It all started after getting a formal relieving order from the Government on 15th October 2017. Prior to voluntarily resigning, I have been deciding whether to continue my service with the government or operate tour business. There were lots of suggestions received with the majority asking me to continue the government service and also to keep a hand on the business. They are right in one way as some government officials in Bhutan continue with such practices, not necessarily running tours but many other businesses in spouse’s name and some in their names.
Particularly with regards to tourism I have seen many senior civil servants, International NGOs officials, etc opening a travel agent as it requires just a good internet connection and laptop to operate it. They cleverly use their spouse or relatives’ name to get it registered. For them, it is more than convenient as they don’t have to spend any other marketing budget as whenever they go abroad on a tour, meeting, and/or studies they just use the occasion to promote and market it. Also, they can use their office’s internet connections to work on it, without having to worry about internet connections. I question myself as is such a trend allowed? Or who is responsible for monitoring, if the so-called majority of the senior officials themselves are engaged in such activities.
Here I am not arguing that one should not own any business in one’s spouse’s name or relative’s name, as everyone has got the freedom to livelihood. But the point of contention is when the government functionaries are misused to carry out such activities, thereby affecting one’s duties. Having seen the rampant practices, I would have done the same by getting it registered in my wife’s name or my children’s name. But it was not to be for me, for I am quite particular with my conscience. Of course, like me, there are also a few other officials who do not own any other side business either in their name or their wife’s name. Or even if their wife or relatives own business, they are clear with their line of duties and not smearing it. Kudos! To such dedicated officials.
Of course, there are various reasons for sticking to such a trend; some taking advantage of their position in government, some for capitalizing their monetary strengths, and most on compulsion due to mismatch between take-home pay and the expenditures. I have seen it done it, doing it and is the way for many, but for me, my inner self did not permit to do it (rather I have been a coward). My personal observation is that the patriotism to one’s government job or any other job diminishes if we are having other side-jobs, ultimately affecting one’s output. So this could be one of the reasons why our developmental activities are moving at a snail’s pace.
While expressing my deepest gratitude to the Royal Government of Bhutan, particularly the Department of Forests and Park Services for providing me the opportunity to work at different places and interact with people of all walks of life, I finally decided to stick with my conscience and got voluntarily resigned from the civil service on 15th October 2017. That Druk Siddhi Tours stands for impartiality, transparency, and honesty on paper isn’t enough and to pragmatize it, one has to lead by example. I voluntarily resigned in order to make my conscience clear and not smear it.