Parties raise the curtain on their tech-savvy Bhutan vision

Advancement in the field of information and technology amidst the bludgeoning global infrastructure is one of the foremost agendas on the priority list, as political parties look to bank upon a dream of techno-savvy Bhutanese economy envisioning the country’s digital future.

Prominent politician and Vice President (VP) of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), Ugyen Wangdi in a recent public address emphasized the need of a third internet gateway for the nation. He highlighted the support received from the Bangladesh government for the project at a reduced cost but noted challenges from certain service providers. He expressed confidence that the DPT would resolve these issues if given the mandate to serve.

Ugyen Wangdi also stressed the importance of embracing technology in governance, advocating for paperless operations through investments in E-governance. The DPT aims to provide proper guidance for the National Digital Identity (NDI) project, ensuring robust data protection and privacy measures.

In their quest to bridge the digital divide, the VP of  People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dasho Dorji Choden hinged on her party’s focus on infrastructure development to narrow the digital gap among citizens. The party aims to explore avenues to enhance internet connectivity while reducing internet charges by 50 percent. Dasho Dorji Choden commended technological progress in schools and promised to continue leveraging various platforms for the benefit of students nationwide.

Reasserting their stand on a digitalized Bhutan, the VP of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT), Dasho Sonam Kinga revealed ongoing discussions about a third internet gateway and potential collaboration with Star-link. The party aims to build on the NDI app initiated by the DNT government, focusing on providing digital services for permits, healthcare, banking, and employment. Additionally, DNT pledges to reduce the student-to-computer ratio and enhance digital education.

Recognizing the importance of digital services, Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) commits to encouraging the adoption of digitization. The party plans to introduce smart boards in schools and digital Drungtsho apps in hospitals according to VP Pema Tenzin. In an environmentally conscious move, BTP vows to incorporate eco-friendly technology in mining and employ advanced methods for road construction surveys to minimize landslides. The establishment of a third internet gateway from Siliguri is also on BTP’s agenda to boost efficiency in digital services.

Flaunting their tech-forward vision for Bhutan, the Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) boasts three IT experts among their ranks, according to the party VP Chenga Tshering.

The party’s manifesto includes a commitment to digitize all public services, employing cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence for various applications, including safeguarding farms and implementing digital currency. “DTT has already made strides in this direction, launching the Thuendrel App to address public grievances and enhance transparency in governance,” the VP said during the live debate on Thursday.

Meanwhile, technology and innovation has been the cornerstone of His Majesty’s Royal Addresses every where. Tech industry focuses on innovation, creation and growth, and in Bhutan, the tech industry actually comprises of Information Technology (IT)/IT enabled service companies, IT retailers and tech startups. With the world’s fast technological advancement, the growth of technology, and the need and growth of tech industry in the country is being felt.

Dechen Choden from Thimphu