09 July, 2014

All-weather friends...

There are a number of modules that I had learned in my four-year degree course, BBA. From microeconomics to macroeconomics, fundamental Business Mathematics to Statistics, Computer Information Systems(CIS) to Business Information Technology(BIT), and gamut of others. All of these sit faint and dim in memory. I can hardly recollect those intricate definitions, derivatives and theories once hard wired in my mind, not to say those learning meant nothing. However, over time the memory has failed to survive those essentials of learning.

Very vividly, crystal clearly I can narrate of the friends that I got bonded to, from very start of my college days. All of them come from same School;RHSS, Trashigang.  I come from ZHSS, Zhemgang, remember I had a nightmare of being only male student to have qualified for undergraduate programme in GCBS from Zhemgang, the day one is lucidly etched in my heart; all the new comers flocked in droves, signifying that they come from different schools but I am an odd man out, all alone by myself. But the subsequent days of mine got a new lease. This is attributed solely to my friends; Tara, Subji, Khotsa, Baekin and Tshampa. They’d painted my college days with ample colours. I had never felt that I am the only one from ZHSS. In fact, they had proved themselves the better replacement of ZHSS friends. If we had to go elsewhere, we went together, if we had enjoyed, we shared the joy amongst ourselves, if we had contested, we’re in same group.

Snap of visit to Doya, Samtse
All were not good of us, we had tussle amongst ourselves but it had been a rare scene. More importantly, our friendship had been tied around the pillars of UNDERSTANDING and FORGIVENESS. We had made every possible ways to forgive for any misunderstandings that had come in our ways. We had traded off blows as we treaded on but FORGIVENESS was an irreplaceable solution that every one of us implicitly agreed to. Formidable stand that all of us held was that we UNDERFSTAND ourselves as fallible human friends. For the sake of perpetuating our friendship, receiving a blow in any form from another friend was nothing more than a take-away good memory of college life. We’re good friends bonded with a silken knot of UNDERSTADING & FORGIVENESS. Buying these knots can be a solution to FOREVER FRIENDS.

Snap of visit to Doya, Samtse(at the extreme right is Mr. German, equally friend of mine

Today, we’re on different chairs, shouldering different responsibilities but Friendship that we share still transcends. It has past the tested time of distance between us. Silence means nothing to us; it implies one is busy. Understand & forgive, we are forever FRIENDS.

Posted on Wednesday, July 09, 2014 | Categories:

03 July, 2014

Reading between the lines of laws

Not so long ago, since Bhutan embraced a Democratic form of government, there has been one thing, notable and worth brainstorming-different interpretations of the laws by the parties in the fray, immediately ensuing controversial decisions in the Assembly. Reading between lines to defend one's own stand, the opinions of the people were swayed between two. This gives one an impression that laws could be bent, stretched and twisted, of its flexibility of language for favoring one's decision, though it might have been flawed, unless  true interpretations were sought from the Supreme Court, apex interpreting body.

During the first democratically elected government, the opposition had a tussle over the ruling government on the case of misinterpretation of the constitution, which had reached to the Supreme Court for final interpretations. But a question looms, what if the decisions were taken not in the spirit of the law and goes on without seeking advice of the Supreme Court? It would be the subjects who has to brave the tremor of such decisions, obviously not the politicians. 

But the story hadn't stopped. Today, it's yet another narrative that would be scripted in the book of Bhutanese Democracy; Money Bill or Ordinary Bill? There appears a thick fog of misunderstanding, whether to declare Parliamentarians Entitlement Bill, a money bill or the latter despite the government claiming it's a money bill and decision already taken. Should it be a money bill, it has to be deliberated in a joint sitting, which was not the case. 

Source: Google

The political drama and conundrum surrounds around myriad interpretations one could make from a sentence. However, very interestingly, everyone in the Parliament shows a bubbling confidence while deliberating in the hall, never to have sought clarifications from the supreme court, formally or informally. The drama ensues, post deliberations and decisions. The case is not a surprise to Bhutanese. We have heard the first elected government being dragged to the court for the same reason. It validates a critique that the Bhutanese buy, 'we hardly learn lesson'. 

It has added to  the smoke and cloud further when NC decided to defer their pay revision until such measures stated in Pay Commission Report are implemented. It has raised a question, whether deferring pay revision approved by the National Assembly would mean bad precedence and hurts the spirit of the Constitution. The Opposition had also showed their interest in following the suit, provided this decision doesn't create a bad precedence  and contravenes any law, in the understanding of the government. They have called on government for the clarification. 

Such political dramas, confusions, clamors,etc. would continue if our politicians are not fed enough with insights into interpreting laws. They should be able to interpret the laws, as conceived. Also, there must be way through for the Speaker to seek an unbiased clarifications from the Supreme Court should there be any, during the process of deliberations, before the decisions are dubbed ILLEGAL. It is disheartening to see half-baked, haste decisions coming through. 

Irrespective of being in opposition or ruling government or National Council, all are called by a common name, Member of Parliament. This is striking, it gives a sense of oneness to act in the good spirit of nation rather than putting dividing lines among themselves as Government MPs, Opposition MPs and NC MPs.

There should be ways for us to close the chapter on Political Dramas. We cannot enjoy in the words of GNH surrounded with Political Dramas, it mirrors not really worth going-ahead of Politics.

Looking forward to see an end to rigging political dramas!

Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2014 | Categories:

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:
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