Being a responsible citizen!

The Prime Minister when announcing the second phase of the Covid-19 relief measures on June 27 had an important message for the kidu recipients.

The recipients were encouraged to actively seek employment opportunities through various government and private led initiatives. 

However, as we already move on into the third week of the second phase of the Covid-19 relief measures, how much we as recipients thought about or are heedingthis message from the Prime Minister remains to be seen.

There is no denying that the DrukGyalpo’s Relief Kidu has come as a blessing through income support to affected individuals, who had lost their livelihoods either partially or completely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The relief kidu which was launched on April 14 for three months (April – June 2020) had already benefited around 23,000 people in the first phase with the granting of Nu 700mn. The affected individuals were also provided additional child support kidu and over 13,000 children were covered. The relief kidu has been further continued from July until September this year.

Coming back to the Prime Minister’s message, it’s heartening that many affected individuals are seeking employment opportunities through various government and private led initiatives.

For example, the Build Bhutan Project (BBP), that aims to employ around 7,000 job seekers in the construction sector in the next two years, have1,067 jobseekers registered with the project.

While the project attempts to meet the shortage of workers in the construction sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the thing is more than 50% of the registered jobseekers are unskilled. There are also applicants without academic qualification or with monastic education background.

It’s obviously going to be a challenge with the kind of people that are turning up or have turned up for employment with the project. However, a positive indication is this is perhaps the first time where we are seeing such a deluge in the numbers of people wanting to take up employment in the construction sector. It’s apt that we capitalize on this opportunity. Maybe it is high time the Bhutanese own their turf in the construction industry with rise in the number of foreign workers opting out.

However, there are also disheartening developments with the kidu. Layoffs or staffs sent on leave and receiving the kidu are not willing to return to work now even if their employers want them back. Their refusal to return to work was reportedly attributed to these individuals managing with the kidu money.

As kidu recipients, we must understand that the rationale of the kidu is for those who have lost their jobs and livelihoods and is meant to help them and their families sustain until they get a new job. It’s a temporary measure and we must not take for granted that we will survive on kidu alone. We have to be responsible enough to grab opportunities that afford us livelihood through employment.

As kidu recipients, we need to assess how genuinely we deserve the kidu. It’s exemplary that there are a few who have chosen not to avail this kidu so that it goes to the most affected individuals or families. And these are the people who are being responsible citizens. In these difficult times, every citizen must act responsibly.