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Questioning pledges

By Sangay Rabten, Thimphu

With the objective of narrowingย the gap, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) promised several free services to the people if they come to the power. In campaign for theย general round, DNT candidatesย are doing their bestย making pledges to woo votersย giving prime focus inย eastern region, from whereย DNT got fewer votes duringย the primary round.ย DPT candidate of Haaย Sombeykha constituency,ย Rinzin Wangchuk sought
clarifications on DNTโ€™s freeย services like free Wi-Fi andย Sung-joen app, introducingย daily wages in the rural areasย during the initial monthsย of child birth and free accessย of 24ร—7 to all online dataย within the country duringย the public debate held onย 26 September. He said free services will undermine theย countryโ€™s self-reliant economyย long-term goal. He questionedย Dorji Wangmo, howย DNT will manage with allย these free services?
Dorji Wangmo replied, โ€œManifesto of DNT is wellย researched and acceptedย by Election Commission ofย Bhutan (ECB).โ€ She saidย that ECB may not have acceptedย DNT manifesto if itย has defects. She also said
that by the judging the trendย of DPTโ€™s opposing pledgesย of DNT seems that they areย worried if DNT may come toย the power.ย DNT candidate of Gangzur _Minjey constituency,ย Kuenga Dorji said that the
party is already ready withย free Wi-Fi and can be doneย in 120 days if given theย chance. He said, โ€œFree Wi-Fi means both free intranetย and internet which internationalย bandwidth can be directlyย connected to intranetย using economy of scale paidย by government as subsidy.โ€ย He said that governmentย will pay for the internationalย bandwidth which may costย around half a billion ngultrumsย per year.

Facebook,ย Google and YouTube can beย accessed through free Wi-Fi.ย Kuenga Dorji said thatย Suung-joen app which isย exactly like WeChat can beย used anywhere in Bhutanย and from anywhere in theย world. People outside Bhutanย need to pay for Sung-joenย app usage. DNTโ€™s pledgesย explain that free W-Fi accessย points will be establishedย and allow free hosting of localย contents. โ€œBhutanโ€™s ruggedย geography makes digitalย divide a serious concern
and therefore free Wi-Fi willย enhances the ICT and narrowย the digital divide,โ€ heย added.
Rinzin Wangchuk told toย Bhutan Today that it was aย concern for the country andย pledges of political parties should be judged for theย long-term reliability. โ€œThereย need to be check and balance,โ€ย he said

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