Truly a Thrue­bab gift

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

It was a mat­ter of great re­lief for the taxi driv­ers ap­proach­ing the age of sixty and just won­der­ing what they will do af­ter cross­ing the age limit. Fur­ther there was al­ways a con­fu­sion of civil ser­vants and cor­po­rate em­ploy­ees driv­ing taxis dur­ing off hours to sup­ple­ment their in­come and sup­port their fam­ily.

The Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions last Thurs­day an­nounced that the age limit of the taxi driv­ers will be in­crease from 60 to 65 years based on the rec­om­men­da­tions sub­mit­ted by the Road Safety and Trans­port Au­thor­ity. The views were sub­mit­ted based on the re­quest re­ceived from the taxi op­er­a­tors.

The Min­istry had tak­ing into ac­count the de­pen­dence on the oc­cu­pa­tion by pe­ti­tion­ers as the pri­mary means of in­comes, chang­ing struc­ture of Bhutanese so­ci­ety and fam­ily struc­ture. Fur­ther large nos of taxi driv­ers and their de­pen­dents will also be af­fected and there is an in­crease in the life ex­pectancy of the Bhutanese to 68 years. The road con­di­tions have im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly and there is im­prove­ment in car tech­nol­ogy and safety fea­tures.

It has been noted in the sub­mis­sion made by the RSTA that many taxi driv­ers are not well ed­u­cated and are en­tirely de­pen­dent on driv­ing taxi as a main source of liveli­hood and there has been marked im­prove­ment in road con­di­tion and the qual­ity of ve­hi­cles. Fur­ther prac­ti­cal knowl­edge and skills of the driv­ers have also im­proved through reg­u­lar driver ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams and there has been a marked im­prove­ment in gen­eral health fa­cil­i­ties, thereby lead­ing to im­prove­ment in health of the op­er­a­tors.

The min­istry checked the best prac­tices within the re­gion and found that In­dia al­lows taxi-op­er­at­ing li­cense up to 68 years of age and 65 years in Bangladesh. It’s 73 years in Sin­ga­pore and 70 years in Hong Kong.

There are a to­tal of 303 PDL hold­ers who will be af­fected within next 15 months. Tak­ing an av­er­age de­pen­dency ra­tio at the lower end of 4 per­sons per PDL holder that adds up to 1,212 peo­ple whose pri­mary in­come earn­ers will no longer have sta­ble in­come and reg­u­lar source of in­come

In­crease in age limit for af­fected taxi driv­ers as pro­posed and rec­om­mended en­sures longer in­come sus­tain­abil­ity of those af­fected, all of whom are too old to be em­ployed in other oc­cu­pa­tions, or too old also to be re-trained with other skills for al­ter­nate jobs.

Cor­po­rate Em­ploy­ees are also al­lowed to op­er­ate the taxis dur­ing off-hours pri­mar­ily to sup­ple­ments their in­come and sup­port their fam­ily. How­ever, dif­fer­ent cor­po­rate agen­cies have their spe­cific ser­vice rules to guide the em­ploy­ees on op­er­a­tion of taxis dur­ing off – hours then the em­ploy­ees should be guided by it ac­cord­ingly.

It was truly a Thrue­bab gift for the taxi op­er­a­tors.

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