Yesterday a Member of the Parliament called me to say that the 4th Pay Commission’s recommendations have been tabled for discussion. Thus I believe that it is time that I make one more attempt to urge the ruling government and the present set of lawmakers to do the right thing. I urge them not to let this great opportunity for service to the Tsa Wa Sum pass them by.
There is no doubt that they want to do great things during their term in the government and the Parliament. The responsibility on their shoulders is heavy – they have sworn to serve, to bring ease and comfort in the lives of their constituents. But the promises they made will remain nothing more than promises for, to translate them into firm actions depend on a variety of things that is outside their control. Paucity of funds, geopolitical realities, and lethargic civil service – all of these will constrain them to deliver on their promises that would have been lofty. They will be left severely wanting – not because of their own failings but because they are nothing more than a number that go to make the sum total.
But achieving greatness does not necessarily have to do with being able to build a thousand KMs of farm road, eradicate Goongtong, halt environmental destruction, and render all of our cities free of garbage. We all know that the lawmakers do not come equipped with magic wands. We understand.
But there is another way of achieving greatness - by having the courage and selflessness to dismantle great evils that have been percolating into our system for decades. By being able to remove the rot and decay and the gangrene that are beginning to define our very moral turpitude.
I am talking of the very base, very vile and unjustified Vehicle Quota System.
This is a case of lawmakers turning lawbreakers.
It is a case of hundreds of millions of ngulturms lost in undeserved quota benefits, shamelessly claimed by those who usurp it as a matter of right – not as a reward for a job done well in the service of the Tsa Wa Sum.
It is a tax relief that is not afforded to those who are underpaid and who deserve it – but automatically granted to those who are over paid and do not deserve the preferential treatment they are rewarded with.
The quota system is all about immorality, blatant encouragement of corrupt practices, and official condoning of an act of crime.
I have spoken to lawmakers, politicians and even a Member of the 4th Pay Commission, to rescind this shameful quota system. I have pleaded that someone with guts has to take a stand on this corruption and end it, so that the journey of restitution of our morality may begin.
We do not need WFP for food – we need eradication of corruption. We do not need UNICEF for education – we need upright parents to teach the values of discipline, righteousness and service. We need leaders who will not whine away about their helplessness to do things that are beyond them - but certainly we expect them to act with fortitude, in the interest of the Bhutanese people and the nation.