Skip to main content

Living in an Inflated Time

Welcome to the inflated country, of course an inflated world! Purchasing power of Bhutanese ngultrum has gone down by 32% in the last 7 years, according to National Statistical Bureau. The prices of food items have gone up 6.9% compared to last year. 

A bundle (chag-pa) of sag costs Nu. 20 today in Phuentsholing, up by 50%, while a kilogram of potatoes will cost you anywhere between Nu.25-30 and tomatoes are priced 50-60% higher. And the prices of other food items have also increased manifold. LPG and fuel prices have gone up. It is more expensive to get a ride in taxis or buses. Cars cost you more with the revised tax policy. With increase in fuel prices, it is more expensive to drive personal cars too. Soon, electricity will cost us more. We will pay more for water, sewerage and garbage.  

But it is an amazing revelation that we are surviving on our same old income in a very different economic situation. Sometimes, I wonder how some families who live on Nu.100 (or less) per day wage put up with this dramatic change.

I hate figures. They fail to make sense to me, but why is this inflation alarming? Well, it is. Terrifyingly alarming in fact!  Because, what we earn today is far less than we would have earned seven years ago talking in terms of ngultrum’s purchasing power. This means, if our monthly income is Nu. 10,000 today, the same amount can only purchase goods and services worth Nu.6, 800 (32% depreciation) the same amount seven years ago.

Now compare the price of food items today and how much it was seven years ago.

What is the way out? If there is another pay hike, will it solve the problem? Should some concerned authorities interfere? Are people in the authorities aware of the economic situation we are in?

Comments

  1. Nice picture used for the story. Very critical study of the reality in Bhutan today but sadly the realization happened to a man with no say in policy making. I hope people who should know this gets to read your amazing piece.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice work done..cheers

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

So what do you think?

Popular posts from this blog

We killed our Golden Goose

One of our most significant events this year is that of Bhutan’s exporting of eggs to India. A few years ago, we were importing them – in truckloads. This goes to show that we have the potential to grow and progress as a country, provided we put in a little more effort and work harder. Did you know, Bhutan today has 422,648 hens and produces 251,678 eggs a day? 
In July 2016, Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) banned the import of chilies from India reasoning that the laboratory tests conducted confirmed presence of pesticides. And right there was our opportunity to grow on our own. The news was like winning a lottery and it sure was a boon to many a Bhutanese chili growers, as they now had ready market san competition from cheap chilies from across the border.

Then came the ‘off season’. That is when the price of chilies unreasonably shot up as high as Nu. 300-400 per kg. It was unreasonable and daylight robbery, many people protested. And then people took to the …

Can we build energy-efficient houses?

Before we know it, it is winter again! Almost! 
And like all winters this winter will be unforgivingly cold. Of course, some people think winter cold is far less severe than the extreme summer heat the likes of which you experience in Phuentsholing or Gelephu. The reason they give is that while you can dress in cool and warm clothes in winter to beat the cold, the summer heat has almost no solution. Being naked does not help. Fair argument, I must say, but some people who can afford air conditioners in their homes might argue that the answer to the summer heat is in installing the equipment. 
But I think the answers to both the extreme summer heat and unbearable winter cold rest with the energy efficiency of the buildings we live in. 
Rooms in some of our apartments are unusually tall that in order to change a fused electric bulb requires you to literally climb onto two or three tall tables stacked onto each other. It takes three to four solid men or women to hold these tables in place; …

We need Potholes Org

This is in continuation of my previous post where I mention that with the onset of winter the potholes on some sections of our roads "are finally giving us true pictures of how deep they are as the water in them dry up." 
Like the dust in the air, potholes are undesirable; they are nightmares for the drivers, fatal for the cars and spell danger for the pedestrians. I say dangerous because there are chances that drivers might lose control of their engines while trying to avoid these potholes and such incidences would lead to loss of human lives. 
We all know that the Department of Road (DOR) is doing an excellent job in building our roads. And the magnitude of the work they are executing everywhere, even as I type these lines, is truly impressive. Thank you, DOR for that. 
And potholes, I believe, are like wounds on a human body. If we take care of wounds from the beginning and treat them with care, they heal in time. Such wounds, when healed, leave no visible scars on our skins…