Bhutan

How costly is our development planning?

Sep 5, 2017
Resource waste is the problem. As a small country that depends highly on international aid, resource use should be at the heart of our development programmes. Sadly it is not.
 
Excavator and a backhoe distribution in Bumthang is the case in point. Our bureaucrats have explanations of their own.  For a whole lot out of the bureaucracy though, the whole act looks a little too illogical.
 
And there is something unhealthy growing in the heart of the society. Distrust among groups is showing in the form on paranoia. There has been a lot of threatening and fear-mongering happening lately. This is a sickness that will cost us dear.
 
Do end really justify the means? This Machiavellian idea may be relevant somewhere; it is not where we are. And this is more worrying than anything else – a good idea getting politicised. Maybe this is what democracy makes of a society. Calling shots at rights can be difficult. For a society that has valued peace and forged a way to keep it, such metamorphosis is deeply disturbing and vastly unfortunate.
 
How such aids are received and distributed have regulations of their own.  The 30 excavators and 20 Backhoes that Japan gave Bhutan, that altogether works out to an assistance of worth no less than USD 6.948 million, is good. According to agriculture ministry, this arrangement could help us construct 457kms of farm roads by next June, which could comfortably meet the 11th Plan target. What this means is that by the end of the 11th Plan, the country will have about 8,400kms.
 
The problem now is about transportation of the machinery from Bumthang that the dzongkhags have to bear. And it works out to more than Nu 200,000. The expenditure should be met from the development budget of individual dzongkhag. Any which way, cost will be involved. The machines have to be transported and assembled. Thank heavens the agreement with the donor agency saves our pocket. In this particular case, Japan bore the cost of transporting the machines until Bumthang, the head quarters of Central Machinery Unit.
 
The real concern is about development budget of the dzongkhags that is being affected by such arrangements. The cost of transportation besides, the expenditures from dzongkhag’s development budget will increasingly be used in the machines in the future. What is the real cost of such arrangements?
 
Kuensel Online, September 5, 2017

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