We ended 2021 with the local government elections and had much to talk and much more to think about.
We saw the senior-most serving justice of the Supreme Court, a district court judge, a former Royal Body Guards commandant and a woman convicted in a case concerning the commission of criminal conspiracy, mutiny, abettor of mutiny, and other criminal offences involving.
Home Minister Sherub Gyeltshen resigned voluntarily not long after the High Court’s larger bench found him guilty of claiming false vehicle insurance. Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s Khamdang-Ramjar MP, Kinga Loday, who was convicted in an illegal road construction case, also resigned.
The talk was mostly on the Covid-19 pandemic. With the new variants emerging and rapidly spreading across the globe, uncertainty hung on to negotiate the way forward. Then came the bye-elections and the local government elections, which took up almost half the year discussing local priorities and politics. It was rough sailing for some LG candidates owing to confusion among some authorities triggering a lot of discourse on democracy but, in the end, common sense prevailed. The discourse on democracy will have no beginning or end. But there is much else to think about as another calendar year comes to an end.
Where will economic development reach if we build poor roads? What will be the national impact of the Punatsangchu project? With the north-eastern belt of India booming, how are we responding in terms of industrial development? Will DHI come up with a substantive strategy for economic revival and growth? How will our banks respond to the dire need for access to finance CSIs?
We have in the back of our minds the growing youth population looking for jobs – 77,000 at the end of 2023. There are more than 54 HIV positive cases detected and some of them are dying of AIDS. Is ACC’s voice being drowned by the louder noises in the anti-corruption discussions? And how about the growing global concern over climate change?
These are just some of the problems we are looking at.
His Majesty The King has outlined a number of priorities for the nation in the perspective of Bhutan as a State. Over the years, speaking to college students, university graduates, parliamentarians, and the public, His Majesty’s message has been consistent: “… my goals for Bhutan are simple. We will build a vibrant democracy founded on a strong economy. This will be the means through which we will achieve Gross National Happiness and fulfil the aspirations of our people.”
The National Address this year has been even more explicit and the command strikes a clear course of action for all Bhutanese. With all these on the plate, we need not think hard about our new resolutions for the coming year.
The print version of the Editorial has wrongly mentioned that the year began with the Royal visit to India and the signing of a friendship treaty between the two countries. The draft of another article and the Editorial got mixed. The newsroom regrets the mistake.