DNT Pres­i­dent healthy in south Thim­phu

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Thuk­ten Zangpo

Druk Nyam­rup Tshogpa’s pres­i­dent fo­cused on health ser­vices and youth prob­lems, how­ever, Druk Phuen­sum Tshogpa’s can­di­date, Kin­ley Tsh­er­ing pri­or­i­tized on eco­nomic self-re­liance in the elec­tion pub­lic de­bate on Oc­to­ber 9.

In the pri­mary elec­tion, Lotey Tsh­er­ing se­cured to­tal votes of 2816 com­pared to 1146 by Kin­ley Tsh­er­ing. There were 2311 votes through elec­tronic vot­ing ma­chine (EVM) and 505 from postal bal­lot for DNT. Kin­ley Tsh­er­ing se­cured 939 votes from EVM and 207 from postal bal­lot.

Giv­ing the peo­ple a choice for the vote, Lotey Tsh­er­ing said that it would de­pend on the pledges of the po­lit­i­cal par­ties. He high­lights some of the party’s im­por­tant pledges of main­tain­ing healthy body and re­solv­ing youth prob­lems through ed­u­ca­tion. ”If some peo­ple are doubt­ful, give us op­por­tu­nity to ful­fill these pledges,” he added.

Giv­ing in­sights on the pledges, Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing said that the party’s first pri­or­ity is pro­vid­ing health fa­cil­i­ties like med­i­cal equip­ments and spe­cial­ists in the ru­ral ar­eas. He also men­tioned on do­ing away of the class 10 cut-off point.

DPT’s can­di­date, Kin­ley Tsh­er­ing ques­tions Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing on the change in the liv­ing stan­dard of the peo­ple and com­mits that DPT has plans to bring the present poverty rate of 8% to 4%.

Re­spond­ing to this, Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing said that the party would closely fol­low the 12th five-year plan along with the new ideas. He said that there are plans to ini­ti­ate one big and two small hy­dropower projects ac­cord­ing to the five-year plan. He also said that the class 10 stu­dents are not able to join the job mar­ket be­cause of the le­gal pro­vi­sions of un­der age, thus, pro­vid­ing free ed­u­ca­tion until class 12. He said there are 5300 youths who are un­able

to get through to class 11 yearly.

DPT’s Kin­ley Tsh­er­ing shared his con­cerns on the mis­use of so­cial me­dia as a tool for crit­i­ciz­ing the par­ties. He said that the party’s man­i­festo is based on vi­sion of the Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness (GNH) pri­or­i­tiz­ing at na­tional, gewog and mu­nic­i­pal level. “To meet the goal of GNH, we should have the self re­liant economy by 2025,” he added. He feels that it is im­por­tant since Bhutan is grad­u­at­ing for least de­vel­oped coun­tries by 2023, it would be dif­fi­cult to get grants from for­eign coun­tries.

For self-re­liant economy, he said that the black­top­ping of the roads cat­a­lyst the so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment where cash crops could be sold eas­ily.

As the de­bate con­tin­ues, Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing said that the pledges of the two par­ties are sim­i­lar which is both im­prov­ing the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion of the coun­try. He said that party could not make black topping as pri­or­ity since the ex­pen­di­ture is huge.

DPT’s can­di­date jus­ti­fied that the ex­pen­di­ture for black­top would be met by Tala and Mangdichhu hy­dropower projects.

Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing said that the gov­ern­ment would in­cur 11bn for black­top­ping whereas 0.6bn to ful­fill the pledge of free ed­u­ca­tion until class 12, 3bn for the health ser­vices and 1.8bn for the in­cen­tives to the moth­ers.

Kin­ley Tsh­er­ing ar­gued that in­cen­tives to moth­ers ben­e­fit only to about 17000 how­ever, road helps for peo­ple of the gewogs. He also high­lighted on the free in­ter­net of DNT be­ing ex­pen­sive.

DNT also plans pro­vide youth em­ploy­ment through start­ing a em­ploy­ment agency in over­seas and de­vel­op­ing skills of youths by set­ting up col­leges.

The DPT’s can­di­date was ques­tioned on the whether the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic am­bi­tions can be matched by our fi­nan­cial re­sources and hu­man cap­i­tal.

Kin­ley Tsh­er­ing said that it is im­por­tant for the po­lit­i­cal par­ties to make pledge ac­cord­ing to the in­come of the coun­try. He said that 12th five-year plan has a lim­ited bud­get out­lay of Nu. 313bn and if pledges are not able achieve, and then will look for other al­ter­na­tives. He also said that hy­dropower would gen­er­ate in­come in fu­ture where 70% of the bud­get is loaned and 30% as grant by In­dia that is re­payable in 12 years. Kin­ley Tsh­er­ing said that the party plans to open co­op­er­a­tive agri­cul­ture bank­ing that would pro­vide loan with 4% in­ter­est rate to the as­pir­ing young en­trepreneurs.

Con­clud­ing the de­bate, Lotey Tsh­er­ing calls for par­a­digm shift in the de­vel­op­ment ap­proach to nar­row the gap be­tween haves and have-nots. While Kin­ley Tsh­er­ing urge the peo­ple to re­frain from crit­i­cism in so­cial me­dia.

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