Koka, Wai Wai, Coke, Lays potatoes and Rockbee connoisseurs will have to find a GNH food alternative
Bhutanese consumers could soon end up paying higher rates for alcohol and foods classified as junk like carbonated drinks, potato chips, chocolates etc.
The Ministry of Finance along with its Department of Revenue and Customs are in the process of drawing up a list of alcohol and junk food products for taxation based on cabient instructions.
The Prime Minister Lyonchen Jigmi Y. Thinley in a press conference said the government had identified a list of food items as junk that would impair the health of especially children and so would be taxed higher. He gave the example of soda water.
“The new taxation policy structure, which Lyonpo Wangdi Norbu will be reporting to the National Assembly, has differentiated what constitutes healthy consumer items and what constitutes items that will accelerate the kind of problem for Bhutan associated with life style diseases,” said Lyonchen.
“When Lyonchen has said that taxation should be there on these products to discourage their use, the tax will have to be more than moderate to do so,” said Nima Wangdi, finance ministry’s director general. On the taxation structure the DG said the ministry had options of up to 150% tax.
The Director General said that all manufactured and processed food items that are addictive, fatty, unhealthy, having harmful chemicals like mono sodium and too much sugar would fall under the category of junk food. Continue reading Higher taxes on junk food! eat junk, pay more
Dr. Chencho Dorji, a senior Psychiatrist at the Jime Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital becomes a “Changemaker” from Bhutan.
Dr. Chencho is Bhutan’s first Psychiatrist. His entry, Promoting Mental Health Treatment in Traditional Bhutanese Society has been declared as one of the three proud winners of the Ashoka Changemaker’s “Rethinking Mental Health: Improving Community Wellbeing” competition on December 16, 2009. The worldwide competition was organized and funded by Ashoka, a global association of world’s leading entrepreneurs, thorugh its intitative Changemakers.
More details on the winning entry can be found HERE.
… that showcases the possibilities however challenged persons may be
|SPECIAL PEOPLE, SIMPLE NEEDS: Ugyen Wangdi, a hearing impaired student of Drugyel LSS spells it out.
International Disability Day 4 December, 2009 – In response to a question on what is the most important help he needed from the government, Ugyen Wangdi, a hearing impaired student of Drugyel lower secondary school wrote: “Books, pencil, paper, pen,” on a small green-board, pinned with a banner that read ‘Communicate through Reading and Writing’.
Ugyen Wangdi was part of an exhibition held yesterday to showcase the abilities of the mentally and physically challenged, as Bhutan observed International Day for Persons with Disabilities with the theme: Realising the millennium development goals for all.
The exhibition, held in the courtyard of the Druk Tashi Taj hotel, the only venue in the capital city with basic accessibility for the physically challenged, also had on display knitted weaves, woodcarvings, embroidery, artwork and a host of other items made by people with special needs. Continue reading An exhibition of abilities…
“My name is Dasho Paljor Dorji. I’ve been sober and clean since June 2004 …”
“I’m Dechen Wangmo, 26 years old and I haven’t been drinking alcohol since 2007 …”
“I’m Tshewang Tenzin, a recovering drug user, and I’m proud to say I’ve been sober since November 2006 …”
About 150 recovering drug users and alcoholics gathered at the YDF hall in Thimphu yesterday to celebrate the “clean and sober day”. Most of the participants wore white T-shirts and badges showing their sobriety, as they exchanged stories among themselves about loving the clean life. The T-shirts stated: “Ask me. See me. I am drug and alcohol free” – the theme for the event.
The sober and clean day attracted people from all walks of life, with many forms of addiction and varying lengths of sobriety.
Among the group were nine young men, who are still undergoing detoxification at the Thimphu referral hospital. Continue reading Ex-addicts celebrate being clean and sober
The International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women is celebrated globally on the November 25 every year. In Bhutan, Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women (RENEW) along with students and community of Babesa and the UN family in Bhutan observed the Day.
It was graced by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, the president of RENEW and the Goodwill ambassador of UNFPA. Continue reading International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women observed
|IN PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS – Coming to terms with a concept in their own ways
Canadian-American actor, Michael J Fox, is currently in the country shooting a documentary entitled, ‘Michael J Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist’. The documentary follows Fox as he travels the world in search of happiness and the reasons that make people happy.
“I’d read about Bhutan. I was really intrigued by the concept of gross national happiness, and I wanted to see if it really was what it was reported to be,” the star of such worldwide hits as the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy told Kuensel. Continue reading Michael J Fox-The “Incurable optimist” in Bhutan
Pemagatshel Dzongkhag has put up a proposal to the Gross National Happiness Commission to pipe water all the way from Khaling in Trashigang. Preliminary studies have been conducted on the possibility of piping water from Wamrong but the idea was dropped after finding it unsustainable for long term.
During Lyonchhen’s visit to the dzongkhag in January this year, he said that, since the Khaling stream was said to be receding, there was a need to find a sustainable alternative. He suggested that creating an artificial lake on Oori stream, which is about 1000 m above sea level, for distribution of water to some nearby villages would be a better option. Continue reading The thirsty dzongkhag
Meteorological data over the last six years show that Bhutan is becoming warmer.
The nationwide data maintained by meteorology section of the department of energy show an annual increase in temperature and rainfall. They show that, in the last six years, there has been an increasing trend in erratic precipitation and monsoon patterns across the country.
Weather forecast records throughout the country confirm climate change in Bhutan.
In the south, the maximum average temperature in Bhur, Sarpang, has risen from 27.08 degree Celsius in 2003 to 28.49 degree Celsius in 2008. In six years, Bhur has become warmer by 1.41 degree Celsius. The average minimum temperature, which was 17.8 degree Celsius in 2003, has shot up by 0.875 degree Celsius in 2008. Continue reading Bhutan warmer and wetter
Bhutan is blessed with one of the most important natural resources, water. Water is the backbone of the Kingdom’s economy with hydropower playing an ever increasing importance in revenue generation. However due to rapid socio-economic development, the pressure on water resource is increasing every year. To address this concern, the National Environment Commission has drafted a water bill.
It will ensure sustainable use of water and also address water related issues in the future.
So far there is no specific act or an authority to look after the kingdom’s water resource. The government has been protecting the environment and human health through integrated water resource management to ensure safe drinking water and sanitation for the people. Continue reading Bhutan draft water bill discussed
Although on track to achieve the millennium development goals’ (MDGs) health targets, Bhutan is challenged with low levels of skilled birth attendance.
“Bhutan’s skilled birth attendance, which is 56 percent, is a critical challenge,” said a WHO representative during the high-level consultation held in Ahmedabad, India, to accelerate progress towards achieving maternal and child health (MNCH) – goals 4 and 5 of the MDGs. Continue reading Meeting MDG Goals – The Challenges Before Bhutan