Before joining this profession, I despised the job of Gewog Administrative Officer (GAO) and whenever I encountered the GAOs earlier, I found them not so dignified. It could be of the post they hold as GAO or of the rumors that GAOs have not much work to do at their offices in the Gewogs and learn nothing. Rumor has it that all they do is drink alcohol and waste time playing and loitering around. There were also controversies of GAOs not being in terms with the Gups (local leaders). And finally they were also believed to be the residues of the BCSE (Bhutan Civil Service Examination) at that time.
Well I decided to join this profession after not being selected for the post of immigration officer in which I was ranked third but only two slots were available. Although I still had a choice to join other agencies as I was in the waiting list category having passed the BCSE, and also to re-enter my ex profession as a teacher with my little experiences I had, my patience of having to wait and rejoining old professions seemed to be exhausted from the frustration of not being selected for the post of immigration officer. It was a job I thought that best suited me. I began to realize that in life we are compelled to compromise our choices with fate. It seemed to me that fate overrules and is unfathomable. Joining this profession was a blend of encouragement and discouragement from my relatives and friends. Finally I made up my mind to give it a try and with a heavy heart, I signed and filled the RCSC form for this job. I selected Tsirang for my placement and precisely at Rangthangling Gewog which earlier was named as Chaunetai. We were fortunate enough to have got the preference to mouth the Gewogs and the Dzongkhags of our choice, the reason being fewer candidates and more vacant posts.
Thus, Tsirang was the best place I could opt for as it was centrally located with moderate climatic conditions.
Now it’s been little more than four years since having been appointed and also working as the GAO of Rangthangling Gewog under Tsirang Dzongkhag and I had come to know that in reality it’s just the reverse of what I had in my mind - the job is a one man job with daunting and challenging with the Administration task and more of other tasks too. We have to be a planner for the Developmental activities in Gewog, a procurement officer, a Tshodrung in the GYT (Gewog Yargye Tshogdu-a highest level decision making in the Gewog), and a clerk writing numerous official correspondences and jotting down the minutes of a meeting and also have to be a guide and a reference person for the important officials who visits Gewog. We are also the member of very important committees and standing committees formed in Gewog like the Tender Committee, Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, Dispute Committee and other standing and Adhoc committees. We are also a resource person for the Gup, a Mentor and an advisor for the GT (Gewog Tshogdu) of various Government policies, (the financial rules, procurements rules, Community protocol etc) and various Acts and the Rules and Regulations which are endorsed annually and some amended. We are also able to make the suggestions and feedbacks either in the form of verbally or in writing with the Parliamentarians about its Acts which is to be further debated and discussed before it gets endorsed.
And to name some the GAOS also have a pivotal role in Gewogs as the Gewog focal persons for the Gyalpoi Zimpon’s Kidu, Disaster, Waste Management and RENEW. It is here that we play a vital role to stop or to prevent the issues of domestic violence by advocating and sensitizing on issues of Domestic violence, the need to refrain being violence and also briefing of its Act.
We are also the Gewog Registrar for the Farmers Group and Association and as Asst. Deputy Chief Co-ordinator at the time of elections, the post which although is a third in rank of the hierarchy from Dzongda and Dzongrab yet in actual we are to manage the pots, firewood, manage an accommodation or prepare temporary shelter and arrange the porters for officials yet it is a satisfaction after the successful completion like a landslide winning candidate for the important Elections of a nation.
Numerous meetings have had to be held on different occasions. And besides, there are various duties or roles performed and assigned for the GAOs. With decentralization to the Gewog level the focus has increased further with more roles to play henceforth .So it is a worth giving a try.
And it is Indeed a very beautiful statement from the Hon'ble Nangsid Lyonpo and Secretary, MOHCA of the closing remarks & keynote address for the Administrative officer's symposium,(April 2014) ''as a frontline development worker and to work first hand with people right at the start of their carrier''