Thursday, 19 June 2008

Bhutan : Key appointees to cabinet secretariat

home 18 June, 2008 -The government has appointed 10 people into the cabinet secretariat to monitor and coordinate activities related to the economy, infrastructure, culture, social, agriculture, coordination and monitoring, economic, information, grievance and good governance.

Of the ten, five are DPT party members hired on contract, while the other five are civil servants.

In reply to rumours that the 10 would be part of the prime minister’s office (PMO), Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley said, “There’ll be no separate prime minister’s office because, in the experience of other countries, a separate PMO leads to a separate power centre, which we want to avoid. These appointees will be working for the cabinet secretariat and will have responsibilities of coordinating and monitoring key sectors for the cabinet.” He also said that these slots had actually been offered by the RCSC much before and the cabinet had taken up only a part of them.

According to reliable sources, there will be three main divisions and some independent sectors. “The main overall function is to ensure that the DPT government’s manifesto programmes are being carried out and, since most will be implemented by the bureaucracy, we need to make sure that they are in sync with the government’s commitments to the people,” said an official. These people will have to see that the plans and programs of the government are being carried out, do research and analysis and discuss any policy issues that may need changes. This team may also do field visits and compile reports for the cabinet.

The first division is the coordination and monitoring division, under which sectors like social, economic, agriculture, culture and infrastructure will fall, each headed by a person. This division will monitor and coordinate with the various ministries for these specific sectors.

The second division, the economic division, led by aformer senior civil servant, will look into the macroeconomic health of the country, in terms of monetary policies, cash reserves and rupee balance, as well as the financial agencies like RMA and the banks.

The third division, for which no appointments have yet been made, is the legal affairs division. This office will be in touch with the attorney general’s office and also the judiciary.

Other cross cutting and independent sectors are the information office, which will issue all press releases and deal with the media. It will also handle any media issues and grievances that come up. The good governance section will look after good governance across ministries and sectors and the grievance cell of the PM will look into all complaints on service delivery issues.

The GNH commission and national statistical bureau (NSB) will be a major source of information for the sector heads. They will also have to coordinate with the policy and planning division of all the ministries, including meetings with bodies like DHI and constitutional bodies like ACC, NEC and RAA.

“The sectors will be taken as a thematic approach and not ministry-based, because all sectors will cut across multiple ministries,” said an official.

The appointments have not yet been formalised with any specific commitments and an observer said that the situation could still be fluid.

The 5 contracted professional appointments from DPT are Khandu Om (Social), Sangay Thinley (Infrastructure), Dr Samdrup (CaM), Dechen (GG) and Rinzin Wangchuk (Grievance).

The five in-service civil servants are Nyim Tshering (Agriculture), Sonam Tobgay (Economics), Namgay (Culture), Duba (Information) and Sonam Wangchuk (Macro economy).

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