If the election results this year was all about the so-called ‘change’, the way the ruling government, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), bestowed ministerial portfolios to its candidates was nothing short of that.
Definitely, it has been a change in the trend – a significant departure from the past where it was usually the old and the experienced, ones who had been in the system for far too long, assuming the much coveted positions in the cabinet.
But things are taking a detour now, and all for the better reasons. Young leaders are taking the helm of ministries, something unimaginable a few years back. This is definitely a grand opportunity for the young leaders to set a new precedent of leadership.
No denying, the orange scarf and the lofty sword of honor the ministers have been bestowed with comes with a mammoth burden of responsibility. If it is about opportunities, it is also about challenges as well.
For instance, how do we get the economy back in form, which shows but little signs of recovery? How do we slim the widening chasm between the haves and the haves-not? How do we transform the private sector as an engine of growth? How do we solve the worsening rupee problem and our burgeoning debt? And how do we translate the average 9% GDP growth rate over the years into equitable economic development and employment creation for our youth?
How do we end corrupt practices in the construction business? Or what will be the fate of those buildings whose constructions are halfway for want of loans? How do we deal with substandard infrastructure and those in piteous conditions? How do we tackle the augmenting rural-urban migration as human-wildlife conflict, limited land and other factors are increasingly driving away people out of rural areas, leaving behind forsaken villages and fallow farms?
And most importantly, how do we tread forth as a sovereign nation crammed between the Asia’s two biggest powers? How do we go about with our international relations? How do we attract foreign investment? Will WTO remain a distant dream for Bhutan? How do we diversify our export baskets and become self-reliant?
How do we continue providing free health services and carry on with infrastructure development in the wake of donors pulling out? How do we meliorate the quality of education? And how do we keep our culture intact and bridge the gaping cultural divide?
The picture at present is far from rosy. The onus, therefore, falls on these elected leaders and the ruling party, PDP that won the elections riding on the promises and idea of change. They must ensure that not only do they fulfill their promises but also lead by example.
The journey, a daunting one at that, has in fact just begun for the ruling government.