Friday, June 14, 2013

The Forgottens

The First Five Year Plan took off in 1961 and now we are into the 11th FYP. It has been 52 years since Bhutan embarked on the road to development. The Bhutanese people from all walks of life have reaped immense benefits from these development plans. The road connectivity has enabled us to travel to places in few hours which previously took weeks. Farmers can now easily sell their produce and their lives are uplifted.  Education has played a bigger role in civilizing and organizing our people into social strata thereby enhancing harmony and social balance. Education has given Bhutan legs to sprint in the race towards modernization. Electricity has revolutionized our lives. We have tamed technologies to cook, wash and sing for us. Our lives are very much comfortable now.
But there is a dark side of these Development Plans; its inherent flaw that it is not able to reach the whole populace. The brushes of modern development hasn’t been able to paint the entire canvas with equal and uniform strokes. No development plan can reach all pockets of society and thus its outcome/benefits cannot be utilized to the intended extent. For instance, what’s the use of electricity to a household that cannot afford to buy a light bulb? What’s the use of school to a family who cannot afford to send their children to school? What is the use of having land and having access to better agricultural techniques to a household with no workforce and to the disabled and elderly citizens? Though the physical structures may be present, it is of no use. Thus, a different approach to development befitting the beneficiary may be adopted so that we can see uniform brush strokes on the canvas. And it’s only after that a painting may be considered complete.
His Majesty the King has come to the rescue and has touched the lives of people living in such pathetic conditions. His Majesty’s kidu is the only source of hope and has provided relief to those in destitution. But why didn’t the government come up with plans to address these issues? The average citizens were continuously reaping the benefits of development, yet at the same time, underprivileged citizens have been missed out. It seems the whole budget were for the privileged ones while no separate budget were earmarked aside to help the people in destitution. Don’t they also have equal rights to the government treasury? It’s sad that there is no budget head sidelined to help them in the 11th FYP too. Though the Political parties said they are “kidu sesepai butshu” I don’t think they faced the hardships that the under privileged people have faced and are facing every single day of their lives. Or else, some measures would have been taken or a voice raised for them a very long time ago.
For the policy makers, it is very important that they take a holistic approach towards development so that no section of society is left behind. Even if they are not able to encompass all section of the society, certain provision has to be provided in order to help such people. I hope the victorious political party this July would be sensible enough and use their “kidu sesepai” experience to develop policies and plans that could seep into the lives of those people living in destitution.
Take development as a boat and I bet we would all love to sail to the shore with equal ease and safety; not some enjoying cool coconut juices enjoying the palm trees, sea gull vista and yet others breaking every muscles in their body to oar it to the shoreline. We are all humans – mortals- to be precise and who doesn’t love an equal distribution of sunshines and shades in their lives.

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