As registration for Gyalsung, the National Service Programme designed to commence in September 2024, has begun, the Chairperson of National Service Core Working Group (NSCWG), Dasho Karma Tshiteem talks to Kuensel Reporter Yam Kumar Poudel. Excerpts.

The registration process for Gyalsung began on October 9. How many have signed up and registered so far?

As of October 25, 6,069 youths have signed up—3,414 females and 2,655 males. Of these 1,892 (1,092 female and 800 male) have registered for Gyalsung Programme in 2024.

We would like to highlight that Gyalsung registration involves two steps, the first of which is signing up to the Gyalsung Portal ( to create their Gyalsung account and the second step is registration, when you are ready to undergo Gyalsung Training.

The Gyalsung portal is open to all Bhutanese youths born in between 2005 and 2008. Therefore, youths who have turned 15 years old in 2023 can also sign up on the Gyalsung portal. Registration, the second step, however, is open to only the eligible youths, those born in 2005.

Out of the 4,434 youths born in 2005 who have signed up to the Gyalsung portal, more than half have not yet registered.

We urge these youths to register as the registration is open for 100 days, until January 17, 2024. Those who have not registered within the deadline are liable for penalties.

From which countries, specifically abroad, are there most registrants?

Thus far, we have a total of 144 Bhutanese signing up from 21 countries. The largest number is 66 from Australia—followed by 24 registrants from Thailand.

The first batch was provided with an option to ask for deferment or exemption from the training. Any requests for deferrals or exemptions so far?

So far, 44 eligible youths have applied for exemption being provided for those completing class 12 in 2023 and pursuing further education in 2024.

Parents with children born in 2005 and beyond must understand that exemptions and deferments can only be obtained after first registering. Therefore, even youths who are in monastic schools and thus eligible to receive exemption, must sign up, register and then apply for exemptions. Failing to do so will be recorded as evasion of the Gyalsung Act and thus they will be liable, upon conviction, for a felony of the fourth degree.

The national service is a one-time life opportunity for the youths who are dropouts, unemployed, and currently in college. Any other reasons to join the programme?

All eligible Bhutanese youths must undergo Gyalsung. It is a fundamental constitutional duty under Article 8.1 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

The knowledge, skills, bonds and experience acquired through the Gyalsung Programme, beginning with a year-long training, will benefit our youths not only in the service to the Tsawa Sum but to their very lives.

The Gyalsung training will have three months of Basic Military Training (BMT) that is intended to make our youths militia-capable, disciplined and able to work on their own as well as in teams.

They will also learn what it means to be a Bhutanese through the National Education component. They will also learn life skills, and core life skills like communication, leadership, emotional intelligence, and mindfulness among others. In addition, individuals will acquire knowledge on self-defence, a trek across the country, interacting with communities along the way as well as team-building activities.

The four core areas of training after the BMT are: Home security—skilling in construction trades, such as carpentry, crafts, shelter and artisan. Food Security—agriculture technology, protected agriculture and drip agriculture in which the scarce resource usage will be taught. ICT Security—this is recognizing the significance of future-based technology such as cyber security, data science and programming, and community security—first responder skills, the training on first-aid, forest fire management, search and rescue, public order and health management.

Therefore, Gyalsung is a programme that will help make our people more capable, confident and committed. This unique programme, from the vision of His Majesty The King, is something that every Bhutanese must support and every eligible Bhutanese must make the most of.

Any additional message to the Bhutanese youths who will be undergoing the training programme soon?

Everything that is planned to be implemented during Gyalsung is being piloted so that the programmes achieve their intended objectives.

Furthermore, since we will be dealing with a large number of youths every year, especially during the Gyalsung training phase, in addition to best-in-class facilities that are under construction, we are also paying equal importance to aspects such as safety, for instance, clearly spelt out “temperature-related rest-to-training ratios” for training in the open, so that children don’t get heat stroke and proper hydration protocols among others.

Similarly, we are paying attention to mental health issues and gender issues. We want the youths and the parents to know that in line with His Majesty The King’s Command, everything is being done to ensure that our children get the best care and attention during the Gyalsung journey.