Of pledges and achievements

On a question asked by the media about the pledges of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa(DNT), Prime Minister (PM) Dasho Dr. Lotay Tshering said that there is no mathematical figure for percentages of pledges fulfilled. “Our responsibility is to do and to see how much we have done; it is the responsibility of the individuals to go and see,” the PM added.

The PM alluded that the free Wi-fi is one most asked about. “But we have lowered huge data charges. Institutions in each and every corner of the school—hospitals, colleges, Gewog centers, and all over the government offices—all have free Wi-Fi.”

The PM said some new policies not in the pledges have been implemented. Among them, the PM spoke about breast feeding allowances, which is in the government pledges. But with immense research and help from other experts, after realizing breast feeding allowances as a minimum, the Accelerated Mother and Child Care has been implemented as a government policy, the PM said.

The Accelerating Mother and Child Health Policy, 1000-Day Plus, was started after its approval by the Cabinet on January 6, with Nu 1.8 billion (bn) allocated for the next five years. “The new package is not just for the 6 months of breastfeeding, but it goes up to the first 1000 golden days (about 3 months) of a child’s life,” the PM said.

The PM said that regarding the pledges on education, they had fulfilled almost all the pledges in education, whereby they removed the “cut off” point for the Class X examination, allowing more than 4,000 Bhutanese children to advance to Class XI. He also spoke about the ICT flagship taking shape with coding introduced as a compulsory subject.

The PM said that with the removal of the cutoff, they can have the opportunity to study until class XII. “If students have a certificate of class XII completion, they can have ample opportunities both within and outside the country.”

Meanwhile, a total of 55,799 dogs were neutered and 28,745 pet dogs’ microchips were inserted in dogs with details of owners under the dog population management and rabies control programs. Further, a total of 10,653 dogs were sterilized, and another 16,680 have been vaccinated to date as part of the accelerated dog population management program.

The construction of chain-link fencing across the country, with a pilot project of 116 km in the first phase across the district, was completed. PM further added that in the second phase, the chain-linked fencing in Gewog will also be completed, and in the next year, the chain-linked fencing in each household will be implemented.

In the health sector pledges, the PM said that now the endoscopy services are available in 11 hospitals and 5 CT scans have started in the five hospitals.

Further, “Nationwide screening for gastric, breast, and cervical cancers started as part of the health flagship, incurring an expenditure of Nu 772.495 million,” the PM said.

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu