Pay re­vi­sion could mo­ti­vate more to con­test LG posts

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Dechen Dolkar from Thim­phu

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

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