Confusion Still in Abundance

Parchanda may have tried hard to mend his Party’s and his personal relationship with India, but what cannot be brushed aside is the fact that he tried to attract the attention of our neighbors to Nepal’s serious economic problems, which is quite unch

May 12, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 06 No. -22 May. 10- 2013 (Baishakh, 2070)

Although fresh poll dates for elections to CA are yet to be announced, people have more or less understood that polls will not be possible on the politicians’ publicized date of June 21.They have also realized that this date was made public just for mass consumption and people now are seen skeptical about the intention and ability of the concerned authorities to organize polls even on the second best option of November. Even politicians who until recently talked about the need and possibility of having elections in June have stopped their ranting now. Despite criticism from many about government’s inability to announce poll dates even after weeks into the office, the Regmi team seems to have done a good job by not announcing a date in June for elections, saving themselves of the accusations of failing to hold polls on the specified date. In the mean while, however, what this so called nonpartisan government cannot afford to ignore for long is the inquisitiveness of the confused people of this country about polls. They are not sure whether polls would be held even in November because some politicians of late have begun to speak about its impossibility even on the four party’s second preferred date. What Regmi should not forget to note seriously is the fact that his team is not going to be blamed about the event(polls) not occurring in June, but if they prolong this silence for long without announcing a particular date in November, they are going to be attacked from every quarter, which could even pave way for their disgraceful exit.Therefore,it would be unwise to take too long to announce the day/s of the polls, the only major responsibility these people currently in power have been charged with. Regmi simply cannot stay on like Bhattari who even after repeatedly failing to hold polls stayed on  with the solid backing of his party and his power-enjoying coalition partners. More importantly, Regmi cannot afford to act and behave like politicians of this country because he has his image to take care of. With major issues of contention such as federalism and system of governance still alive, one wonders whether the CA to be created would be any different from the dead one as far as resolution of issues making an optimal use of time and other resources is concerned. Not many people now seriously object to the proposal of federating Nepal into several states/provinces but their numbers, geographical division and type(such as language, ethnicity based) are still being debated and will definitely attract serious attention of the new CA. Further, the question related to Hinduism, religion practiced by majority Nepalese, and issues related to Brahmins and Chhetris, together constituting more than 30 percent of Nepal’s population and often falsely described as exploiters, will have to be addressed. These are, however, issues that need sincere attention of top leaders of this country more than that of the current government put in place mainly to organize polls. Being the chair of the largest political party in the country and also a strong propagator of ethnic federalism, Prachanda will have to shoulder the major responsibility of addressing these issues without letting the concerned further harm the nation and its ailing economy.

Prachanda seems to have realized, albeit little late, that the long-ignored ailing economy of Nepal should not now be left unattended to. His concern for the economy reportedly figured in his discussion with top leaders of India and China during his recent trip to these two countries. Disappointed by the ever increasing trade deficit, expected to reach a historical 30 percent of the estimated GDP of Rs 1700 billion this fiscal, rising prices of essential commodities and highly unsatisfactory growth rate of the economy, he might have decided to urge the captains of these great economic powers to help Nepal prosper economically. Interestingly, he wanted both countries to help Nepal harness its vast hydro power potentials. Reportedly, tourism was also touched upon at the bilateral meetings held in Beijing and Delhi. With the seriousness of our leaders in garnering support from our resourceful neighbours, hydro power and tourism can easily lead this country towards prosperity without taking too long a time. A tripartite arrangement involving Nepal as a supplier of raw material (water), China organizing capital and India providing the market should be initiated at the earliest. China and India are emerging as global economic and political powers and their intervention is sought all over the world for resolution of political as well as economic  issues. EU,in trouble since long, expects these two Asian giants to help them at this time of need. It may be noted that jobless rate in Spain, fourth largest economy in EU,leapt to 27.16 percent, which is just little less than the 27.2 percent level of bailed-out Greece. Employment situation even in France, second largest economy in EU, is deteriorating. French President Francois Holland during his recent trip to China urged his counterpart Chinese President Xi to help rebalance his country’s unsustainable-looking trade deficit ($34 billion last year) with China. Chinese leadership obliged Holland by agreeing to buy dozens of Airbus planes worth billions of dollars. In return, China got the much-sought assurance from France that it will do the needful to clear impediments to promoting Chinese investment in that country. President Xi will definitely sign a deal to buy Boeing aircrafts from the US at the earliest opportune moment to address US concerns about trade imbalance. Although China’s global trade surplus is on a decline, leaders of major economic powers have not left taking up trade issues with Chinese authorities whenever there is an opportunity to do so. China and India are also helping their energy suppliers with generous package of assistance and doing everything possible to keep the sea lanes disturbance-free to secure uninterrupted availability of it to meet the ever increasing demand of their economies which have slowed a bit in recent times. When great economic powers are turning towards the two nations to help them correct their economic woes, a poor nation Nepal with rising per capita debt, estimated at Rs 19748 in 2011/12, should waste not much time in approaching these nations with concrete proposals. Parchanda may have tried hard to mend his Party’s and his personal relationship with India, but what cannot be brushed aside is the fact that he tried to attract the attention of our neighbors to Nepal’s serious economic problems, which is quite uncharacteristic of our politicians. Our leaders have to learn to talk trade, aid and allied economic problems as do major political leaders in the world today. Representing our politicians, Prachanda has made the début on this front and let us hope some other leaders, instead of unnecessarily commenting on his visit, prepare and pursue economic agenda more seriously and show concrete results as well to the confused people. They may also refrain from making meaningless statements such as “the country did not get a constitution because our party did not get the majority in the last CA.” Who should the people listen to and trust when top leaders belonging to different parties repeatedly make these senseless remarks in public gatherings. There is no harm in asking people to give them majority but it is also their responsibility not to confuse people time and again, be it in relation to election or appointment of Lok Man Singh as chief of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA). For now, let us all help Regmi to announce and organize polls.

Dr. Tilak Rawal

Dr. Tilak Rawal

Dr. Rawal is former governor of NRB.

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