.   

The outgoing prime minister and People’s Democratic Party president Dasho Tshering Tobgay added that the GoI has agreed and approved the government’s request for Rs 1.9B under the bridge financing arrangement to ensure that ongoing GoI project-tied works don’t get stalled for lack of funds.

This arrangement of funds under the bridge financing, he said will bridge the gap between the 11th and 12th Plans and that it was for the first time that such an arrangement was made. 

The ongoing works at projects such as Wangduephodrang, Sarpang and Denchi dzongs, Mother and Child Hospital, the Jigme Singye Wangchuck Law School among other projects, Dasho Tshering Tobgay said, would continue uninterrupted. 

 The new government in 2013 had claimed that its predecessor had not identified and secured funds for the 11th Plan adequately and that had delayed the implementation of some projects.

 “Will it be a repeat of 2013? The answer is No. We have received all the money, and we have arranged a bridge financing,” Dasho Tshering Tobgay said. 

However, DPT president Pema Gyamtsho (PhD) said that his government had already secured funding for most of the programmes and projects. Most of the projects, he said, were already initiated during DPT’s term with funds already committed or secured from various donors. 

“Just as we had to do during our term, the responsibility for mobilising additional funds to implement the plans falls on the government of the day. Moreover, PDP introduced many programmes based on their pledges for which they had to source funds and this will be the same for the next government,” the DPT president said.

Pema Gyamtsho said that most of the donor funded projects were just continuation with assured funding as the project cycles do not coincide with the country’s election cycle.

Dasho Tshering Tobgay said that the 12th Plan was in a good platform although his government did not request the GoI for any fund for the 12th Plan. 

He said that the future government must be cautious as the 12th Plan is very ambitious as it has planned the country’s transition from category of least developed countries to middle income group. The estimated budget project for the 12th Plan is Nu 336B.   

MB Subba