August 2, 2012: There is no use crying over spilt milk or looking back. Pointing fingers to each other will not help. We have to move forward. We have to seek solutions.
This could be said about the state of affairs that has culminated after the INR crunch. And we, especially the literate lot knew what was coming. Today, we are seeing this in the form of unprecedented Inflation, financial institutions on a holiday, real estate business at the doldrums …the list goes on. Latest on the list are concerns expressed by apple exporters that they may not be able to generate convertible currency (USD), which is another spillover effect of the INR crunch and the policies framed and implemented to address the issue.
Several experts, including a Nobel laureate spoke about it, advised us and even assured that it is not a problem. “Just sell your dollars!”
Months on and we are now feeling the pinch, beginning with inflation. While there are no concrete indicators of massive layoffs (which happens in such situations), it has begun. Perhaps not in the civil service and government owned or supported corporate houses; but in the private sectors, directly and indirectly.
There are no tangible examples in other sectors; but in the media houses, especially the print media, it began months back. The pace is now accelerating and media houses are shrinking, physically and economically. The dangers of social shrinkage cannot be overlooked. This will be dangerous and even lead to the Fourth Estate compromising on its ethics.
The reason is simple – all said and done money is the bottom line. There will be no progress without it in any field. And there is no money for the media. Augmenting this is the policy adopted by the government to cut costs. It is a noble move.
But at this juncture, the nobility is questionable.
Bhutanese economy is a state driven one. Public expenditure has kept the economy going and brought it to the position we are at today. What happens when costs are cut through measures such as reduction in hospitality and entertainment, advertisements in the media, trainings and other activities?
Business is affected. This catalyzes other economic elements such as employment. One is shown the door and justifiably because a proprietor of a hotel cannot employ scores of people when his earnings decline.
So is it with other agencies like the media. There are incidents where reporters resigned voluntarily looking at the economic state of the paper. Staff have either been partially paid or not paid at all. Nonetheless, they stick on because of their passion and the call of the hour – the importance of a vibrant media.
Well! The government cannot do everything. But it can do something, especially when survival has become the issue.
Courtesy: Bhutan Today