Indian ambassador assures government of GoI’s support during rupee crisis

The Indian ambassador to Bhutan, Pavan K Varma, said that the Government of India (GoI) will standby Bhutan to help tide over the rupee crisis. This, the Indian ambassador highlighted in an interview with The Bhutanese.

The Ambassador said “Bhutan enjoys bipartisan support across political parties in India and India will stand by its commitments as far as economic cooperation with Bhutan is concerned”.

He said that despite its own financial constraints and other factors, the Indian political leadership is very much aware of the situation and will do everything in its capacity to help Bhutan in such a crisis. “Bhutan figures very importantly in the international priorities of India and we have been proving this over the years”.

The ambassador said that the Indian Finance Minister in his budget proposal has already ‘allocated’ INR 26bn as aid to fulfill the commitments India has to Bhutan.

He said that GoI is currently examining the possibility of raising the standby credit line from INR 3bn to INR 10bn as per the request of the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB).

As of last week the short-term borrowing of INR was around INR 9.7 bn of which INR 6.8bn is from State Bank of India’s (SBI) overdraft (OD) facility and INR 3bn is the pending debt from GoI.

The government is also planning to increase the limit on SBI’s OD facility so if negotiations are through to increase the limit on the two credit facilites, Bhutan will be able to borrow up to 20 bn.

Earlier, speaking at a press conference, Finance Minister Wangdi Norbu  commented on the government’s take on the rupee crunch  and highlighted major fiscal policies the government will adopt to curb the rupee shortage. He said that “the GoI has asked us to wait till April when the government of India’s new financial year commences”.

The  SBI’s INR 10bn OD facility to the country was liquidated last year by selling USD 200M from RMA’s reserves following which INR borrowings was initiated by RMA to cater to rupee requirements in the country.

The government has proposed to increase the standby credit facility because it was cheaper than the OD as the interest paid on OD at 10% was higher than the credit facility.

Certain quarters of the nation raised concerns about the viability of the hydro power projects in the country as it involves huge INR outflows while importing materials and machinery. However, Mr Varma said the rupee crisis cannot be attributed to hydro power projects.  “Hydro power cooperation is funded in INR by GOI. It will not contribute to a rupee outflow except for local work being done by Bhutanese contractors in cases where they import some machinery from India.”

“We believe that hydro power production in Bhutan in cooperation with GOI will go a long way, mitigating the current transient crisis and will ultimately contribute to the prosperity and well-being of Bhutan”, he said.

Earlier, Lyonpo Wangdi Norbu explained that since the money committed was not  disbursed on time, the government incurred expenditure of Nu 1.5bn for the small development program which further worsened the rupee shortage. The Indian government is yet to replace the amount.  If this money comes we will be better off,  he had said then.

Mr Varma said there are procedures to be followed. “Budget session is on and the budget will be fully passed. Once it is passed, it becomes formal and the outflow will be in keeping with the phase demands that different sectors require.”

The ambassador also recommended high-end Indian tourists, more Bhutanese exports and business partnerships among others as a means of enhancing rupee inflow. “We have also been trying to see if India’s business and industry leaders can invest in Bhutan and we have had several very high level delegations visiting Bhutan in recent times,” he said.

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7 comments

  1. See the essence of talk here. I fully agree with HE and one of the methods of busting INR is through promotion of Indian tourists here.

    There is no essence in talk show of minister for mowhs over INR crisis. A minster talk should be like the talk of Indian HE as given here. 

    Don’t give us vacuum talk our politicians. People laugh at you, man!!!

  2. Tax the rich, enrich the poor, so the gap is closer!

    • They should definitely increase the taxes on the rich, but will that happen, I think not.

      • how many rich are there to tax? 100 or 200 at most depending on your definition of rich. How much can they pay more as taxes as they already pay CIT, BIT
        and PIT? Most of the people who you call rich have build companies, hotels, banks and created jobs and contributed to economy. On the other hand, we have government employees who contribute nothing but demand salary increase every year and they are living off the productivity of other people in the country.

  3. If only the solution was as simple as bringing in Indian tourists, the fact is that many people in the hospitality business can’t stand the Indian tourists and it has nothing to do with being biased towards them, it is just that they are a pain in the neck to handle. 

    Ask anyone who has handled them as to whether they are easy to handle.

  4. Contain fronting at all levels, things will be ok.
    Today fronting takes place from putting a ceiling in one of the new Olakha buildings to running huge hardwares supplies. Fronting means INR is going out in one way or the other illegally. 
    When all loopholes in fronting are fixed, things will be ok.
    A few examples:
    1. If a company is employing a non-Bhutanese as a “Manager” for the last 15 years, then there is a dirty game there.  Companies should NOT be allowed to employ non-Bhutanese ‘Manager’ or for that matter any non-Bhutanese for more than 3 years in the same company.
    2. Many Bhutanese students study and then start working in India. It will only be to our advantage if this system is institutionalized, whereby government provides money transfer facilities, organize discussions so that more Bhutanese students can seek jobs in India (afterall we can not provide jobs to all students).
    3. Build skills and attitudes of Bhutanese workforce. Be wary of institutions like Royal Bhutan Polytechnic that produced some of the most corrupt people and processes in the country. Our vocational Institutions should also teach about ethics and values

    So small steps like these through strong policy formulation should contain the Rupee crisis.

  5. take take,, we bhutanese are good in spoon feeding only,,, take from india and then be their servants and slaves……………. 

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