Banks for rural population
It was good news for the rural population that the 185 existing community centers will be taken over by the Bhutan Development Bank Limited from the Bhutan Postal Corporation Limited for operation in near future.
The main reason cited by the government was the community centers has not been fully utilized and do not provide optimum service to the people in the community. The Bhutan Post since 2011 has been managing the centers and the government has even given a subsidy of Nu. 28 M to run and manage them.
Community centers have been set up as a single window platform to cater to the communities in accessing information communication technology, public and other public related services like permit for timber, security clearance and postage stamps. The main intention was to reduce the costs and time of availing public services by bringing them closer to the people.
The centre besides providing 29 G2C (government to citizen) services, the National Pension and Provident Fund and the Bhutan Opportunity and Information centre also offer their services through most of these centre’s.
Recently the other financial institutions like Bank of Bhutan (BoB) and Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan (RICB) introduced their services on a pilot basis in some centers.
More over a more tedious job for the farmers like the payment of electricity and telephone bills will be introduced in these centers, further screening of local movie screenings and even the printing of newspaper at these centre is in mindset of the government bureaucrats.
Banks plays an important role in the life of our rural population with the increase in the economic activities in the communities. The people need banks mostly to avail loans and deposit a small saving they make. The farmers in our villages are usually exploited. Money lenders take away all the harvest leaving little for the farmers to run the family for the whole year. So the vicious circle continues leaving our farming community in absurd poverty.
The Bhutan Development Bank which started as a rural bank is spread out in almost all the Gewogs making them more assessable and practicable to manage the centre. As the Bank will be utilizing the same infrastructure and manpower used by the Bhutan Post it will be more beneficial and cost saving.
However on the other hand it may not be economically viable for the banks to provide free services as it may go out of their banking mandates.
But it seems the government has already announced that all the gewogs in the country will have such banks and would be operated by BDBL from these centres.
So that the bank fulfill their mandate of your development bank.