First up, I am happy and grateful for all the company you and Kruti gave me during my initial days in Gujarat University. With you guys around, I felt little less homesick and little more secured. I hope this good friendship of ours will continue all through our life.
On your birthday, I would like to wish you many more happiness, joy, success, merits, prosperity and achievements in your life. With age you may grow old, but do not forget that you are a very sweet person.
All the best from Kuenzang and Family (from Bhutan)
Thanks to the idea of golf course and constriction of a road. Shingkhar village, -yes, that's right, my birth place in recent times, have increasingly become a news piece for not only Shingkhaprpas but it has also become a topic of discussion for many Policy Makers, Environmentalist, Financial analysts and Economists.
To be honest, there is nothing tricky about this business. It is simply a conflict of preferences among different parties; -community on one side and road and golf course idea on the other side. But it will be wrong to presume that it is a tug of war between community and ideas alone, because these ideas have now drawn lot of attentions from other parties who apparently think, that they also have equal stakes in the business.
The fact of the matter is, Shingkhar is seeing some light of Investment (be it a foreign or national) coming via Tonglai ya after so many years. Shingkhar's investment requirement is not tricky one either. History of Shingkhar has many dis-equalibriums. Lack of investment is certainly one thing. Therefore when community sees one wagging in, they cannot help but go frenzy. For them its like "water in desert".
But the question is, is that a real kind of investment that the community and nation is in need of? What kind of economies and dis-economies will it warrant to locality and nation? What return is it going to give us, both in short term and long term? Is that a divergent investment or is that a convergent Investment? How are community values being judged? Does the welfare gain of one party really offset the welfare lost of the community and other stake holders?
Before we can either say 'YES' or 'NO' to the proposals, we may need to answer many more questions than those mentioned above. The problem at hand is a real economic, which few intelligent people in isolated room cannot solve. It needs a deliberation and diligent interaction among stakeholders. Proper property rights assignments are key to solving such issues. Who own Shingkhar? Investors or Shingkharpas?
Private sector development in
Bhutan is as old as the private sector concept itself. As a nation, we were among
last nations in the world to recognize private sector development as the main
engine of the economic growth. It was indeed an economic solution that a land
locked country like ours needed the most for bettering our economy by making it
grow and expand.
But not many people understood
the real meaning of private sector development. Due to this single skewed
reason, the normative Policy tools like subsidy, grants, permits, and tax
holidays could do too little in too long time to bring major changes in the
face of economic growth.
To be practical, we are a nation
with not only with scarce resource endowments but we are equally a nation with
equal dismal consumer numbers. The only natural resource we can be proud of is
our water resources, which are threatened by exogenous factors like climate
change, continuous deforestation and ecological imbalances elsewhere.
In absence of strong and vibrant
private sector, our export figures are always over shadowed by our towering
import figures. It means the multiplier/accelerator affects are always
negative. In absence of positive multiplier/accelerator effects, it created low
feasibility investment atmosphere. The
low level of investment in an economy meant that our income levels are low,
which led to low level of saving. The low level of saving meant that people are
paying high rate of interest (meaning Investment is becoming a costly affair).
Now if we carefully analyze this circular flow of events in our economy, then
we are making our economy worse by ourselves.
So where does the solution lie?
How do we make our private sector do better?
The significant answer lie in the
way we distribute our precious human resources. As rightly pointed out by our
beloved King during his coronation speech in 2008, he said; “Bhutanese people
are nation’s greatest asset”. I second His majesty’s thoughtful statement. By
making this single landmark statement, His Majesty meant volumes.
To understand the context correctly,
let us first get the basics right. I am positive that majority will join me
when I say that our education system is still a job oriented one. To be more
precise, a public job oriented. These patterns of employment created a very prejudiced
system because majority of the talented, knowledgeable, creative, smart and
skilled manpower are absorbed either in Politics or in public sector. With
apparently inferior residual manpower, private sector could do little to compete
with public sector for growth, development and expansion in terms of managerial
innovation and available resources.
To put it in other words, our
economy is always in Pareto-optimum favoring public sector. It may be hard for
some people to digest this, but there is a general economic belief that in reality, smart
people always does smart job. Therefore, the public sector with given quality
of human resources has always believed to have been the major difference maker in
the growth of Public sector and private sector. The other normative economic
tools made by public sector and politicians in the form of taxation policies
and rules also affected the growth of private sector.
With this reality, there is an
opportunity for us to make a tradeoff between strong or even stronger public
sector or a strong and dynamic private sector. Or how about we also give due
consideration to both by applying a Pareto criterion.
A fan that made me think deep. Fan, a luxury good ? or Fan, a necessity good?
I finally got fan in my room. Being an Economics Student, I don't know as to which class of commodity it will fall under. Because as per my economic knowledge, a fan in hot and humid place can rightly be classified as necessity goods. I think its also income and price inelastic commodity. This means a fan in hot and humid place is also equivalent to commodities like salt, rice and cooking oil in our homes.
For now, I am making it function round the clock because, it feels too good under a functioning fan when the temperature outside is already souring to their dizzy heights. If water boils at 100 degree Celsius, then I survived the heat that is near it's half.
Courtesy to being human, I think I have adjusted well. I survived more than a month with no fan. Once again, thanks to my friend, Kruti and her Mom, I am blessed with a small table fan. But with two free riders in my room, a table fan at times was no fan for us, because it did little to cool three of us.
Whatever, its a fan in a room, in a place called Gujarat. You can have your own classification and definition of luxury goods and necessity goods.
At times I really, sincerely, madly, deeply feel mad at myself for being so forgetful about some of the basic things in life. People won't believe me when I say that, sometimes I reach my class without even brushing my teeth and combing my standing hairs. The worst is when I leave my things behind never to be found again. Many such things have happened with me and I have virtually lost the count now. It's actually "I left my things somewhere" but I prefer saying "I lost it".
The last one was very recent case. I left my phone in an Auto I was travelling to my College. Not realizing the beautiful pictures of my family that I lost along, the only self consolation I had was that I have used that phone for almost five years. Ohh no. My wife used that phone for nearly five years, until she decided to give it to me. Because of my forgetfulness attribute, I never fancied buying any fanciful phones so far.
With my Phone lost, I was cutoff from my family and my parents. The life is woeful. Believe me its even miserable without it.
So I decided to buy a new phone for myself. I took another auto.That time I made sure that everything is checked and that I left nothing behind. Once in the shop, I thought I was almost done with my phone acquisition. Then I asked for the shopkeeper to also give me a sim card.
He looked nervous and to some extent, he looked confused too. He started asking me so many questions. The first thing he asked me was which country I come from and whether I have a passport, visa, Driving license, Citizen card, proper address in India and why I was here in India for. With these many questions, even I became nervous too. At one point of time, I felt like they were suspecting me of a terrorist.
On my end, I have always showed my candidness. I told him that I am form Bhutan and that I have come here for my education, I even gave him a copy of my citizen identity card and my college student card.
But He wasn't convinced, instead he kept calling different people. He even said that my citizen identity card looks very unauthentic to which I promptly responded. I told him that he will need a bar code reader to read my details. At the height of his worse geographical knowledge, he didn't know where Bhutan is and what kind of bilateral relation we (Bhutan) shared at National level with India.
After sometime, he gave me a list of documents required to own an Indian sim card as below:
1. Passport copy
2. Visa Copy copy
3. Citizen ID card copy
4. Driving License copy
5. College ID copy
6. Letter from Government of India
7. Recommendation letter from my University
8. Passport photographs of the person who recommends
9. Voter card of person who recommends
10. My passport photographs
11. Proper address in India.
With a lengthy list of requirements, I thought its better off not owning a phone altogether.