18 June, 2014

NA dodges NC’s recommendations and endorses the revision

National Assembly on show of hands finally endorsed the long drawn out pay revision as they had it last discussed putting to naught, the recommendations made by National Council Members. NC has proposed practical recommendations; 1) to defer the salary revision to Ministers, MPs and constitutional post holders until such time our economy reverts to a better shape, 2) to give 20% revision to civil servants after clubbing up existing 15% allowance with basic salary, 3) suggested a decrease in salary revision for Prime Minister, Ministers and equivalent post holders and MPs bringing down to a fairly practical and implementable one. However, for all of these, in a pretext of respecting the recommendations, the NA chose to re-deliberate on it but a single recommendation couldn’t get through the walls of NA members. They’re all adamant to the earlier decision to pass through despite resistance from the Opposition Members.

The Speaker has anchored himself around the axis of prerogatives the NA holds over any money bills. It was a very clear indication one could easily perceive from the stand that he took in an entire discussion. He reiterated and restated the sections under which the prerogatives of the NA are enshrined. The NA has the prerogative, as to take or turn stone-deaf to the recommendations forwarded by NC. Finally, as they have decided already, it came through.

The Opposition Members has objected the decision as people were totally unhappy of the move, the revision that won’t really serve its purpose. When the inflation is already high in the market, it would aggravate the problem by calling for a meagre hike. Most importantly, people are concerned when salary revision for MPs and Ministers was raised exorbitantly as if their salary raise doesn’t deplete nation’s exchequer.

Whatever be the height of clamor, there isn’t the dimmest hope for change until few years they choose to butter the sentiments of people as they stretch for yet another election. At least at this point in time, the decision that they have taken for their own favor and against the wishes of people stands immovable. KUDOS to all!!!

My personal take on this would be that, to not respect the recommendations put up by the House of Review is something worth pondering, unless one construe all NA decides are infallible in every respect. To have shut down all their recommendations after deliberating at length at the expense of nation’s coffer could have detrimental consequences in future deliberations and ultimately in the decision making process. This may appear trivial but might bring in mammoth adverse consequences in near future.

The concerns of the people have to be reviewed and deserve better treat than one the government had meted out with. All the people can’t be made happy but on average, yes everyone could be made fairly happy. The likely impact by not taking into account the concerns of the people would lead to hatred towards politics and most importantly, the voter apathy may definitely ensue. I am neither a political Pandit nor expert on any field.

My views are my own expressions in my way, written just for writing. 

Posted on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 | Categories:

12 June, 2014

Thimphu, Pre Modi's Visit

India and Bhutan shares a special relations from the time of Jaharalal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. Since then, the two countries has grown rapidly in their relations. It has withstood the tests of time and shall continue down the line, transcending the party politics. This is further evidenced when the newly elect Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a choice to visit Bhutan, as his first foreign tour destination despite inundated invitations from other countries across globe. This simply signifies the commendable ties that the two countries shares, it's surely beyond politics. The friendship is well-nurtured from within, the heart of every citizen of the two nations.

And that’s the reason why the present government has decided to treat Thimphu, a different way. The preparations are all set in full swing. The green fence between highways is removed and tree siblings planted. The holes and bumpy road in and around town areas are filled and repaired. The Thimphu City is clean with no litters. The series of gates installed, welcomes the Prime Minister with due deference and pride. The prayers are hoisted along the highways, unfolding heavenly welcome mat to hon’ble Prime Minister of India, deserved as our closest and the best friend of all weathers.
Bhutanese Students line up to welcome Mr. Modi, PM of India (source: Google)

The prayers flags of two countries and portraits of the two Prime Ministers are hung in every shop to symbolize the friendship. On the day of arrival, students and people along Paro-Thimphu highway would welcome hon’ble PM with two countries’ prayer flags in hands. The bundles of flowers would be offered as show of love and affection.

Hon’ble Prime Minister would call on His Majesty the King, the fourth Druk Gyalpo and the Prime Minister of Bhutan. The talks in these meetings would revolve around strengthening friendship between two countries and ways ahead for mutual development. He would inaugurate the completion of Supreme Court Office of Bhutan.

Second day, the hon’ble Prime Minister would address the joint session of on-going Parliament and leave the country the same day.

My personal take on this eve of preparation is that I pray for a frequent visit of the Prime Minister of India to Bhutan, not only in Thimphu but in other parts of the country. The country would take a different course in its development. The scenery would be really beautiful like the one we see Thimphu at the eve of his visit. It illuminates the colors of happiness. 

Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2014 | Categories:

09 June, 2014

100% plus taxes and 100% plus salary hike

100% plus taxes and 100% plus salary hike! The former is for the civil servants and general people, and latter is for MPs.

National Assembly had decided to lift the ban on vehicle import but on condition that tax on import be raised 100%, 115%, 120%,125% and 180% for vehicles within Cylindrical Capacity brackets;not exceeding 1,500, 1500-1799, 1799-2,500, 2,500-3,000 & above 3,000 respectively. This ban would flatly apply to all, save MPs, they can bypass the tax. The reason being because MPs are already provided with one million Ngultrum(increased from seven hundred thousand Ngultrum) one-time allowance for the purchase of a duty car. It's unambiguously clear; the decision is alike pouring in rain where there is an abundance of water. If the decision has to really come in people's favour, it should work out the reverse. The problem aggravates when fuel tax is raised by 5%. The high market inflation unmatched by salary hike would be price of politics that people has to pay. Market prices has increased three times; first, while making promise for salary hike, second when pay commission was set up and all sorts of rumours afloat, and third when actual salary hike is discussed. At the end of the day, it is likely the talk of salary hike will put us into naught.   
Taxes to be imposed(Source: The Bhutanese)

I agree that our MPs should be given preference but to what extent is a question. It befits to say, law makers are law breakers in Bhutan. Before the law is born, it's transparent that it will be broken for it's known MPs could bypass tax on import of vehicles(in the current case). What a decision from our ELECTED representatives, the trustees of the nation, the leader upon whom voters has placed indelible trust. It’s heart chilling to see our trustees disposing off the very trust manifested in votes. In no terms, can anyone buy such decision from our leaders.  I have read and heard that in Democracy, it's people first but it gives an impression that the case is otherwise in Bhutan. 

I have no ill feelings to any of the parliamentarians for having made the move, after all it is a majority rule that has played a role as a rule of thumb. But it is worth a second thought, to have two different laws: one for MPs and other for the people. To me, it's perplexing. Legislators can't have different laws for themselves nor can they treat themselves ultra-vires. 

On the same lines, they have decided that pay-hike for civil servants at 19-25% which came out with too many deceptive calculations behind, plummeting actual increase to 4-10%. Conversely, Prime Minister, Members of the Parliament could draw crystal clear, a flat 19-131% pay hike on their current salary plus all possible allowances. The decision is unanimously selfish. Everyone made show of hands to the hike but on other hand they have baffled on sick economic conditions while deliberating salary hike for the civil servants. 

I couldn’t come at consensus, why MPs are treated ultra vires on vehicle tax and could enjoy extravagantly high salary hike while their subjects bears the brunt of the two.

Posted on Monday, June 09, 2014 | Categories:

11 October, 2013

Memories of Kolkata

Kolkata, erstwhile Calcutta is one of the Mega metro-cities of India, exactly 40 minutes journey onboard, equivalent to Thimphu-Paro on-road journey. The place is famous for aplenty fish and leather goods. Everywhere, the fish pounds in abundance, the staple menu of the city. The goods made from leathers are seen in every shop. The leather being pure, the prices could be high.

One memorable thing would be our first journey into Kolkata. It was really funny thing that happened on that very day. Our friend, one who was involved in arranging our training and the logistics, after having reached Kolkata Airport decided arranging prepaid taxes where he was required to give the address of the Guest House where we are supposed to go, he provided the details as required. Since we are many, three taxes had to be hired. We got the receipt for the taxi we are in and started our journey, we haven’t enquired the cabbie, and neither did he, about the exact destination. Everyone thought that the cabbie would drop us to the Guest House. We reached Sector-V, Salt Lake, Kolkata, which was written in the receipt. We started reading every details of the receipt and spotted Kestapur, and decided to go ahead to Kestapur but couldn’t find our Guest House. Calling was never a solution as none of us had the Indian Number.

One of our friends could dimly pronounce the name of the Guest House that we had booked as ‘Orinda Guest House’. We started making rounds, browsing every corner of the city, enquiring the people by the roadside about Orinda Guest House. But no one from good number that we interacted could know the hotel or guest house so called ‘Orinda’. This could be true as the city is one of the top listed metropolitan cities of India. On other side, this cannot hold true for we had interacted a good lots of people. At least one of them could have heard of the Guest House and Taxi Drivers ought to know as they are always reaching people to the hotels.

All exhausted and hopeless, after 4 hours blinded search, we decided to find a different hotel to stay for a night. The taxi driver had one hotel address and he took us to the hotel. The hotel rent is exceedingly high, it could deplete fairly adequate coffer. The next decision was proposed, to use the WiFi of the hotel and have address of the Guest House, the address was being shared on mail correspondences that they had before on e-booking. The same was being requested to the hotel owner but he denied that even after convincing him that we pay him the internet charges. Desperate as we were to forward him a lucrative offer, provide us a few minutes access to WiFi internet and we pay him the single hotel room charge. That too didn’t work for him. Fully frustrated, we came out from the hotel, decided we search one internet café to get the address. The cabbie that dropped us there was waiting outside, for commission or a kind of reward from the hotelier, should we finalize to stay in. That is the usual practice, the business tactics of the Indian businesses.

At that very point, I had a realization that if it was in Bhutan, people might have been kind enough helping us out, search for the hotel. This thing is never expected of Indians, at least if those absurd encounter was anything to speak of them. They were rigid and stiff in their decision, the qualities like sympathy, compassion and empathy is not theirs.

Nowadays, finding internet café in India is very difficult as mobile caters to internet, omnipresent whole across India. No slightest of the doubts for Kolkata, being one of the metro cities of India, in this case. However, the time clicked on our favor when we could find one at the suburb of the city. We finally succeeded to spot our Guest House, the address was crystal clear written in the mail correspondence. We told the Cabbie about the address and he knew the same. This was a huge relief.

The Guest House is called Oindrillas, D-225, Salt Lake 2 and not Orinda, Salt Lake V. our friend got to mispronounce it. It was really a funny incident and a memory for all of us. It also lessoned us that we have to be very specific in providing the location address, be it in India or elsewhere abroad. What we do in small Bhutan won’t really serve the need elsewhere. It could probably land up into incident like ours. Be careful next time, if you travel to India or abroad.
Posted on Friday, October 11, 2013 | Categories:

30 August, 2013

The government decides to do away Pedestrian Day

The news that Pedestrian Day will be done away with, came quite obvious and unsurprised, as it was something that the erstwhile Opposition Party, the Ruling Government of the day, had lot of reservations when the Day was instituted a weekly routine, by the then on power, the Opposition of the day, DPT. With much clamor and grumblings from the business community on its inconvenience, it was switched to be once every month, the first Sunday of the month. At least in a month, a seldom scenery it could be hitherto, we had witnessed families and friends in droves making a healthy walk through the aisle of Thimphu City which would be flooded with vehicles tailgating endlessly. Now, with Pedestrian Day off, it is old same town hassles that we would see across the nation but it was all for reasons.

When the news of putting out the Day from monthly face to a yearly one, it was a long drawn-out welcome by the business community who had to bear the brunt because of the Day. The government in the ring have started to tune themselves along the lines of what people has to say, the very day it came on helm. This was what they pledged during their election campaign and it was through unlike the doing away of the Preliminary Exam for graduates, which has to wait until next batch of graduates come into market, a decision to come through looks grim with the trend of increase in graduates every year, for government alone cannot accommodate all graduates pouring out of different colleges from Bhutan and outside, neither was their such precedence elsewhere.

Former PM of Bhutan on Pedestrian Day(Source: Google)

Hitherto, the Pedestrian Day shall be observed once in a year, on World Environment Day, which was celebrated World Environment day Cum Pedestrian Day by the past government. By this, we could also say that Pedestrian Day is not totally out, the difference is in its frequency. Where we had monthly, we shall have a yearly Pedestrian Day. This doesn’t mean that the past government was keen in conservation of environment and the present government otherwise. It is a matter of how one takes thing way forward in the interest of nation and the people. In doing so, there is also a gap not fully aligning to one side or the other.

Adieu 'Pedestrian Day'.

Posted on Friday, August 30, 2013 | Categories:
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