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Nepal

In its flagship report, Tackling Inequality published by the World Bank in October as part of The Poverty and Shared Prosperity series, the bank urges prompt action by governments around the world to bridge the increasingly big gaps between those at the bottom of the pyramid and those who have been benefiting from decades of unparallel economic growth.

 
At present Local   Self Governance Act (LSGA) 1999 is in function, but very soon, it will be   replaced by Local Governance Act, which is almost at its final stage. LSGA, 1999 gave a comprehensive positive list of functions to the levels below the   District Development Committees (DDC), Municipality and Village Development   Committees (VDC) including establishing local self-development plans,   providing and maintaining infrastructure and social development and collecting their own revenue.  
 

As the constitution amendment bill over the redrawing of the boundaries of two of the seven proposed federal provinces continues to divide several ethnic groups and major political parties, every attempt by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal seeking safe passage is fast turning into a political trap. His calculation that declaring elections to local bodies will be held in mid-April would take political parties to the electoral arena, deflecting their criticism of the government, has fallen apart.

 

Nepal lies between two most populous and economically powerful countries. The power politics is influenced by its geopolitical location. It is unfortunate that Nepal could not diversify its trade and transit due to heavy economic dependency on India. So it has limited freedom to maneuver foreign policy and development activities.

 

The term ‘Bangladesh’ has been in use since as long as we can remember. Our parents’ generation, despite the fact that they lived through the Partition of 1947 and became, willingly or compelled by geography, citizens of the new state of Pakistan, generally referred to Bangladesh rather than to East Pakistan despite the division of India. Of course, it was a sentiment they shared with the Bengalis who, after 1947, became citizens of the Indian state of West Bengal.

 
Equality is the most measured issue of democracy and baseline reflection of freedom. It positions top among all principles of human rights. Thus every state across the globe tries assuring that people are equally treated. Besides government, NGOs and INGOs too claim to work for the very notion. So is the case in Nepal. Still many people are discriminated, left devoid of freedom and sacked away from equality.
 

While newspapers in Nepal buzzed with news of domestic violence amidst 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence that started from 25 November to 10 December there were hardly articles written on Political violence of women. Maybe having a woman as President, a woman as Speaker and a woman as Chief Justice in Nepal might have overshadowed political violence of women. But let us not forget that the collective political violence was already committed when the second Constituent Assembly did not allow formation of woman’s Caucus.

 

The new constitution adopted last September had curtailed the rights of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), barring the constitutional body from investigating ‘improper conduct’ of public officials. The rights of the anti-graft body were rolled back even as it was working to make local laws compatible with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). 

 
A speech by a 20-year-old deriding political parties for their surrender to the Maoists at a programme to felicitate an army general a couple of weeks ago has gone viral in the social media in Nepal. The remarks made in the presence of army chief, Rajendra Chhetri, had a clear message: The army must rise up and save the country and penalise political parties for the current mess. Incidentally, the person being facilitated was Major General Ramindra Chhetri, who survived a near-fatal attack by the Maoists in 2002.  
 

Ten years have passed since Nepal ended its decade-long conflict. These last ten years have been not only an opportunity for Nepal to build and maintain peace, but it’s been a time of reflection and transformation.

 


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