PDP’s am­bi­tious and dar­ing pledges

PDP says its man­i­festo is an ex­pres­sion of the col­lec­tive dreams of the peo­ple for a bet­ter, stronger and more pros­per­ous Bhutan

Business Bhutan - - Nation - From Thim­phu

Che­cho Dema

In 2013, Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Party’s (PDP) man­i­festo cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of the peo­ple. While some ridiculed it as bizarre, oth­ers called it ex­ces­sively am­bi­tious. For 2018 par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, the PDP has re­leased a 126-page thick man­i­festo, call­ing it ‘even more am­bi­tious and dar­ing than the last one’.

The party’s man­i­festo in­dis­crim­i­nately touches all ma­jor sec­tors and voter groups in the coun­try. The party has also come up with 11 na­tional flag­ship pro­grams to ‘trans­form the Bhutanese econ­omy and to en­sure Bhutan’s grad­u­a­tion from the list of LDC coun­tries’.

Speak­ing to Busi­ness Bhutan, PDP pres­i­dent Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay said the party’s man­i­festo is an ex­pres­sion of the col­lec­tive dreams and as­pi­ra­tions of the peo­ple of Bhutan. “In the past five years, we have served the peo­ple with ut­most ded­i­ca­tion and hu­mil­ity and this man­i­festo is our un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to con­tinue mak­ing our coun­try stronger and more united and pros­per­ous.”

High­lights of PDP Man­i­festo

Econ­omy

PDP has iden­ti­fied five eco­nomic jew­els to trig­ger Bhutan’s eco­nomic growth: hy­dropower and en­ergy, min­ing, agri­cul­ture, tourism and cot­tage, small and medium in­dus­tries. PDP prom­ises to de­liver 10% av­er­age growth in the next five years.

Hy­dropower

PDP has pledged to achieve 5,000MW by end of 2022 and com­plete De­tailed Pro­ject Re­ports for all hy­dropower projects that are tech­noe­co­nom­i­cally fea­si­ble. The party has also promised to elec­trify all house­holds by 2023.

Min­ing

PDP prom­ises to en­sure lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties are pri­mary ben­e­fi­cia­ries of min­ing sec­tor and en­cour­age com­mu­nity own­er­ship of mines.

Agri­cul­ture

PDP prom­ises to achieve a min­i­mum 70% food self-suf­fi­ciency across all ma­jor food items. The party will pro­vide one ad­di­tional power tiller to ev­ery chi­wog and sub­si­dize cost of power tillers to en­cour­age pri­vate own­er­ship of power tillers. To boost agri­cul­ture trade and busi­ness, PDP has pledged to in­tro­duce buy back schemes of agri­cul­ture pro­duce. PDP will also con­struct 700kms of new ir­ri­ga­tion chan­nels to ir­ri­gate about 50,000 acres of land.

Tourism

PDP prom­ises to pass the Tourism Act and des­ig­nate in­dus­try sta­tus to the tourism sec­tor. The party will iden­tify one tourism prod­uct for ev­ery dzongkhag and open all dzongkhags to tourism. PDP will also open all south­ern gate­ways to fa­cil­i­tate ar­rival and de­par­ture of tourists. PDP also prom­ises to ex­pand the Gele­phu do­mes­tic air­port and ex­plore ad­di­tional air­ports in the east. Fur­ther, the party will pro­cure ad­di­tional he­li­copters for do­mes­tic he­li­copter ser­vices.

Cot­tage, small and medium in­dus­tries

The PDP prom­ises to en­hance ac­cess to fi­nance for CSME through Pri­or­ity Sec­tor Lend­ing, Ru­ral En­ter­prise De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion Lim­ited and Bhutan De­vel­op­ment Bank fi­nan­cial prod­ucts.

Pri­vate Sec­tor De­vel­op­ment

PDP has pledged to op­er­a­tional­ize the in­dus­trial parks in Bondeyma in Mon­gar, Dham­dum in Samtse, Jig­mel­ing in Sarpang and Motanga in Sam­drup Jongkhar. The party also prom­ises to es­tab­lish a mini-in­dus­trial es­tate in ev­ery dzongkhag. PDP also prom­ises to in­tro­duce pen­sion and prov­i­dent fund scheme for pri­vate sec­tor em­ploy­ees and en­hance ac­cess to loans.

Health

PDP prom­ises to make JDWNRH into a su­per spe­cial­ist hospi­tal of­fer­ing ter­tiary ser­vices such as or­gan trans­plant, can­cer treat­ment, ENT and oph­thal­mol­ogy ser­vices. PDP will es­tab­lish ad­di­tional hospi­tal in Thim­phu and two ad­di­tional re­fer­ral hos­pi­tals in the coun­try.

For the district hospi­tal, PDP will pro­vide one Gy­ne­col­o­gist and med­i­cal spe­cial­ist in ad­di­tion to three doc­tors. PDP will also pro­vide one doc­tor in ev­ery BHU and equip BHUs to pro­vide di­ag­nos­tic ser­vices such as mi­nor OT, X-ray, ul­tra­sound and blood test­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

PDP will also in­tro­duce MBBS pro­gram at Kh­e­sar Gyalpo Univer­sity of Med­i­cal Sciences of Bhutan.

Ed­u­ca­tion

PDP will es­tab­lish a cen­tral school in ev­ery ge­wog and an Early Child­care and De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter in ev­ery chi­wog. PDP has also promised to de­clare Satur­days off for schools. The party will pro­vide one lap­top for ev­ery teacher and re­duce teacher work­load by re­view­ing In­di­vid­ual Work Plan, 18 hours of con­tact teach­ing and pro­vid­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive staff to schools.

Civil ser­vice

For civil ser­vants, PDP prom­ises to in­crease the vehicle quota from Nu 800,000 to Nu 1.5 mn and pro­vide one-time vehicle quota of Nu 1.5mn to civil ser­vants who are not eli­gi­ble for quota. This group of civil ser­vants would in­clude driv­ers, ad­min­is­tra­tive staff, and of­fice as­sis­tants among oth­ers. PDP will also in­tro­duce pen­sion and PF schemes for ESP and GSP cat­e­gory civil ser­vants.

Youth, women and Chil­dren

PDP has pledged to pro­vide un­em­ploy­ment and sus­te­nance al­lowance for youth who have been ac­tively seek­ing em­ploy­ment over a year. The party will also of­fer guar­an­teed jobs to youth liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties and pro­vide al­lowances for youth with spe­cial needs.

For women, the PDP will pro­vide spe­cial sup­port schemes for sin­gle mothers, in­crease pa­ter­nity leave to one month and in­tro­duce baby-sit­ting ser­vices. PDP prom­ises to es­tab­lish crèche ser­vices in all gov­ern­ment of­fices in­clud­ing cor­po­ra­tions.

Un­em­ploy­ment

PDP has promised to es­tab­lish a ded­i­cated of­fice to en­sure ev­ery youth gets em­ployed. It will also stream­line Over­seas Em­ploy­ment Pro­gram and in­tro­duce rein­te­gra­tion pro­gram to pro­vide jobs to Bhutanese re­turn­ing home af­ter work­ing over­seas.

Ge­wog De­vel­op­ment

PDP prom­ises to in­crease the Ge­wog De­vel­op­ment Grant (GDG) to Nu. 5 mil­lion from Nu. 2 mil­lion. In ad­di­tion, it will sup­port a 20 mil­lion pro­ject in each ge­wog.

It will ini­ti­ate One Ge­wog One Prod­uct (OGOP) pro­gram in all 205 gewogs.

PDP prom­ises to en­sure that ev­ery ge­wog has a min­i­mum in­fra­struc­ture such as heli­pad, com­mu­nal ware­house, fuel de­pot, farm shop, waste man­age­ment unit, and au­to­mo­bile work­shop and re­pair cen­ters for power tillers and farm ma­chiner­ies. PDP also pledges pro­vide one back­hoe ex­ca­va­tor to ev­ery ge­wog to main­tain farm roads.

Thromde de­vel­op­ment

In the thromdes, PDP pledges to ex­pand ameni­ties such as foot­path, street light­ing, sewer net­works etc. to make the cities liv­able and res­i­dent friendly. It prom­ises to cre­ate more park­ing spa­ces for mo­tor ve­hi­cles in the Thromdes and in­stall Quick Charg­ing Sta­tions.

Dzongkhag de­vel­op­ment

PDP pledges to en­sure each dzongkhag comes up with its own eco­nomic plan to en­hance the dzongkhag’s pro­duc­tiv­ity cut­ting across all sec­tors. It will ini­ti­ate One Dzongkhag One Pro­ject (ODOP). PDP will build a cinema hall, waste man­age­ment unit or fa­cil­ity, proper pub­lic toi­lets and san­i­tary com­plex, and ware­house and cold stor­age fa­cil­i­ties in ev­ery dzongkhag.

PDP will also ex­pand and build new ter­mi­nals for pub­lic trans­port buses and park­ing space for taxis and en­sure that at least one foot­ball ground in ev­ery dzongkhag has an ar­ti­fi­cial turf.

Flag­ship Pro­grams

PDP’s 11 na­tional flag­ship pro­grams in­clude: home­own­er­ship for all, 24x7 wa­ter for all house­holds, and high­land de­vel­op­ment pro­gram; startup Bhutan, OneGe­wog-One-Prod­uct, and Dig­i­tal Drukyul; tourism, or­ganic Bhutan and cen­tral schools; ru­ral en­ter­prise pro­gram and poverty al­le­vi­a­tion.

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