Nepali Times
Meanwhile, the economy...

MAN FOR ALL 'TREASONS': Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has shown us how versatile he is, but what has he really done for the common people?

Key ministers in the cabinet are in Copenhagen, the Maoist opposition is gearing up for a total national shutdown from next week, and efforts to find a way to bring the Maoists back into government have failed so far. The Maoists themselves are spending their time flying around the country declaring ethnic autonomous councils and have threatened a 'parallel government'.

In all these fun and games, none of the national players have given any thought to a looming economic emergency. The banking sector is facing a liquidity crisis the likes of which this country hasn't seen, remittance growth is down, the trade deficit with India is growing, domestic production is down and consumer spending is up. Everything is pointing to an economic crisis stemming from prolonged political uncertainty and instability.

Nepal's trade deficit with India is now a whopping Rs100 billion and growing every quarter. While the balance of payments was still healthy, Nepal paid for goods imported from India in remittance and tourism dollars. But money transfers from Nepalis working abroad have plateaued. Overall exports are down, and the fuel import bill is up by 90 per cent from last year. There has been a three-fold increase in vehicle imports this year, which will mean another spike in fuel imports in 2010. All this will put further pressure on rupee parity with India.

"The economy is a soap bubble, it can go any moment," said one senior government adviser who is worried that the ministers have no time to think about medium and long-term interventions to rescue the economy.

Banks are heavily exposed with unproductive consumer lending and real estate with long-term gestation, exacerbating the cash crunch. Interest rates have recently climbed up to 16 per cent, dampening business.

On 1 January, Nepal will have to open up its services sector including banking to foreign investors under WTO rules. This will mean that smaller banks and finance companies will find it even harder to survive.

Crises loom near - From The Brief
Including the excluded - FROM ISSUE #481 (18 DEC 2009 - 24 DEC 2009)
The golden middle - FROM ISSUE #481 (18 DEC 2009 - 24 DEC 2009)

1. Chyangba
Why such a versatile photo of Prachande in your paper. He is a criminal and is the most responsible for present day chaos of the country. We do not believe him and we do not want to see him or hear him.

2. Ram
God help us all.... with leaders like these who needs enemies

3. jange
So what? We are getting a new constitution, we are building a new Nepal and the Maoists are the are the only force for social change in the country (according to Nepal Times). A small price to pay for such historical achievements, No???

4. Arthur
This is a very difficult argument for a foreigner to understand. The article seems to be saying that Nepal is in a worsening crisis since Prachanda resigned. But instead of blaming the parties now responsible for governing Nepal for the crisis under their rule, it seems to blame Prachanda and the Maoist opposition. This logic may make sense to an english speaking elite in Kathmandu. But it doesn't make much sense from outside Nepal. Nowhere else in the world is the opposition rather than the Government blamed for problems. Perhaps it won't be very convincing to many people in Nepal either. Are you just talking to yourselves?

5. jange
" Nowhere else in the world is the opposition rather than the Government blamed for problems. Perhaps it won't be very convincing to many people in Nepal either. Are you just talking to yourselves? " Ah, Mr. Arthur, but nowhere else in the world do you have an opposition that is above the law and cannot be punished for any of its criminal activities. All criminal activities by the Maoist opposition are, by definition, revolutionary. This is why we are in such a unique position.

6. Arthur
jange, ah now I see, thank you. Perhaps if there were other countries where the largest party was in opposition and the Government was formed by losers refusing to carry out the terms of a peace agreement, then those countries too would have have great difficulty restraining the opposition.

7. Ram
I agree with jange, absolutely, people gave maoist to rule the country through election.

8. jange
Mr. Arthur. Regarding the formation of the government I think Nepal is similar to a lot of countries. Any party or group of parties that commands the confidence of the parliament forms the government. The Maoists at any time can bring down the government by a vote of no confidence and form a government by a vote of confidence. Just because a party is the biggest in parliament it cannot be immune to murder, loot and extortion regardless of its revolutionary credentials.

9. Sundeep
I am trying to figure out why the writer chose four pictures of Prachanda for this article.

10. Nepali
Arthur. You must be from Northern Europe, where romanticising about a revolution in the global south is a favaourite pastime among a gang who fail to crack into Goldman Sachs and end up waxing lyrical on rights and inclusion to land a cushy expat job. Maoists left the government themselves, because they realised their empty rhetoric was not really helping them to govern the country. Civilian supremacy my butt. It is all see-villain supremacy for me mate.

11. Mr Neil
Your country is truly doomed. Take some responsibility. Actually take all the responsibility. You were subjugated by the royalty under panchayat. You rose up and ushered in the naya Nepal then sat back and basked in the glory of jana andolan while the exact same politicians who have raped your country for so long were joined by the so called revolutionary Maobadies in further raping the dry bones of your skeleton. While corruption pervades every level of your society. While your education system crumbles under the weight of institutional cheating at exams, while you systematically look down and spit upon the people you idiotically deem to be untouchable. While you blame foreign influence while taking the foreign dollar and perform parlour tricks for the feckless do gooders. Until the good people of Nepal take some responsibility for the cesspool that your country has become you fall ever further.

12. Arthur
Yes jange, Nepal is similar to a lot of countries - only slightly behind Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia and Laos and quite comparable to much of sub-saharan Africa. What these countries have in common is desperately poor people, and a tiny kleptocratic elite that relies on its military supremacy to hold the people down. Any party that enjoys the confidence of the Army can govern. If Nepal wishes to become less similar to those very depressing countries a basic precondition has to be that parties can govern without depending on the confidence of the Army (or of India). Nepali, we can agree that unlike other parties the Maoists voluntarily stepped down when they realised that empty rhetoric was not helping to govern the country. This was something new in Nepal. The elite seems very puzzled, asking "why couldn't they just carry on with empty rhetoric in accordance with tradition". Other parties are continuing to engage in empty rhetoric to try to impress foreign donors even though it no longer seems to impress anybody in Nepal, and they show no capability of actually governing the country.

13. Satya Nepali
Arthur, you're mistaken when you say that any party that enjoys the confidence of the Army can govern here. If that were true, Gyanendra would still be around. You get closer to the picture when you include India too in the equation. But for the whole picture, also include Europe, USA, the Scandinavians, the Chinese, and the big multilaterals, World Bank, IMF and so forth. Of course, the Nepali people themselves do not matter. Parties refuse to go participate in elections using insurgency as an excuse. When they finally do go for it, they change the whole scenario creating a mirage of "New Nepal" to dodge the electorate's wrath for their mistakes in Old Nepal. Elections are won by violence and intimidation, but as long as the "international community" declares it was free and fair, it was... the list goes on. Nepal is an example of what happens to simple, innocent people who are way too welcoming of foreigners and foreign ideas than they need to be! ...O, but of course, as a Nepali, I cannot be saying that. For then, all the 'developmental' aid would disappear and I would be pariahed as an ultra-nationalist!

14. Arthur
Satya Nepali, yes your list of deciders is both wider and more accurate than my simplified version. But the Nepali people now do matter and that is precisely the source of anguish for the parties that would have liked to continue ruling with Bihari style elections and completely empty rhetoric for the "international community". That system is broken beyond repair. You will have to adapt to the new system chosen by people who are no longer afraid of you. The sooner you get over being afraid of them, the sooner you will find a viable way of life within a new Nepal. Living off the donors simply wont work any more.

15. pewpas
even the maoists wish now that there was someone in the palace. they're desperately trying to stay relevant. that's indeed sad for a party that got majority in last election, and didn't know what to do with it ...

16. Anuj
i agree with Neil's comments. That's the whole affair going on in Nepal. Perfect example Girija Baje..and other Bajes, who are poisoning this country. ..(Baje = good for nothing)..Some time, learned "outsider" can get "bird's eye view" of the situation.. Mr. Neil, how do you see the role played by Adivasi janajati (ethnic people) of Nepal and their drawbacks and weaknes , if any, please feel free..

17. mr. poudel
This comment has been removed by the moderator.

18. Daaray
Arthur go get some sleep!

19. Daaray
NT! what happen to freedom of speech? Why our saying or writing here has to be processed through filter? Can it not be posted here as soon as we hit submit comment button? Dont you dare act like commie!

20. Uday Lama
I see not a single rational commentary anywhere in the various Nepal news sources I troll in the internet. I find most of the comments juvenile and unrestrained in language. Why haven't some knowledgeable commentator written a clear and concise piece that explains the root of the current Maoist agitation. As I understand it: the Maoist wants civilian supremacy because they think that the presidential action that reinstated the Commander-in-Chief during the Maoist regime has somehow upended the prevailing constitution. In other words, the Maoist thinks that the presidential action is illegal. Can anyone explain to the world the merit or demerit of this case? Could the parties have worked their way out through the existing judicial process? Or could it be that there is no rule of law in Nepal and that whoever is in power makes the rule as well interpretes the rule to benefit for themselves. If such is the case, considering the current condition in the nation, Nepal has become a failed state.

21. arty
For those who don't get it, the multiple-pictures of PKD is far from flattering. I believe it signifies his versatility in "talking the talk" but, of course, we all know that he has been unable to "walk the walk"- hence the caption, ". . . but what has he really done for the common people?"

22. jange
arty , ". . . but what has he really done for the common people?" Murder, loot and extortion.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)