The Developing Development Dilemma

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The Developing Development Dilemma

--By Madan Lamsal

Some might think that nothing has happened in Nepal or that Nepalis have seen no progress. But, the reality is not like that. Nepalis have been continuously treading the path of progress. Like in the song Yo Nepali Sheer Uchali Sansarma Lamkanchha (This Nepali will walk through the world holding the head high), some Nepalis have turned on the lights of development and are shining in the world. 

If the country hasn’t achieved the kind of progress it wants, don't forget that the political leaders have made a lot of progress. That’s fair enough. We cannot build a rich country without building rich politicians. Our thoughts are narrow-minded and so we resort to protests and strikes even over such small things. A case in point is the protests made against Home Minister Shakti Basnet when he arranged, for some of his near and dear ones, a trip to the land of his idol, Late Chairman Mao! Who will want to be a minister if s\he cannot even do such little things?

Nepal is no more just Nepal; it’s now become the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. This change (even if it is just in name) has been made possible by the blood, sweat toil and tears of the Nepali people. It’s not that this change – from Nepal to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal - became possible through an 8- or 12-point agreement facilitated by any other country. Certainly not India!

So, going by the country’s new name, we have just entered the phase of federalism. Once this is sorted out, we will enter the democratic phase and then, finally, the republic phase. What is the point in running out of patience at this early stage of federalism?

Federalism will come once the politicians, their families and near and dear ones have developed first. Democracy will follow the arrival of federalism. Then, after democracy, republicanism will come. And only after that, Nepal’s development. This has been scripted in the new constitution – Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Look which word comes first and which next. You should be able to understand what’s written!

Thus, we are still in an evolution process. Just because some of us have gone abroad and seen the progress there, it is not appropriate for us to talk big about development here. The time for us to venture towards an open society and open economy hasn’t come yet. Right now, we are in the stage of shutdowns. We will talk about opening something once everything is shut down. We have just entered the age of declaring “open urination and defecation free areas”. Going by this measure, we are about 200 years behind the developed countries. It’s a different thing altogether that we were either better off or on par with most of today's developed countries 200 years ago. It’s just a matter of time. Sometimes, they are ahead, sometimes we are behind.

The country has seen a lot of progress since the promulgation of the new constitution. This is all public knowledge. The latest progress is that the Constitution Amendment Bill and the Reconstruction Authority Bill were tabled in the parliament and the latter was passed without delay. This has opened the way for those in the government to appoint their people at institutions like the Reconstruction Authority and the National Planning Commission. It is said the vice-chairman of the Authority will be recommended by the Nepali Congress (NC). This means the party will get its fair share of the reconstruction budget pie. In yesteryears, the NC too had filled up such posts with their own people. Today, the UML and the UCPN (Maoist) are doing just the same thing. All that is left now is the Madhesi Front. If the ongoing talks bear fruit, the Front too will come to the forefront to claim its share. Then the number of deputy prime ministers will surely go up from the present six. If this rises to eight, then Nepal will once again become a talking point for the world.

In fact, our leaders have already made Nepal an example for the world. For example, Nepal has become the country which somehow functions despite having the highest number of shutdowns. This year has been a year of shutdowns, so far. 
A recent report has shown Nepal as the poorest country in South Asia. Our leader’s farsightedness is reflected in this report as well. It’s not for nothing that the Nepali leaders are famous the world over; how can the developed countries, which hesitated to provide reconstruction aid to Nepal after the earthquake, sit back and not help Nepal now?

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