Pay revision could motivate more to contest LG posts
The proposal on pay revision for Local Government (LG) has come at a time when the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) had to conduct several rounds of LG elections owing to lack of candidates coming forward to contest.
The government proposal could motivate more candidates to contest for LG posts.
Sixty LG posts remained vacant due to lack of candidates during the second phase of LG elections in September last year following which ECB conducted elections for vacant posts and byeelections on April 18 this year.
After three rounds of elections 10 vacant LG posts still remain.
However, the government proposed to revise the monthly pay for LG members by 40% from July this year when Finance Minister Namgay Dorji presented the third pay commission’s pay revision report to the
National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday.
It was proposed that LG members’ salary be revised by 40% on the existing pay, and pay scales with 2% annual increment for LG members except for Thrompons be introduced.
If the assembly approves the pay revision, Gups will receive a monthly basic salary of Nu 28,000, an increase of Nu 8,000. Mangmi and Dzongkhag Thromde Thuemi will receive a monthly salary of Nu 21,000, an increment of Nu 6,000. Similarly, Thromde Thuemi and Tshogpa’s salaries have been revised to Nu 9,800 from Nu 7,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, LG members across the country are happy about the pay hike.
Shaba Gup from Paro, Chencho Gyentshen, said that the salary raise proposal will drive him to work harder.
He said that LG members have heavy responsibilities at the grass roots level.
“The revision is more than enough for the LG members now,” said Shaba Gup.
Similarly, Lunana Gup from Gasa, Kaka, said that he is thankful to the government for raising their monthly entitlements. “With the responsibilities we used to shoulder, the salary we used to get earlier was very less. Now the perks match our work-load,” he said.
Apart from the monthly salary raise, the government has decided to revise daily allowance by 33% for Gups, 50% for Mangmis and 66% for Tshogpas in order to facilitate LG members to travel within and outside the gewog and Thromde to monitor development programs and activities.
In addition, the government has also approved mileage claim for Gups at Nu 16/km and for others at Nu 6/km for travel beyond 10km.
Khatoed Mangmi from Gasa, Sangay Tashi, said that while he was content with the salary revision, the mileage of Nu 6/km would be insufficient for them.
“If we could also get mileage at par with Gups, it would be great,” said Sangay Tashi.
The government has also approved revision in the sitting fees, communication allowance and the special responsibility allowance for Dzongkhag Tshogdu Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons. Post service benefits such as provident fund, gratuity and group insurance scheme have also been approved.
The finance committee will review the pay commission report and deliberate on it in the house.
Meanwhile, an ECB official said: “While it would not be correct to attribute the vacant demkhongs solely to remuneration levels; given the trend of decreasing number of vacant demkhongs, the Commission is optimistic that increase in the LG post holders’ entitlements would encourage voters to come forward to participate in the LG elections.”
He added that a possible reason for the vacant posts could be less population in remote areas and not necessarily payment.
The pay revision for LG leaders would cost the government coffer Nu 135.406mn annually. In addition, the net implication on account of gratuity due to pay revision is Nu 40.199mn per term.
Currently, there are 1,499 LG members in the country.
Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen graced the launch of the Bhutan Red Cross Society coinciding with the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Day on May 8, 2017