Since the institution of Democracy in 2008 in Bhutan, we have had many chances to witness lots of interesting changes. While some were for the good and betterment of our country and countrymen, some were, as we can't expect everything to be so perfect, pretty unsatisfactory. Things come and pass, but some seem to have unending ripples in people's life. And the daily basic happenings are the foremost thing that people consider, like inflation, salary and generally the common and most important things that affect us. Salary, as bluntly as I can say, is the first thing for most of us and is an undeniable fact.
The recent pay hike of 40% for all the local government leaders, excepting Thrompons proposed by the government is something to think about. Now another blunt statement from a commoner like me is, this is a 'HUGE' proportion. It's almost half of their monthly share.
Because I say this on many grounds. I ain't any economist or budget professional, but whatever I write here is a very basic concern that can strike up from this. A lot of public outcries has already been flooded on social media about it. People are crying foul over it and a large proportion of people are being disturbed. Many prefer to stay quiet, as our larger society is, because they think that it isn't going to be any good. And here I gather my courage to say it all. And I am very sure that having said about the public outcry, I am not alone with this opinion.
During the time of the pay revision for civil servants and corporate employees, thorough discussions were done in the parliament. It dragged through quite some time, not being able to come to a common consent regarding the precise percent the pay should be revised. And somehow, when it came through, many cried foul about it. Not all were satisfied with it though it had some additional value. And I guess it is because the pay revision was kept very minimal. People respected that for many ground realities had to be considered - the debt, borrowings, budget outlay and much more.
But don't we see the same ground realities that should be considered here as well?
The National Budget Report 2017 - 2018 which was released on Monday stated that Bhutan's public debt has hit 160.5 billion Ngultrum by June 30 last year, which is an increase of 39 billion Ngultrum from 2015 figure. How did we forget this, when so much consideration in the pay revision, as high as 40% was done?
Besides, this is going to affect the mentality of civil servants and corporate employees. And not beating around the bush, this is going to hurt them to a new high level. I am sure that the same is being thought by all.
I am also sure that everyone understands how important LG leaders and their responsibilities are. This is very well taken care about, but this should not demean the job responsibilities of other employees in the civil service and other sectors with such a differentiating difference when it comes to the salary revision. Expenses in the urban areas are skyrocketing - house owners keep increasing the rents yearly and nothing is being done, vegetables are being sold at the prices wished by the vendors and very less is being taken care, transportaton is becoming more expensive, but incentives has the pace that of a tortoise.
After all, it's quite the contradiction that our system delivers.