Phub Dem

While the government’s tenure is nearing completion, a major highlight of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s 25 pledges in 120 days, the development of Sungjoen app remains only on paper.

Provision of free Wi-Fi and developing a domestic social network application, Sungyoen will not come through this Plan.

In response to Tashichhoeling’s Member of Parliament Dil Maya Rai’s question on the possibility of developing the app within this Plan, Labour Minister Karma Dorji said that due to the requirement of significant budget, the government won’t be able to pursue the pledge in this term.

Dil Maya Rai said that people, especially youth are questioning the implementation of the app during every constituency visit.

She added that while politicians make myriads of promises to get votes, she does not understand why most remain unfulfilled.

However, Lyonpo said that budget reprioritisation at the end of the Plan for essential sectors such as economic recovery, road and water connection, human resources development, and agriculture was deemed necessary.

“As there is no budget allotted for the Sungjoen app in the current financial year, the pledge won’t come through in this Plan,” he said.

Considering the importance of the application, he said that the government expects the next government to carry forward the pledge in the 13th plan.

Sungjoen app, according to Lyonpo will be a domestic social networking platform to secure confidential data and information within the country. “Data and information security are as important as national security.”

He said that most of the Bhutanese use various social media platforms to network, share information and essential official documents, and hold meetings. “We even share confidential documents through these platforms.”

For instance, he said that information shared via Wechat goes to China; internal information shared in Whatsapp, Telegram and Zoom meetings goes to the United State of America. “As Bhutan uses the internet through an optical fibre from India, much information goes to India too.”

He said that about 60 percent of the domestic internet is used on these social networking sites and if there is an internet blackout due to fibre issues in India, there won’t be any communication in the country.

However, he said that if there is a domestic application like Sungyoen, there will be seamless communication. “If the app is not free, there won’t be people using it as people are already into prominent social media platforms, which is why the government promised to provide free Wifi to compliment the app.”