Prime Minister in Samdrup Jongkhar

Monsoon has tumbled over Samdrup Jongkhar. But undeterred, there are encounters, meetings, laughter, and a lot of learning and problem solving, often punctuated by brisk walks and swift drives in between. Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering is in Phuntshothang today, his sixth gewog since the trip began in Samdrup Jongkhar on May 13, 2022. After gracing the Passing out Parade of De-suups at Dewathang, the prime minister stayed back in Samdrup Jongkhar to engage with all the gewogs in the dzongkhag. 
“I am neither here for ceremonial events, nor am I here for sightseeing,” he tells all the people he meets in the gewogs. “This is a business trip and it must be meaningful. If there are issues that I can resolve immediately, I am here for that. If there are broader issues that need review or consultation, I will work on them with relevant agencies.”
Convinced that what happens in Thimphu, and at the central level of governance and decision making, must be made known to our rural folks, prime minister spends hours explaining to every villager, student and functionary at gewogs on pertinent national issues. 
Lauri, Serthi, Langchenphu, Samrang, Pemathang and Phuntshothang are the gewogs covered so far. Prime minister and team are on the way to Martshalla gewog today. To ensure quality time and deliberations, prime minister is spending a day each in every gewog of the district. 
“Irrespective of whether I can visit all the gewogs in the country or not, where I can make it, I have to be able to make a positive difference,” prime minister said. 
Prime minister also attends Cabinet meetings and other official tasks via virtual sessions.
Key messages from Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering’s interactions with rural folks and gewog officials in the ongoing tour in Samdrup Jongkhar 
“Public service and the role of LGs in the new normal era “ 
We are all here to serve the people. While I may not be able to meet you all as frequent as desired, we have a clear chain of 20 dzongdas, 205 gups, mangmis and more tshogpas in the chiwogs as representatives of His Majesty. We all work towards a common national goal and towards making people’s lives as comfortable as possible. 
But as we come out of the pandemic and as the nation progresses into the new normal era, we must change the way we think and do our works.
Local government functionaries operate closest to the people. It is important to revisit the plans and programs on the ground to ascertain that they align with our national priorities. 
Besides delivering the responsibilities efficiently and sincerely, the roles and mandates must shift at this critical juncture. 
Our planning system must be effective and relevant to the time and need. Our decisions have to be evidence based. For that, we need accurate data and it is only the LGs who can give us the authentic as well as real-time statistics. If the quality of our data is compromised, the path we walk will be derailed from the reality. 
But while the planned activities will keep happening, it is your responsibility to explore newer ideas and promote innovative programs that will contribute to the prosperity of the villages, gewogs and the people. It is time to strive for higher standards in whatever we do. 
As you all know, block grants have been introduced to empower the LGs. This gives them the space to invest in programs that are inventive, promotes local economy and employs young people in the villages. While there are concerns on the low budget utilisation rate in the LGs, we know that the pandemic and the local election are the factors. But now, we have no time to waste. 
All I want is for you to do well. For this, you will need to work harder in the best of public interests.
As for the people, it is important your expectations change as well. As much as we are here to support you, you must come forward with ideas and proposals that are well researched, thought-through and sustainable. Access to finance as well as market are some of the key areas we can on work together.