Government decides to wind-up gaydrung post

… The post started in 1960s.

Puran Gurung

To streamline public service delivery by stressing on professionalism, leadership and innovations in the local governance, the government decides to altogether wind-up the post of gaydrung (Gup’s clerk), a post synonymous to public service delivery, by coming month.

Gaydrung’s job entails writing applications, dispatch works, and general office duties.

This comes after deliberations of the cabinet in consultation with the Ministry of Home and Culture Affairs, and the Royal Civil Service Commission. The Department of Local Governance suggested the government to retain the post.

Prime Minister issued an Executive Order asking the gaydrungs to hand over their responsibility within this month to the gewog administration. Further, the directive states that the decision comes to streamline public service delivery and relevance of gaydrung in the context of stressing professionalism, leadership and innovation of the local governance.

Additionally, the government will provide additional human resource as per local government functionaries’ work, and the government reminds LG leaders to redesign the LG functionaries and also ensure the engagement of gewog administrative officers to maximum.

This batch of gaydrung, 200 of them across the country will serve the last in the post of gaydrung.

Gaydrung had played a key role in gewog administration since 1960s. The 27th Session of the National Assembly acknowledged the need for gaydrungs as the Gups were required to collect large amounts of government revenue from the public. This privilege had been available to the Gups of western Bhutan since 5th Month of the Iron Ox Year.

Gaydrungs as Gup’s clerk has an all-rounder job responsibility. They carry out administrative works, collecting tax and insurance premiums, tracks land and census records, drafts applications, agreement and form filling.

According to a MoHCA report (2019), it compiles that ‘based on the type of work and the workload, 70 percent of the work is concentrated around land, tax, insurance, census, administration and 30 percent on filling up forms, drafting agreements, applications and minutes’.

The report states ‘all the gewog administrative officers (GAOs) responded that gaydrungs were critically required for functioning of the gewog administration and 91 percent of the gewog administrative officers rated performance of gaydrungs as either excellent or very good; none rated them negatively.

Additionally, the report states that ‘76 percent of the elected LG members felt that gewog administrative officer or accounts personnel cannot take up gaydrung’s job and it was felt more by members who had higher qualifications. The gewog sectors felt that GAO can substitute in carrying out sectoral activities and only 28 percent felt that gaydrungs’ work couldn’t be substituted.

Furthermore, the report compiles that ‘around 67 percent of gewog administrative officers felt that they cannot take over the role of gaydrung and 92 percent said that gaydrung would be required even if accounts personnel were posted in the gewog. Similarly, 89 percent of the dzongkhag sector responded that there was no duplication of work between gewog administrative officer and gaydrung.

According to the report, gaydrung had played a key role in gewog administration and a means of implementing 21st century innovations for enhanced service delivery such as one-door-service (ODS) or one-stop-service (OSS). A majority, 93 percent of the population confirmed that Gaydrung is critical for public service delivery and 89 percent were very satisfied with the services that they have availed. Similarly, 22nd Dzongdags Conference and 9th Gups Conference also acknowledged the critical role of gaydrung in the functioning of gewog administration. “Therefore, it is recommended that the post of Gaydrung be retained,” states the MoHCA report (2019).

However, Organizational Development Exercise in 2016 by the Royal Civil Service Commission pointed that the post of gaydrung is irrelevant.

Along the similar lines, many sections of the society also believe that the post of gaydrung has become redundant, they say upon close inspection, the administrative roles and responsibilities of the LG members who are supported by a full-time administrative officer, the role of gaydrung doesn’t look necessary. However, people point that the government should set qualification as a mandatory eligible criteria for Gups.

Gaydrungs had jointly appealed to the government through Department of Local Governance to extend their term by another five years, so was the decision welcomed by the Gups across the country, and accordingly DLG proposed to retain the post.

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