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Male Fire Dog Year: Outlook 2006/07
POLITICS

The consultations with the people on the Draft Constitution of Bhutan will continue in the year of the Male Fire Dog.

On the bilateral front, the government will continue dialogue with China and India on the border demarcation.

A lot of activities to curb corruption and prepare the nation for the general elections in 2008 is expected to be carried out with the establishment of the constitutional posts.

DEVELOPMENT

Preparation for the 10th Plan, according to prime minister, Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup, was one of the major development activities of the government with focus mainly on poverty reduction, infrastructure development and private sector development.

Development of infrastructure like the Supreme Court, the National Council Building and ministers' residences were also in the pipeline.

Measures to strengthen good governance, through the Good Governance Plus document and the Position Classification System, would be an important area of focus according to the prime minister, Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup.

The double lane Babesa - Thimphu road link is expected to be open by mid-2006

ECONOMY

The commissioning of the Tala hydroelectric project in 2006 is expected to inject fresh impetus on Bhutan's economic growth.

According to the central bank, the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA), Tala would propel Bhutan's real GDP growth by 10 percent in 2006.

According to the RMA ,Tala would earn a revenue of Nu.40 million a day. The biggest hydropower project undertaken in Bhutan, the 1,020 MW Tala project would be capable of generating an average of 5,000 million units of energy in a year, nearly all of which would be sold to India. In 2006, Tala is projected to earn about Nu. 4.0 billion.

The impact of Tala on the country's reserves, however, would not be as significant. RMA pointed out that with the additional inflow of revenue from Tala, Bhutan would be undertaking many development projects in the country which would push up imports.

Besides, the repayment of interest and principal on the Tala loan from India is also expected to start in 2006. Tala's cost of construction is about Nu. 40 billion, of which most are loans from India. Tala would, nevertheless, help the country's reserves to grow at 13 percent in 2006.

The construction sector, which had experienced robust growth so far would find itself slowing down, starting 2006, because of the completion of Tala project according to the RMA.

Basochhu, of which the Phase II was completed on March 2005, and Tala were the chief factors, which drove up the growth of the construction sector over the past years.

The tourism industry is projected to see healthy growth in 2006, propped up by the purchase of two new Airbus aircraft and the continuing spin offs from the three international resorts.

Meanwhile, inflation is expected to hover around six percent.

Male Fire Dog Year: From the astrologer

The Fire Male Dog Year will be a peaceful and prosperous year according to the datho (astrological calendar) released by the Institute of Astrology in Pangrizampa, Thimphu.

The year will be blessed with plenty and timely rainfall without diseases and famine, but the datho also predicts that there will be no bountiful yield from cash crops. Even if trees yield fruits, there are chances of withering, according to the datho.

This year, religious minded people will fulfill their desire of practising religion. The Male Dog Year, however, is not a good year for livestock and aquatic life.

According to the datho, there are possibilities of dispute and conflict among people living in the northwest region, which could lead to turmoil.

There are two inauspicious months (Dana) this year: the fourth and the tenth month of the Bhutanese calendar, (May 28 - June 25 and November 21-December 21). The datho discourages starting of new or important ventures during these two months. The symbolic good direction is east, south and north. While starting new ventures or starting some important task, the datho recommends facing these directions.

Any agricultural work and other important work should be started by a male or female born in the year of the Earth Hare (eight years) or by Earth Bird (38 years). Anything started by these ages will reap fruitful yields, according to the datho.

People born in the year of the Dog are considered Lodho (bad year) and people born in the years of Tiger, Horse, Ox, and Sheep are vulnerable to risk. The datho recommends appropriate preventive religious ceremonies (rimdos).

This article was contributed by Kuensel, Bhutan's National Newspaper, 2006
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