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These Mandatory "Vestigial" Documents

Back in our high school biology classes we were taught that “vestigial organs” – or as Charles Darwin called them “rudimentary organs” are nothing but those organs that have lost their functions in the  due course of evolution. According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “The concept of vestigially applies to genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function in a given species…. emergence of vestigially occurs by normal evolutionary processes, typically by loss of function of a feature that is no longer subject to positive selection pressures when it loses its value in a changing environment.”

It seems that these “structures” did have some functions in the past. But the word here is “loss of function” or loss of their “values” due to “changing environment”. I like this definition. This only means that those things that have no value or create values are basically “useless” and that they must be done away with. Of course this disposal theory does not work all the time. There are instances where old is valued more than the new. And as “environment” changes many things that carried significant value and meaning are no more. I call them “vestigial” acts. It is shown that we waste a lot of energy in having to fulfill these “meaningless” acts. Bhutan has come a long way today. And owing to Bhutan’s “changing environment” many things, good and bad, are upon us. Even in terms of service delivery, we have leapfrogged.
Typical vacancy announcement in Bhutan

Thanks to government’s G2C (Government to Citizens) initiatives, today security clearances, which are mandatory to have all the time, can be obtained literally within 24 hours or less. Back then it was a great hassle and often took weeks to process. No need to mention time wasted in the process. Today that hassle is no more. One can easily apply for security clearance and conveniently online. And one can easily check the status of the clearance online. However, even when we have a system that can faithfully verify the status of security clearance online by punching one’s identity card numbers, most organizations still demand from the candidates applying for the jobs to have printed copies of security clearance, which is approved online. I find this totally “unnecessary” and hence “vestigial” act. People who demand will have hundred and one justifications, I know.

The mandatory-useless document 
The second vestigial document in Bhutan I find is that of Medical Fitness Certificate. What do we achieve by this? Nothing. Of course it makes sense if someone is in for some military training. After all doctors in the hospital are too burdened and at the end just to fulfill the requirement they issue the documents without even checking our pulses or heartbeats. Medical Certificates are issued merely for the sake of issuing them. Again, I know, people demanding such documents, will cite hundred and one reasons.

The third one is that of having to produce photocopies of our citizenship identity cards. I find this meaningless again because we have the numbers provided and everything is decoded in that set of numbers. Photocopying is a sheer waste of resources and unnecessary hassle to the applicants. I wonder how much those seeking jobs would have spent on Xerox.

And finally times have changed. This is shown by companies mandating people applying for the posts such as security guards, sweepers, gardeners and drivers to submit their résumé or CVs along with their applications. I see them all the time and it sounds utterly funny to me. How does the résumé of a security guard or for that matter sweeper or gardener look like?

There are many such acts, but are beyond the scope of this piece. 


  1. Blue Book Photocopy is robbing country, while registration number should solve all the problems.
    CID photocopy is one of the oldest form of inefficiencies in our system...

    Enjoyed the post... hope it goes on to open some eyes here and there.

  2. Yet another insightful post. It makes a lot of sense. The practice of having to submit everything in hardcopy is going against the government's policy of going paperless. I also feel just the registration number or CID number should take care of all our records unless some specialized jobs require specific details.... Yes, as the author has pointed out here, the medical certificates are issued just for the sake of fulfilling the requirement. It is a hassle for both the medical staff and the applicants.... Thanks for sharing your concern. It affects all of us.


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