Make Nepal self-reliant on key resources
Three ways to realize the vision:
1) Invest in hydroelectricity and sell it abroad.
2) Establish world-class tourist hubs in different parts of Nepal.
3) Exploit the country’s agriculture-orientation.
Our leaders had the vision of changing the country’s political system. After a long struggle, we did succeed in changing it but, still, we lag behind other countries in terms of the living standards of our people. So, not only mine, everyone’s vision should be concerned with lifting the living standards of Nepalis. To bring that about, we should make Nepal an independent and self-reliant nation.
Many well-established and developed countries are also not self-reliant on everything, so we can’t also achieve 100 percent self-reliance. Yet we must work out a plan in every possible sector for self-sufficiency. Let’s make that our mantra.
We are rich in natural resources, but sadly we are yet to identify our key resources. If we could identify and use them wisely, our journey towards prosperity would be much smoother. Nepal has numerous fast-flowing rivers from which we could easily generate copious amounts of hydroelectricity. We can even sell it to our neighbors and to countries farther afield. Nepalis could then get jobs within the country and their families can become economically stable. So, why not invest in it? Also, we could provide better irrigation facilities to our cultivable land, helping boost our cash crop production.
Similarly, we have sectors that can be developed to attract tourists. Again our natural beauty, snow capped mountains, hills, forests, wildlife, cultures, traditions, and religions can attract many tourists. If we can properly identify and conserve these things, we can create location-wise tourism points. To sum up, we can establish Nepal as a tourist hub as well as a point in a circuit of regional tourism. This will boost the living standards of Nepalis living in every corner as each part of Nepal has its unique attractions.
We dream of exporting our products but right now we are even importing flowers. For now, let’s not focus on exports. Let’s work on how we could manage the distribution of our agricultural products across different parts of Nepal. We can grow everything here. If only we could better transport final products, and at not too high a cost, there would be no reasons to import these things. And yes, it is just a matter of determination—let’s not make it a big deal out of it. Can’t we calculate our needs and grow things accordingly? And slowly when we increase our production we can explore the huge international markets in the neighborhood.
Our youths are selling remittance by selling their blood and sweat in Gulf countries. Again that money is going back to the same countries while importing items of our basic needs. So, Nepal is just a transit for money.
After all these things become a reality, we could at least become more self-reliant. But, things do not end here. Still, many of our accomplishments in recent times remain limited to paper. Implementation of laws has also been weak.
Now too people are facing abuse and discrimination. We have changed the system and the law, but they have not changed people’s everyday lives. We are in a transitional period and federalism is a new practice for us. There are various things to be done to allow for a well-functioning federalism. The Nepali people drafted their constitution in 2015, but other laws still go back to the 80s.
Our political situation is the only reason for the backwardness of Nepal. We have everything—natural resources to beautiful citizens—and yet we lag in terms of development and prosperity, which is a disgrace. It is because of the negative political culture and lack of discipline that we have been facing these problems for ages.
Many people blame our citizens for lack of progress, but I never do that. I am a lawmaker and I can’t blame others for our own failure to give a clear political direction. For example, a couple of months ago, we heard about a case of discrimination against a Dalit in Kathmandu. Yet we can’t blame the public because we are the ones allowing these things to go on. I am also from the Dalit community. What I say is let us first clean up our political mess.
Who inspired you to join politics?
I faced a lot of discrimination in my early life. So by the time I was 15, I was determined to do something about it. I consider my school principal Lokmani Atreya as my inspiration because he was the one who always pushed me to fight against social injustice.
Which is your favorite book related to Nepal?
Swarswati Pratikshya’s Nathiya on the Badi community, and Rabindra Adhikari’s Road to Prosperity.
How do see the situation of Dalit rights in Nepal?
On paper, I can give our country 60 out of 100. But in practice, I can’t give it more than 15 out of 100.