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Bhutan to Launch National Service – Gyalsung

Published Dec 20, 2019
Updated Feb 05, 2020

In his address to the nation on the 112th National Day celebration at Changlimithang, His Majesty The King highlighted national concerns.  

His Majesty shared that the first concern is economic growth. “Our neighbours, India and China, are experiencing unprecedented economic growth, propelled by technological advances in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Automation, Big Data, Blockchain, Quantum Computers, and FinTech – Digital Currencies, Digital Wallets, Digital Banking. The world is changing rapidly. We cannot afford to avoid what we don’t yet understand and hope for the best. Such an attitude will cost us our national objective of self-reliance.”

His Majesty said that we have to create economic opportunities for the next generation. “It’s time to recalibrate ourselves to succeed in the fast-paced world. The government, lawmakers, the private sector, the people, and experts in various fields must work collectively to chart out a clear economic roadmap for the 21st Century- this will help every individual and entity to understand their respective roles and work towards a common national objective.”

One of the core themes of the address on the 112th National Day celebration by the King of Bhutan has been state of the economy which is growing at a very low of around 3 % as compared to the neighbouring countries in the region which are growing at 5 % percent plus. Thus, some measures to give a fillip to the same are now in the offing.

The second concern, His Majesty said, “We are yet to take full advantage of our small size, to better organise and manage ourselves. Larger countries are faced with challenges in communication and information sharing and in building consensus and harmony. These lead to mismanagement, lack of responsibility and accountability, oversight, and failure to achieve results.” His Majesty said as a small country, people should be more efficient and effective than others. “We must be able to address challenges and seize opportunities promptly. It is time to acknowledge our shortcomings and act swiftly to correct them.

The government, lawmakers, civil service, and institutions must undertake the responsibility of restructuring and improving our laws, policies and procedures.” Thirdly, His Majesty spoke about the youth. “It is in our hands to build a better future for our children. One of our most important national objectives is to empower every single child in Bhutan for success. Bhutan’s future will be mirrored by the strength and capabilities of our youth.” His Majesty said for the children to excel, they must adhere to the highest standards and have capability, integrity, discipline, 21st-century education, unity and solidarity.

The other issue is that of youth empowerment for which purpose national service is being proposed which will be implemented after taking into account the views of the general public. In this scheme Bhutanese youth who turn 18 by 2022 will have the opportunity to undergo a yearlong training programme, Gyalsung(National Service) to provide direction and encourage the youth to be strong, independent. The one-year training will include a three-month military style training, and a nine-month programme in areas like agriculture sciences, entrepreneurship, computers and coding, health sciences, etc.