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Nepal - SEMINAR REPORT

 
#357, 7 May 2013

Naya Nepal: Economy, Society, Culture, Governance, Democracy and Politics: Contemporary Issues, Young Voices

Dr. D Suba Chandran, Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi
The workshop has been organised primarily for young Nepalese scholars to find a platform for discussion, and dialogue between Nepalese and Indian scholars. Since this is the second area-specific workshop of its kind – the first being organised with a focus on Ladakh – the primary idea remains to take the initiative forward and hope that it flourishes in future.  

Session I 

Governance, Democracy & Politics
 
The Politics of Constitution-Writing in Nepal
Arjun Bahadur Ayadi, M.Phil Scholar, JNU

Constitution writing in Nepal has been a buzzword in the country’s political discourse.  However, the process has always been in open debate since the autocracy of the Rana regime was removed. In the post 2006 scenario, the Constituent Assembly has been the most representative effort than any other attempt at drafting a Constitution. However, the failure of the Constituent Assembly meant that a historical opportunity for change was missed, and contentious issues like federalism remained intact. The failure of the Constituent Assembly was attributed to political ideologies, self-centred politics, and a failure to acknowledge the Assembly’s functionaries in democratic ways.

Politics and Democracy in Nepal: Contemporary Issues
Sujit Kumar Thakur, M.A., South Asian University
 
‘Naya NEPAL’ has been a buzzword but it does not translate to the contemporary issues in Nepal.  Indeed, the larger problem in Nepal goes back to its 200-odd year old history, which includes chapters of discrimination with the hegemony of certain ethnicities over other ethnic groups.  These problems cannot be solved in until and unless they are not well defined. Discrimination in the form of language, citizenship, and ethnic differentiation still continues. If this problem not solved than the new nation – a true ‘Naya Nepal’ – will be difficult to realize.

The Nepalese Nation and its Language(s): Imperative for Restructuring
Dinesh Kafle, PhD Scholar, JNU

After the April movement of 2006, the question of the restructuring of the state has been opened to debate. Language is a major factor in this debate. So far, a single language – that of the Khas Nepali language - has been used in the modern Nepali state which poses a threat to other languages and culture. In lieu of this, the linguistic policy of state needs to incorporate the needs and grievances of other marginalized groups. This can be done by striking a balance between the preservation of language and cultural heritage and the development of language in view of the global context.

Session II

Society & Economy

Foreign Employment and its Remittance in Nepal
Sunil Kumar Chaudhary, M.A., JNU

The migration of Nepalese workers to Gulf countries and elsewhere, in search of jobs has had a  deeply adverse impact on the socio-economic fabric of Nepal. However, approximately 22% of GDP  comes from remittances so it is necessary for Nepal to have a policy mechanism for addressing this adverse impact , on the one hand, while , at the same time, facilitating foreign employment to remove institutional socio-economic difficulties.

Taxation Policy, Economy and Federalism in Nepal
Pravin Karn, Chartered Accountant

 While reviewing the distribution of economic resources, the plain land of Nepal has been discriminated against. This is one of the detrimental factors in the development of Madesh. Also, if Nepal goes for a federal system of governance than it is important to address the challenges about how economic resources are distributed. A coherent taxation policy needs to address the upcoming challenges for the restructuring of Nepal. Moreover, the political discrimination on geographical basis needs to be reviewed for overall development of Nepal.

The Economics of NGOs in Nepal
Shaleen Khanal, M.A., JNU
 
 Ever since NGOs in Nepal gained prominence, working in the imperatives of donor agencies has raised the question of state government performance in terms of delivery mechanism, efficiency and governance. One needs to take up these issues seriously, if Naya Nepal has to address the aspirations of its people.

State, NGOs and Foreign Aid Dependence in Nepal
Pragya Gautam, M.A., JNU

From a sociological perspective, the NGOs functioning along with the donors interest causes a  high dependency  on the state (Nepal). This led to the highly materialistic society which is not concerned about the masses but only about the handful of the elite section of society. Moreover, the whole development process by donor influenced NGOs have led to serious questions like development for what and for whom? Especially, for instance, many donor-led NGOs’ concept of ‘self help’ is the biggest folly in its essence while the whole ‘Self Help’ project was funded by a donor itself without enhancing the freedom to enrich capabilities.

Resource Person: Dr. Mallika Shakya, Assistant Professor, South Asian University
Ever since the democratic movement started in Nepal,  ‘Naya Nepal’ has been a popular word. One needs to reflect on how to contextualize/or deconstruct the essence of ‘Naya Nepal’. A beginning could be made with the end of colonial era period, the physical construction of a new nation and changing economic milieu with the establishment of the World Bank and the United Nations.   In today’s globalised world, a new development order is taking prominence like- BRICS and regional unionization etc. Hence, Naya Nepal needs to be contextualized in the realm of changing world orders while dealing with internal phenomena within Nepal.

Session III

Education and Environment

School Education in Nepal: A Case Study of Sarlahi
Roshan Raj Baral, PhD Scholar, JNU

School education in Nepal is an over-politicized sector which has led to bad management practices and fragile, fractured and unorganized public schools. The case scenario has been discussed to substantiate the condition of school education in Nepal which, by and large, gives a macro picture of how primary and secondary level public/community school are managed in Nepal.

Higher Education and Research in Nepal: A Lost Vision
Sohan Prasad Sha, PhD Scholar, JNU

There are various challenges confronting the institutionalization of higher education. The state has taken a minimalist approach towards higher education which adds further problems in strengthening the endogenous capability in order to take Nepal towards the path of modernity. Moreover, the vision of higher education is not well understood in Nepal. It is absolutely necessary for Nepal to cooperate with neighbouring countries to strengthen higher education and research to enhance its endogenous capability. 

Community-Based Water Resource Management in Nepal
Mahesh Bashishta, M.A, JNU

Community based water resources management in Nepal is gaining popularity. There have been numerous institutional initiatives to channelize indigenous knowledge for the betterment of society to enhance basic survival, health and sustainable development. Such an approach is necessary to protect traditional knowledge as well.

Climate Change Scenario in Nepal: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Mitigation
Bikash Mishra, M.Phil Scholar, JNU

Ever since climate change became a global phenomena. Nepal cannot escape the influence of climate change, given its location between two rapidly growing countries. The rapidly retreating glaciers, abrupt rise in temperature, erratic rainfall and the increase in frequency of extreme events such as floods and droughts are some of the effects Nepal has been witnessing for a few years now. However, it is very important to formulate a holistic climate change policy in Nepal, with an institutionalized implementing mechanism and a focus on local policy options that have joint environmental, social or economic benefits.  

Resource Person: A.K. Bajaj, Former Secretary to the Government of India
Given the fact that Nepal is rich in water resources but is somehow reluctant to cooperate with India, there are lots of business opportunities for mutual hydro electricity development. Also, there are many institutional problems that need to be overcome as well as the problem of lack of proper infrastructure. It is necessary for Nepal to get a political will to equitably develop of water resources while cooperating with its neighbours.

Session IV

Media and Foreign Relations 

Nepali Media in Foreign Policy: Formulation since Jana Andolan-I
Akanshya Shah Rana, Research Associate, Observer Research Foundation

After the restoration of democracy in the 1990s through the Jana Andolan I and more recently the Jana Andolan II, the role of media was prominent. Also, FM stations, print media, television channels, and online journalism are gaining a foothold in Nepal. Indeed, the Nepalese media was at the forefront of recent historic events in Nepalese domestic politics. It continues to play an effective role in terms of generating awareness and inspiring opinions from all quarters and main political stakeholders. However, its role has often been criticised as detrimental to national security and an impingement to the ongoing peace process. Nonetheless, Nepalese media is thriving and gradually institutionalizing standards of professionalism in its functioning while protecting the civil and political rights to strengthen democracy in Nepal.

India-China Confrontation in Nepal
Pramod Jaiswal, PhD Scholar, JNU

The ‘confrontation’ is to be understood in terms of how Nepal perceives the economic aid/cooperation of India and China. In Nepal, the scenario is such that Chinese aid is well received among the people of Nepal while Indian aid/cooperation is caught in the realm of political intervention. Perhaps, at the perception level, India needs to communicate their economic aid, while, at the same time, not indulging Nepalese political bickering.

Geopolitical Reality in an Anarchical International System: Nepal Foreign Policy 1950-1990
Anurag Bhattaria, M.A, JNU

Nepal’s foreign policy can be conceptualized between 1950-1990 in Nepal. Broadly, two of the most dominant themes or policies in the time period under investigation are that of Non-alignment and Diversification. While envisioning Naya Nepal, it is important to explore the new avenues for translating its foreign policy to a new level by using its soft power or cultural power.

Perspectives and Prospects: Modern Indo-Nepal Bilateral Relations
Birat Krishna Thapa, M.A., JNU

Current ties between India and Nepal seem strained for numerous reasons. The internal political structures of both countries are very dismal. Whereas India is facing an internal security threat due to various radical factions, Nepal is at a political deadlock in a final tussle between Monarchists, Democrats and the Communists. What both states have in common – cultural and religious links –would no longer guarantee friendship but a mutual economic cooperation and partnership. Both India and Nepal would have to tighten security measures as an underlying threat looms through internal ethnic and religious confrontations which has led to enormous human losses in the past.

Report drafted by Sohan Prasad Sha, Research Intern, IRes, IPCS

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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