More than 80% of the flagship programs have been completed

A total budget of Nu 10bn was identified for these programs

As of now, more than 80% of the flagship programs projects in the country are completed and it is expected to complete the implementation of most flagship programs except for a few construction activities.

An official from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said that 20% of the flagship programs include construction-intensive activities like ICT labs under the Education Flagship Program and Rural and Urban Water Supply projects under the Water Flagship Program.

However, based on the resource mobilization position, current expenditure trend, and implementation progress, the outlay for flagship programs has been revised from Nu 15bn to Nu 10bn during the 12th Mid-Term Review held in April 2021.

The budget is allocated in nine different flagship programs. As per the ministry, the highest flagship budget is allocated in the Digital Drukyul Flagship Program of about Nu 2.2bn, followed by about Nu 2.1bn in Water Flagship Program and the Nu 1bn each in Health Flagship Program and Start-up and Cottage and Small Industry (CSI) Development Flagship Program.

Other flagship program includes Education Flagship Program of about Nu 0.9bn, Waste management and stray dog population control Flagship Program of about Nu 0.8bn, Tourism Flagship Program of about Nu 0.7bn, and National Organic Flagship Program of about Nu 0.652bn and National Day Footprint Initiative of about Nu 0.550bn.

An official said that as of now, flagship Programs have not faced any major issues and challenges aside from the disruptions due to frequent lockdowns during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 “Some minor issues reported by implementing agencies were addressed periodically through bilateral discussions and all the flagship programs have program management units in their respective implementing agencies,” he said.

He also said that many notable achievements have already been made under each flagship program.

“It is too early to ascertain the actual impacts of flagship programs until and unless an independent evaluation of programs is conducted at the end,” he said, adding that however many notable achievements have already been made under each flagship program.

In addition, he shared that to put things into perspective, last year the monitoring team from the Start-up and CSI Flagship Program under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment (MoICE) visited the project sites across the country and observed positive impact and benefits to the communities.

Meanwhile, as highlighted in the 12th Five Year Plan document, Flagship Programs are interventions to address high-priority national issues that require multi-sectoral collaboration and coordination in a concerted manner.

Similarly, State of the Nation 2022 states that to inject focus and impetus into some of the priority areas, the government has identified nine programs to deliver immediate and tangible impacts on our people.

The flagship programs cover health, education, tourism, waste and water management, organic, CSI, and digital sectors, amongst others, according to the nation’s report. “One program, the footprints of National Day, was later subsumed under other areas.”

According to the report, the programs have seen the fruition of a wide range of initiatives and infrastructure over the years and the details are highlighted under respective agencies in the present section.

Meanwhile, the Education flagship program aims to digitalize schools across all the districts of Bhutan and enhance the digital competencies of both teachers and students while the Digital Drukyul flagship program which consists of eight different projects aims toward digitalized integrated citizen services, Digital school by taking ICT to schools across the country, integrated business licensing and single custom trade system amongst others.

Health flagship program aims to prevent and early screening and detection of three cancers, gastric, cervical, and breast cancers, while it also aims in narrowing the gaps between primary and secondary health care systems.

The National Organic Flagship Program also aims in finding a niche for organic products and targeting potential international markets for socio-economic development, taking organic production to a commercial scale, amongst others.  

Similarly, the start-up and CSI development program aim to promote and growth of vibrant, sustainable start-ups and CSI, expand the export base and reduce imports and yield job prospects and encourage creativity amongst others.

The Tourism flagship program aims to create employment opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sectors, increase the contribution of tourism to the national economy and rural livelihoods, and a regional, equitable, and balanced spread of tourism to all parts of the country.

The Waste Management and stray dog population control Flagship Program aims to control and manage the stray dog population while the water flagship program aims in delivering safe and reliable drinking and irrigation water and proper management and channeling of irrigation water across the country.

And the National Day Footprint Initiative aims to guide better governance and take the lead to implement the visions emanating from His Majesty’s address during National Day.

Sherab Dorji from Thimphu