We have bidden 2077 B.S. adieu and welcomed the New Year 2078 B.S. The New Year has arrived with hope, joy and resolution. It rekindles new vigour and enthusiasm among the people. It reckons us that our nation grows older by a year. This will add another chapter to the annals of the country’s history. This also applies to human beings who are a tiny part of a big wheel of time. As we leave the previous year behind and embrace the new one, we are enthused to be mature, wise and sagacious. It brings forth our strength and fragility, and failures and resilience. This is a reason why the people seek an inspiration on the occasion to bring positive changes to their health, studies, business, career and profession.
It is a moment to make a full retrospect of the events that occurred during the last year. Barring a few exceptions, the year 2077 B.S. could not become so fruitful for the people. As it began to roll by, the nation was already in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 3,058 people succumbed to the fatal virus in Nepal while 280,984 were infected with it. The extended lockdown imposed to control the spread of coronavirus turned normal life upside down. The people’s mobility came to a grinding halt, with the sectors like transport, education, tourism, business and aviation taking a hard knock. It limited the economic growth to -1.9 per cent against the expectation of 2.7 per cent. The COVID-19 threat had subsided for months but towards the end of the year, its new variant proliferated all of sudden, calling for renewed battle against the virus with more vigorous precautionary steps.
The hope for the durable political stability was shattered with a series of unexpected events – dissolution of the House of Representatives (HoR), split of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and resulting political deadlock. Although the Supreme Court reinstated the parliament, the political parties have been sharply divided over the future course of action. The ruling CPN-UML is in factional discord, which is likely to hit the government’s performance. This sort of chaos casts a pall on the federal democratic republic nation has embraced to usher in an inclusive, democratic and welfare system through the drastic structural changes. This situation calls for a new blueprint of national consensus and economic development on the part of major political stakeholders.
There is a popular saying that every cloud has a silver lining. Despite pandemic and economic downturn, all is not lost. The year 2077 B.S. also remained positively notable for a number of reasons. The government vastly improved the health infrastructure to effectively cope with the pandemic. The Biplav-led NCP joined the peaceful politics with three-point deal with the government. Nepal took historic step to bring back its encroached territories in Lipulek, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura located in far west Nepal by publishing a new political map. The political parties demonstrated their unprecedented unity to amend the constitution to include the new map in the national emblem. Despite the initial frosty ties with India, the government displayed the diplomatic acumen to maintain bilateral bond with it. Nepal received one million doses of anti-COVID-19 vaccines in grant from India while procuring two million doses from there. Over 1.7 million people have received the first dose of vaccine and are set to receive the second jab soon. The completion of the Melamchi Water Supply Project and smooth progress in the construction of a number of pride projects indicate the government’s deep commitment to realising its lofty goal - Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali.