In contrast, the Department of Information Technology and Telecom is yet to receive a directive from the government. Plus, no budget has been allotted for Suung-Joen App
Although Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT) is yet to receive a government directive to develop the Suung-Joen App, Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Tandi Dorji has reaffirmed that the App will be launched in 120 days as pledged.
A specific budget has also not been allotted for the development of the App.
Speaking to Business Bhutan, Lyonpo Dr. Tandi Dorji said: “The App is more or less developed and we are currently testing to make it perfect before presenting it to the citizens.”
Lyonpo added that since the Suung-Joen App is one of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) 120 days pledges, the government is trying to launch it within timeframe. “It has been a bit delayed due to the ongoing National Assembly session but we will fulfill all the pledges within the given time,” said Lyonpo.
Suung-Joen App is one of the several free services that the party promised to the people during the election campaign to enable Bhutanese to communicate freely without the need of recharge vouchers.
Designed to be similar to popular social media app, WeChat, DNT had claimed that people can save voucher through Su¬ung-Joen App as the App would be offer¬ing free call and messaging services, entertainment and multi-media.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said the government has been discussing continuously and working with the agencies concerned and that they are soon going to meet with the agencies concerned in a week or two and hold a meeting to start processing and go further.
“We already had a couple of meetings before. There are lots of criteria set from the government’s side and we have to respect the process and will go as per it,” said Lyonpo.
However, the Director of the Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT), Jigme Thinley Namgyal said the department has not received any directive from the government yet to go ahead with the App as it will consume time and money to be launched.
“Technically it is feasible and the proposal has been forwarded to the government with the total budget of Nu 400mn, which includes setting up of data center for the development of App,” he said.
Currently the 12th Five Year Plan is being discussed in the Parliament but no budget has been allotted for the Suung-Joen App.
The DNT government has 60 days more to launch the App. However, it is unlikely given the limited time and lengthy tender procedures. In addition, it is not clear if the works on development of the App has begun as claimed by the Foreign Affairs Minister.
While the government has claimed that it has already started work on developing the App, the focal agency DITT has not received any directive.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Opposition Party and Member of Parliament from Panbang Constituency in Zhemgang, Dorji Wangdi, said that Su¬ung-Joen App is one of the popular pledges of DNT and the party has to fulfill its pledges promised to the people.
“However, the pledges should not cost extra burden to the budget and should not be a waste of public resources and there should be value for money spent,” he added.
Tshering from Thimphu