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Political economy of development

Political economy of development

Political chaos

Governments, whoever is a head to lead in support of different political parties, have frequently been changing in Nepal, thanks to a stubborn will to capture—and remain in—power. Nonetheless, these parties have no concrete plans and programs to make Nepal livable. Ethics, principles and values are what guide us to do something better, but what do the parties do with these ideals? They throw these ideals in the trash box, time and time again. 

Followers of our political parties and their leaders are visionless, political power is what the latter hanker for. And all that these visionless leaders do is misuse the resources at their disposal to fulfill petty interests of a small group at the expense of development agendas that benefit the country and the people. The leaders easily change their colors and ignore guiding principles to gain and remain in power. 

By ‘working’ tirelessly for the sake of power, these leaders have been pushing the country toward a state of lawlessness. 

It is foolish to dream of socio-economic development amid a deepening political instability exacerbated by our leaders, who have neither any rationality to use resources in the gainful sector nor critical thinking to push the development agenda forward.

Economic woes

Nepal’s ailing economic sectors hardly have any job opportunities for the youths. This is a far cry from a not-so-distant past, when the farm sector used to provide seasonal employment to a sizable population. Apart from agriculture, other sectors capable of rejuvenating the national economy, namely cottage industries, tourism and hydropower are also not performing well. 

The private sector can play a vital role in speeding up development but what can it do in the absence of a policy to bring it into the mainstream of development? 

For want of employment opportunities at home, youths are flying to foreign shores in search of jobs while about 60m people (roughly 20 percent of the national population) continue to live under absolute poverty. Add to it relative poverty, which roughly accounts for over 60 percent of the national population. 

This grim scenario is forcing young people to head abroad for jobs and become the source of remittance, making it the mainstay of the domestic economy. 

Education flaws

That our education sector has not been firing on all four cylinders (to say the least) is a given. In a sharp contrast, the India education system has been producing highly-skilled human resources not only for the home country but for the whole world. Most of the chief executive officers of global giants are from India. 

Two probable factors ail Nepal’s education system: Lack of a calendar to conduct exams and publish results, and low-quality education. The latter is the result of heavy politicization of institutions responsible for delivering higher education. A conducive environment for learning, teaching and undertaking research is lacking as evidenced by a decline in enrollments. 

Poor governance

Corruption and smuggling scandals come to the surface all too often, presenting a clear proof of weak governance. Probes into these cases show the involvement of politicians and bureaucrats. These cases are the result of politicians using power to divert public money for private gains. 

Bribery, corruption and smuggling are rampant because of poor governance and rent-seeking behavior on the part of our ruling elites. Because of this behavior coupled with favoritism and nepotism, commoners are not getting effective services from relevant state institutions. 

Given this context, the people need to raise their voices and make the ruling elites accountable if they want to make this country livable.