Monday, August 11, 2014


A)  NEPAL AND BHUTAN ON EQUAL FOOTING?                                                                               
Bhutanese leadership of past and present very often have compared the ultimate effects of the so called “sovereign” attitude of Nepal versus “accommodating” attitude of Bhutan when it comes to relation with India. 

Bhutan felt it acted more smartly and was more astute and therefore economically benefited more from India. Now the political and economic scene is laid bare for all to see and form their individual inner soul searching thoughts though in public one cannot expect much change in the political rhetoric.

On June 15th, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India came to Bhutan for 2 days State Visit. He told the Bhutanese Parliament:

1.  “Bhutan for Bharat and Bharat for Bhutan.” B4B!?
2. “The development aid package for 11th Five Year Plan will remain as committed by previous Indian Government Rs: 45 billion.”
3. “The power projects will continue.”
4. “Bhutan should promote tourism in-conjunction with the North East States of India.”

The Prime Minister paid tribute to the Kings of Bhutan for their far-sightedness and the visionary decision of the 4th King in introducing democracy.

On August 3rd, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India went to Nepal for 2 days State Visit. He told the Nepalese Parliament:

1.  “India will not interfere with the politics of Nepal but will support all its endeavours.” 
2. “India will provide $1 billion concessional credit line to Nepal to be utilized for whatever purpose Nepal desires. It was over and above all other aid packages.” 
3. “Please harness your hydro-capacity and light up India’s darkness. We do not want it free. We will buy your electricity.”
4.  “If any soldier says he is not afraid to die, it is a blatant lie unless the speaker is a Gurkha? The Gurkhas of Nepal play a vital role in the security apparatus of India.”
5. “India will help build infrastructures and power transmissions for Nepal. The Indian Government is committed to building new heights in Indo-Nepal relationship, fully respecting Nepal’s sovereignty. India will not interfere in what Nepal does.” 
6. “India looks upon Nepal with hope and deeply welcome democracy in Nepal.”

The Government of India has followed up the visit to Nepal by Prime Minister Modi with initial $12 billion aid to Nepal. That’s around Rs: 730 billion and it’s just the start up economic aid package.

In a nutshell, India has publicly accepted Nepal’s foreign policy of dual relationship with China and India. Presently China is fully funding and implementing two hydro-projects in Nepal besides other infrastructures developments like motor roads. China’s aid package to Nepal must be substantial because India’s own start up aid package for Nepal is Rs: 730 billion plus the Rs: 61.5 billion concessional credit line.


According to media reports, the Mongar Dzongkhag Tshogdu is to resubmit its proposal for rural tax increase. And Kuensel Editorial (26th July, 2014) hails that taxes should be increased 500 folds for rural dwellers. The Nu: 6 for 50 decimal dry land should be Nu: 3000 and the 50 decimal wetland of Nu: 12 tax should be Nu: 6000. In this manner of thinking, the Nu: 20 house tax should be Nu: 10,000.

What political game is really being pursued and by whom? Is it an agenda of some Political Parties or is the Government playing a dubious political game? Did the Mongar Dzongkhag Administration or the Tshogdu take the trouble to consult the Gyeltsab for Eastern Dzongkhags who is based at Gyalposhing under Mongar? It is possible that rural dwellers could perceive an association of this very determined tax increase push (the effort to resubmit immediately after the same was rejected by the National Assembly) with the installation of the Regent in the East.

It is said that rural taxes have not been revised for the last 30 years. Why must rural taxes be revised when the thrust of the present development is to improve rural livelihood and encourage people to stay on their farms? Why has this PDP formed Government provided electricity subsidy to the rural households? How does the local Government members expect the farmers to pay Nu: 3000 tax for a 50 decimal dry land that cannot yield Nu: 1000 worth of wheat grain after taking away the cultivation input cost?

Why are the members of Mongar Dzongkhag Tshogdu and Kuensel Editor so dead set upon dislocating rural people? How many urban dwellers really own land in the rural country-side? Just because their census is there, it does not mean urban dwellers actually own the farm land. The farm lands supplement the livelihoods of family members living on the farms. Many urban dwellers bear the extra burden to support their fellow relatives living in their family homes in rural Bhutan.

The rural taxes have not been revised because the nominal tax is levied for statistical purpose not to generate income to the national exechequer. The 3rd King was not a son of a farmer but His Majesty comprehended the hardships of rural Bhutan. That was why the taxes were reduced to nominal statistical amount and since then the Kings of Bhutan had not raised the taxes for the last 45 years. And even today His Majesty the 5th King has gone to great lengths to provide land and other Kidus for those rural dwellers and now some political forces are bent on not just in nullifying these royal considerations but destroy the harmony that exist among rural communities.

It is the responsibility of the Central Government to provide adequate fund for the development and administrative expenses of the local Government. I do not think the rural society is in any position to fund such development and administrative budget. It is most disappointing in that the representatives elected by local people do not understand the reality of the social and financial situation of the villagers. If the villagers are so rich already then why are the local Tshogdu members continuously demanding higher salaries and other monetary benefits for themselves?  It is of no surprise that many families especially in the East are abandoning their homes to escape the local tyrants.

What kind of people are lobbying to de-harmonize rural community and thereby de-stabilize national harmony? Please find a different path to political power other than trampling over rural society.