His Majesty’s Ad­dress to the Na­tion on the 107th Na­tional Day

Bhutan Times - - Home -

After the 9th year since I was en­throned, it is my pro­found plea­sure to cel­e­brate the Na­tional Day here in Kan­glung, in a Dzongkhag that is tra­di­tion­ally known as the Shar­chog Khorlo Tsip­gyed (the eight spokes of the east­ern wheel).

It is a mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion for the peo­ple to be blessed with the gra­cious pres­ence of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo. Peo­ple of all ages from re­mote cor­ners of the east have come to at­tend the cel­e­bra­tions.

As we cel­e­brate the 107th Na­tional Day, I wish all the peo­ple across the coun­try a heart­felt Tashi Delek.

The Na­tional Day pro­vides us with mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties: to re­call the great sac­ri­fices made by our fore­fa­thers for the sake of the na­tion, to fully un­der­stand our na­tional chal­lenges, and to mo­ti­vate our­selves to do the best for the fu­ture of our na­tion. It is a spe­cial day in the year to once again recom­mit our­selves to worth­while ef­forts to serve our coun­try bet­ter.

Ours is a spe­cial na­tion, blessed and pro­tected by Guru Rin­pochhe and where Zhab­drung Rin­poche, the cor­ner­stone of our as­pi­ra­tions and faith, es­tab­lished a dual in­sti­tu­tional sys­tem of monas­tic and civil­ian au­thor­i­ties. As his­tory evolved, suc­ces­sive De­sis served to strengthen the sovereignty and se­cu­rity of the coun­try. Po­lit­i­cal changes cul­mi­nated in the col­lec­tive choice of the peo­ple to es­tab­lish monar­chy, and on this day, His Majesty The Druk Gyalpo Ugyen Wangchuck was en­throned as the First King of Bhutan. The suc­ces­sive Kings of Bhutan ren­dered in­valu­able ser­vice to the coun­try and the peo­ple to­wards hap­pi­ness and pros­per­ity. It is be­cause of the lead­er­ship of the suc­ces­sive Kings of Bhutan and the con­tri­bu­tions of the peo­ple that we have brought our coun­try to this mar­vel­lous and ex­em­plary stage of achieve­ment of hap­pi­ness and pros­per­ity.

We must con­tinue to ex­ert for­mi­da­ble ef­fort in or­der to achieve all our Na­tional Goals. With chang­ing times, we will con­front new chal­lenges, but if we pledge to work to­gether in an in­tel­li­gent, re­source­ful man­ner, like our an­ces­tors have be­fore us, we will over­come ev­ery dif­fi­culty.

We owe our ex­cep­tion­ally ad­van­ta­geous cir­cum­stances to­day to the noble and tire­less ef­forts of His Majesty our beloved Fourth Druk Gyalpo. The triple gem and our pro­tec­tive deities favoured us ex­traor­di­nar­ily by giv­ing us His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo dur­ing a crit­i­cal mo­ment in our his­tory. Our coun­try has seen in­cred­i­ble progress since His Majesty’s Corona­tion in 1972, when the third five-year plan bud­get was a mere Nu 350 mil­lion. At present, Bhutan spends more than Nu 7 bil­lion a year on food im­ports, let alone the plan bud­get size.

Our peo­ple are now more pros­per­ous, pro­fi­cient, and as­tute re­gard­ing mat­ters of the world; and Bhutan is stronger and more ad­vanced than ever be­fore. From a life of hard­ships and limited op­por­tu­nity, His Majesty has brought us to the ra­di­ant to­day that we have.

His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo brought the na­tion out of dark­ness to light. For the re­mark­able trans­for­ma­tion His Majesty brought to the na­tion, the peo­ple con­sider His Majesty to be the em­bod­i­ment of Rig­sum Gonpo. When the na­tion’s se­cu­rity was threat­ened, his form was like Va­jra­pani (Chana Dorji) de­fend­ing bravely the coun­try with­out fear for his life. His Majesty took the cause of well­be­ing and hap­pi­ness of his beloved peo­ple like a man­i­fes­ta­tion of the Bod­hisattva of Com­pas­sion, Aval­okite-sharva (Chen­rizig). The clar­ity of His Majesty’s vi­sion­ary poli­cies that still shine and guide us in our path of good de­vel­op­ment was sim­i­lar to that em­a­nat­ing from Man­jushri (Jam­bayang). For th­ese rea­sons, it is an op­por­tune day for all Bhutanese to col­lec­tively ex­press the debt of in­fi­nite grat­i­tude to His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo and to join to­gether in heart­felt prayer for His Majesty’s long life and good health.

In the past, the Na­tional Day ad­dress has in­cluded sev­eral ar­eas of na­tional con­cern. Last year I ex­pressed con­cern about cer­tain eco­nomic sit­u­a­tions. We were bur­dened with debt, and ru­pee short­age led to acute liq­uid­ity crunch, putting pres­sure on banks and ham­per­ing busi­nesses, and caus­ing in­fla­tion. Th­ese prob­lems con­tinue to per­sist.

I com­mend the gov­ern­ment for the am­bi­tious scale of the 11th plan, and the man­ner in which they have han­dled the 4 hy­dropower projects, which are un­der con­struc­tion. And I look for­ward to the Kho­longchu Hy­dropower Project, with the an­tic­i­pa­tion that it will be hugely ben­e­fi­cial to the six east­ern dzongkhags.

Our na­tional am­bi­tions, and the cor­re­spond­ing work­load are in­creas­ing pro­gres­sively.

The bud­get for the 9th five-year plan was Nu. 70 bil­lion, and one hy­dropower project was ini­ti­ated dur­ing that time. Dur­ing the 10th five-year plan, the bud­get in­creased by over 100% to Nu. 146 bil­lion, and 4 hy­dropower projects were ini­ti­ated. With the 11th five-year plan, we have a bud­get of more than Nu. 213 bil­lion, and be­sides the Kho­longchu project, fea­si­bil­ity for 4 more hy­dropower projects are be­ing con­sid­ered. This means in the near fu­ture, we will be tasked with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of 9 hy­dropower projects, which is a heavy re­spon­si­bil­ity for the gov­ern­ment.

It is good to be am­bi­tious. From one stand­point, more is bet­ter and hav­ing some­thing is bet­ter than not hav­ing any­thing at all. But we must also re­al­ize that in­creased work­load com­pounds as­so­ci­ated risks and pos­si­ble fail­ures. We must ask our­selves, ‘are we will­ing and able to take on this re­spon­si­bil­ity? Can our fi­nan­cial re­sources be matched by our hu­man cap­i­tal?’

The main as­pi­ra­tion of the peo­ple is that the 11th plan will suc­ceed, and pros­per­ity will grow all around the coun­try. The re­al­iza­tion of this goal de­pends more than ever on the gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to good gov­er­nance, which should in­clude check and bal­ance, open­ness and trans­parency. The peo­ple must take in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­bil­ity and make a col­lec­tive ef­fort, in­stead of de­pend­ing solely on the gov­ern­ment.

The high­est prob­a­ble risk to de­vel­op­ment that I fore­see is cor­rup­tion. Our na­tional de­vel­op­ment ef­forts will be hin­dered by unchecked cor­rup­tion. The for­mu­la­tion of plans and pro­grams may be done well, aimed at the well­be­ing of the peo­ple. Im­pres­sive amount of bud­get may be dis­bursed in line with th­ese plans. But as the ac­tiv­i­ties be­come too nu­mer­ous, over­sight and mon­i­tor­ing may fall short, al­low­ing some peo­ple to be cor­rupt. Although a large amount of re­sources are spent, projects may not be ac­com­plished as de­signed and qual­ity of the projects may suf­fer se­ri­ously. At the end, such ac­tiv­i­ties may be­come a mat­ter of re­gret and dis­il­lu­sion­ment for the peo­ple and im­mense loss for the gov­ern­ment and the coun­try.

Cor­rup­tion is un­am­bigu­ous- there is no great or small cor­rup­tion. And no one can be above the law.

But there is an even greater threat– ig­nor­ing cor­rup­tion. When the cor­rupt are not held to ac­count, those who ob­serve due dili­gence, work hard and pro­fes­sion­ally are most likely to be dis­cour­aged. We mustn’t al­low the lat­ter to lose morale by re­ward­ing ev­ery­one in­dis­crim­i­nately, ir­re­spec­tive of his or her per­for­mance. That is why, cor­rup­tion must be cur­tailed and, more than ever be­fore, ex­tra­or­di­nary ser­vice must be rec­og­nized and re­warded.

As our na­tion marches for­ward, we will be re­quired to ex­ert tremen­dous ef­fort. But I have ab­so­lute con­fi­dence in our abil­ity to achieve great things. Peo­ple who trav­elled to Bhutan more than a hun­dred years ago have doc­u­mented their ad­mi­ra­tion for the in­ge­nu­ity and so­phis­ti­ca­tion of the Bhutanese in gov­er­nance, agri­cul­ture, ar­chi­tec­ture, en­gi­neer­ing, ir­ri­ga­tion, and var­i­ous other sciences. To­day we have more knowl­edge and re­sources in our grasp, and the pos­si­bil­i­ties are im­mense.

We are at the cross­roads where the decision to act will make all the dif­fer­ence be­tween suc­cess and fail­ure.

I hold our na­tional goals, con­cerns and our des­tiny as a na­tion close to my heart, hav­ing re­ceived this sa­cred re­spon­si­bil­ity at an early age from my Fa­ther, His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo. From the day I be­came King, I have solemnly vowed to serve the peo­ple and coun­try ar­du­ously and put the as­pi­ra­tions of my peo­ple above all else. In this en­deavor, you, my peo­ple, have placed your support, trust and af­fec­tion upon me.

Our dreams, as­pi­ra­tions and prayers are one- to en­sure that our se­cu­rity and sovereignty, peace and har­mony re­main in­tact-that our so­ci­ety grows in­creas­ingly en­light­ened and pros­per­ous, that we es­tab­lish a strong democ­racy, which will ful­fill all the as­pi­ra­tions of our peo­ple, and build a bright fu­ture for suc­ces­sive gen­er­a­tions. We shall cre­ate unity and har­mony amongst the peo­ple so that they con­tinue to take pride in be­ing Bhutanese and have a deep sense of be­long­ing to the glo­ri­ous na­tion of Palden Drukpa.

In con­clu­sion, my wish and prayer for our na­tion, blessed by Guru Rin­poche and Zhab­drung Ngawang Nam­gyal and strength­ened by the vi­sion­ary lead­er­ship of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck- is to work hard to re­al­ize our col­lec­tive as­pi­ra­tions to build a just, eq­ui­table and civil so­ci­ety.

Awards and Recog­ni­tion

I am pleased to an­nounce that from next year on­wards, three new medals will be in­tro­duced to rec­og­nize var­i­ous in­di­vid­u­als for their ser­vice to the na­tion.

The first will be for ex­tra­or­di­nary ser­vice to coun­try, for those bu­reau­crats, civil ser­vants, teach­ers, business own­ers, and pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als, who have ren­dered ser­vices beyond their duty at the cost of great per­sonal sacrifice. The peo­ple are best equipped to iden­tify such in­di­vid­u­als in their com­mu­nity, and it will be your re­spon­si­bil­ity to bring them for­ward.

Se­condly, in­di­vid­u­als who dis­play out­stand­ing in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity for the bet­ter­ment of the coun­try in var­i­ous fields will be rec­og­nized.

Fi­nally, in view of the great bear­ing that ef­fi­cient man­age­ment of our limited re­sources will have on our na­tional progress, those in­di­vid­u­als who con­trib­ute to ef­fi­ciency and cost sav­ing, will be rec­og­nized.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bhutan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.