Did I ashame Bhutan?
It was in 2008 in Delhi airport when one foreigner who was about to fly to Bhutan as tourist asked me, “According to some information source, Bhutan has high per capita income as compared to some of the countries (he mentioned name of the few countries as an example but I don’t want to put here) but the payment of salary to civil servants is much less as compared to those countries. How is that link to GNH?”
Suddenly, it came into my mind that the per capita income of Bhutan could not be higher to those countries and perhaps, it could have been error made or intentionally provided to derive some benefits from other countries by Bhutan. However, I waste no time to answer his queries and it goes…
Mr. John, ours is not like other countries where poor people remain poor and the situation worsen day by day and the rich people remain rich wherein condition improves hourly. As a GNH country, Bhutan looks for equal distribution of wealth and happiness, and to bridge the gap between rich and poor. And it is the one of the ways of practicing GHN out of so many.
Coming back to your valuable enquiries, as Bhutan is developing country, there are thousands of people who could not even have basic need (under poverty line) as it could have been in so many countries when they are in developing stage. Civil servant in Bhutan is consider to have clean job and getting handsome salary as comparing to the private employees, farmers and to some extent business people.
Keeping this in mind, Bhutan provides free education and medicines, free schools and hospitals, free cost of save drinking water, smooth road, etc. to her people wherein good share of per capita income is equally divided. In this way, the high per capita income is share equally to the people of Bhutan not enjoying advantages being in hand for and by the civil servant of Bhutan. And, of course it is due to good system of government in place.
And the incomes are also spent for common purposes of the people of Bhutan as well as to the people of world by; planting trees and maintaining good coverage of forests, protecting and preserving endangered species, etc. If it succeeds in Bhutan, GNH may be renamed as GIH meaning Gross International Happiness.
As I thought of sharing more about GNH to him besides his enquiries but it was time for flight and fortunately or unfortunately we were then in different apartment wherein he was in business (wealthy) class and I was in economy (poor) class.