Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Rupee Crush and the Ngultrum Crunch

-->Day-before-yesterday, a reporter friend asked me; “What is your view on the Rupee crunch? When do you think it is likely to be solved, if ever?”

She was aghast at the simplicity of my answer. She couldn’t accept that the reason could be explained away in just two lines - in all of 5 seconds, in such simple and uncomplicated terms. She expected me to come up with an elaborate economic theory, a complex and intricate explanation on what went wrong where and when. She was sure I would give her a mind boggling, blow-by-blow account of how things went wrong - a detailed, step-by-step remedial measures that needs to be put in place, to get out of our present woes.

We have complicated our lives so much that simple things are no longer credible. That is why, perhaps, we feel a sense of sophistication when we prefer cocktails that contain dashes of salt and pepper, instead of drinking whiskey in the raw. Thus, I suppose, it is understandable that my newsperson friend looked at me incredulously and did not believe a word of the simple and straightforward explanation I gave her. In her mind she had already decided that I would offer her something titillating, something dramatic, something debilitating and scandalous, in order that she can faithfully perpetuate the confusion that she and her brood had been dishing out.

Each of our media houses are so preoccupied in outdoing each other in putting out preposterous and outlandish reasons why we are in our current predicament, all of a sudden and without warning, that they have completely failed to report on the positive effects this supposed Rupee crunch is having on the country. As a result, we have today a nation full of nervous and gawk-eyed people who have been mislead into believing that our problems began a little over two months back when the RMA Governor started regulating the use of Indian Rupees. No one seems to understand that our problems began with our crush for the Indian Rupee that started with our modernization sometime in the early 1960’s.

Another hazardous belief that is gaining popular credence among the media and the people alike is that all able and competent people must join politics. They do not seem to care that the mass exodus of experienced civil servants could cause even more dangerous leadership vacuum in the bureaucracy. A strong, dedicated and functioning civil service is even more critical for the efficient implementation of the government’s plans and programs.

Even as the next elections are drawing near and even as a number of aspiring political parties are dangerously coming close to being formed (if media is to be believed), I am getting more and more worried. The successful formation of even one additional party means that we have to go through a primary round of elections. For a miniscule country with a population size of less than 700,000 people, a primary round is too wasteful and unnecessary. Even for the current two parties, there aren’t enough credible candidates to go around - let alone leadership of any substance. Bhutan is in no condition to afford a wasteful primary round. Therefore, let us hope that a third party does not get formed and, even if it does, let us do away with the primary round and go straight for the real deal.

The combined stress of a Rupee crunch as well as an Ngultrum crunch could turn out to be the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back!

But I tell you! We are living in exciting times. My temples are pulsating with the reverberation caused by the rush of warm blood that is pounding them. I am so thoroughly excited by the intrigue surrounding the mystery of the Rupee crunch and the provable solution that may come from some totally unexpected quarter. The intellectual hounds among you should analysis the situation, seriously.


  1. Yeshey, what was your answer ? You didn’t say, or am I missing it...or is your answer to be read between the lines and am no good at that. Anyways, am with you that we cannot afford to lose experienced civil servants to politics. We need a well-oiled bureaucracy for a government to function uninterrupted. It remains to be seen whether any of the new parties will weather the storm leading up to the elections.

  2. we've always had a rupee shortage because we were always consuming more than we produced. So why are we only starting to feel the squeeze now?
    But like you say - to hear some of these "intelllectual hounds" anyone would be forgiven for believing that this came up in the last few years and that Bhutan was a rupee earning economy just some 5 to 10 years ago.

  3. Bravo pour votre blog, très intéressant :)

    1. translation please! sure interested to know what you wrote:-)