The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa has completed two years of its term as the ruling government. Maybe, now is the time that people took stock and see how many of its pledges and promises it has fulfilled. The government had been promising freebies one too many when during the election campaign. But did they deliver and what exactly did they deliver during the past two years?
First, because the cabinet mainly comprises medical professionals, they capitalized on promises of providing exclusive healthcare especially medical specialists in every hospital. But in the ongoing parliamentary session, the PM justified that specialization in medicine takes time so it is not necessarily the fault of the government if it is not able to provide medical specialists to all the hospitals on time. Didn’t he have the hindsight to predict that before the elections?
Second, some really popular promises like the Sung Joen App and free wi-fi have still not seen the light of day. The information and communications minister said this was because they were busy putting other “systems” in place. He could have been more specific as to why the pre-election front runner promises have not been fulfilled instead of giving a vague answer. Unless it was an excuse, of course.
These are just some instances of how populist election campaigns work. You are so desperate for votes that you promise what cannot possibly be delivered. And you forget about the larger picture: that the benefits should trickle down to the lower segments of the society, there must be equitable distribution of wealth and development across the country and yes, you must be honest and stick to integrity.
We should also remember that though no government is perfect, DNT committed some blunders, too such as not stopping tourist arrivals until it was too late. And doing away with the class X cut off point has raised a lot of dust and debate but it remains to be seen whether the education system in the country will actually benefit from this overhaul. Right now, it seems like the shortcomings of these decision are more apparent than not: with the risk of students turning complacent about the very thing that should provide them a sturdy foundation in life.
Also, doing away with the voucher tax might have been appealing to a majority of voters: but one should ask how huge the repercussions this will have on government coffers. We are already a welfare state and handing everything free on a platter creates a mindset of entitlement that is hard to get rid of once it grows roots.
Further, the taxation slab was revised. No doubt this must have come as good news for a major section of tax payers. But instead of raising the tax slab and thus again causing government revenue to be affected and pushing the country further into external borrowings and debt when in fact, domestic revenue could have been strengthened, maybe there could have been made provisions for tax exemptions based on certain, specific criteria. And maybe raising tax for others who are actually doing very well.
When the government passes laws that cover the cross-section of society, they must be wise enough to understand that we live in a society where the income and wealth disparity is high. If they want to help out, they should never have made the move like closing down the Centenary Farmers Market in the first place. There should have been numerous consultations and discussions before such a decision that affected the lower-income bracket people was made. Now almost everybody is feeling the ripple effects.
The government still has three years left to make a difference. If they can act with wisdom and vision, they can still implement a lot of positive changes. And do right where they have wronged.
Let’s hope that the state of the nation does not become just another empty rhetoric.