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Flagship Programs: A notable feature of the 12th Plan

Tashi Namgyal/Thimphu

A notable feature of the 12th Plan is the Flagship Program. Flagship Programmes are interventions to address high priority national issues that require multi-sectoral collaboration and coordination in a concerted manner through various sectors of the economy.

Nine flagship programmes are under various stages of implementation. The outlay for Flagship Programs has been revised from Nu 15,000 million to Nu. 10,000 million based on the resource mobilization position, current expenditure trend and implementation progress.

Key achievements under the flagship program include screening of 17,884 people for cervical cancer, marketing 2,144 MT of organic commodities, and providing support to 700 existing and new CSIs.

Among others, engagement of tourism sectorโ€™s 1,573 displaced employees, completion of 44 water supply schemes, sterilization and vaccination of 7,950 dogs across the country were also initiated.

Further, 850 teachers trained in coding and collection of more than 3,263 biometric data towards implementation of National Digital ID. The total expenditure for the 9 Flagship programs stood at approximately Nu 1,249 million as of April this year or approximately 9.8 % against the initial outlay.

The Education Flagship Program aims to enhance ICT skills and knowledge of students in order to enable them to perform productively and responsively in a knowledge based society.

As part of the program, 850 teachers have been trained in coding and the alignment of ICT curriculum in school curriculum has started. Construction of 122 ICT lab units for 109 schools have also been initiated and the procurement of computers for 571 schools across 20 Dzongkhags have been initiated.

The Digital Drukyul Flagship Program aims to harness the power of ICT to transform Bhutan into a smart and inclusive society. The key achievements under the Digital Drukyul Flagship are: 529 agencies have been connected with fibre optic, 1 Ring Closure (Kanglung to Dewathang) was completed, 95ICT professionals were trained on emerging tech (for eg. DevOps, Microservices&BlockChain), Learning Management System Development was completed, and more than 3,263 biometric data collection were carried out.

The Health Flagship Program aims to lower incidence of gastric, cervical and breast cancers and enable early stage detection of cancers for timely treatment. In this regard, 17,884 and 421 people were screened for cervical and gastric cancer, respectively, during which 27 people were detected with cervical cancer.

The National Organic Flagship Program (NOFP) aims to produce four products (Ginger, Turmeric, Buckwheat& Lemongrass) for export and the domestic market with end-to-end interventions. It also focuses on production of bio-inputs such as organic seeds & bio-fertilizers.

The NOFP established 3 large scale & 4 mid-scale commercial farms, brought 144.6 acres of land under organic cultivation, and established 3 organic manure production units which produced and marketed approximately 2,144 MT of organic commodities.

The Start-up and CSI Development Flagship Program aims to promote the growth of vibrant and sustainable startups and CSIs contributing to the overall socio-economic developments. The flagship program comprises two major components, i.e. the Startup Program and CSI Development Program.

The main domains of the flagship program are regulatory environment, culture of entrepreneurship, access to finance and incentives,human capital, development, business development support and market access. It focuses on enhancing the production of 21 products and gear towards import substitution.

Additionally, 700 existing and new CSIs were supported, three Business Incubation Centers were established at Gaeddu College of Business Studies, College of Science and Technology and College of Natural Resources, and a dedicated CSI Market Outlet was established at Changzamtog, Thimphu for the promotion of Made in Bhutan and Grown in Bhutan products.

The Tourism Flagship Program aims to increase the contribution of tourism to the national economy and rural livelihood through balanced and regional spread of tourism. With the tourism sector hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic, the flagship program has been reprioritized.

The Tourism Flagship programme has successfully introduced and implemented โ€˜Tourism ECPโ€™ phases I and II and engaged 1,573 displaced employees of the Tourism sector through training, construction and development of roadside amenities, cleaning campaigns along the trek routes and surveys.

The Water Flagship Program aims to provide households with access to 24×7 drinking water and irrigation. 44 rural water schemes have been completed, and 124 rural and 15 urban water supply schemes are ongoing.

Following His Majestyโ€™s address in October, 2020 on the need to strengthen water management and engagement of youth during COVID-19, the Water Flagship Program is collaborating with Desuung through RGoB-Desuung Water Partnership Project to implement drinking and irrigation water projects.

In this regard, 10 projects have been launched under RGoB-Desuung Partnership, of which 3 projects have been completed and handed over to the communities in Trongsa, Chhukha and Mongar. The flagship program is also working towards the creation of a water agency.

The Waste Management and Stray Dog Population Control Flagship Program aims to reduce waste at every source through a strong waste management system and reduce the stray dog population to a manageable level.

The construction of drop-off centers and waste management facilities in Thimphu Thromde and Dzongkhag are under implementation to enhance the segregation and collection services. The facilities are expected to be completedby June 2021. A 300 kg/hour incinerator has also been installed at Memelakha for management of hazardous and COVID-19 waste. Similar incinerators will be installed at Phuentsholing and Gelephu for which works are underway.

A total of 7,950 dogs were vaccinated across the country and two rounds of mass dog sterilization and vaccination campaigns in Thimphu have been held.

National Day Footprint Initiative is initiated following the celebration of National Day to bring about balanced socio-economic development. Currently, Thimphu and Samtse are implementing activities as part of the programme.

In Thimphu, activities include redevelopment of Norzin Lam, open space development and development of ancillary facilities at Kuenselphodrang. In Samtse, activities include improvement of NamchukholaDorokha-Halhaley, Samtse- TashichhoelingTendruk road, and construction of 20 bedded Tashichhoelinghospital.

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