Highlights from the Royal Address on the 112th National Day

1. Foremost concerns

a. Economic Growth: Our neighbors, 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.

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.

b. 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.

As a small country, we 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.

c. 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.

For our children to excel, they must adhere to the highest standards, and have capability, integrity, discipline, 21st century education, unity and solidarity.

2. Gyalsung to be instituted

To address some of these concerns, Gyalsung (National Service) will commence from 2022. It will be a year-long training for those attaining the age of 18.

The one year training will include a 3-month military style training, and a 9-month program in areas like agriculture sciences, entrepreneurship, computers and coding, health sciences, etc.

Gyalsung will provide direction and encourage our youth to be strong, independent thinkers, capable of serving the country. It will bring the youth of Bhutan together in a shared experience and act as a rite of passage- irrespective of their economic or regional backgrounds.
With this initiative, we are placing an immense responsibility on the shoulders of our children, and assuming an even greater responsibility ourselves, to nurture them and ensure their success.

Moving forward, there will be nationwide consultations and an opportunity for the people to seek clarifications, and propose new ideas and recommendations.

3. His Majesty The King announced that Their Majesties are expecting a second Royal Child.