By Bhisma Raj Ojha, Kathmandu, May 3 (RSS): Political parties taking part in the upcoming local level elections slated for May 13 and their candidates have incorporated various issues of public concern in their election manifestos. They have featured education, health, political, economic, and social and infrastructure development along with forest, environment and climate change issues with priorities in their election manifestos.Major ruling party Nepali Congress in the election manifesto entitled ‘Party’s Resolution’ highlights the need for planned programmes for coping with the impact of climate change, its mitigation and adaptation when the climate crisis is a reality now. The party believes that each local government should promptly act toward the building of a community capable of resisting the impacts of climate change. More, the party advises the local governments to have a policy of promoting the minimum use of petroleum products to mitigate the carbon emissions, the cause of the greenhouse gas effect. “This can be the opportunity of building a green economy.” The party pledges to ensure practical and technical training and create jobs for them, to launch a tree-plantation programme at each local level for the conservation of water resources, to promote the conventional water supply systems like Hiti, and to ensure water and risk management plans as per the environmental standard while undertaking road construction projects. Likewise, the party promises to promote clean energy-based economic activities and entrepreneurship at each local level, minimize the use of petroleum products and encourage the use of renewable energy, promote the use of the electric stoves and electric public vehicles in urban areas and provide subsidies for charging stations under the green economy building campaign. The NC's manifesto has mentioned creating new green employment focusing on women, protecting and promoting indigenous knowledge, art, culture, technology, seed, original design to construct local infrastructure and structures, promoting the use of local materials, and launching 'House with medicinal herbs, healthy villages, towns', linking women's knowledge and skill with the economy. UML's plan of 'firewood, biofuel and smoke–free house'The manifesto issued by the main opposition party, CPN (UML), has mentioned maintaining the balance between development and the environment to protect the community from the adverse impact of climate change and conserve ecology as well as promote green development. The CPN (UML) has raised various issues including protection from adverse impacts of climate change and natural disasters, creating public awareness for adaptation, developing capacity, and protecting the community affected from climate change and disasters as well as which is at its high-risk with priority.Forest conservation, management of community forests, forwarding programmes for the development of private forests, launching sapling plantations as a campaign, and increasing income generation of the community through overall development of forest heritages have been mentioned in the manifesto. The UML has forwarded a plan of constructing embankments to recharge groundwater, collecting rainwater, constructing and conserving ponds, developing watersheds, controlling flood and landslide, reducing water-induced risk and launching the 'one settlement, one pond' campaign. Similarly, the UML has declared in its local election manifesto to use green technology and environment-friendly construction materials in development and construction works, to encourage investment for promoting a green economy, to enhance preparedness to cope with natural disasters based on the disaster risk mapping, to make the required preparedness for emergency rescue, relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation, to keep the logistics materials needed in such situation in ready state, to develop integrated and safe habitats and to forge effective coordination among the three tiers of the government. Likewise, the UML's election manifesto has prioritized collaboration between the province and the federal governments to stop the human encroachment on forests, conservation of wildlife and birds, management of the human-wildlife conflict, construction of zoos in partnership between the federal and provincial governments and production, processing and marketing of medicinal herbs and forest products in collaboration with community and partnership forest users committees. The manifesto also attaches priority to encouraging agricultural forestry, providing efficient energy for cooking and domestic use, and making the house free of firewood, biofuel and smoke. 'Clean Environment Campaign in Every Local Unit': Maoist's Commitment Another ruling partner, the CPN (Maoist Center) has, in its election manifesto entitled "Party's Appeal in Election", announced to implement of the 'Forest for Prosperity' programme for the development of industries based on timber, non-timber and other forest products, to establish at least one industry based on timber, non-timber and herbs processing in every local unit, to run the ' an industry in each community forest' programme, and to build climate change adaptation model village in every local unit, among other programmes. Likewise, the Maoist Center's manifesto maintains operating a special tree planting programme at the local level lacking significant area under forest cover, implementing at every local level the Clean Environment Campaign for pollution control, promotion of greenery and waste management, ensuring the community's prior right on the natural resources including the forest resources and further empowering the community forest user groups.
We wish the upcoming polls would be held peacefully and certainly for a genuine cause.
Human capital is decisive not only for welfare but also for growth, social mobility, and income distribution.
The TikTok craze remains quite high in Nepali society as well. Many have earned fame and riches, thanks to it. However, not just human beings, animals too have become a part of all this.
Even the mature democratic countries like India and the US are oftentimes alleged to have gone to backsliding through recourse to the authoritarian tilts.
The economic crisis in Sri Lanka has deteriorated rapidly. It has triggered an unprecedented outburst of resentment from the public in Colombo.
Vinod C. DixitAs usual, this year’s April 19th was observed as World Liver Day to spread awareness about liver-related diseases. The liver is the second largest and the most complex organ in the body, with the exception of the brain. It is a key player in your body’s digestive system. Everything we eat or drink, including medicine, passes through the liver. It fights infections, regulates blood sugar, removes toxins, controls cholesterol, makes proteins and releases bile to help digestion. We cannot survive without the liver, and it can be easily damaged if we don’t take proper care of it. Liver diseases can be caused by Hepatitis A, B, C, alcohol, and drugs. Viral Hepatitis occurs due to consumption of contaminated food and water, unsafe sexual practices, and drug abuse. Dr. Arvind Sahni, Director, Gastroenterology, Fortis Hospital Mohali, says, “Liver cancer today is the fifth most common cancer claiming millions of lives annually.” However, recent developments in diagnosis and treatment have helped to cure many patients. Remaining vigilant and getting health check-ups done regularly can help in the early detection of liver cancer. A second factor to remember is that liver cancer occurs almost always in diseased livers. It is vital for everyone to get Hepatitis B and C screened regularly and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Alcoholic Liver Disease is a common liver disease. One may catch this ailment after consuming too much alcohol. If you overload your liver by drinking a lot of alcohol, the excess alcohol would end up circulating in your blood. This, in turn, affects our organs like the brain and heart, leading to increased intoxication. Alcohol consumption of more than four drinks (48 g) daily is associated with an increased risk of cirrhosis, liver cancer, and premature death. Alcohol-related liver injury includes acute alcoholic hepatitis, fatty infiltration and cirrhosis. There has been a steady rise in the rate of liver diseases over the years. Globally, alcohol, NASH and viral hepatitis are the most common causes of liver diseases. As per the World Health Organisation’s estimates published in 2017, liver disease deaths in India reached 259, 749 or 2.9 percent of total deaths. Many studies have suggested that sugar-sweetened beverages play a role in the epidemics of obesity, metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease. It has been known that the fructose component in sugar directly causes abnormalities in the metabolism of sugar and lipids. Indirectly, sugar promotes positive energy balance leading to an increase in body weight and fat content which in turn causes dysregulation of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism.Vitamin A is considered toxic to the liver. Excessive iron from supplements often present in over-the-counter multivitamin preparations can cause iron to accumulate in the liver cells. Presently, there is no cure for a severely diseased liver. Therefore, it is critical to take care of this multi-functionary organ and gland. The only way to manage a failed liver is to get a liver transplant. Let us prevent liver decreases by adopting a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy diet. We should eat foods from all the food groups such as grains, protein, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and fats. Besides, we need to take whole-grain bread, rice and cereals, ensuring safe blood transfusions to avoid contracting Hepatitis A, B and C. Washing hands after going to the bathroom and doing exercise regularly is also necessary for keeping our liver healthy.
Yuba Nath Lamsal, The war in Ukraine will leave a deeper mark in the geopolitical landscape of Europe. History is a witness to the fact that invasion in a sovereign country has always been costly no matter how powerful the invading country might be. World history is filled with the rise and fall of empires. The empires that once boasted as invincible did not last forever and were eventually dumped in the trash of history. Let us go back to recent history. Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded its small neighbor Kuwait in 1990. The Kuwait invasion brought his downfall. The Soviet Union, which was a superpower of that time, invaded Afghanistan in 1979 which proved costly for Moscow and the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1992 and lost its superpower status. The United States got into military conflict in Vietnam in 1975 to contain the spread of communism but Washington had to return in humiliation losing more than it gained as the same Vietcong communists against which America fought 20 years came to power after the US withdrawal. Washington met with a Vietnam-like fiasco in Afghanistan very recently. The United States attacked Afghanistan in 2001 in a furious response to the terrorist strikes in Washington and New York, the responsibility of which was claimed by Al Qaeda. America entered into the Afghanistan war to wipe out Al Qaeda terrorists and teach the Taliban a lesson for giving shelter for Al Qaeda terrorists. America got badly stuck in the Afghanistan war and it had to come out in utter disgrace even after its military engagement for two decades. America somehow came out of the Afghanistan quagmire but the sole superpower is facing a challenge to maintain its position as the mightiest and richest country.Fall of hawkish powersHawkish powers may apparently emerge winners but ultimately they lose. Only pacifist ones could gain in the long run. Empires like Roman, Byzantine, Mongol, Japanese, British, French, German, Russian, and several others rose and fell. Hawkish Germany and imperial Japan were badly crushed in World War II. Germany and Japan emerged as economic powers only after they gave up military adventure and embraced the pacific policies. The newer developments in Ukraine will certainly have repercussions in Europe and more particularly in Europe’s eastern flank and Nordic Region. The security architecture of Europe is likely to take a paradigm shift. Russian adventure in Ukraine has made countries in Europe particularly Eastern Europe and the Nordic Region more susceptible. Nordic countries like Finland and Sweden are now contemplating joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the transatlantic defense architecture under US leadership. According to the opinion polls in Finland, 62 percent of Finns want to join the NATO, Swedish public opinion to seems to be inclined toward NATO membership.If Finland and Sweden join NATO, other European countries may be tempted to become part of the Western security umbrella further isolating Russia. Ukraine has already initiated the process and Georgia, Moldova, and Kosovo may follow suit. Currently, NATO has 30 members of which 27 are European countries. The United States, Canada, and Turkey are non-European NATO members. Similarly, six other countries namely Finland, Sweden, Ukraine, Georgia, Australia and Jordan have the status of enhanced opportunities partnership for dialogue and cooperation (EOP) of NATO.Finland maintained its neutral position even during the height of the Cold War, which used to be taken by some countries as a role model. In the aftermath of Russian action in Ukraine, these Nordic countries seem to be shaking off the luxury of neutrality and embracing the European collective defense alliance. Russia’s action in Chechnya in 2014 led Ukraine and two Nordic countries to become EOPs of NATO. The Ukraine war pushed them further towards the West.Even if these countries want to join NATO, it may take months to acquire membership due to long membership procedures. The first step requires a country to write to NATO headquarters expressing its intent to become a member. Then all members need to unanimously decide in the North Atlantic Council, the executive body of NATO and extend an invitation for necessary talks relating to new membership. In the accession talks, the aspirant country has to convince the NATO experts that it meets all the criteria and obligations that NATO requires. Then the aspirant country has to write a letter to the NATO secretary-general clearly expressing commitment to abide by the obligations of the Alliance. There are specific criteria to become a NATO member which include: democracy, diversity, a free-market economy, and a military under civilian control. This has to be ratified unanimously by all member countries in the North Atlantic Council. Once it is ratified by all members, the aspirant country is notified about the approval for the new membership. Normally it would take more than a year to complete the procedures. ‘Obsolete’ NATO However, there are question marks even about the relevance of NATO and its capability to defend Europe. NATO is the relic of the Cold War and some even demand it be disbanded. Former US President Donald Trump called NATO ‘obsolete’ while British politician Jeremy Corbyn, who was once chief of the British Labour Party and leader of the Opposition in parliament, said ‘NATO as a Cold War product should have shut up shop along with the Warsaw Pact’. French President Emanuel Macron and former German Chancellor Angela Markel floated the idea of creating a separate European Army under the EU. But the creation of EU Army may not be plausible at the moment. After the Brexit, Europe is a divided house as major powers of Europe are not unanimous on many issues. Given the new scenario and developments, NATO expansion to the Nordic region seems to be likely. But it remains to be seen what consequences and ramifications the newer developments in Europe will have in the future security and geopolitical landscape of Europe and the world. (The author is a former ambassador and former chief editor of this daily. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Namrata Sharma, The people all over Nepal have now started storing grains and pulses as the prices of daily necessities are skyrocketing. The fuel prices have been increasing steadily since the Ukraine war. Because of the financial crisis in Sri Lanka which is similar to that of Nepal, the people in Nepal are perhaps more alarmed than necessary. But is there a need to fear that Nepal will face an economic and financial crisis soon? According to Nepal Rastra Bank, the foreign currency reserves in the country have fallen by more than 16 percent to Rs 1,17 trillion, which amounts to US $9.59 billion in the seven months till mid-February 2022. NRB also states that over the same period, the amount of money sent to Nepal by people working abroad fell by almost 5 percent. The fact that Sri Lanka saw a drop of 70 percent in foreign reserves since January 2020, could be an alarm bell for Nepal as the above-mentioned drop of 16 percent mentioned by NRB is data for 7 months. Import restriction The NRB has accepted that the country’s foreign currency reserves were under pressure. Keeping this in mind, the government has recently restricted imports of non-essential goods like cars, cosmetics, and gold. The government is now restricting the purchase of non-essential goods without affecting the supply of essential goods. By discouraging the import of non-essential goods at a time when the overall economic activities have seen a slump due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government has made a smart move. The Nepali people should now prioritize their needs and should adopt the habit of purchasing locally manufactured goods and consuming local foods. This will help them to save their individual savings and the country’s reserves. There are various comparisons between Nepal and Sri Lanka with regard to large foreign debts and reliance on foreign goods. Also, both the countries’ revenue generation is the tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic. However, Finance Minister Janardan Sharma has said that there is no need to compare the two countries as Nepal is not in the same condition as Sri Lanka.According to a statement from Finance Ministry, which is uploaded on its website, the government had to increase spending in order to manage the economic impact of the pandemic. As a result, Nepal’s debt has risen to more than 43 percent of its gross domestic product. However, the Finance Ministry’s statement emphasizes the fact that the economic indicators are normal. The statement mentions the fact that due to the stress on the foreign reserve, it has taken steps to manage imports and increase the foreign exchange reserves. The Finance Minister also has mentioned that Nepal’s debt is lower than other countries in the region. Minister Sharma’s stand seems to be validated by the British economist Alex Holmes. According to a report by Annabelle Liang and Sanjaya Dhakal in BBC News, Alex Holmes, an emerging markets economist at the research firm Capital Economics at the UK, said that the situation in Nepal appears “much better than in Sri Lanka”. According to Holmes, as mentioned in the BBC report, Nepal’s foreign currency reserves are double, which is considered “a comfortable minimum” and government debt “is not particularly high”. He also said that if the current account deficit is not narrowed things could regress “but the crisis does not appear imminent”.The government seems to have taken the right steps in decreasing the import of non-essential luxury goods to prevent the depletion of foreign reserves. The people in countries like Nepal and other South Asian countries need to revisit the consumerism habits that they have gotten into. Most South Asian countries had a savings-oriented behavior till the late 80s. With the advent of the global market-led economy, they resorted to aggressive consumerism and switched to the Western lifestyles of the affluent countries. Buying in credit from the banks with credit cards encouraged the middle class and rich families to have more than one house, several cars, motorcycles and other extra goods. Rather than spreading misinformation the media and experts need to do a better economic and financial analysis and spread factual information to help the country to increase foreign reserves.Awareness campaign It’s now better for the government and people, in general, to work together to cushion the impact of a possible financial crisis here. For this, using goods produced within the country and consumption of foods produced here could be the first step. The government should reduce significantly or waive off taxes levied on electric vehicles and set up charging stations to decrease our dependence on petrol and diesel. The experts should study the facts and give accurate information on the economic and financial situation of the country and suggest ways to mitigate their adverse effects on the economy. In this digital age, because of misinformation and disinformation, people are more prone to undue stress which can hamper their well-being. Therefore, it is wise to reduce buying non-essential luxury goods and focus on creating local-based industries. It is also important to start an awareness campaign on how to increase the use of local items. The political leaders and their parties should make this issue the main agenda in the upcoming elections.(Namrata Sharma is journalist and women's rights advocate email@example.com Twitter handle: @NamrataSharmaP )
Dixya PoudelBooks after books, a reader earns not just knowledge but also a feeling of elation. Reading is an activity that is important for excelling in education and in most professions. At the same time, it is a leisure activity - one that is a favorite for many. April 23rd is World Book Day. Out of the 365 days on the calendar, this is a day dedicated to books but as readers may realize, each day can be the day to pick up a new book and delve in, one page at a time. Words are the building blocks of a text and readers come up with their preexisting schema when reading. They compare, take in, comprehend and build their vocabulary and grammar syntax as they read. Reading thus involves an understanding of the meanings behind the text. Further, it is important to the human world as it helps one find a way in life. Through reading, one learns about the world, oneself and about one’s place in the world. It opens up new horizons, opportunities, and possibilities to the readers. World Book Day was founded on April 23, 1995, by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). If one is to go back in the world history, writing systems were invented thousands of years ago in ancient civilizations in the form of clay tablets. Next, civilizations went on to use papyrus. Then in the 3rd century, Chinese societies became the first to make books through sewn bamboo pages. It was finally in the mid-15th century that Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press which hallmarked the beginning of an era of printed books. People were thus able to read printed books in the industrial age and as a citizen of the twenty-first century, readers can now read varied books on electronic devices, a far cry from the industrial era. Now there are Kindles, tablets and iPads as well as mobile phones in which readers can read books. World Book Day was first observed in April 23, 1923, by booksellers in Spain as the commemoration of the death of beloved Spanish writer, Miguel de Cervantes. The event was celebrated through a book exchange ceremony. However, it was only in 1995, that an official inaugural celebration of World Book Day took place. Since then, the world has been observing April 23rd with book readings, book exchanges, signings, and publications. Further, April 23rd is also the anniversary of the death of the world renowned English playwright William Shakespeare.From poetry, dramas, novels, textbooks or biographies, books play an indelible part in human world. We read and we learn, we understand and then we act. Thus, books have an outreach to illuminate minds with knowledge and wisdom. It is also a form of escape as readers lose themselves in complex fictional worlds or those built on real life events. There is no refuting the significance of books in the lives of people.A child reads children’s literature with a curious, eager, and inquisitive mind. Consequently, the child grows up to be a well-educated, informed and aware citizen. Thus, the evolution of the consciousness, intelligence, and wisdom is ultimately cultivated in a growing mind through books which is why it is important to promote World Book Day globally and locally.
Narayan Upadhyay The electoral alliance designed to contest forthcoming local polls has sent ripples to the ruling partners, notably the Nepali Congress (NC). As a result, the five parties have so far failed to reach an understanding on sharing seats in all 753 local units. With the May 13 poll drawing closer, the ruling coalition is still unsure about dividing posts for mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen and deputy chairmen, besides the posts forward chairmen. For the ruling parties, sharing six metropolises and 11 sub-metropolises with their respective mayoral candidates has proved a gargantuan task because of resentment among NC leaders.For now, the NC is eyeing three metropolises - Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Biratnagar - for its mayoral aspirants, while the CPN-Maoist is gunning for Bharatpur Metropolis and the CPN-Unified Socialist claiming its right to compete in Pokhara. The Janata Samajbadi Party hopes to gain a mayoral seat in Birgunj. The allocation of sub-metropolises for their mayoral contestants proved a task strewn with complications. Local needDespite all hindrances, these allies reached an understanding that the party that had won mayoral positions in the metropolises and sub-metropolises will keep them while they will share the seats that were won by UML in the last election. They also settled that the distribution of seats in municipalities and rural municipalities will be conducted based on local needs and emerging situations.Despite the central leaders of the ruling partners reaching a general understanding, several NC leaders, including senior leader Shekhar Koirala and general secretary Gagan Thapa, are at loggerheads with their party establishment, headed by the party president and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, over the electoral alliance. They contended the alliance would curtail the party's significant chance of securing a bulk of mayoral and other seats in all local bodies. For these leaders, the electoral alliance is nothing but a step towards undermining democratic culture and party principles. Similarly, Congress leaders at some local bodies, such as Chitwan and many other places have protested against the allocation of mayoral seats to coalition partners, showing their dismay over the alliance.Given the level of dissatisfaction, the elective partnership has developed into a Gordian knot for the NC leadership at present, despite the party president Deuba sticking to his stance that the arrangement of seats must take place. Dubai maintained that Congress would not abandon its current partners who played a key role in catapulting the NC into government leadership following the collapse of the KP Sharma Oli-headed government. The NC establishment expects to extend the electoral alliance with ruling parties up to provincial and federal elections to be held in six months following local polls.However, NC leaders, who are against the poll alliance, have harboured hopes that the party would make huge achievements in the elections because of the ongoing tussle among the communist parties, especially among the UML and Maoist Centre and Unified Socialist. The split in the erstwhile Nepal Communist Party that continued their rivalry for the upcoming local poll will come in handy for the NC of winning a majority of local bodies this time.Perceiving a landslide win for the NC in the aftermath of the communist discord may appear right at the moment. But Congress dissidents must not overlook one key point - political parties must not constantly search for triumphs and gains at the cost of leaving in the lurch the same partners who supported them when they were passing through a precarious period. Such a posture may be immoral and is regarded unsuitable to a party like NC. When it was in the wilderness after a major poll debacle, the Maoist Centre, Unified Socialist, Janata Samajwadi and Rashtriya Janmorcha lifted it out of the woods by throwing their weight to create a government under its leadership.Also true is the fact that the NC at present has had a major adversary - UML and its maverick chair, Oli. Given the current political situation, Oli has demonstrated that he could go to any length to outwit the ruling alliance in the local, provincial and federal elections, though political pundits predicted a heavy loss for the UML in the three-tier elections. Having allied with the ultra-rightist party of Kamal Thapa's RPP-Nepal and pro-Christian party, Nepal Pariwar Dal, Oli has made his intentions clear. In the past, Oli sprang a tremendous surprise by forming a unity with the then bitter foe - the Prachanda-led Maoist Centre. In the meantime, whenever NC leaders raise their voices against the current poll alliance and share seats for local elections, the Maoist Centre chair states he may ally with the UML. By going against understanding over the polls, dissatisfied Congress leaders must not push Maoists and other coalition partners to the wall at this juncture.Threat For the NC, Oli and other communist leaders still pose a threat. Though the three communists may contest local elections as foes, a defeat in this poll may provide them with yet another opportunity to forge unity for the provincial and federal elections. If one combines all the votes cast for communist parties, they possess an edge over the NC in all forms of elections in the nation. Forgetting this may cost heavy for Congress, especially for those who protested the idea of seat-sharing in local polls. Giving continuity to the current company would be beneficial to NC, the largest party of the alliance. In case the coalition wins a handsome majority in the local polls, the oldest democratic party in the nation is likely to emerge as the largest in provincial and parliamentary polls, allowing it to head the next government while other partners participate as key members. (Upadhyay is the managing editor of this daily. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Uttam MaharjanNepal is basically a remittance- and tax-based economy. Although there are abundant internal resources that can be utilised to boost exports, such resources are left fallow and imports are prioritised. When imports are made in large quantities, the government can levy imports duties, which can be used to supplement the national budget. This can be termed an import mentality.Nepal is one of the least developed countries in the world. Although there is some development in the urban areas, the rural areas are still poor. It is estimated that one in every five rural households is poor. As the rural areas lack development infrastructure and there is a paucity of job opportunities, the rural youths tend to migrate to the urban areas or abroad for jobs. So, labour migration has been one of the important components of the economy. Labour migration has intensified, especially for the last two decades. Women also migrate abroad for jobs. But they constitute only about five per cent of the total migrant labour force. Labour destinationsThere are over 100 labour destinations for Nepalis. Among them, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Malaysia constitute the top five labour destinations. The migrant workers working abroad send remittance money back home. As per the Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS) III (2010/11), 56 per cent of the households receive remittances. And one in every two rural households receives remittances as per the data issued by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in 2020.For a poor country like ours, the importance of remittances can hardly be overstated. Remittances have played a vital role in alleviating poverty in rural areas. The reduction of poverty in the country can be attributed largely to remittances.In 2010, the rate of poverty was 25.2 per cent, which came down to 16.6 per cent in 2016. Viewed thus, remittances have a positive impact on the uplift of the standard of living of the rural folks.Most of the remittance money is, however, used to cover family and social expenditures. Remittance-receiving households tend to spend much money on food, house construction and social events. They also spend it on loan repayment, education and healthcare. Spending remittances in the productive sector such as agriculture and cottage industries would further reduce poverty in the rural areas.Remittances are also the sources of liquidity in the banking sector which is now facing a liquidity crunch. A low inflow of remittances is cited as one of the factors contributing to the liquidity crisis. In Magh, the inflow of remittances was down by 4.9 per cent, whereas it was down by 1.7 per cent in Falgun. The country had received Rs. 631.19 billion till Falgun of this fiscal year. During the corresponding period of last fiscal year, the inflow of remittances was up by 8.7 per cent. The contribution of remittances to the country’s GDP is around 25 per cent.It may be noted that banks give higher interest on remittance accounts in order to encourage migrant workers to send money back home through the banking channels. This does not, however, mean that foreign employment is bad per se. Labour migration is a global phenomenon. As per the World Bank report of 2020, there are almost 272 million international migrants throughout the world. Of them, nearly two-thirds are labour migrants. In recent times, the country has suffered a malaise in the economic sector.This is due mainly to disproportionate imports vis-à-vis exports. The foreign reserves are also dwindling. In Asadh, the country had foreign reserves of Rs. 1,399.03 billion. The foreign reserves came down by 16.3 per cent to Rs. 1,171 billion in Falgun. It may be germane to note that Nepal Oil Corporation’s inability to pay fuel bills to Indian Oil Corporation has surfaced. At the same time, the news of Sri Lanka being in economic straits is swirling around the world. And the detractors of the government, including CPN-UML chairman KP Sharma Oli, have raised false alarms that the economy of the country is going the Sri Lankan way. Banking channels The government is mulling over increasing the inflow of remittances. Not all remittances come through the banking channels. There are many Nepali migrant workers who prefer the hundi and other informal channels over the banking channels to send money back home. The Nepali migrant workers should be encouraged to use the banking channels by providing them with incentives such as increased interest. Exporting labour abroad is a lucrative business as shown by the contribution of remittances to the national economy. However, this has created problems in the rural areas. There are mostly the elderly and children in the rural areas, with the youths having migrated to the urban areas or abroad. The rural farms are left barren for lack of labour. The government has not paid heed to infrastructure development in rural areas. The rural areas have a multitude of problems, be it in education, healthcare or transportation. Moreover, there is lack of job opportunities. The government should, therefore, take concrete measures to improve the rural conditions without delay. (Maharjan has been regularly writing on contemporary issues for this daily since 2000. email@example.com)
Irina ShlionskayaMany people suffer from some kind of phobia. Some are afraid of open spaces, others are closed. Someone is afraid of spiders, dogs or rats. Someone - fire or water. But there are fears that are difficult to explain. For example, how can you be afraid of stairs? After all, we have to deal with them literally at every step. Nevertheless, such a phobia exists.There are people who are afraid of heights. They will never dare to climb to the top floor of a high-rise building. But not all stairs are so high. So experts distinguish the fear of stairs into a separate variety - climacophobia. British Richard Smith is now over 50. At the age of three, he fell down the stairs in the house where he lived with his parents. Since then, the fear of stairs began to haunt him.When the boy was eight years old, he went on an excursion to one of the castles with his school class. And, although little Dick really wanted to go there, he could not enter there, because he had to climb the stairs.He began skipping classes if he needed to climb stairs to class. In physical education classes, he could not climb the Swedish wall, and during swimming, he refused to enter the pool, because there was a descent down the stairs. Peers laughed at Dick, but he could not do anything about his phobia. When he was 15, Dick began dating a pretty girl of the same age. One day she suggested meeting at the water tower. But he could not go there, because the stairs also led to the tower. Of course, he could not confess his fear to the girl. She got offended.The next time he saw his girlfriend was sitting on the steps of the bus. Dick wanted to go up to her and explain, but the girl went upstairs and looked contemptuously at the failed gentleman. Richard had to constantly struggle with his phobia and hide it. He even climbed the bell tower when it was time to propose to his future wife. But during their honeymoon, he and Katherine had to walk a lot around the city, and the newlywed realized that something was wrong with her husband.It was only at a fairly mature age that Smith finally went to see a psychotherapist. The fact is that at that time he was writing a book about the first British balloonist James Sandler, and his fears prevented him from working on the book. The psychiatrist diagnosed him with two phobias at once: acrophobia - fear of heights and climacophobia - fear of stairs. Of course, all this was due to a fall in early childhood. As a therapy, the specialist offered the man a shock method - to climb the high tower in Oxford and bend over the railing. Oddly enough, this helped Richard. The fear of stairs is gone. Soon Smith climbed the bell tower for the second time in his life and was able to enjoy a beautiful view. And after some time, he even managed to realize his old dream - to fly in a hot air balloon. In most cases, phobias are still curable. At least psychotherapy can significantly alleviate the condition of those suffering from various fears.