Forgotten in their own country

The government has till date always worked on improving the state and welfare of the civil servants, often pushing the large chunk of the populace who work in the corporate and private sectors away from their main development agenda.

While announcing major reforms; every pay raise, every low housing scheme and perks and benefits of state infrastructures and resources have been addressed keeping in mind the welfare and development of these civil servants, while others not on the fray are treated like second class citizens in their own country.

For instance, despite inking in black and blue, the government has not been able to replicate a simple life-changing reform like the pension and provident fund for a big majority of people working in the private sector.

Thousands of people who work in the private sector are deprived of the basic working conditions even today, and while they remain fully exploited by their employers even a decent package like pension and PF remains a distant dream.

The government housing initiatives to help provide decent living conditions for the economically disadvantaged and the poor are also a gross failure.

Most of the affordable housing colonies in the country, like the Changjiji housing complex in Thimphu were, and are, till date occupied by government officials who own big SUVs and flashy cars, who book the flats in the name of their spouses and relatives. Finally, once they finally vacate, they already have one of their nominees, either their relatives or sons and daughters, allocated in their place.

This trend, despite being a common practice and despite being understood by the relevant agencies, are simply pulled under the rug as it affects none except for the huge majority of citizens who cant even afford to find a decent shelter in the ever-expanding and materialistic-driven towns and cities.

The government’s recent initiative to provide civil servants with monetary incentives if they bear children are also only focussed on the civil servants. Given that the civil service makes up only a minority of the actual populace, the government’s agenda to help raise the base population of the country simply seems myopic and unrealistic, especially when majority of the populace is left aside of this initiative.

Nonetheless, the government’s and NPPF’s recent measures to look at the possibility of allotting affordable houses for those beyond the civil service rung comes as a huge relief. If the country is serious about bridging the income inequalities gap and bring all citizens on the happiness platform, such initiatives must be replicated and implemented in all earnest and not just reflected in their plans and papers.

Bhutan is just a nation of less than a million citizens. We should not and cannot afford to neglect some segments of the population while we on our vision to make Bhutan a welfare-oriented society.