FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
The paradox of self-reliance
Posted:May 15, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
The government’s announcement of Bhutan being unable to achieve the national objective of economic self-reliance by 2020 is disturbing.
 
By acknowledging this to the donors, the government almost implied that the 11th Plan’s objective of self-reliance and inclusive green socio-economic development might also not be met.
 
This acknowledgment has come at a time when the country is reeling under the so-called chilli crisis, not because we don’t have enough but because we depend on imported vegetables and grains. We are also as dependent on our development partners in meeting our five-year plan goals and the irony of development partners funding our 11th Plan to make Bhutan self-reliant is hard to miss.
 
The Economic Stimulus Plan has reinvigorated growth and stability of the economy but we do understand that the fund was not met through domestic revenue. How do we then understand the concept of economic self-reliance when we rely on donors, who we affectionately call development partners, to meet our economic needs?
 
We tend to use shortage and crisis inter-changeably. So the shortage of chillies and rupees became a crisis. But this situation of shortage or crisis pales when we see that that a large portion of the country’s development plans and economic needs are met through donor funds. When reliance on the self is limited and constrained, it becomes an issue of economic sovereignty. That would be a crisis.
 
The government estimates that about 21 percent of the capital expenditure this fiscal year will be financed through domestic revenues. But more than double, 57 percent will be met through external grants. Our GDP has grown along with our dependence on external grants. Given our stage of development and developmental needs, it is understandable that we need to borrow. We need resources to spur economic growth, build infrastructure and create jobs. It could be argued that these are investments in nation building and in making every Bhutanese self-reliant, because it is the people that make a nation-state.
 
We see that efforts are being made to meet the needs of the people, more so to meet the pledges made to them.
 
Entrepreneurship is encouraged among the unemployed even though the ease of doing business at home for its people is as if not more challenging as it is for foreign companies to do business in Bhutan. Farming is being mechanised even though farmers in some communities are no longer farming. Human wildlife conflicts worry those who are farming as much as the dry irrigation canals.  Attempts are made to ease traffic congestion in urban centres even as we distributed utility vehicles to rural communities.
 
It is hoped that the fiscal measures being implemented would address these issues confronting the society. The government must deliver for the people to first become less dependent, self-reliant and then prosperous. Economic self-reliance is a national goal that needs to be met. Simply acknowledging that the objective cannot be met is not an option.
 
Kuensel Online, May 16, 2017
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Relations between India and Peru  are united by El Niño and the monsoon yet separated by vast distances across oceans.  Jorge Castaneda, Ambassador of Peru to India, talks to INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS exclusively about what is bringing the two geographically-apart countries closer.
 
read-more
Indian judge Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected to the International Court of Justice on Monday as the UN General Assembly rallied behind him in a show of force that made Britain  bow to the majority and withdraw its candidate.
 
read-more
Those with a resolve make a big difference to the society. They inspire others to make the best out of a bad situation, steer out of morass with fortitude. Insha Mushtaq, the teenage girl who was pelleted to complete blindness during 2016 emerged as a classic example of courage.
 
read-more
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have "great potential" and they could work together at a "practical level".
 
read-more
This week a major United Nations gathering on climate change gets underway in Bonn, Germany.
 
read-more

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to build India's global appeal for investors seem to have finally yielded returns in terms of the country's performance in the World Bank&rsquo...

 
read-more
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...

 
Column-image

Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.