Skip to main content

Rural-Urban Migration - what is the way out?

The following is a column I wrote for Business Bhutan in 2009. I take this liberty to reproduce it here:

According to UNDP’s Human Development Report 2009, which was launched on October 21, Bhutan has succeeded to be one of the countries in the region with the highest rural-urban migration rate. This according to the report was as a result of people moving away from rural areas in search of better lives in towns. I am not surprised. And I guess, there are no reasons to be. In this regard BBS hosted a panel discussion.

One of the participants expressed that although government is trying to provide all basic facilities in the village, people still want to come to towns. This he thought was unreasonable.

What a stupid remark! Which village in Bhutan has all the modern amenities and infrastructures? Which village has hospitals? Which village has paved roads?

Can someone who has come for medication in Thimphu be called rural-urban migrating? This farmer has come all the way to the capital in hope of living longer even by a few days and his heart is in the village. If his village has one JDWNR Hospital, he has no reason to come here.

What is the solution? Will the retired civil servants go back to their villages? Where can they send their children to good schools? Where will they drive their foreign cars or park them? I can bet a hundred ngultrum – this trend will continue as long as we have twenty capitals with all ministries and the government offices.

The government is here. This means equity and justice is here. Policies are made here. Government talks from here. Meetings are held here. Decisions are made here. And naturally anyone could be curious enough to visit the place. Aren’t some of us selfish? Don’t we sound like we have the facilities that we don’t want some more people to share them? I wonder how villagers across the country must have reacted that night watching (if lucky) or listening to BBS-hosted panel discussion.

Some villagers have waited in dark for long. 2013 is closing on us and they are expecting stars to drop in their villages. Some villagers have walked enough and that their horses are too tired. Some villagers in Bhutan walk days to avail free basic health facilities. Some villagers spend sleepless nights guarding their crops from the wild animals.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Utpal Academy - Bhutan's first All-girls High School

Welcome to Bhutan’s first all-girls school. Isn’t that wonderful news to all our parents? Certainly, as a parent of a one-year old daughter I am excited about the coming of a school exclusively dedicated to the needs of girls. Our girls need special treatment, which we can for sure entrust the responsibility to Utal Academy, Paro.
I really like the name – Utpal – in Buddhist world, Utpal is another name for lotus flower, which is believed to grow from mud and yet blossoms into a beautiful and majestic flower. It stands for purity and many deities are depicted holding flower Utpal, more prominently Jestusn Dolma, the Goddess Tara. Symbolically, it also stands for the transformation of our girls. What an apt name for the school!
The Principal’s message posted on the academy’s website promises providing our young women an “opportunity to participate fully in a wide range of extracurricular activities to develop skills and qualities that will lead to successful and fulfilling life.” That’s…

Seeing and experiencing REAL Bhutan

Yes, we have deep respects for those tourists, who visit places and observe real festivals with the natives and enjoy them to the fullest. Such foreigners will get more out of Bhutan and their visits. In my opinion, most tourists would like to see something like that and experience real Bhutan and not the one that’s artificially created for them. They would like to spend some time interacting with our farmers. 
Our people need to maintain clean rooms and cook hygienic food. Such skills can be provided to the people in the rural villages. If only that happens we see the benefit of tourism being shared with all. Because right now only those who own big restaurants in urban centers and those who own major tour companies are the ultimate beneficiaries. That way we will have rich people getting richer while the poor will remain more or less mere spectator of this ever happening tourism sector.  We need to think of new tourist destinations. For now, almost every tour company sells almost th…

So what is the secret?

Cost of living in Thimphu is extremely high. No doubt about that. How do we ascertain it? When mid-level office-goers find it difficult to survive. But then it makes me wonder how those people who live on the daily national minimum wage of Nu. 125/day make their ends meet. Is this a serious mismatch between what we spend and earn? 
Looks like, some of us need to meet these people and benefit from their knowledge of survival. Maybe that way some of us can even save a few hundreds. If these people can very well manage their families and exactly match their expenses with the incomes that they earn, why do we need to go far for MBAs while we can do that right here on our doorstep? 
Of course, MBA is your qualification and does not necessarily reflect in the way you manage your everyday family affairs. 

Being greedy and not eating enough is different from making ends meet and also being in a position to save some for bad weather days. I certainly marvel at the people who live on 100 plus ngul…