JOURNAL OF BHUTAN STUDIES, VOLUME 33, Winter 2015

1. Bhutan: Notes Concerning the Political Role of Kidu by Brian C. Shaw

The original Tibetan concept of kidu (skyid sdug1 or more informally kidu) has been variously considered as welfare, self-help and assistance. In the context of Bhutan, the concept has closely linked the moral authority of the monarch with the economic needs of the public.

The paper considers both the politicisation of kidu (the competition for political space and authority by politicians of the First Parliament, against the received authority of the monarchs) and the de-politicisation of kidu (by the monarchs, notably through land-grant authority reaffirmed in the 2008 Constitution, the establishment of the Kidu Foundation and in other practical ways). Kidu rights and the authority of the monarch is reviewed, with especial attention to the future prospects of either diminution or extension of these rights in the future, as the kingdom endeavours to establish “Democracy with Bhutan Characteristics.”

2. Trend of Bhutan’s Trade during 1907-26: Import by Ratna Sarkar and Indrajit Ray

It is logical to expect that quantitative and qualitative changes in Bhutan’s export during the period of Ugyen Wangchuck should be corresponded by similar changes in her imports. For one thing, when a country’s export grows over a longer period, the accumulation of foreign exchange in that country enables her to import more. Indeed, since both exports and imports, especially their growth and diversification, depend on the changes in the domestic economy (along with changes in the rest-of-the-world), in most cases do we observe simultaneous changes in both these fronts. The present article seeks to assess to what extent Bhutan’s import changed during the years of the First Monarch.

3. Terms of Trade and Balance of Trade of Bhutan during 1907-26 by Ratna Sarkar and Indrajit Ray

Though exports and imports are important constituents of the aggregate demand of an economy, and hence the determinants of growth, welfare implication of foreign trade follows to a good extent from the terms of trade. In the trade literature, the concept of terms of trade is defined in many ways such as the quantity definition, the price definition and the income definition. In this study we adopt its price definition, i.e. the terms of trade of a country equals the ratio of her export and import price indices. Since such price indices are not readily available, those are calculated from estimated prices of individual export-import commodities. Before analyzing the terms of trade, therefore, we review the movements of import and export prices. Also important for an economy is the balance of trade that determines under the silver standard of currency (as practised in contemporary Bhutan) the flow of silver to and from the domestic economy, and hence the supply of money. This chapter, therefore, reviews also the balance of trade in Bhutan and along with it the change in the exchange value of Bhutan’s currency in the contemporary period under the presumption that the balance of trade is functionally determined by devaluation/revaluation of domestic currency.

4. Assessment of Yam (Dioscorea spp.) Diversity at Community Level in Nangkor Gewog under Zhemgang Dzongkhag by Jambay Ugyen and Dr. Tulsi Gurung

Yam (Dioscorea spp.) is an annual or perennial climbing plant with edible underground tuber. It includes 600 species of which 50 to 60 are cultivated, or at least gathered, for food or pharmaceutical purposes. There are however only 10 species for human consumption and economically significant. In Bhutan, yam plays an integral part in socio-economic and cultural aspects. However, there is limited information on yam diversity in Bhutan. Therefore, this study aimed to assess domestic and wild yam species diversity, its socio-cultural importance to the communities and its contribution towards food security.

5. Macroeconomic Trends and Policy Implications: Evidence from Bhutan by Mashrur Khan and Matthew Robson

Bhutan has performed remarkably well with an average growth rate of 7.72 percent from 2004-2014. This growth is heavily fuelled by its strong hydropower sector, particularly the exports of hydropower, which have grown at an average rate of 18.1 percent over the same period. In recent years, hydropower capacity has been increased substantially, leading to higher exports and electricity generation in the country. In addition, the tourism sector has grown rapidly over the last decade, which largely contributed to the generation of revenue for the country.

Despite these successes, the country has experienced some setbacks, particularly in recent years. The current account deficit has been on the rise, which was mainly due to increasing hydropower-related imports to facilitate the installation of new hydropower plants. In addition, rapid credit growth has led to a consumption and housing boom, which contributed to large non-hydropower related imports. Consequently, the total reserves for the country as a percentage of total external debt has declined – reducing their ability to service debt – which is concerning since their external debt as a ratio of GDP has risen to over 80 percent in 2013-14 from around 55 percent in 2007- 08.

This paper focuses on the macroeconomic trends that Bhutan has experienced since the 1990s. The paper provides detailed graphs and tables on selected economic indicators, particularly on the budget, inflation and balance of payment estimates for the country.

ཚོགས་གླུ་རྩ་གསུམ་དགྱེས་པའི་རོལ་མོ།།

༄༅། །  ཚོགས་གླུ་རྩ་གསུམ་དགྱེས་པའི་རོལ་མོ་བཞུགས་སོ།།

 

ནང་གསལ་ཁྱད་ཆོས་དྲུག་ལྡན་བུམ་སྐུ་ཡི་ཀློང་ལས། །

འགག་མེད་སྒྱུ་འཕྲུལ་བཀོད་པ་འཇའ་ལུས་ཀྱི་རྣལ་འབྱོར། །

རིགས་ཀུན་ཁྱབ་བདག་དྲི་མེད་འོད་ཟེར་དེ་མཁྱེན་ནོ། །

སྤྱི་གཙུག་ཛ་ལན་ད་རའི་བག་གམ་དུ་བཞུགས་མཛོད། །

 

ཨེ་མ་གསན་དང་སྐལ་ལྡན་འདི་ཚོགས་ཀྱི་ཕོ་མོ། །

ཨོ་རྒྱན་རིག་འཛིན་བརྒྱུད་པ་ཌཱ་ཀི་དང་བཅས་པས། །

བྱིན་རླབས་མཆོག་ཐུན་སྤྲིན་ཕུང་ལྷང་ལྷང་དུ་ངོམ་པ། །

གསང་ཆེན་བསྟན་པའི་འབྱུང་གནས་སྨན་ལྗོངས་ལ་གཟིགས་ཞུ། །

 

སྣ་ཚོགས་སྐུ་དང་ཕྱག་ཞབས་རང་བྱོན་གྱི་རྣམ་པ། །

རི་བྲག་གངས་མཚོ་རྣམས་ཀྱང་སྒྲུབ་གནས་ཀྱི་རང་བཞིན། །

སྒྱུ་མའི་རྣལ་འབྱོར་སྐྱིད་པའི་ཁང་བཟང་ལ་བྱོན་དང་། །

སྣང་སྲིད་མི་རྟོག་ཆོས་སྐུའི་བསུ་མ་ལ་ཆས་རན། །

 

ཆོས་མེད་ཀླ་ཀློའི་སྡིག་སྤྱོད་འཚེ་བ་དང་མནར་གཅོད། །

ལོག་སྨོན་བདུད་སྡེའི་བསམ་པ་གཡོ་སྒྱུ་དང་སླུ་འདྲིད། །

རྣམ་ཀུན་མིང་ཙམ་མེད་པ་དགེ་བཅུ་ཡི་རང་གཤིས། །

མ་བརྩོན་ལྷུན་གྱིས་གྲུབ་པ་ངོ་མཚར་ཞིག་སྣང་ངོ། །

 

སྟེང་ན་ཆོས་རྒྱལ་གདུང་རབས་ལྷུན་པོ་ལྟར་མཐོ་བ། །

འོག་ན་འབངས་ཁྱིམ་ཐམས་ཅད་བདེ་སྐྱིད་ཀྱི་བག་ཡངས། །

ཀུན་ཀྱང་མ་སྐྱང་ལྷག་བསམ་གཅིག་མཐུན་གྱི་ངང་ནས། །

བསླུ་མེད་མཆོག་གསུམ་སྲིད་ཞིའི་བསྙེན་བཀུར་ལ་གཟིགས་མཛོད། །

 

ཨ་ཧོ་རྡོ་རྗེའི་མཆེད་ལྕམ་ཚོགས་འཁོར་དུ་ལྷགས་པ། །

ལྷུན་རྫོགས་དག་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་བསྐྱེད་རིམ་ལ་བཞེངས་ཏེ། །

ཟག་མེད་བདུད་རྩིའི་ལོངས་སྤྱོད་བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་ཀྱི་སྤྱོད་པ། །

བརྒྱུད་གསུམ་ཡི་དམ་ཌཱ་ཀི་སྤྲིན་ཕུང་བཞིན་འདུའོ། །

 

སྣང་ཞིང་སྲིད་པའི་ཆོས་སོ་ཨ་མཐས་སུ་ཞེན་ཀྱང་། །

འབུམ་ཕྲག་རིག་པས་བཅིང་ཚེ་འཇའ་ཚོན་བཞིན་ཡལ་འགྲོ། །

བཅོས་མིན་རང་གཤིས་མཐའ་བྲལ་ནང་དབྱིངས་སུ་འཇོག་པ། །

རང་བྱུང་ཐིག་ལེ་ཉག་གཅིག་དེ་ཀ་ལ་བསྙད་དོ། །

 

ངོ་མཚར་ཕྱག་རྒྱའི་རྣལ་འབྱོར་རང་བྱན་དུ་ཆུབ་པས། །

བདེ་སྟོང་ཕོ་ཉའི་ལམ་དུ་རྗེས་ཆགས་ཤིག་སྐྱོང་ན། །

འཁྲུལ་རྟོག་ཡེ་ཤེས་ཆེན་པོའི་ཡོ་ལང་དུ་སད་དེ། །

མཁའ་སྦྱོར་ཡན་ལག་བདུན་ལྡན་མྱུར་བ་རུ་འབྱོན་ཡོང་། །

 

ཀ་དག་ཆོས་སྐུ་ལྟ་བ་ཟང་ཐལ་གྱི་རིག་པ། །

ལྷུན་གྲུབ་ལོངས་སྐུའི་སྒོམ་པ་འོད་གསལ་གྱི་སྣང་བཞི། །

རྩོལ་མེད་སྤྲུལ་སྐུའི་སྤྱོད་པ་བྱུང་རྒྱལ་གྱི་ངང་ནས། །

རིག་འཛིན་རྣམ་བཞིའི་ས་ལ་ཁྱུང་ལྡིང་བཞིན་འཕུར་འགྲོ། །

 

དེ་རིང་སྐྱིད་དོ་རྩ་གསུམ་ལྷ་ཚོགས་ཀྱི་འདུ་རར། །

ཐབས་ཆེན་སྔགས་ཀྱི་སྤྱོད་པ་སྣ་ཚོགས་ལ་བརྟེན་ཏེ། །

སྟོན་འཁོར་གཅིག་ཏུ་འཚོགས་པའི་དགེ་མཚན་གྱི་སྣང་བར། །

མཐའ་ཀླས་འགྲོ་བ་འདྲེན་པའི་སྨོན་ལམ་ཞིག་ཞུའོ། །

 

ཞེས་པ་འདི་ནི་སྔོན་བྱོན་རིག་འཛིན་དུ་མས་ཞབས་ཀྱིས་བཅགས་ཤིང་བྱིན་གྱིས་བརླབས་པའི་གནས་རྒྱལ་ཡུམ་སྐུ་བགྲེས་ཕུན་ཚོགས་ཆོས་སྒྲོན་མཆོག་གི་བདག་རྐྱེན་ལས་བྱུང་བའི་གཙུག་ལག་ཁང་མདོ་སྔགས་བསྟན་པ་རྣམ་གསུམ་གྱི་སྤྱན་སྔར་རབ་བྱུང་༡༧ ལྕགས་ལུག་ལོར་སྒང་སྟེང་རིག་གཞུང་བཤད་གྲྭ་པ་རྣམས་དང་ལྷན་གཅིག་ཏུ་ཀུན་མཁྱེན་ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྒྱལ་པོའི་དུས་མཆོད་ལ་ཞུགས་སྐབས་ཉེ་བར་མཁོ་བའི་རྐྱེན་གྱི་མཁན་པོ་རྣམ་གྲོལ་ནས་རང་གར་བྲིས་པ་དགེ་འོ། །            ། །

GNH WF METHOD AND OPTIMIZATION OF GNH RESOURCES

GNH WF Method and Optimization of GNH Resources by Dr. Mukund M. Moharir

GNH Weightage Factor (WF) Method is a mathematical procedure useful in the following cases:

  1. To identify relative importance (weightage) the surveyed population is knowingly/unknowingly attaching to each surveyed Domain while answering the Cantril Ladder Questionnaire (Subjective Happiness Survey).
  2.  To compute for every Domain optimum distribution of the current GNH budget and also of the added budget under various optimum allocation schemes.
  3. To compute the extra GNH budget required to enhance the current GNH to the desired value and to calculate optimum distribution of the extra budget amongst different Domains.
  4.  To compute under various optimization schemes the new GNH number when the budget of some Domain(s) is changed by certain percentage.
  5. To identify Paradigm Shift (PS) and Prime Movers of Happiness (PMH) situations in the available survey data.
  6. To compute the change in GNH value when the surveyor uses his/her own WF numbers for the Domains.
  7.  To eliminate the effect of arbitrary nature of GNH Index procedure deciding “who is happy and who is not”.
  8.   To identify Cantril Ladder GNH part not explained by GNH Index procedure.

The following two available survey data are used to illustrate WF Method procedures:

(1) Bhutan GNH survey data (Reference 1)

(2) Thailand GNH survey data (Reference 2).

Journal of Bhutan Studies, Volume 32, Summer 2015

1. Export Price of Electricity in Bhutan: The Case of Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project by Sangay Chophel

There has been substantial cost escalation on the ongoing hydropower projects in Bhutan, exerting pressure on already ballooning national debt. This has raised concerns on whether the benefits of hydropower projects outweigh the costs and on the preciseness of its costing. Based on data available in the detailed project reports and the agreement signed between India and Bhutan, this paper examines the financial viability of Mangdechhu project by employing two different methods: cost-plus method and financial cost-benefit analysis. The results show that cost-plus method undervalues the total cost of the project. The impact of changes in several parameters and cost overrun on tariff is also analyzed in this paper.

2. Enhancing Bhutanese Rice in the Domestic Market through increased Production and Favorable Pricing Regime by Ngawang Chhogyel, Mahesh Ghimiray, Kencho Wangdue and Yadunath Bajgai

Rice (Oriza sativa L.) is one the most important food crops in Bhutan. Due to its national importance the Department of Agriculture (DoA) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests initiated technical interventions in the major rice growing dzongkhags (districts) to improve rice yield and production from 2008-2009. The aim of the program was to commercialize domestically produced rice through enhanced yield, production and rice value chain. The program involved increased investment for intensi ed promotion of higher yielding varieties of rice, farm mechanization, post harvest and marketing, capacity building, nutrient management and crop protection as the software component. The hardware part saw the constructions and renovations of many irrigation schemes and construction of rice processing units. As a result of the intensi ed interventions the productivity of rice yield has increased to 3.88 t/ha in 2013 from about 2.81 t/ha in 2009. Favourable pricing mechanism is essential for both farmers and the consumers although farmers want higher prices and the consumers the lower. To facilitate smooth trade the DoA has recommended prices for different varieties of paddy for farmers by maintaining reasonable margins besides associated costs. Therefore, adjusted farm-gate prices have been worked out so as to serve as the recommended paddy procurement prices or basis for calculation. The formal domestic rice trade has come to mainstream markets by involving the Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited. Due to the strategic interventions the domestically produced rice in circulation is estimated to be 255 t currently (as of June 2015) and it is expected to increase further with the prioritized investments, good pricing mechanism and policy support. In conclusion, the commercialization program brought about the increase in yield and overall production and has successfully main streamed trade of domestically produced rice in Bhutan.

3. The Role of Deliberative Mini-Publics in the Quest for Gross National Happiness in Bhutan by Gerard W. Horgan

Political participation is recognized as a component of Bhutan’s multidimensional development framework, ‘Gross National Happiness’ (GNH). In recent years, Bhutan has instituted a conventional system of liberal democratic, representative democracy. However, this system has supplanted an earlier, indigenous system of village-based participatory democracy. This paper builds on the premise that, to be true to the goal of good governance encapsulated in GNH, Bhutan needs to embrace a deeper level of political participation than that embodied by representative democracy. The de cits of the new representative system are identi ed via the utilization of Lijphart’s majoritarian versus consensual democratic framework. It is suggested that a form of ‘deliberative polling’ should be institutionalized as part of the parliamentary policy-making process, as a complement to the existing representative system.

4. Use of Social Media and Digital Technology from the Perspective of Citizen Engagement and Democratic Participation in the Works of Centre for Bhutan Studies & GNH Studies: A Positioning Paper by Dendup Chophel

Promotion of socio-economic and political dialogue, and engagement of citizens in the process of governance are essential features of a democracy. Public think tank organizations have a key role to play in this regard and thus, as the only state research organization, the Centre for Bhutan Studies & GNH Research (CBS) should be at the forefront of innovations in engaging with the public through policy dialogue by exploring various communication forums like social media. According to the Act for the Centre for Bhutan Studies (2001) by which it was established, the CBS is an autonomous government organization charged with conducting multi-disciplinary research into the history, culture, economy and policy of the country among others. It is mandated with promoting the culture of scholarship and public education through dissemination of timely and quality scholarly research ndings. It is also aimed at in uencing public policy by providing state institutions with informed and researched inputs. For these purposes, the CBS not only conducts independent research works, the results of which are published as scholarly books, but also organizes national and international conferences, public talks, promote collaboration with global research institutions and represent the country in various scholarly international forums to present the country’s policy positioning. For example, in just the area of media and governance, the CBS has organized various conferences like the major international conference on “Media and Public Culture in Bhutan” (June 2006) and “Deepening and Sustaining Democracy in Asia” (October 2009).

Journal of Bhutan Studies, Volume 31, Winter 2014

Modern Gross National Happiness in Bhutan contains nine domains including: standard of living, good governance, time use and balance, community vitality, cultural diversity and resilience, ecosystem diversity and resilience, health of the population, education, and psychological wellbeing which address modern policy issues. The nine domains also balance material and spiritual concerns in a holistic manner. However, were the nine domains related to happiness policy before and after Bhutan became a nation? The unwritten constitution of early Bhutan, includes Nga Chudruma of 1619, the Tsa Yig Chenmo of 1629, the first Legal Code of 1652, and updated Legal Code of 1729. Happiness policy in early Bhutan promoted a view of a wise ruler providing governmental support so citizens may become enlightened due to Mahayana Buddhism. Happiness policy in Bhutan has evolved from an early Buddhist focus to a range of factors that maintain Mahayana Buddhist traditions balanced with modern societal requirements.

2. Visions, Prophecies and Leadership: Oral Accounts of the Life and Death of Terton Drukdra Dorji by Thinley Jamtsho, Dendup Chophel and Sangay Thinley

This paper is based mainly on a review of literature of the subjects under consideration particularly with regard to three existing source materials which present firstly the general theory of Treasure tradition and the visionary masters and then a corroborative account of Terton Drukdra Dorji (gter ston ‘brug sgra rdo rje, the main subject of this paper) and his entanglement with the Bhutanese powers in existing texts.

3. An Overview of Kurtöp Morphophonemics by Dr. Gwendolyn Hyslop

Kurtöp is an East Bodish (Tibeto-Burman) language of Bhutan that is still endangered as people shift from the village to centers of commerce outside of the Kurtöp-speaking region. While it has been described to some extent (e.g. Hyslop 2011) there has not been much attempt made to communicate findings of the language to outside fields. Specifically, this article presents an analysis of morphophonology, or sound changes conditioned by word formation, in Kurtöp.

4. Masked Dance of Sumthrang Mountain Deity by Gengop Karchung

Masked Dance of Mountain Deity (Tsän Cham) of Sumthrang Samdrup Chödzong in Ura, Bumthang is a unique performing art that has been inherited since the 15th century. When the 23rd ’Nyörab Jam’yang Drakpa Özer (’Jam-dbyang grags-pa ’od-zer; 1382–1442) planned to slip away to Tsari (Tibet) for meditation clandestinely, the Drak Tsän Dorje Dradül appeared and beseeched lama to stay at Sumthrang, simultaneously performing this masked dance along with four of his retinues. Consenting to the plea made by the deity, the lama then taught the dance to his disciples. The dance then became part of annual festival called Sumthrang Kangsöl held from 25th Day of 9th Month of the Bhutanese lunar calendar for 5 days. The dance is known by various names: Lha Cham (dance of god), Tsän Cham (dance of mountain deity), and Ta Cham (dance of horse) as the masked dancers ride horses. Today, some episodes of this dance is performed at Zhongmä lhakhang in Lhuntse Dzongkhag as this lhakhang was built by Jam’yang Drakpa Özer. This paper will try to give detailed information on this unique festival, especially the Tsän Cham as it is critically endangered. Further, it will also try to bring out the historical accounts of the lhakhang and other associated sites. This paper will be based on limited available manuscripts, historical publications and other written sources which will be further supplemented with the existing myths and legends that are available.

Journal of Bhutan Studies, Vol 30, Summer 2014

1. Traditional and Modern Understandings of Mental Illness in Bhutan: Preserving the Benefits of Each to Support Gross National Happiness by Joseph D. Calabrese and Dr Chencho Dorji

The pursuit of appropriate mental health treatment in Bhutan must bring together and balance the need for the most advanced and appropriate medical and psychotherapeutic interventions with the need to avoid the disruption of very useful cultural traditions that are already in place in Bhutanese communities. A crucial question, in view of this priority, is: which conditions are modern psychiatric and psychological treatments the best for and which conditions are adequately addressed with traditional approaches, including traditional medicine (gSo-ba Rig-pa), shamanic ritual treatment, or Buddhist rituals and practice?

In this paper, the authors approach this question as clinicians who have worked with Bhutanese psychiatric patients and as researchers of international mental health and traditional healing practices. The goal of the paper is to view mental health and mental illness in Bhutan through the lens of Medical Anthropology (with its broad cross-cultural perspective), in terms of their clinical training and practice in Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry, and in terms of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness policy and the related idea of “development with values.”

2. Suicide Trends in Bhutan from 2009 to 2013 by Kuenzang Lhadon

This paper focuses on the increasing trend of suicide in Bhutan over a period of five years from 2009-2013, and argues that there is a need of immediate attention from the government or any other relevant organization to set up a helpline, or to put in place any strategy to prevent/reduce it. For a small country like Bhutan, an average annual suicide growth rate of 9.4 percent is an alarmingly high one. A descriptive analysis of this time series data is used to generate comparison of suicide cases by region, gender, occupation and age group to identify which of the groups need the most attention.

3. Ahom-Bhutan Relations with Specific Reference to Royal Bhutanese Embassy Visiting Ahom Capital in 1801 by J. N. Phukan

This paper is confined to the period when the Ahom power came into contact with Bhutan. This happened towards the beginning of the seventeenth century when the Ahom kingdom annexed Kamrup and Darrang to the north of which lay the territory of Bhutan.

Thereafter, for more than a hundred years the relations with Bhutan were primarily dealt with by the Darrang Raja who was made a tributary Raja by the Ahom king. However, whenever required, the Raja was assisted by Ahom force to deal with situation.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, there were troubles in the Ahom kingdom. Among these were the Moamaria uprising that spread even to lower Assam. The rebellious prince of Darrang Krishna Narayan with his supporters took the help of Burendazes, mercenary soldiers from Bengal. When Capt. Welsh came to Assam to take them back, many of them with Krishna Narayan took shelter in the bordering areas of Bhutan and created troubles there.

Bhutanese authorities made appeal to the Barphukan of Guwahati. To ascertain the situation he sent an embassy to Bhutan in 1801. In return, the King of Bhutan sent a royal embassy to the Ahom court that arrived at Jorhat, the Ahom capital in 1802. The envoys were well received by the King and the Prime Minister. They brought many presents that were valuable at that time. The Ahom and the Prime Minister also sent valuable presents to the Bhutan King.

4. Estimating the Gender Gap of Adults’ Education and Health in Bhutan by Chhimi Dem

Several studies in developing countries suggest that narrowing the gender gap in education and health has both economic and social benefits. Bhutan is an important country to study gender because, traditionally and by law, women and men enjoy equal status. This paper explores the gender gap in formal education and mental and physical health among adults in Bhutan.

The 2010 cross-sectional survey data collected for Gross National Happiness (GNH) Indicators by the Centre for Bhutan Studies (CBS) in all the 20 districts of Bhutan (n=6510 individuals) was used. It regressed formal education and various indicators of health against gender, region, age, income, and religion. Then the differences in levels of schooling and health between women and men in the eastern region, which is reputed to be the most remote and least developed region are examined.

The gender gap persists. Men have 27% more years of schooling than women, 4.80 fewer reported sick days during the previous 30 days, 1.63 fewer negative emotions, and a 10% lower probability of reporting mental distress than women. Men in the eastern region are 6% less likely to be educated than women of their same region. However, men in the eastern region are 7% less likely to report having a stressful life than women of their own region.

Despite the tradition of gender equality and the laws supporting gender equity in Bhutan, this study finds that women lag behind men in schooling and health. The country needs to implement policies to narrow the gender gap.

Well-being, Happiness, and Public Policy

Well-being, Happiness, and Public Policy by Sabina Alkire

This document was submitted as a background paper to the International Expert Working Group on a New Development Paradigm and seeks to synthesise for busy readers, how the IEWG might explain and defend well-being and happiness and also what value-addition this work has in policy terms when compared with many other aligned and very necessary movements and policy advocacy for a shared well-being.

It outlines the concept of well-being, flourishing, and happiness for all which forms the objective of a new development paradigm.

First Published: 2015

ISBN 978-99936-14-79-1

© The Centre for Bhutan Studies & GNH Research

Journal of Bhutan Studies, Volume 29, Winter 2013

1. A proposition “Bhutan is a Democracy”: Beyond the Constricted, Popular Wisdom of “Democracy” by Katsu Masaki

This article seeks to dissect, with reference to Bhutan’s polity, how the Eurocentric, popular wisdom of democracy, privileging liberal democracy, inadvertently enforces closure to other plausible, non-liberalistic interpretations. In Bhutan, the monarchy and Buddhism carry moral authorities constraining the arbitrary use of governmental power, and nurturing associative bonds in society. This “natural democracy” contravenes the orthodoxy of liberal democracy, according to which the state, as a neutral arbiter, must not accord a special status to any leader or religion. For this reason, political analysts tend to doubt whether Bhutan is a democracy. The circumscribed, liberal-democratic notion emanates from the history in which European universalism has been fabricated as a universal standard to be disseminated throughout the globe. It has thus served to rank different societies in a linear trajectory that positions Europe at the pinnacle of “progress”. The case of Bhutan potentially helps to rectify the constricted wisdom of democracy, to facilitate more open, thorough deliberations, and to start conceptualizing a multipolar world.

2. Does Democracy promote Social Capital? Evidence from Bhutan by Sangay Chophel

This paper aims to study the effects of democracy, as measured by voting in elections, on social capital after Bhutan transitioned from monarchy to parliamentary democracy in 2008. The lack of systemic study on widely supposed decrease in social capital in Bhutan due to the transition to democracy served as the motivation for this study. In addition, there does not seem to be any quantitative study on whether democracy promotes social capital when countries transition from monarchy to democracy. This study uses two cross-sectional survey data of Bhutan conducted in 2008, which contains respondents who voted for the National Council (non-party based) election, and 2010, which contains respondents who voted for the National Assembly (multi- party) election, to study the effect of democracy on three elements of social capital, namely trust in people in general, trust in neighbors and socializing with neighbors. Analyzing the two survey data separately using ordered probit regressions revealed that voting in both National Council and National Assembly elections did not have any significant effects on trust in people in general and trust in neighbors. However, voting in the National Council election had significant positive effect on socializing with neighbors whereas voting in the National Assembly election did not have any significant effect on it. After the two survey data were pooled together and analyzed, the introduction of democracy did not serve to increase the levels of voters’ trust in people in general and trust in neighbors. However, the positive effects of voting on socializing with neighbors as seen in the National Council election were removed due to the significant negative effect of multi-party election.

3. Was Tobacco Described in Bhutanese Buddhist Texts Before the 16th Century? by

Michael S. Givel and Rebecca A. Sherry

The small Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan has banned tobacco sales since 2004, citing prophets of the country’s state religion, Mahayana Buddhism, who described the evils of tobacco 200 years before its introduction to Asia. To address whether tobacco really is the plant designated in these early texts, we commissioned new translations of these documents, including one of the first translations out of Choekey of the first legal code of Bhutan, known as “The Golden Yoke of Legal Edicts.” A set of allegorical stories predict that a demon will make a plant appear that will be smoked, sniffed or eaten, and will cause a myriad of physical and societal ills. The stories in the ancient documents are allegorical and apocryphal (in the sense of mystic and esoteric) and do not describe the plant in enough detail to identify it as any real plant. In some cases, the word “thamakha,” meaning “the very worst black poison,” was transliterated as tobacco. Nevertheless, modern day interpretations in Bhutan of “thamakha” as tobacco are congruent with Buddhist tenets that intoxicants of any type will cloud the mind and inhibit the journey to seek Nirvana.

4. Examining Rupee Reserves in Bhutan: An SVAR Approach by Jigme Nidup

The substantial deterioration of rupee reserves in 2012 had detrimental effect on the economic growth in Bhutan. Therefore, this study investigates the implication of government investment on construction, private credit expansion and imports from India, on the rupee reserves through a four-dimensional SVAR approach. The results indicate that in the immediate term, it is the government construction expenditure, private credit growth and imports from India that deteriorates the rupee reserves. Over the medium period, it is found that the government investment on construction leads to private credit expansion. Though government investment on construction is desired for economic growth, policy makers, however, should strategize investments so that it does not create rapid private credit growth.

5.Factorial Validity and Reliability of 12 items General Health Questionnaire in a Bhutanese Population by Tshoki Zangmo

The aim of this study is to test the factorial structure and the internal consistency of the 12-items General Health Questionnaire. A sample of 6861 Bhutanese completed the GHQ-12. Internal consistency was assessed by Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. The factorial structure was extracted with an exploratory factorial analysis (EFA). The EFA run on the data yield to a one- factor structure without rotation and two factor structures after rotation. Cronbach’s alpha showed a very good internal consistency of the scale (α= 0.88). Cluster analysis resulted in two clusters. Overall, the findings support that the GHQ-12 is a reliable and valid instrument for measuring minor psychological distress in a Bhutanese sample.

Comprehensive Review of the Land Act of Bhutan, 2007 for Revision

Comprehensive Review of the Land Act of Bhutan, 2007 for Revision by Lyonpo Dr. Kinzang Wangdi (former minister)

Since land is the main source of social and economic security to majority population in the country, but with land resource being finite, effort to ensure equitable distribution through various policy and legal measures may be in the long-term interest of the nation. The Constitution of Bhutan has adequate provisions to address this issue.

In this context, Dr. Dasho Kinzang Wangdi, former minister of Works of Human Settlement analyses and reviews the Land Act of Bhutan, 2007 and offers recommendations.

Thimphu’s Growing Pains: Challenges of Implementing the City Plan

Thimphu’s Growing Pains: Challenges of Implementing the City Plan by

Manka Bajaj

This study analyses the urban planning efforts of the government for an explanation of some unintended outcomes. A popular perception is that development in Thimphu city could do with better planning. On the contrary, there have been extensive efforts from both the Thimphu Thromde and MoWHS to control land use and regulate building design through policies like the Thimphu Structure Plan 2003-27 and its attached Development Control Regulations 2004. The question driving the research is to explain why despite the rules in place, planning goals are not achieved. The study identifies why and how actors avoid compliance to the original planning codes.

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