It is the responsibility of the current government to draw up the draft 12th FYP plan and secure in principal donor commitments, so that when a new government comes in it has a ready plan and also donors that it can approach.
In that sense, this government must be commended for its proposal of not seeking a major increase in grant from the Indian government in the 12th FYP and in fact keeping it at or close to the 11th FYP grant of Nu 45 bn.
This is even though the draft 12th FYP plan is much bigger than the 11th FYP and all the major internal revenue projections in the 12th FYP had to be downscaled significantly due to the delay in the Punatsangchu I & II projects and the impact of GST.
India is Bhutan’s biggest donor, and not seeking a significant increase in grant from them will mean that Bhutan will have to make a big push in the direction of self-sufficiency to meet the grant shortfall.
Be it any donor, in the form of a country or multilateral agency, grant money never comes for free but it has strings and implicit commitments attached to it. So the more the grant, the more the strings and commitments that bind a nation.
With the ongoing Bhutan-India 50th Golden Jubilee- celebrations, relations between the two countries could not be any better and are in fact at a high.
Logically, one would expect the government to seek more grant money for the 12th FYP. However, this approach while reaping short term political benefits are not good for Bhutan’s long term aim to achieve self-sufficiency.
Economic self-sufficiency in turn strengthens the sovereignty of a country.
So while Bhutan may have less grant or easy money coming its way, a prudent idea like this will ensure that we also strengthen our self sufficiency and sovereignty in the long run.
Great leaders challenge their people to achieve higher things, and this proposal is a challenge to the people of Bhutan to come forward and help the country to achieve self-sufficiency.
A promising sign is the huge attendance at the Better Business Summit in Thimphu where young entrepreneurs are not interested in finding jobs, but rather want to create jobs and wealth for Bhutan.
Happiness belongs to the self sufficient.