The Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (PDP) manifesto touches all sectors. The party claimed that most of them are aligned with the 12th Plan.
The party PDP claimed that while it stabilised the economic situation, the five jewels of the economy were under the spotlight to further strengthen the country’s economy.
PDP pledged an economic growth of 10 percent in five years. Five years ago, the same pledge was made and the party claimed that the targets were affected by the delay in hydropower projects.
The party also pledged to review the Economic Development Policy, which was revised last year to make it more relevant to our emerging economic needs and challenges. “We shall establish 100 more medium and large industries in the next five years,” the manifesto stated, in addition to creating around 35,000 more jobs in CSI, hydropower, mining, medium and large industries, and trading sectors.
The party has also pledged to work towards increasing the export volume by 20 percent by identifying 22 products with export potential.
PDP plans to develop Bhutan into a knowledge centre for hydropower development and related services.
In terms of mining, the party pledged to increase annual export of mining products by Nu 1.5B.
The party has pledged to achieve 70 percent food self-sufficiency. The party also plans to construct 700 kms of new irrigation channels and initiate organic agriculture and organic livestock farming through several strategies including Organic Guarantee and Certification System (OGCS).
Opening up of all dzongkhags to tourism is one of the agenda.
The party promises construction of additional domestic airports in eastern Bhutan, expansion of Gelephu domestic airport infrastructure. “We shall buy additional helicopters to enhance domestic helicopter service and tourism.”
It has plans to improve the access to finance for CSMI through Priority Sector Lending (PSL), REDCL, microfinances and BDBL financial products.
Development and operationalisation of the four Industrial Parks of Bondeyma (Mongar), Dhamdum (Samtse), Jigmeling (Sarpang) and Motanga (Samdrup Jongkhar), construction of a dry port in Pasakha, Phuentsholing, and access road to the port are on the cards.
These activities are spill over from the 10th Plan. The party plans to operationalise the Nganglam Dry Port.
“We shall develop mini-industrial estate in every dzongkhag and explore the possibilities of creating infrastructural linkages to or with railways network in India to boost export,” read the manifesto.
While the party manifesto states that a homeownership policy to provide affordable housing and homeownership for all would be institutionlised, the party also has plans to develop 16 Thromdes and Yenlag Thromdes with basic public amenities.
Waste and disaster risk management in the thromdes are also highlighted in the manifesto.
Thimphu Thromde, according to the manifesto, would get an Expo Complex to host major expos and trade fairs. Affordable housing through public-private partnership model and other viable models would be explored.
While two multi-storey parking is coming up in Thimphu, the party manifesto stated that additional parking spaces for motor vehicles in the Thromdes would be created.
The Southern East-West Highway and Shingkhar-Gorgan road are back in the party’s manifesto. This is in addition to Lhuentse-Trashiyangtse, Lhamoizingkha-Sarpang, Dewathang-Nganglam, Samrang-Jomotshangkha Highways, some of which are also part of the southern east-west highway.
“We shall explore the tunneling of Thimphu-Paro and Thimphu-Wangdue roads.”
The party also pledges to introduce public bus services to all gewogs to increase connectivity.
The party has pledged to start MBBS programme at Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB).
The party would also consider establishment of private medical institutes and colleges that would offer diploma and technical courses to produce more health workforce in the country. It promises to review medical allowances for health professionals, introducing medical allowance for ambulance drivers, are some of the pledges.
The party promises to establish three schools specialised in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), two for promotion of performing arts, three for sports, and a special school for agriculture.
One laptop for every teacher, a minimum of 80-hour professional development training to all teachers, including teachers of private schools, one teacher one-subject policy would be introduced.
The party will have a dedicated office to support youth secure employment.
“We shall provide unemployment and sustenance allowance for youth who have been actively seeking employment for over one year and support them through appropriate measures to get employed,” reads the party manifesto.
A comprehensive review of the Overseas Employment Programme would be conducted to ensure safe, reliable employment for the Bhutanese youth abroad.
The party has also plans to introduce re-intergration programme to facilitate jobs creation for Bhutanese returning home after working abroad.
Social picture of the country
The party has plans to initiate social security and pension schemes for senior citizens who are 65 years and above and those without care providers will be provided with sustenance allowance.
A special discounts schemes in public transport and air travel for senior citizens would be introduced in addition to instituting a priority service counters for senior citizens in hospitals and other public services.
The party pledged to introduce special social security schemes for people living with disabilities such as disability allowances, equal pay and employment opportunities, and non-discriminatory rules for employment.
A Mother and Child Hospital, which is under construction, has made it to the PDP pledge.
Crèche services in all government ministries, departments and autonomous agencies are already there. “We shall promote and facilitate babysitting and caregiving services through trainings and incentives to relieve working mothers of their domestic responsibilities.”
Having successfully extended the maternity leave, the party has plans to increase paternity leave to one month to ensure fathers have more time to support the family during childbirth.