The national minimum wage could increase up to Nu 450 a day as the government had pledged, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said yesterday.

Prime minister said that the fourth pay commission would come up with recommendations.

Based on their recommendations, possibilities would be explored to increase the wage rate but it would not be below Nu 450, he said.

Prime minister said that the wage rate increase was long overdue considering huge inflation over the years.

“Today, Nu 100 isn’t even enough to buy a kilogram of chilli in the market,” he said. Increasing the wage rate would help narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, he added.

There are checks and balances in place such as the pay commission so that the government cannot do as it pleases even though it had pledged to deliver to the people.

“We’ll wait for the pay commission’s report before making any decisions,” he said.

Home Minister Sherub Gyeltshen said a high level committee had been instituted to advise the government on the bringing in of labourers.

Prime minister added that the wage raise would also help address the shortage of helpers at home and other places.


Samtse Thromde question resurfaces

Khar-Yurung’s Member of Parliament, Tshering Choden, said that while the members support the proposal for the Samtse Thormde in the interest of balanced development, other throms like Bajothang in Wangdue, Jakar in Bumthang, Mongar, and Trashiyangtse were also ready to be declared as class A thromdes.

Prime Minister said that there were no classification of thromdes into A, B, and C. “I made a mistake in declaring Samtse as thromde A. It can be only called a dzongkhag thromde,” he said.

The Parliament had deliberated at length repeatedly about the thromdes and the Supreme Court even issued a writ concerning the thromde issue.

The writ emphasizes the need for thorough study before establishing the thromdes by an expert technical committee.

“I have not heard of any such study done, so it is important to do it and begin it with Samtse Thromde,” he said.

One of the reasons to begin with Samtse was His Majesty The King’s visit for the National Day celebrations last year.

He said that this does not imply that other dzongkhags were less significant. “All the dzongkhags are important. However, as evident from the Supreme Court writ, establishing thormdes in all dzongkhags at one go would be problematic,” prime minister said.

The government would institute a technical committee that would consider factors such as population density, geographical features, and other feasibility measures.

Prime minister said that after Samtse, to maintain a balanced regional development the government would deliberate on establishing a thromde in one of the eastern dzongkhags.

Tshering Palden