DPT pledges to put back on track for economic self-reliance by 2025
The political party, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa ( DPT) pledges for the 3rd National Assembly election, 2018 that the country would put back on track for economic selfreliance by 2025.
The manifesto that was officially launched last Friday stated that the DPT’s first term in government brought about a tremendous transformation in the economy. “We will resume the works carried out in the past to bring about significant changes in the lives of our people. In our economic development pursuit, we will base our rationale and vision for the country on the Vision 2020 Document.”
The three cardinal principles for a sustainable human soci-
ety are to have a large wealth, fair distribution of the wealth among its citizens, and full employment of its workingage population while maintaining macroeconomic stability. DPT’s efforts in the next five years and beyond will revolve around these cardinal principles.
Therefore, the manifesto states that, the DPT will achieve national economic self- reliance by 2025; maintain an average economic growth rate of 10 percent in five years, reduce income poverty rate from 8.2 percent to 4 percent within five years; reduce the richpoor gap and improve Gini coefficient to 0.30; ensure full employment and contain unemployment below 2 percent; reduce interest rates to maximum 10 percent and enhance access to finance; reduce trade deficits from 81 percent to 50 percent of total exports after five years and maintain minimum foreign currency reserve to cover 12 months of essential imports.
The DPT will also ensure national revenue meets 100 percent of recurrent expenditure and 30 percent of capital expenditure; maintain fiscal deficit below 2 percent on annual budgets; maintain non- hydropower loans at 20 percent of the total debt; maintain inflation below 5 percent on essential commodities; develop new economic development policy within the first six months; develop new foreign direct investment policy within the first six months and de- monopolize the economy and enhance fair distribution of wealth.
In terms of harnessing hydropower potential for long- term prosperity, the manifesto states that DPT aspire to revamp the national target of increasing the electricity generation capacity from the present 1,606 MW ( 5.5 percent of total potential) to a minimum of 10,000MW by 2030.
“We will execute at least three projects and actively pursue the others with the Government of India ( GoI).”
Electricity for growth and development, the manifesto states that DPT will provide on grid electricity for all; ensure domestic electricity tariff is affordable for all; update the National Transmission Grid Master Plan; ensure the location of mega hydropower projects are nationally even distributed; develop and use reservoir- based hydropower to meet the peak electricity demand in India.
DPT also said that they would promote private sector participation in hydro power projects; promote and incentivize the use of electricity to reduce dependency on fossil- based energy; strengthen capacity of stakeholders in the construction and management of power projects; create an Energy Fund to support social, ecological and other renewable energy development programmes; provide fair compensation to individuals and communities affected by power projects; strengthen watershed protection and management.
Harnessing alternative sources of renewable energy, DPT pledges that they would develop a Renewable Energy Master Plan; strengthen energy security of the nation; introduce sustainable incentive mechanisms and promote private sector participation in diversifying renewable energy sources amongst others.
The manifesto states that they would resume the construction of the southern East- West Highway; continue and complete the widening of the northern East- West Highway; continue the construction and completion of the Lhamzingkha- Dagapela Road; undertake the shortening of national highways by constructing alternate route and bypass and explore construction of ropeways and cable cars as alternative means of transport.
They will also prioritize the construction of the roads that includes Shingkhar – Gorgan; Kengkhar – Shumar; Wama – Khomshar; Sergithang – Dovan; Tashiyangtsi Dongla – Menji; Tashiling – Refel; Getena – Dorona; Samrang – Jomotshangkha; Sombeykha – Tashichoeling; Singye – Lhamoizingkha; Merak – Luari; Samar – Dophuchen; Nahi – Chamgang; Soe – Gunitsawa; Tseza – Kamichu; Kuri- Gongri Junction – Sherichu; Haa – Denchukha and Demji- Phuentsholing
In information and communications, DPT would upgrade and provide 3G/ 4G internet services throughout the country; do away with the 5 percent voucher tariff and restore emergency balance usage, provide free Wi- Fi at bus stands, hospitals and parks; provide free BBS television link throughout the country; open the third international telecommunications link gateway; establish additional IT parks in different regions amongst other.
The manifesto also states that they will equip schools and educational institutes with adequate ICT facilities and internet connectivity and promote eEducation and e- Health through provision of adequate ICT facilities in educational institutions, hospitals and BHUs.
In private sector, reengineering to make it a true engine of growth, the DPT said that they will redouble the efforts to accelerate the growth of the private sector through policy, fiscal, and tax reforms and institutional and infrastructural development.
Trade and industry: Pursuing economic diversification and balancing external trade, DPT said that they will conduct feasibility studies for different types of industries; review and revitalize foreign direct investment regime; to scale up export promotion; intensify the production and marketing of organic brand agricultural products and other natural products; intensify and expand the scale of Business Processing and Outsourcing ( BPO) services.
Building physical infrastructures for equitable growth, DPT pledges that they will fast track the establishment of four industrial estates at Jigmeling, Dhamdhum, Bondema, and Motanga and also establish at least one appropriately-sized industrial estate in each Dzongkhag for the small and medium sized industries.
Tourism: Reviving high value, low impact tourism to promote Bhutan as a high- end, all- season; top 10 tourist destinations in the world; enact a Tourism Act to promote high value, low impact tourism amongst others.
School Education, DPT will strive and fulfill the national primary enrolment rate of 100 percent by 2020; increase the national literacy rate to 80 percent from the current 71.4 percent by 2023 maintain schools in rural communities at least upto class VI amongst others. Increase the stipend for boarding students from Nu. 1, 000 to Nu. 1, 500. Allow onetime disqualified students from class X and XII to repeat as regular students.
Technical and Vocational Education and Training ( TVET), the manifesto stated that investing in TVET is critically important for increasing our own pool of technical professionals and skilled workforce. Economic self- reliance begins with self- reliance in skilled workforce.
TVET creates employment opportunities, improves livelihood, alleviates poverty, enhances economic productivity and ensures sustainable development. However, we faced with a paradox of high unemployment and import of large number of foreign workers numbering over 50,000 at any point in time. “We must make TVET a mainstream career choice for youth and society at large and earnestly work for selfreliance in the skilled workforce.”
For health, the DPT said they will strive to expand and improve the health sector incorporating the best of the modern and traditional health practices and promote research and capacity for prompt and effective service as a matter of priority by reviewing and adopt a national health policy to ensure sustainability of free basic health care services in both modern and traditional medicines for all times to come, enact a Health Act, accord high priority to increasing the pool of doctors and specialists in all areas of medical care, upgrade the Faculty of Nursing to college
and increase the pool of nurses and improve diagnostic services with modern diagnostic facilities in all hospitals.
Improving domestic and international air connectivity, the DPT said they will strive to expand and improve domestic and international air connectivity to serve critical needs including travel, communication, and international relations.
National Housing is a basic human necessity and it is the duty of the state to ensure that every citizen has a decent housing. DPT will encourage and facilitate home ownership through introduction of special home loan schemes amongst others.
Youth and Employment: DPT pledges that they will create a minimum of 120, 000 jobs and ensure employment for all, pursue the policy of regular employment and decent jobs for all and Review the Labour and Employment Act and National Employment Policy.
For civil service, DPT will respect and ensure the independence; integ- rity and apolitical status of the civil service, as a constitutional institution raise the pay and allowances of civil servants two times in five years to keep pace with inflation and rising cost of living, and ensure that the lower group receives a higher raise and revise and ensure uniform mileage entitlement to all civil servants irrespective of their grades and positions.
Review the vehicle quota system for civil service to spread benefits to other positions and increase the maximum value of import exemption from Nu. 800, 000 to Nu. 1,200, 000.
Women and Children, DPT ensure they will ensure implementation various national and international legislations for protection of rights and empowerment of women and
Children; promote greater participation of women in all spheres of life with gender responsive and family- friendly policies to support development and advancement of women by addressing the economic, social and cultural barriers.
Amongst others, DPT pledges to support the Differently- Abled People by initiate the formulation of an Act to ensure that differently abled persons can live decent and productive lives and ensure that all public infrastructures such as access ways, toilets, parking facilities and seating plans are user friendly; Civil Society Organizations ( CSOs) and they will assist the CSOs to garner adequate funds from various sources for their social activities.
DPT: We look to achieve national economic self-reliance by 2025