Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tashi Delek To All.

My sincere and heartfelt Tashi Delek to all the NC contestants who have successfully won their election on 23rd April 2013. Its once again a history of peoples power in making. Whether our representatives hear our voice or not is a different issue but, we the people of Bhutan have once again spoken our minds.

We are today seeing many new faces in the house. Whether this is good or not, only time will tell. For now its time for all of us to expect new talents and innovations from those new faces. They are the new set of captains we have entrusted to sail our ship of democracy forward.

Let us all hope that these set of people put their service to people and nation before their volatile perks and allowances. We want all of them to be realist! Lets also hope that our representatives stay connected with us all the time.  We hope they all become the worthy servants of people and the King.

Tashi Delek

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Economy is in shape: Government

(On economy, borrowings and trade deficit – responses from Meet the Press)

Lyonpo Wangdi Norbu, Finance Minister

We have to speak about the current situation which you assume is bad and based on that assumption your argument is being made. We have all along said the situation is not bad.

Look at the macro indicators: most of them are very good. For example, GDP growth - one of the ways to assess the economy – is around 9 percent and the unemployment rate – another important indicator – is down from 4.5 to 2.1 recently, quite low by any standard.

While we had rupee shortage, we did not have overall reserves problem. Within the overall reserves, rupee is just one part of it, albeit a large part because our trade is largely with India. The correct yardstick is how much of reserves do we have to sustain how many months of our import requirements. This is a constitutional requirement. We have total reserve sufficient to cover more than one year’s essential imports. When we have rupee shortage we use dollars and when we have dollar shortage, we use other currencies. If you look at many other countries it is much lower.

The economy is not in bad shape, rather this government, during the five years, has added a lot of economic structures to take the country and economy forward. So the prospects are very good for the next government, including the benefits they can reap from the commissioning of some hydropower projects. Small problems will crop up from time to time and I think the next government will resort to similar measures like ours.

Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, Economic Affairs Minister

Let’s go into the context. The DPT government coincided with the global economic meltdown, not to speak of our own inherent difficulties such as landlockedness, high costs of transportation, shortage of labor skills, technology and market. We cannot be totally insulated from what is happening in the world.

We have witnessed 8–9 % average growth over the years. In terms of actual GDP value, in 2008, our GDP was 54 billion. In 2011 it went up to 85 billion - a huge growth in terms of values.

Over the last four years, corporate taxes grew by 122%, business tax by 135 %. In terms of value, corporate tax jumped from Nu 2.3 billion to 5.1 billion, business tax from less than half a billion to 1.2 billion.
Or look at the credit from the financial institutions. The credit given to different sectors in 2008 was Nu 22 billion. In 2012 (September), it was Nu 54 billion – meaning, a huge surge in economic activities.

Of the total of over 29,000 trade licenses in the country, 16,000 were issued in the last four years. Of the total 37,000 industrial licenses, over 11,000 were issued in the last four years. Why take licenses if there is no growth?

Look at GDP per-capita growth pattern in the last three years – 2,277 dollars to 2,590 to 2,986. We have already 62 high-end hotels; in 2012 alone, 48 new hotels were issued construction licenses. From one aircraft, we now have 4. More Bhutanese are travelling than ever before.

I met Indian leaders several times and they are impressed with the growth of our economy. The IMF rated us, in 2012, the fourth fastest growing economy, and The Economic magazine in 2013 forecast that Bhutan will be the fastest growing economy. ADB has said we are the best performing country in 2012.
In the past, the FIs had huge liquidity problems. Now there are more FIs, more capital, liquidity. Why? They are not keeping the money; it is all being invested in the economy.

What we are leaving behind is a very strong legacy. Let me tell you this: we have laid very strong fundamentals for the new government to enjoy higher growth rate because of investments, policies, strategies that we have adopted. All in all, let me tell you, the economy has never been stronger.

Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley

Have any of your friends, relatives, brothers and sisters lost their jobs in the government or the private sector because the economy is performing badly? Have anyone of you lost your homes, cannot afford the homes and apartments you are living in? Has your lifestyle changed? Have you stopped driving your cars? Have you stopped consuming what you are used to? Do you see fewer people going on pilgrimage? Do you see fewer people going abroad to places like Bangkok for holidays?

Are you receiving lesser care from the health sector because we can no longer afford medicines because we can no longer continue to afford the same kind of services because the economy is in poor shape? Have you heard that the Health Ministry has stopped sending people abroad for super specialized treatment? More and more people are going to Kolkatta, Bangalore, Delhi.

Where are the signs that our economy is performing poorly? Have you heard that there is capital flight out of Bhutan, that investors have stopped investing in Bhutan and in fact they are withdrawing the money as in cases where the economies are crumbling, where economies are indeed crippled? Have you heard that the Indian money, rupees, has stopped flowing into the country? I haven’t heard, I haven’t experienced.

Have you heard the farmers - the majority of our people – complaining? What I have heard is that they are very happy with the growth of market for their produces? Where is the economy hurting, who is hurting among you? Don’t build images and don’t build false perceptions. Don’t built sense of insecurity. We are doing well and the IMF–World Bank pre-assessment team is here. What they said - and you should interview them – is that the Bhutanese Economy is on sound footing. We know that and that is why despite the entire world going through an economic downturn we are projecting a minimum of 8 percent growth in the 11th FYP.

I Sealed My Sem III With 81.5%

                       G u j a r a t   U n i v e r s i t y                      
                         [ NAAC Accredited B++ (83.1%) ]                        
Exam.:Sem. 3 of                Master of Arts  held in December-2012 
Seat No. :   1439    Name: THINLEY KUENZANG                                     
College: (020) USS         Centre: 01  Combination:         - 1-1600011       
                                              External        Internal       
                Subjects                   Max Min  Obt   Max Min  Obt      
----------------------------------------  -----------------  -----------------  
Economics-501 International Economics-II   70  25   63    30  11   26      
Economics-502 Growth & Development-II      70  25   57    30  11   29      
Economics-503 Public Economics-II          70  25   45    30  11   29      
Economics-504 Managerial Economics-II      70  25   55    30  11   28      
Economics-505EA Q.M.E.-II                  70  25   42    30  11   29      
Economics-506EA Industrial Economics-II    70  25   64    30  11   22      
                                           420  --  326   180  -- 163      
----------------------------------------  -----------------  -----------------  
Enrol.No.: 201101900349             Total: 489 /  600  Result:PASS        
                                    Result Date: 20-APR-2013              
Obviously I am little wordless here and I would like to share my reasons.
Couple of days ago, I was mad beyond my words. I think any ordinary human would have have felt the same. Because, our University officials have been telling lies after lies about the result declaration date.  I am, on verge of completing my final semester, but not being able to get get my third semester result was a real worrisome affair.

So, few weeks ago, I went alone to check the the status of the result in the University office. Surprisingly, one official there did not even consider my worth better than a stray dog. I don't know whether he had problem talking to me in English or not but he simply refused to talk to me. I returned home low and lost.
And the last time I went to check was the day before yesterday. That day I went along with my two friends. There too, a man in the Comptrollers office scolded us and then harshly told us that the results would be declared in 48 hours time. While  talking to us, his bull-like eyes reddened like the sindhur on his forehead. We found him in total not-in-the-mood-to-talk. He did not even let us explain our reasons! Outraged and humiliated three of us walked back to our room.
Finally they took 48 hours plus a day to declare it. I did what ever possible from my side and I think it is fairly reflected in my result as well. I feel that my hard work is duly rewarded. The papers I scored lowest are the Public Finance( 74%) and Quantitative Methods in Economics (71%).

For Public Finance paper, I  know I could have done it better but it was all Indian Public Finance mostly taught in Gujarati Medium. So that was all I could do. And in QME paper, I could have done it little better too. Sadly that day our question paper did not contain log table. All in all, I think I gave the best and got the best. I am happy about it.

I would like to thank all my professors for all their unending support and my family back home for their prayers. I feel indebted to all my guardian deities back home for showering me with good health and good luck. I would also like to thank my senior friend Sonam Phuntsho for all his notes and guidance. I have sealed my third semester with 81.5%..

Starting 24th April, I will be seating for my final semester exams. So please friends wish me good luck.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thank You Government

Source: Druk Phunsum Tsogpa Facebook Page

As we draw closer to dissolve our Government, I would like to thank our Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Ministers and all our MPs from 20 dzongkhag for what ever they have done in the interest of our Nation. I would like to thank them sincerely for listening to all the criticisms and feedback we may have made in course of years.

There were often times our government mistook feedback and suggestions as undue and unjust criticisms. In fact there are lot our politicians can learn from such interactions. This is one part of democracy we can not afford to ignore. Probably this is the very way how we take or democracy forward!

Our kings, both past and present have placed immense trust and faith in democracy. Accordingly, its our present set of politicians who came forward to shoulder the call. So we all owe them a  big thank you.

Our opinions and thoughts differ on their achievements and failures. In essence, it indicates that we are in a democratic country. It shows how diversity of views and thoughts matter in democracy. We must never forget this.

We have already sailed for five years but have still eternity to continue forward. Our leaders, by now must have realized how democratic road is bumpy and how running an affair as big as country is not everyone's cup of tea.

With this I would like to once again thank our first set of Parliamentarians (both NA and NC) for all their hardwork and dedication. Also I would like to wish them all, more success in times to come in their political career. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Notes From My Diary, My Closing Days in Gujarat University

I am finally done with my project work and I have already submitted it to my guide. He went through it briefly and said I have done it reasonably well. But truly speaking in academic sense, I am not at all satisfied and happy with the way my final semester has progressed. We just had a class here and there for two months and now we are preparing for our final exams. Lot of things are left untaught. In some of the papers its very difficult to even do self study. And to our despair, we haven't got our third semester results yet.

Mean while, the heat is getting incessant. The temperatures have risen so high that even the swamp near my campus has completely dried up. The ground is dusty everywhere and has become like a solid rock. In between we often do not get water supply.  Interestingly, somewhere media has reported that all the water supplies have been diverted to the new swimming pool which has been constructed for new vice chancellor.

Few days ago, we had our class presentation in mathematical Economics.Time allotted for each person was just two minutes! I feel its so stupid, because there are people who take more then two minutes to just write their names. There were few of my friends, who just came forward and read out from a piece of paper with total disregard to punctuations like full-stops and comas. And there were also others who just came forward and simply said that there are not many topics in mathematical economics that can be presented in two minutes. They rather chose to laugh than present.

As for myself, befitting the allocated time, I chose a small topic. I decided to present on mathematical derivation of an ordinary demand curve. While presenting, my professor wanted me to present his way. But I boldly told him I would rather present my way and come to his conclusion. By the time I finished my presentation, I have already taken more than twenty minutes. I think that was one of the best presentation I gave in a long  long time. he he he. With that I am finally done with the presentation part also. 

There is another thing I would like to share here. After I put up a short 'Kongfu Panda Post', Panda lady or rather the self proclaimed biggest Panda fan did her best to defend her panda fan title against me. :) I am surprised to hear that she in fact live in Panda world with Panda people in Panda house! She also mentioned me about a Panda car that she is driving and panda garden that she is soon going to have. It sounds amazing. But I have a message for her.  I will not believe until I see all those Panda things with my eyes.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kongfu Panda Post

Me and my group will be passing out this May. So yesterday our friends from Gandinagar were here to bid us farewell. I told them it wasn't necessary but they wouldn't listen. They took lot of trouble coming here in the unforgiving heat and dust of Ahmadabad.

I would like to thank them all for coming here and for making us happy. I had one of the most sumptuous lunch in a long long time. Chicken curry was the best. More than the lunch, I thank them for their sense of brotherhood towards us. Perhaps this is something that is holding Bhutanese together anywhere in the world. 

And today morning I got up and repaired our old and worn out rice cooker. While fixing it up, I told our  rice cooker to hang on for another month. -- just one more month and we will be gone--.

The other thing I had in my mind was to write something about Kongfu Panda. Its one of my all-time best movies. I  think I am the biggest fan of Panda so far. But few days ago, one ardent reader on my blog claims she is a lot bigger fan of Kongfu Panda than me. She even named herself as Panda in Facebook to show how much bigger fan she is than me. But I insisted I am the bigger fan than her. Now to settle the claim, she wanted me to write something about Panda movie.

I suppose there ain't many people who do not know about this famous movie. Even my three years old daughter knows about it. She have her own favorite character!. She likes the way Po says "I love Kongfu" on the chair rigged with firecrackers. She even knows to replicate Panda's mouth in that scene. My other daughter likes a scene when Po's adopted duck-father says " Po, get up".

As for me. I like all the scenes in the movie.  Let me be very brief. In part one of the movie, the scene I like most is where Master Oogway tells Panda these lines: "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present".

This movie, in fact taught me the greatest lesson of my life. It taught me to believe in myself. Through this movie, I became more determined to discover my inner strength. I became more aware of how senseless it is for us to worry about things which are history and mystery.  At one point of time, 'live your present to the fullest' was the message I took from it. It made me believe that its only me who have the potential  and will bring inner peace to my own self. 

I simply feel its too big a movie for my small vocabulary to describe it. So let me stop here for now.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ode to Ramji, Our Gatekeeper

Here is a story of a gate keeper
Whose name I do not remember.
Too lean to be called Ram-Singh.
So I call him Ram-ji.

He works round the clock with no rest,
But still says work is worship at best.
He doesn't seem to know how
 Exploited he is for now

Five thousand rupees a month!
And he says, is a big money on earth.
 Away from his honey,
He lives thinking other than just the money.
  Says He
To me
 He is a proud father,
One who often gloats further,
About the big money he put together.
For a wedding of his bigger daughter.

 I call him Ram Ji 
and he says Haa Ji
I say Good morning ji
and he says Thank you ji

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Doing Whatever Possible With My Two Hands

Past few weeks has been the most stressful days of my life. I was dead busy writing and rewriting, typing and retyping my final project work. I have tried with all my means and resources to come up with a good report. No matter what, I always wanted to make my guide happy with my level of progress. As a person who believe in giving the best and leaving the rest, submitting a quality report was my top priority. 

And finally, I have submitted my project. My guide showed me his sense of satisfaction. All I can say is that he looked happy for the that I was able to write more than hundred pages in just two months. I feel like an ox from whose neck the yoke is being removed. I am feeling much lighter and more relaxed now. Although I felt defeated at times, I feel in the end that it was an enterprise worth undertaken. 

I feel the warm blood filled with sense of satisfaction flow through my spinal cord. I feel like going on the roof top, shout on top of my voice and tell the the world that "I am finally done with my Project" At this time of year, walking in Gujarat is not so pleasing. Especially during the day time, soaring temperature can drain all your fluids and make you flaccid. Some people faint and some suffer form heat stroke. But thanks to almighty god, I was fortunately able to complete my project that demanded lot of walking in this unforgiving hot days of Gujarat.

Now when I look back, I feel my memories exploding. Its combination of bitter, sweet and sour. Basically its a combination of all the tastes. There were times wherein I wished I were like Chak Tong Chen Tong. Totally messed up and disorganized, I felt totally lost in between my own lines. At one point of time my Tsawai Lama told me to do whatever possible with my two hand and stop wishing about Chak Tong Chen Tong. Perhaps he was right.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Writing Acknowledgement for my Project Work

This Project work has been carried out to meet the academic requirements of Gujarat University for the completion of Master of Arts in Economics. I would like to put on record, my appreciation and gratitude to all who have rendered their support and input. Without them, it would not have been possible for me to shape this study.

I have received immense guidance from my guide Dr. Kartik M. Bhatt, Professor and Head of the Economics Department, Gujarat University. I would therefore like to convey my sincere gratitude to him.

I would also like to thank Dr. Hina A. Sidhu, Professor, Economics Department, Gujarat University, for her unending encouragement. Her classes on Research methodology gave me lot of insight into carrying out research. All the more, I would also like to thank her for having trust and confidence in me.

Dr. Sanjay R Pardeshi, Professor, Economics Department, Gujarat University, has always been there to help me. He provided the most valuable information on page setting and logical arrangement of my project. His last minute suggestions proved very useful in completing my study in time and I would like to convey my earnest thanks to him.

Besides, I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Pradeep Prajapati and Ms. Tarang Solanki for all their support and guidance. I would like to thank them immensely for providing me the conceptual and theoretical clarity in various papers.

I owe my deepest gratitude to the Royal Government of Bhutan and to the Government of India for providing me all the financial support during my two years study period. I will always remain indebted to the Government of these great Nations for all the good opportunities they provided to me in shaping my academic career.

I would also like to extend my deepest thanks to Dr. Neerja Arun, Co-coordinator, Study Abroad Program and her team in the office for all the logistics and administrative arrangements. With this, I would also like to thank the other officials of Gujarat University for making my stay a pleasant one in Gujarat University campus.

I would like to mention another person who has always showed great zeal in helping me. I thank Miss. Hema R. Iyengar for all her willingness to help me. I thank her for and finding time to share her ideas, while I was busy putting up my project into its final shape.

Finally I would like to thank my parents and all my family members for bearing my absence for two long years. I wholeheartedly thank them all for sending me abundant love, encouragement and support all the way from home from their hearts. I dedicate all my success to each one of them.

to be continued..

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