Category Archives: Volume 04


His Excellency, Gautam Mukhopadhaya, recently appointed Ambassador to Myanmar, graduated from Delhi University, joined the Foreign Service in 1980 and has served in various capacities in Indian Embassies in Mexico, France, Cuba, Afghanistan and Syria, the UN Mission in New York and the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Defence in India. He has also worked in the UN Headquarters in New York as a Consultant on Social Development. He re-opened the Indian Embassy in Kabul in November 2001 after the ouster of the Taliban in Afghanistan. And most recently served as India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan from July 2010 to May 2013. As India’s representative to the Third Committee of the UN in New York (1996-1999), he dealt with issues relating to social development, human rights and advancement of women.

It is a great pleasure for me to address readers of Myanmar Matters. In the short period of its existence, Myanmar Matters has already established itself as one of the most readable and informative periodic bulletins on Myanmar of special interest to those interested in Myanmar and India, particularly business prospects, but also more generally. I heartily commend Globally Managed Services, and especially its founder, Mr. Ranjit Barthakur, for taking this initiative which can serve as a bridge between India and Myanmar as the latter moves to a new era of rapid political, economic and administrative reforms that have brought new hope to the country.

As a historical friend and neighbor and friend with whom it has had deep cultural, civilizational and political ties, not least during and after our struggle for independence, India stands ready to partner and extend a helping hand in all areas of Myanmar’s national life. Indeed, this has already begun in earnest. Though not a traditional donor country, it has already committed close of US$ 750 million in development assistance in both infrastructure projects to promote connectivity and increase trade and economic relations between our two countries and the ASEAN, but also human resource and capacity building projects in English language, entrepreneurship, Information Technology, industrial and management training to prepare Myanmar for a modern economy.

The presentation of Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya credentials to H.E. the President of Myanmar, U Thein Sein on June 21, 2013.
The presentation of Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya credentials to H.E. the President of Myanmar, U Thein Sein on June 21, 2013.

In addition, the Government of India has also extended soft loans of an approximately equal amount to the Government of Myanmar in areas of priority to it such as power, railways, irrigation, industrial development, tele-communication and other areas, making its total outlay for Myanmar close to US $ 1.5 billion. It ranks fourth in Myanmar’s external trade with a total trade turnover of US $ 1.9 billion and targeted to reach US $ 3 billion by 2015, and 10th in terms of foreign investments which presently stand at about US$ 280 million.

Nevertheless, given the size of India’s economy, its relative dynamism in spite of a recent slowdown in its rate of growth, its geographical proximity, its scientific, technological and entrepreneurial achievements and its political reliability, our economic relations are nowhere near their potential. The challenge before us as Myanmar opens up, is to build upon our historical, cultural and civilizational ties and political comfort, to enhance our connectivity by land, sea and air, expand trade, seriously step up investments, increase people-topeople and cultural contacts, and bring our economies much closer together.

Besides trade and investment and cultural relations, India can also contribute greatly to Myanmar’s political challenges. India’s experience of democracy and nation-building, its religious, linguistic, ethnic and cultural diversity, its handling of regional, linguistic, religious and tribal aspirations within a democratic polity, and its experience of market-oriented economic reforms in the context of poverty and social and economic disparities amongst other areas, can also offer valuable lessons for Myanmar’s political and economic transformation. In all these, Myanmar can also count on its sizable population of Indian-origin who have contributed to Myanmar’s economy and education in the past, and can do so even more now free from the legacy of colonialism. May I therefore take this opportunity, to reiterate that India is prepared to contribute to Myanmar’s future in any way that it can, in the areas of peace, development, investment, democracy and nation-building in general. I am confident that Myanmar Matters can play a catalytic role in this process.

Message from ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya 


The Myanmar I Remember

Myanmar, dawn on Irrawaddy river. | source :
Myanmar, dawn on Irrawaddy river. | source :

The author of this article, Dr (Mrs.) Gayatri Mehta, is an Indian, born in Myanmar and currently living in Thailand, who recounts her early years in Myanmar between 1924 and 1929. She made a return visit to Myanmar in 2010.

I was born in Machida town in Myanmar and this is where my experiences in that country began.

This is from the time when Myanmar was a part of India and the British were ruling. My father Shri Krishan Kanhaiya Lal achieved his Civil Engineering Degree from Thomson College, Roorkee. His first placement also happened in Myanmar itself.

Vol4_InlineText09During that time, from Kolkata to Rangoon, one would have to go by sea, which used to take 3 days. I would enjoy every moment of those three days on the ship. My mother was never comfortable during these journeys and was troubled by sea sickness. She would just keep lying down while we children, three of them elder to me, would roam around the ship, eat puri, halva and other Indian delicacies, play and enjoy to the fullest. I very well remember sleeping on the top berth in the cabin and looking at the sea from the window.

On my father’s joining, my grandfather Shri Badri Prasad sent two cooks, one barber, one priest and four other people with us. The barber used to accompany my father on his work. My father would either drink tea or coconut water and would never drink any other water at work.

My mother’s name was Achi Bai but my grannny used to call her Laadli. My elder brother Nalini was two years elder to me. There were more elder brothers and sisters to him who used to study in English medium schools. more…

Myanmar Real-Estate Summit to Highlight Infrastructure

source :
source :

The second Myanmar Real Estate Summit (MRES), held in Yangon from September 30 to October 1, concentrated on pivotal issues, for investment in the country’s real-estate development and property sector.

The sector is booming as investors respond positively to the country’s economic and political reforms. Burgeoning demand and new opportunities are attracting investments from around the world.

The extent of this can be judged by the fact that Yangon enjoys the highest property prices in Southeast Asia.

The explosion in tourism is also leading to an acute shortage of hotels, residential buildings and mixed-use projects. more…


Myanmar Conferences and Trade Shows Calendar

Date: 3-5th Oct, 2013
Medical Myanmar Location: Tatmadaw Hall,Yangon
Medical Myanmar will be attended by representatives of numerous Pharmaceutical companies to get familiar with the latest developments which are taking place in the medical, hospital and pharmaceutical industry.

Date: 24-26th Oct, 2013
Myanmar Water Location: Tatmadaw Hall, Yangon
The show is offering a huge and genuine platform for leading experts related to waste management industry from all over the world and for positive development of the water industry in the Union of Myanmar.

Date: 31st Oct-2nd Nov, 2013
Mining Myanmar Location: Myanmar Convention Center, Yangon
The country has a good and exclusive resource of all kinds of minerals like copper, gold, lead, tin, zinc and other precious stoners like ruby, diamond and others. This show aims to trap the extensive natural resources of the region and brings it in the forefront of the market.

Date: 31st Oct-2nd Nov, 2013
Building & Construction Myanmar Location: Myanmar Convention Center, Yangon
This international buildingand construction exhibition will help in the development of the construction industry and will bring together all the professionals associated with the sector.

Date: 7-8th Nov 2013
Myanmar Agro Location: Tatmadaw Hall, Yangon
Myanmar Agro will experience active participation from brand organizations to exhibit various agricultural mechanical equipments and other related products and services in front of a large number of professionals and experts associated with the industry.

Date: 15-18th Nov 2013
Myanmar International Machinery Industrial Exhibition Location: Myanmar Convention Center, Yangon
Myanmar International Machinery Industrial Exhibition to showcase the industrial machinery and to acquire information regarding the latest trends in industrial machinery.

Date: 28-29th Nov 2013
Offshore Technology Asia Location: Yangon, Myanmar
Offshore Technology Asia plans to facilitate participating companies to engage in enhancing their existing operations in the fields such as drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection

Paying Heed to Health

Myanmar Health Care System has been evolving with the changing political and administrative systems. The relative roles played by the key providers, both public and private, are also changing although the Ministry of Health remains the major provider of comprehensive health care. It has a pluralistic mix of public and private system, both in the financing and provision sectors. The rising need of health care policies, on the Government priority list, is opening up new opportunities for foreign engagement. Foreign companies will only be allowed to invest in private hospitals and clinics on a 70:30 ratio with local partners, according to the Deputy Health Minister, Dr Thein Thein Htay. The presence of foreign businesses will allow better job opportunities for doctors, nurses, and skilled workers.

In implementing the objective of uplifting the health status of the entire nation, the Ministry of Health is taking the responsibility of providing comprehensive health care services covering activities for promoting health, preventing diseases, providing effective treatment and rehabilitation to raise the health status of the population. The Department of Health one of seven departments under the Ministry of Health plays a major role in providing comprehensive health care throughout the country including remote and hard to reach border areas.

Recently, The Ministry of Health invested 73.26 billion Kyat received as reserve budget to buy medicine and equipment, so as to provide free healthcare to emergency patients, pregnant women and children under the age of five in public hospitals. The private sector is mainly providing ambulatory care in Myanmar. However, there are some private institutions whose focus is on providing institutional care in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, Mandalay and other large cities.

The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon at night photo:
The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon at night photo:

General Practitioners’ Section of the Myanmar Medical Association with its branches in townships, provide these practitioners the opportunities to update and exchange their knowledge and experiences, by holding seminars, talks and symposia on currently emerging issues and updated diagnostic and therapeutic measures. The Medical Association and its branches also provide a link between them and their counterparts in public sector so that private practitioners can also participate in public health care activities. One unique and important feature of Myanmar health system is the existence of traditional medicine along with allopathic medicine. There are a total of fourteen traditional hospitals run by the State in the country. Traditional medical practitioners are being trained at the Institute of Traditional Medicine. A new University of Traditional Medicine has been established in Mandalay, for competent practitioners to avail a bachelor’s degree, allowing for better training and placements.

Myanmar Red Cross Society is also taking some share of service provision and their roles are also becoming important as the needs for collaboration in health become more prominent.


The Government has embarked on a far reaching reform programme to transform the country into a modern, developed and democratic nation that improves the livelihood of its people. The Government has aspired for people-centred development while staying focused on achievable results. It shall start modestly, but move decisively with international assistance to enlarge capacity and skill development to reduce incidence of poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Health sector change in transitional economies is a hybrid of two issues that are normally separate but that coalesce in these cases. The first issue is that of reform in the health sector in general. The precise agenda for reform is defined by reviewing how well existing policies, institutions, structures, and systems deal with issues of efficiency and equity. The second issue underlying health sector change in transitional economies is more macroeconomic in nature and much less voluntary.


Promoting and protecting health is essential to human welfare and sustained economic and social development. Education, housing, food and employment all impact on health. Redressing inequalities in these will reduce inequalities in health. It determines whether people can afford to use health services when they need them. Health financing is an important part of broader efforts to ensure social protection in health. Recognizing this, Myanmar seems committed to strengthen the health financing systems so that all people have access to services and do not suffer financial hardship paying for them The major sources of finance for health care services are the government, private households, social security system, community contributions and external aid. Government has increased health spending on both current and capital yearly. Total government health expenditure increased from kyat 464.1million in 1988-89 to kyat 86547 million in 2010-2011.

Health Expenditures by Providers (2006-07 to 2009-10)

PROVIDERS 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010
Hospitals 69.59 70.55 70.33 67.89
Ambulatory Health Care 17.23 17.3 17.54 17.01
Retail sale and medical goods 3.85 3.87 3.84 3.79
Provision and Administration of Public Health Programs 2.06 2.00 2.00 2.51
General Health Administration 0.69 0.53 0.51 0.50
Health Related Services 2.59 1.85 1.98 1.82
Rest of the world 3.99 3.90 3.80 6.48

The Fading Away of Myanmar Traditional Pottery Businesses

Clay and glaze products from Twantay | photo:
Clay and glaze products from Twantay | photo: regent

A young lady is gracefully moving her artistic hands and fingers through the clay on the spinning wheel to make a pot.

But such kind of traditional scene could very well disappear in near future because of the volatile business environment that eats into such traditional arts and crafts. The number of people doing such work is on the decline and may disappear forever if nothing is done to keep the tradition alive.

The young lady inherits this work from her 50-year old mother since she was in seventh grade. Her mother, Daw Hnyar, is a small pottery business owners in Twantay Township, one of the famous townships for ceramic pottery in Myanmar, located sixteen miles away from Yangon. Daw Hnyar has been in this business for her entire life. Her knowledge was handed down from generation to generation through her family line. She spoke passionately about her work and about her desire to expand the family business.

Graffiti Artist Invited to Leave his Mark in Naypyidaw

Artist Arker Kyaw poses with the graffiti welcoming U.S. President Barack Obama in Yangon, Myanmar, at dawn on Saturday, Nov. 17, When Arker Kyaw heard Obama was coming to Myanmar, he gathered 15 cans of spray paint and headed for a blank brick wall under cover of darkness. Kyaw, whose passion is graffiti, labored from 3 am until the sun came up. photo: gemunu amarasinghe
Artist Arker Kyaw poses with the graffiti welcoming U.S. President Barack Obama in Yangon, Myanmar, at dawn on Saturday, Nov. 17, When Arker Kyaw heard Obama was coming to Myanmar, he gathered 15 cans of spray paint and headed for a blank brick wall under cover of darkness. Kyaw, whose passion is graffiti, labored from 3 am until the sun came up. photo: gemunu amarasinghe

The Minister of Sports, Myanmar has invited graffiti artist Arkar Kyaw – who became an overnight hit in November last year when he painted a mural of US President Barack Obama ahead of his landmark trip to Myanmar – to ply his trade in Naypyidaw as part of a promotion for the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Myanmar will host the 27th SEA Games at stadiums and venues in Rangoon, Mandalay, Naypyidaw and Ngwe Saung from 11 to 22 December. Speaking to DVB on Tuesday, the director of the Sports and Physical Education Department, Htay Aung, said Arkar Kyaw has been invited to paint a mural at a site near Center Market in the capital. “The sports minister would like Arkar Kyaw to paint something related to the SEA Games in the central part of the city,” he said. “We will set up a huge billboard for him. We just need to get permission from Naypyidaw council.”

Arkar Kyaw will be offered to spray-paint a billboard 18 feet high and 60 feet long. Htay Aung said the ministry would not rule out the possibility of further contracts for the urban artist if his work is met with approval.

The Rangoon-based graffiti artist confirmed that he has already met with a sports department official. He told DVB that he does not know the exact details of the proposal but said he would be happy to oblige. In recent years, as Myanmar emerges from decades of military rule, more and more graffiti artists’ works have appeared on walls and at sites around Rangoon. more…

CEO 360 Degree Perspective of the Automotive Market in Myanmar Forecasts Cagr of 7.8%

Myanmar’s automotive market is likely to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8 per cent (2013-2019), driven by a growing economy, infrastructure development and increasing income.

Mr. Dushyant Sinha, Associate Director, Automotive Practice, Asia Pacific at Frost & Sullivan said that real growth is likely to start only after 2014.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www. CEO 360 Degree Perspective of the Automotive Market in Myanmar finds that the market, currently dominated by used vehicles, is likely to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8 per cent (2012-2019) to reach 95,300 units in 2019 due to greater integration with the rest of ASEAN. more…

Myanmar Trains More Guides

YANGON: Myanmar says it will improve local tour guide competency in anticipation of a boom in tourism following its 28 August ruling that fully opened four border crossing points along the Thai-Myanmar border areas.

The four overland checkpoints include Tachileik-Mae Sai, Myawady-Mae Sot, Kawthaung- Ranong and Htee Khee-Sunaron. Previously travellers could pass through the checkpoints, but they had to return by the same route. more…

Ministry Announces Winners of Airport Bids

Inside the domestic terminal at Yangon’s International Airport photo: simon roughneen/the irrawaddy
Inside the domestic terminal at Yangon’s International Airport photo: simon roughneen/the irrawaddy

The Ministry of Transport has announced the winning bidders for the development and upgrading of three international airports in state media on 10 August 2013. Pioneer Aerodrome Services, a subsidiary of Asia World Co., Ltd, was granted a contract to renovate Yangon International Airport, while a consortium consisting of Singapore-based Yongnam-CAPE-JGC was selected as the backup, should Pioneer fail to meet its obligations.

The project consists of expanding the airport’s capacity to 6 million from the current 2.7 million passengers per year. For the upgrading of Mandalay International Airport in Central Myanmar, a consortium between Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan’s Jalux Inc. and local SPA Project Management Ltd, a subsidiary of Yoma Strategic Holdings, was selected whereas France-based VINCI Airports qualified as a backup company. A consortium led by South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) was chosen for the construction of Hantharwaddy International Airport, with Yongnam-CAPE-JGC Consortium being the backup

The US$ 1.1 billion project is located in Bago Region, and will be a major hub for international and domestic flights. According to the Ministry of Transport, the airport will have a total capacity of 12 million passengers a year. IIAC aims to start airport operations by 2018 and has been granted concession for a 50 year term. According to a spokesperson from the Directorate of Civil Aviation, a binding contract between the Ministry and the consortium is to be signed within 2 months. The development of Hantharwaddy International Airport was unveiled in 1996 but stalled due to various reasons. These three projects are scheduled to begin work in early 2014