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 Thailand will be the coordinating country for India within ASEAN from July. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, the fortnightly journal of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS),  Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, gave a comprehensive view of bilateral relations and
 
read-more
The struggle for autonomy has been going on within the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) from their inception, writes P.D. Rai
 
read-more
As India and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc culminate the commemoration of 25 years of their dialogue partnership with a summit in New Delhi January 25 that all the leaders will attend, India is laying out the crimson carpet to ensure that the first ever Republic Day celebrations at which 10 ASEAN leaders will be Chief Guests, jointly, is a
 
read-more
While warning about the risk of “potential nuclear catastrophe on the Korean Peninsula”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that a “window of opportunity” was still open to avoid war over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.
 
read-more
Launching the countries’ first joint scientific collaboration at the North Indian Ocean along the Makran Trench on Sunday, Chinese and Pakistani researchers started an ocean-bottom seismograph (OBS) for the first time using Shi Yan 3, a scientific research vessel from the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology at the Chinese Aca
 
read-more
“We have a very solid commitment to climate action,” he said. “We cannot be defeated by climate change and we are not yet winning this battle” and the biggest victims of climate change are the developing countries that are members of the Group of 77 (G77).
 
read-more
In a bid to promote trilateral innovation and business opportunities between the US, India, and Israel, Israel-India Technology Group has launched a trilateral fund of $50 million. "We ar...
 
read-more
Column-image

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has for the first time claimed responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in a new book in written by Taliban leader Abu Mansoor Asim Mufti Noor Wali.

 
Column-image

Title: Salafi-Jihadism -The History of an Idea; Author: Shiraz Maher; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 292; Price: Rs 499

 
Column-image

A Review of Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K. Ullman (Naval Institute Press, 242 pages)

 
Column-image

Title: The Beckoning Isle; Author: Abhay Narayan Sapru; Publisher: Wisdom Tree; Pages: 157; Price: Rs 245

 
Column-image

Title: India Now And In Transition; Editor: Atul Thakur ; Publisher: Niyogi Books: Pages: 448; Price: Rs 599