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The events in Nepal over the couple of months have left the Beed with few options but to look to the future. It is important to reiterate that if the present is not good, it is not necessarily true that the future is hopeless. A country of 23 million people should find inner strength to get through the current rumblings and rise above petty politics, egos and 'isms'.

The year 2003 will begin testing the efficacy of the current cabinet and how well the transition will take place. In business-speak this is purely project management, not an operations team. If the cabinet were to drag its heels, it would defeat the purpose of its creation. The emphasis on holding elections both central and local is paramount, and the credibility of the current government rests on this issue.

The anti-corruption drive should not lose momentum. As bigger fish get caught, the net will become harder to handle. We must not lose sight of the objective-a corruption free Nepal. Our commitment to fight corruption is the only way to win back the support of the people. And, we might add, of donor nations and development agencies. The process must be continuous, vigilant and independent to remain effective.

The business sector has an important role in resuscitating the economy. We already have an advantage-a cabinet that understands the business of doing business. Unfortunately, the reports and studies churned out by various Action Committees with commendable regularity are inversely proportionate to the efficiency of how the economy is run. What better time than now to tackle problems that have long plagued us? As the first step, the Beed recommends the reports be actually read and implemented. Advice, no matter how sound, is worthless if it remains tucked in the filing cabinets.

While restoration of peace is a paramount issue, we must not shrug our shoulders at other responsibilities and use the pursuit of peace as an excuse for poor performance. We have enough people in the government machinery to get cracking. Many of those cogs and wheels have rusted with disuse and procrastination. Inaction and mediocrity are labelled Nepali traits. In the spirit of the season, and just this once, the Beed will interpret those flaws as fear of failure. And in the next breath exhort that we need to stop making excuses and get moving. To have effective labour related laws or conducive industry policy does not hinge on whether a dialogue for peace takes place or not.

Finally, we must work on rebuilding Nepal's image. It's difficult for the Nepal Tourism Board to sell images of ruddy-cheeked village people, pristine mountains and a hospitable culture when the international news projects Nepal as a state under siege from her own discontented people. The Nepali intelligentsia abroad needs to understand that criticism of the present may be a popular tune to play but it does not benefit Nepal in the long run. We need goodwill ambassadors who propagate future prospects, not dilettantes who indulge in a myopic condemnation of the present.

And this takes us back to the beginning. This year was not our finest, but 2003 can be better if each Nepali takes individual responsibility for our collective future. The Beed maintains cautious optimism.

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(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)