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State of the Flagship Programs

National Day footprint subsumed under other areas

One of the most important pledges made by the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) government was “National Day Footprints,” where the government pledged to implement important projects based on His Majesty’s National Day Address. This happened after the celebrations of the 111th National Day, 2018 at Samtse. This was also one of the flagship programs identified.

The footprints of the 111th National Day, identified for Samtse were construction of hospital and road. In the State of the Nation Address that the Prime Minister (PM) Dr. Lotay Tshering delivered during the 8th session of the Third Parliament that ended recently, the PM said that “Footprints of the National Day” has been “subsumed” under other developmental activities as there are duplication of programs. 

Speaking about other flagship programs, the PM said that based on the need “to inject focus and impetus to some of the priority areas, the government identified nine programs to deliver immediate and tangible impacts on our people.” Nu. 15 billion was allocated for the flagships that covered health, education, tourism, waste and water management, organic, cottage and small industries (CSI) and digital sectors.

These nine priority areas, identified as critical for the people, were the flagship programs, and were aside from the 12th Five Year Plan. A project implementation unit at respective agencies to coordinate with the flagship secretariat under the then Gross National Happiness Commission was formed.  The progress of each program was reported to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The State of Nation’s Report states that the programs have seen fruition of a wide range of initiatives and infrastructure over the years, the details of which are highlighted under respective agencies in the present section.

The health flagship project was initiated to target early detection and treatment of gastric, cervical, and breast cancers. The Education Flagship Programs were enhancing ICT skills and knowledge of students in order to enable them to perform productively and responsively in a knowledge-based society.

The flagship programs in tourism are the Tourism Levy Act of Bhutan 2022, rebranding Bhutan, MDPR pricing policy lifted, Sustainable Development Fund revision to USD 200/night, new online visa system and new Destination Portal.

Meanwhile, Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen launched the waste management flagship program on June 2, 2019.

The 12th five-year plan prioritized solid waste management as a flagship waste management and stray dog population control program which was approved on 23 January 2020 during the 46th Lhengye Zhungtshog.

The Digital Drukyul Flagship (DDF) project, with a total revised budget outlay of Nu. 2.68 billion, aims to harness the power of information and communication technology (ICT) to transform Bhutan into a smart and inclusive society.

The PM further mentioned that the CSI Policy 2019 was launched to bring about an improved entrepreneurship ecosystem for the CSI sector. “The programs have seen fruition of a wide range of initiatives and infrastructure over the years,” the PM said.

Additionally, it was mentioned that His Majesty announced the “Gyalsuung” or the National Service Program for the youth of Bhutan to be instituted in 2022. A year-long training for those attaining the age of 18.

Further, His Majesty, during the 113th National Day celebrations in 2020, announced the priority to reform the civil service to meet the needs of a “developed Bhutan”. During the 114th National Day Address in 2021, His Majesty reiterated that transformations in the civil service were mandatory to achieve this vision by revitalizing the lost “Ngar”.

Sangay Rabten from Thimphu