Poor performance of Bangladesh in tourism promotion


Of all the countries in South Asia, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in Bangladesh is very low. If Bangladesh performs well in attracting foreign tourists, it could earn substantial amount in foreign exchange and also generate employment. The tourist arrivals in South Asia are given below

Country 2011 2012 2013  2014  
Bangladesh 155000 125000 148000 125000  
Bhutan  66000 105000 116000 134000


India 6309000 6578000 6968000 7679000
Maldives 931000 958000 1125000 1205000
Myanmar 816000 1059000 2044000 3081000
Nepal 736000  803000  798000  790000
Pakistan 1161000  966000 NA na
Sri Lanka   856000 1006000 1275000 1527000


It is seen from the above table that Bangladesh receives the least number of international tourists, in spite of the fact that being a fairly large country it has most of the facilities which the tourists require like easy access, beaches, hills, rivers, boating, scenic beauty etc.  What needs to be done is cooperation of Bangladesh inbound tour operators with outbound tour operators of major tourists originating countries like China, United States, Germany, UK etc. as also neighboring countries like India,  Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka. Bangladesh should also seriously make Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries as places of pilgrimage. Cooperation should also be explored with inbound tour operators of neighboring countries who could send their  foreign clients to Bangladesh for a few days.

Indian Projects- no need for foreign loans


There is news that India will get a loan of $160 million from World Bank for modernizing roads in Rajasthan. When the money is received by India, the equivalent amount of Rs.996 crores will be brought into circulation in India. It may come from the reserves and /or from printing currency notes. Roads can be modernized without importing any material from abroad or in other words there is no need for foreign exchange for the project. Only Indian Rupees is needed and this is available in India or can be printed. Inflation will be there whether loan is taken from World Bank or the Indian currency is released into circulation without taking loan in foreign currency from abroad. So in cases where imports are not required for projects loans should not be taken from abroad and the required amount should be loaned by Reserve Bank of India.

Black Money- Government powers are limited


A lot of discussions,meetings, agitations etc are taking place in India asking the Government to bring back the black money of Indians to India. In this connections,there appear to be the following constraints

1. the money belongs to individuals In he normal course, only the owners can take the money from the banks, though the government can explore possibilities of freezing the accounts etc but then the government should have details. individual depositors or foreign banks will not disclose the details.

2. The money is not with the foreign governments It is with the banks in foreign countries. Government of India can only negotiate with the foreign governments and not with the foreign banks as the banks would not negotiate with any one except the depositors Foreign governments may not be able to interfere with the banks without enacting new laws.

3 even if foreign governments enact laws to empower themselves to ask their banks to transfer the money to any bank in India, the foreign banks may not agree. the banks may go to the courts. courts will take into account the laws in existence at the time of deposit of the money.

From the above, it appears that it may not be easy for the government to bring the black money to India. But the government can certainly encourage those who have black money abroad to bring the same to India, by waiving punishment, penalty and also offering lower rates of tax. For example government can announce that the black money can be transferred to India and that those who transfer would need to pay tax of only 20% or 25% and that no questions would be asked. Since the deposits in foreign banks carry no or very low interest, most of the depositors would be willing park their money in Indian banks which pay nearly 10% interest.Unlike in the past,foreign exchange is easily avialable for all legitimate purposes. And also as the Indian Rupee is fairly stable, there is no particular advantage for majority of the people to keep their money abroad. Considering all these,some depositors may not mind paying a penalty/higher tax of 35% or 40% or even more)



      The Government of India has extended the ban on exports of cotton, as the consumer industry,  namely textile industry has complained about increase in the prices of its raw materials which would make its exports uncompetitive. Often, the government bans the exports of onions to bring down the prices domestically to benefit the consumers.  It also allows imports of  products/commodities when their prices in India go up. This means that:

    The Government wants cotton growers to subsidise exports; it wants onion growers to suffer losses or forgo profits for the benefit of the consumers. When the prices of cotton goes down, does the textile industry comes forward to pay higher prices? When the price of onion goes down, do the consumers volunteer to pay higher prices? Of course, the government sometimes procures certain products at  particular prices. The prices should be allowed to be determined by the market forces. In the process,  for examples, if the textile exports suffer , the government should extend cash or other assitance to the exporters, considering the need for foreign exchange. In the case of domestic sales, the industry should pass on the increase in prices to the consumers.

    However, a question arises as to the incentives that the government extends to, for example cotton growers by way of restricting/ banning imports to ensure  remunerative prices for the growers. Restricting the imports is not just to help the growers, but also to conserve the foreign exchange for use by the industry.  However, the ultimate solution should be to allow freely, both imports and exports of raw materials and finished products except where the non-renewable raw materials  like ores, need to be conserved for future use.

Loans from International Organisations


There is news that the Government of India is seeking a loan of US$3 billion or Rs.15,000 crores from World Bank for converting about 6,000 kilometers of single-lane national highways into two-lane highways.

For road works foreign exchange is not required too much. If the government wants money in Rupees, it can raise loans in India itself. If it difficult to raise loans from the public, it can borrow from Reserve Bank of India (RBI). If RBI has any difficulty, it can create a special purpose fund by printing currency and lending to the government. The amount can be recouped over a period of time, say 10 or 15 years.

If the government wants some quantum of foreign exchange, it can withdraw from the country’s foreign exchange reserves. These reserves are over $260 billion and have been deposited in foreign government bonds and in foreign banks yielding very low interest.

Thus, there is no need to seek loan from World Bank or any other international organizations.