Enter The Year Of The Female Earth Hog – Bhutan Looks To The Future While Reflecting On The Major Events In 2018

Email

As a new year begins, Bhutan evaluates the major events and milestones that marked 2018, in order to forge ahead.

In Bhutan, the Earth Dog Year makes way for the Earth Hog Year. (Source: Kuensel)

 

By Jigme Wangchuk | Kuensel

The dog has done its barking and a new dawn has begun. Looking back, what are the major events and milestones that marked 2018 in Bhutan?

As a small nation, diplomacy reigns supreme in the Kingdom of Happiness. Strong and sustained foreign relations and close interaction with immediate neighbours is the key to Bhutan’s success.

Never has this been more relevant than today when the world is ‘broken into fragments by narrow domestic walls’, born out of dangerously destructive ‘go-it-alone’ politics.

As the world beyond rumbled on, plagued by war, diseases, famine and disasters (man-made and natural), Bhutan continued to enjoy stability and progress in a climate of unprecedented peace.

Although there were ebbs and flows – we had our share of ‘ups and downs’ for sure – but we sailed through all these unruffled.

For Bhutan and the Bhutanese, the long and trying hours of intermittent challenges did not become the ‘dark days’ of our soul.

Bhutan-India diplomatic relations stand strong

In a world divided by changing global realities, Bhutan-India relation stands as a shining example of successful cooperation. His Majesty The King has even granted audience to India’s foreign secretary, Vijay K. Gokhale.

In 2018, Bhutan and India reviewed and updated several areas of developmental cooperation, such as hydropower projects and trade.

 

Photo: Facebook/India in Bhutan

 

Last year also saw the golden jubilee celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Most significant of all, Vijay K. Gokhale’s visit reinforced the regular high-level exchanges between Bhutan and India.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay visited India from July 5 to 7 and discussed issues of mutual interests with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While acknowledging the ‘excellent’ state of bilateral relations, India reiterated her commitment to Bhutan’s socio-economic development and even extended full support for Bhutan’s 12th Five Year Plan. 

The two countries recognised the importance of continued hydropower cooperation for mutual benefits.

In addition, Bhutan and Japan discussed the need to further strengthen the existing collaboration in agriculture, infrastructure, human resources development, health, education, information technology, rural development and employment, among others. 

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay thanked the government and the people of Japan for the friendship and generous assistance for a successful implementation of the 11th Five Year Plan.

The milestones which Bhutan has achieved since its very first Five Year Plan

In fact, Bhutan has achieved remarkable progress since the 1st Five Year Plan. The economic development that Bhutan witnessed over the decades has been nothing short of exemplary.

From a poor, least developed nation, Bhutan is now prepared to graduate to the group of middle-income countries.

 

 

One laptop per child, classroom in Thimphu, Bhutan. 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

 

Considering that Bhutan’s graduation from the least developed country (LDC) category will happen in 2021, it will also be a historic moment because it will also be 50th anniversary of the country’s membership with the United Nations.

What this means is that Bhutan now has access to better health care and education among others and her national earning power is also growing.

Graduation would also mean that Bhutan could lose preferential access to markets mainly in developed economies during the transition period.

However, Bhutan does not need to be too concerned over this issue. Bhutan’s trade scenario will be largely unaffected since it has not traded extensively with the US or Europe.

As a fiercely environmentally-conscious nation, 2018 saw Bhutan receive the Earth Award at the ITB (International Tourism Bourse) ceremony in Berlin, Germany.

The award served as a recognition for tourist destinations that are working towards developing sustainable and responsible tourism.

Bhutan’s 3rd Election – another major event of 2018

The year of the dog was a busy year, particularly for the election commission. Aimed at making elections more inclusive, the ECB introduced the postal ballot facilitation booths.

The commission set up 69 facilitation booths across the country for the National Council (NC) election.

It also operated mobile facilitation booths for some 800 people with special needs. Tashi Dorji, 36, from Wangdue, got elected as the chair of the House. Subsequently, His Majesty The King granted ‘dhar’ to the new NC members at the Tashichhodzong.

In preparation for the National Assembly elections, His Majesty The King also appointed an interim government.

This was to ensure ‘uninterrupted’ continuance of the routine functions of the government until the newly elected Prime Minister assumed office.

Perhaps the biggest event to have taken place in 2018 was that the National Assembly election saw party candidates debate on important national issues. 

The party, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa won 30 constituencies against Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s 17. 

Thereafter, His Majesty The King issued a Kasho to Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s President, Dr Lotay Tshering, appointing him as the Prime Minister of Bhutan.  

 

 

Photo: Kuensel

 

His Majesty The King also conferred Dakyen to the new Cabinet Ministers, Speaker, and the Opposition Leader.

A nation also needs a reference point. How else can it measure her success and failures? At long last, after 12 years, Bhutan finally managed to complete the Population and Housing Census Report (PHCB).

The PHCB 2017, second in the series, will prove significant for the planning of developmental projects in Bhutan as its 12th Five Year Plan will largely be informed by the report.

In a country deeply steeped in culture and tradition, the roles of Bhutan’s regional and religious bodies have always been important. They are responsible for providing information concerning the lives of the people.

In recognition of this, for his long and dedicated service to the nation, His Majesty The King conferred the highest civilian decoration - the Order of The Druk Gyalpo to His Holiness the Je Khenpo Trulku Ngawang Jigme Chhoedra in 2018.

As the Earth Dog Year makes way for the Earth Hog Year, it is time for Bhutan and her people to prepare for the year ahead.

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

 


Related Posts

Bhutan’s Newly Elected Prime Minister Lotay Tshering Unveiled The...

The Prime Minister and the cabinet minister-elects will receive ‘Dakyen’ from His Majesty The King on 7 November.

Nov 04, 2018 15:36

An Unprecedented 7 Out Of 10 Women Candidates Were Elected In...

It was a big win for the women of Bhutan as the country elected seven of the 10 women candidates who contested in the...

Oct 22, 2018 17:08

General Election 2018: DNT To Head New Government In Bhutan

This is Bhutan’s third general election. The primary round of elections was held in September, where four parties...

Oct 19, 2018 18:51

Enhancing Bilaterial Ties: India To Commit Nu 45B for Bhutan’s...

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering thanked Prime Minister Modi for the invitation to visit India and for the warm...

Dec 29, 2018 20:31

Modest Growth Of 5.1% Projected For Bhutan's 12th Five Year Plan

The agriculture sector continues to be the major employment provider in Bhutan’s economy.

Jan 09, 2019 14:42

Bhutan Enters ‘Preparatory Period’ Of Five Years To Graduate From...

The 'preparatory period' will end on 13 December 2023.

Dec 17, 2018 09:58

Latest

News

Co-Funded By The EU, [email protected] Project Launched To Provide High Speed Internet For Bhutan’s Research And Education Communities

A high-speed network called DrukREN for research and education communities in Bhutan was also launched.

Aug 21, 2019 09:58

Find Innovative Solutions For Every Challenge: Prime Minister Modi To Bhutan’s Youth

Prime Minister Modi said that he ‘sees dynamism and felt energised’ while meeting with the future of Bhutan.

Aug 18, 2019 23:58

Features

Bhutan Women Parliamentary Caucus Launched To Promote Gender Equality

It is expected to address the need for women role models at leadership and decision-making levels in Bhutan.

Aug 20, 2019 17:08

Fulfilling His Majesty The King’s Vision, Digital Drukyul Is Set To Improve Public Service Delivery And Empower Citizens Digitally

Digital Drukyul will help create a digital ecosystem for citizens which is unencumbered by bureaucratic red tape.

Aug 19, 2019 15:28

Sports

Two Young Bhutanese Swimmers Competed In 18th FINA World Championship

The duo are proud to represent Bhutan and compete on a worldwide stage for the first time.

Jul 28, 2019 21:32

Bhutan’s Dragon Boys Starts FIFA World Cup Qualifiers With A 1-0 Win Over Guam

Midfielder, Tshering Dorji’s 35th minute strike was enough to make Bhutan win the first leg of the first round of the 2022 World Cup and...

Jun 08, 2019 22:18

Business

Southeast Asian Company Invests Over US$100,000 In Bhutanese Start-up Drukfood

The investment includes a mix of cash and investment-in-kind.

Aug 15, 2019 14:26

Bhutan’s First Crowdfunding Platform Gaining Traction, Opens Doors For Entrepreneurs To Raise Funds

So far, three promoters - Bhutan Alternatives, Freelancer Bhutan and Himalayan food have registered with the Bhutan crowdfunding platform.

Aug 05, 2019 22:10

Travel

7 Facts You Never Knew About Flying Into Bhutan

Druk Asia interviewed Namgyal Wangchuk, Senior First Officer with Drukair to find out what it's like to fly into Paro International Airport.

Aug 07, 2019 23:18

Bhutan Has Great Potential To Be A Top Eco-Tourism Spot: Albert Teo

Despite Bhutan being home to a wide array of flora and fauna, it is still not a top ecotourism destination.

Jul 19, 2019 23:58

Lifestyle

Finding One’s Voice: Rapping In The Kingdom Of Bhutan

The lack of support for rappers stems from the general misconception that most people have about rap.

Aug 10, 2019 23:38

First Bhutan-Bollywood Film Collaboration - Rolong: Make the Dead Walk In The Making

The film is expected to hit the theatres by the middle of 2020.

Aug 04, 2019 23:58

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!