Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vice Ministers

I am a regular reader of His Excellency the Opposition Leader’s Blog ( The last post there deals with the proposed renaming of the Government Secretaries as “Vice Ministers”.
The Opposition Leader wonders why? I too wondered: why indeed?
On the face of it, the proposal seems totally meaningless. I mean like the Opposition Leader says, who do we need to impress? Simply none! And what do we get by impressing others? Simply nothing! So then, unless our elected leaders have nothing better to do than engage in affairs designed solely to impress others, there must be some purpose to this supposedly meaningless exercise. I began to think about the matter.
To begin with I was intrigued by the choice of the nomenclature “Vice Minister”. Why Vice Minister? Why not Deputy Minister? Deputy Minister is so much easier to pronounce than Vice Minister. I began to wonder: is there a reason why “Vice Minister” is preferred over “Deputy Minister”? I also wondered: how can a Vice Minister serve a function or a purpose that a Deputy Minister or a Secretary cannot? That is when I began to see the light of day.
The Constitution’s Article 20.2 does not allow the Executive to create more Ministries solely for the purpose of appointing Ministers. And it would be quiet ridiculous to appoint Ministers without a Ministry. However, Bhutan has a peculiar problem where we do not need more Ministries but need more Ministers. And why do we need more Ministers?
Because, our Ministers spend too much valuable time attending international conferences rather than doing meaningful work at home. By re-naming the Government Secretaries as Vice Ministers, most of the international Ministerial level conferences can be attended by the Vice Ministers; without breaking protocol. This lightens the burden on the Ministers. In addition, with more time in hand, the Ministers can visit their constituencies more often than they have been doing. This way, there is no fear of some upstart eating into their support base :)

I think this is a great idea. As to the legal basis of the Executive, it is simple enough. Like one great personality in Bhutan said (during a high level meeting in 1979); “If a National Assembly resolution is no longer valid in the present times, we should have no hesitation in disregarding the resolution on grounds of irrationality and introduce a new one that is more meaningful”.
But ofcourse, our life is now complicated by the need to adhere to the principals of democracy and the 20 additional mouths each and every Bhutanese seem to have acquired, under the aegis of the democratic rights of freedom of speech.


  1. Nice. Plausible Arguments. Level of Representation is a factor to gain attention.

  2. I no understand politics, but isn't Vice Ministers elected? Me all confused! :) By the way, me says, "welcome back, Aue Yeshy." Methinks you are now hale & hearty! LoL

  3. Hi Lakey

    Thanks ... yea I am OK now. In fact I am so OK that I camped out yesterday night at Chele-La. I am so dang fed up getting up so early in the morning to drive up to Chele-La to photograph Mt. Jumolhari in the morning sun.

    Let me tell you it is a bad, bad idea to camp out at Chele-La during winter. I woke up this morning at 4AM to find that my bottle of mineral water had turned to ice. I swear I spent nights in Chele-La in the past but I never felt it was that cold.

    When I got into my car to warm up the engine, the temperature meter showed -8 Deg. I had a hard time setting up the equipment. But the warm tea that I had made the night before and stored in a flask helped. I kept the car engine running with the heater going full blast so that I could get into the car once in a while to warm up.

    I had hand gloves but they were proving to be a hindrance when I had to change camera settings.

    Finally when the sun rays started to filter in at 6.40AM and struck the top of Jumolhari and Jichu Drake, the scene wasn't as spectacular as I had imagined. There hung a screen of haze - like a smoke screen. I used a polarizer to eliminate the haze - I am not sure if it will help.

    By the way Lakey, since you are a photographer yourself, please buy a GPS. I have one by Garmin (Model: Oregon 450). It gives you an accurate forecast of the time the sun will rise. Today I checked its accuracy and it was bang on! It also has a compass which will tell you where the East is - besides all sorts of information and record. I am always seeking to know where the East is since I do not want to be facing the sun when I am shooting.

    One other thing it tells me is the day of the full moon. I am still hoping to improve on my moon shot after I acquired an RRS contraption that is suppose to improve the stability of my 800mm super telephoto.

  4. Interesting experience indeed, Aue Yeshey! Waking up and setting your equipment atop Chelela on a morning like that could have been clumsily frustrating like trying to respond to your comment from my mobile somewhere deep in remote Dorokha! Yeah, I tried it almost a week back, but in vain:) I am back in Thimphu now and doing it the conventional way.

    Yes, Aue Yeshey, my office has a GPS, and I used it for location referencing while on a plant survey in Lingshi & Gankar Punsum four years back. But never bothered about the sunrise and sunset features including the one about activities of fishes on it! LoL. And your labelling of me as a "photographer" is a tad too generous!