The most margninalised communities in Nepal are Dalits, Adivasi and Muslims. These communities should therefore be prioritised in any government services and any future affirmative action programs. The others who happen to have HDI levels higher than the national average do not need any special treatment and will have to compete. Then there is also the question of the status of women and the inequities within ethnic groups. How to prevent the powerful within the marginalised groups from taking advantage of programs weighted in that community's favour?
One rule of thumb could be that even within a marginalised group, 33 per cent of the services should be set aside for women, and those living below the poverty line can be prioritised. However hard we try, it will be difficult to be completely fair in addressing this country's complex ethnic and socio-economic make-up. Targeting people with special needs can be done broadly under the HDI rubric in order to remove inequality, poverty and exploitation but it can't be the end of the story.
These strategies must now rise above the level of party slogans and be transformed by deep research and into political will.
|Human Development Index by selected ethnicity|
|National average: .5121|