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Tuesday, 16 July 2024

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Prime Minister Presents the State of the Nation Report to the joint sitting of Parliament

Prime Minister Presents the State of the Nation Report to the joint sitting of Parliament

As per Article 10 (10) of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan, Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay presented the First Annual Report on the State of the Nation including legislative plans, annual plans, and priorities of the Government to the Joint Sitting of the Parliament today. The Report was presented in five Chapters covering - current state of country, challenges faced by the state, the strategies to address the challenges, the Government plans and priorities for 2024-2025 and the Government’s legislative plans for 2024-2025.

The Prime Minister highlighted that our country's economy is fundamentally tied to the Gross National Happiness Index; a decline in GNH signifies a corresponding economic downturn. Despite the pandemic's impact, he noted a gradual recovery in 2023, with a 4.5% growth rate. Additionally, the literacy rate increased to 70.6%, and improved healthcare services led to a rise in life expectancy to 70%, all made possible through His Majesty's support for free healthcare and education services. Good Governance stands out as a crucial pillar of GNH and is pivotal to the country's economic development.

The Prime Minister informed the House that one of the most pressing challenges faced by the country today is the significant emigration of Bhutanese people seeking better employment opportunities abroad, with around 64,000 people, or 9% of the population, already having left. This trend poses risks to the country's economy and public services due to the loss of skilled workforce, and if not addressed, could lead to further depopulation and economic challenges.

Presenting on the strategy to address this challenge, the Prime Minister reported that, the key is to work on reviving and expanding the economy, with the central focus on the historic Gelephu Mindfulness City, a noble initiative of His Majesty the King, the Economic Stimulus Plan and the 13FYP with substantial investment in infrastructure building to stimulate growth and development in various sectors. 

The Prime Minister highlighted the key plans and priorities of the Government to include economic revival and development, enhancement of  agriculture and livestock, human resource development, preservation of culture and heritage and foreign relations.

With regard to the Government’s legislative plans and priorities for 2024-2025, the Prime Minister informed that the Government plans to table the Tax Act (Amendment) Bill in the winter session to support private sector development and economic growth. 

The Prime Minister concluded the report on the State of the Nation, with expression of gratitude and prayers to His Majesty the King for the visionary leadership and continued guidance and support to the government, the legislature and the people.