Nepali Times

Talking business
Good write up ('Business Reporting', Ashutosh Tiwari, #531). These tips will be of substantial help to people who want to improve the level of journalism focusing on the business environment of Nepal.

As a serial entrepreneur, I would welcome more quality business/economic analyses and reporting in our media rather than political ramblings that go on and on and grab the headlines instead these days. Your points are good advice to any journalism reporter or student who wants to focus on business reporting (and help focus on Nepal's positives rather than negatives)

Ujwal Thapa,

solutions for the system
A system is greater than the sum of its parts ('Better, not good', Prashant Jha, #531). Despite the machinations of the multiple actors, the 2006 system has been able to adapt and lock in various group interests. The successes of Madhesi parties are an obvious example. What is necessary now is that missing component: justice.

There are potential methods to manage this contradiction of peace without justice in the 2006 transitional system. The Special Security Plan should have been balanced by either a truth and reconciliation commission or a commission on the disappeared. This policy would have been a combination of both coercion and justice mechanisms.

One of the main causes of instability in the 2006 system are the two armies. I can't provide an answer on how to manage that intractable problem. However, a just peace, and thus a lasting peace, cannot occur without a decision on the final status of the two-army problem.

Yes, the system has failed to provide tangible benefits in the form of unemployment. But all is not lost. Creative policies could be used to reconstruct the relationship between Nepal and the transnational Nepali proletariat. Embassies with a sizable labour attaché that assists the Nepali Workers Abroad (NWA) could be helpful. Giving the NWA a voice by extending voting rights could be an interesting idea. NWA keep our country afloat; they deserve a direct say in its affairs.

The absence of institutional coherence is another problem. Ideally, the parliament should have been the strongest body in the system – the voice of the system. The constituent assembly should have been the venue to discuss the future of the state and not newspaper columns, street demonstrations, or ridiculous speeches. Nepal's most important institutions are relegated to the background in national discourse. They need to be yanked back to the front of the line. Using Prashant's terminology, the organised force to fill the vacuum in the 2006 transitional system is the constituent assembly/parliament itself.

Factors such as geography, ethnic diversity, settlement patterns, wealth inequality, resource scarcity, and geopolitics may mean that no one group will have enough leverage to control the state for quite some time. Therefore, the apt strategy for all actors within the system would be to go back to the constituent assembly and finish that important work.


The author is right that anarchy seems to be gaining ground in the country especially in the south. The ones who are mostly benefiting from this are the corrupt politicians including those who thrive solely on ethnicity based vote-bank politics, and criminals.

The leaders, who keep on chanting how things have improved, seem far removed from the reality and hardships that the common people are facing day to day due to the lack of any economic opportunities, the rampant corruption, and the lawlessness that pervades society.

Without any economic opportunities at home, thousands of people are forced to leave the country everyday to look for work abroad, and without their remittances and financial contribution it is difficult to imagine how the country would fare. In this context it is ironic that the writer should still be talking about government largesse. The belief that the government's job is to provide largesse is one of the main causes of corruption in the country and is the remnant of a feudal mentality that plagues our intelligentsia and political leaders. It is the government and the political parties that are dependent on the people's largesse and not the other way around.

The government should instead focus on providing law and order to the people, so that private citizens can operate their businesses in a safe environment; and they can lead the way towards economic development of the country. Similar examples can be seen in many countries including in India in the last decade. If Nepali citizens can successfully work abroad for the development of other countries, there is no reason they cannot do it in their own country provided the right environment can be created.

All that the government has to do, besides ensuring law and order, is make sure it keeps up with the necessary infrastructure and appropriate economic policies necessary for growth.

Blaming others can only take you so far, but unless the political leaders can be held accountable by the people, things can only get worse. For example in many parts of the Madhes, the pahadiyas were blamed by the Madhesi politicians for many of the problems of the region and were driven out. Has that really helped to improve the economic and social plight of the common citizen there? There is more lawlessness now and more corruption. Unless you happen to be a politician or one among the elite few who spends most of his time in Kathmandu, the common man in the Madhes probably does not feel his economic or social condition has changed much.

That some of the Madhesi politicians want to provide voting rights to people without proof of citizenship is another example of flouting the law that can only breed more lawlessness and anarchy in the region.

The intelligentsia, media, and people in general should stop exempting their leaders from accountability based on similar ideology, ethnicity or party affiliations. Doing so will encourage only more lawlessness and anarchy, and the ultimate losers will be the people.


(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)