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Questioning pledges

By Sangay Rabten, Thimphu

With the objective of narrowing the gap, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) promised several free services to the people if they come to the power. In campaign for the general round, DNT candidates are doing their best making pledges to woo voters giving prime focus in eastern region, from where DNT got fewer votes during the primary round. DPT candidate of Haa Sombeykha constituency, Rinzin Wangchuk sought
clarifications on DNT’s free services like free Wi-Fi and Sung-joen app, introducing daily wages in the rural areas during the initial months of child birth and free access of 24×7 to all online data within the country during the public debate held on 26 September. He said free services will undermine the country’s self-reliant economy long-term goal. He questioned Dorji Wangmo, how DNT will manage with all these free services?
Dorji Wangmo replied, “Manifesto of DNT is well researched and accepted by Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB).” She said that ECB may not have accepted DNT manifesto if it has defects. She also said
that by the judging the trend of DPT’s opposing pledges of DNT seems that they are worried if DNT may come to the power. DNT candidate of Gangzur _Minjey constituency, Kuenga Dorji said that the
party is already ready with free Wi-Fi and can be done in 120 days if given the chance. He said, “Free Wi-Fi means both free intranet and internet which international bandwidth can be directly connected to intranet using economy of scale paid by government as subsidy.” He said that government will pay for the international bandwidth which may cost around half a billion ngultrums per year.

Facebook, Google and YouTube can be accessed through free Wi-Fi. Kuenga Dorji said that Suung-joen app which is exactly like WeChat can be used anywhere in Bhutan and from anywhere in the world. People outside Bhutan need to pay for Sung-joen app usage. DNT’s pledges explain that free W-Fi access points will be established and allow free hosting of local contents. “Bhutan’s rugged geography makes digital divide a serious concern
and therefore free Wi-Fi will enhances the ICT and narrow the digital divide,” he added.
Rinzin Wangchuk told to Bhutan Today that it was a concern for the country and pledges of political parties should be judged for the long-term reliability. “There need to be check and balance,” he said

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