Banks for ru­ral pop­u­la­tion

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

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.

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