To see beyond, the government must help too

In closing businesses, it is not a mere string of shops, it is the bread and butter of thousands of families and abruptly closing down a business that has been there for decades, the government must think of ways to benefit the people that have survived through the business so far.

The idea is noble, or not, it is arguable – the way forward is not charted through one-sided decision, it needs to incorporate the views of the other parties too.

By the way, the drayang owners and drayang employees expressed their views to Bhutan TODAY, this was not a standard process a government should have followed. Closing down a business entails lots of repercussions and plain words of encouragement are simply not a solution nor directing a ministry or two to look into the affairs.

As the business owners put, ‘we thought the government would come out with viable solutions to standardized operations of drayangs’ which was not the case, it was also not reflected in the executive order – so this calls for a proper ending.

Drayang owners claim compensation and drayang employees seek support to land an equally paying job, this is also not a really thought-provoking and viable solution. All this will not last long, there is a need for a vision and a sustainable way forward because anything that starts must continue for ages as are businesses’ nature, finding a leeway and moving towards it as final and binding will only cause greater harm.

It was a greater moral move as the executive order mentions that operating drayang businesses, consultations with multiple stakeholders validate, the business hinges on compromising norms and values and it was time to acknowledge that our women working in drayangs are vulnerable – but the way to move forward closing business without any proper solutions and replacements is not morally right. And, most importantly, this is also not a state of emergency, governments only close business at such relevant times.

In times to come, the government must meet with the drayang business owners and sit with them to find and strike a middle way that benefits both parties. The government must also follow the appropriate processes to close a business that employs more than 900 employees. To make another investment in another business is not only about finance, it is also about time and commitment they have made so far, but it must also be respected and they must be given a time frame to shutter properly.

Time must be given to drayang business to shutter, they must become mentally prepared and the way forward must be put in the middle to discuss properly, there will surely come a mediation that everyone can agree on.  

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