No doubt the ramifications of the June 1st massacre in Narayanhity Royal Palace are wide-ranging to affect all aspects of national life. But in giving too much attention towards only the political aspects of the tragedy, the country has starkly neglected the devastating blow that the business and economy have received. In a rough estimation, a day of unscheduled disruption in work results in a loss of one billion rupees in GDP. Another estimation shows that the cash effect of one day's closure of hotels in December last year due to union and management dispute over a 10% service charge was nearly USD 1.8 billion.
Analysis of the situation against these facts indicates that the economy lost at least three billion rupees in GDP for the closure of work during June 3-5 due to street disturbances following the palace massacre. The figure may go well high if June 2, a Saturday, and the mourning leave covering the subsequent week is also considered. Coming as the tragedy does soon after a three-day-long paralysing nationwide strike (27-29 May), it is likely that contrary to the earlier forecast the authorities made of a healthy 6% growth, the economy this year will actually have negative growth.
Of course, such things would not come into consideration when the entire nation is facing such a sudden and most perplexing situation as Nepal was following the June 1 tragedy. But the sooner the country regains its senses and starts vigorously to implement a highly ambitious plan to make up for the losses, the better.
And the opportunity for this is just at hand in the form of the budget session of the Parliament. The challenge to the government now is in utilising the feelings of patriotism and loyalty to the crown shown by the people on June 2 and subsequent days. It should not be a difficult job if the government is wise enough to win the support of His Majesty King Gyanendra who personally has close experience of the business and economy. Particularly, his first-hand experience in tourism as the Chairman of King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation is expected to be very much valuable.
However shocking the massacre of the royal family on that ominous evening of June 1 may look, it can also be viewed as a shock therapy delivered by the Providence to a lethargic Nepal as it had become gradually over the last decade for the failure of the political leaders to deliver the expectations of the people. If this tragic event revives the spirit of constructive patriotism in the minds of Nepalis, that is going to be a real tribute to the late king Birendra.