Not that Nepal has no visionary, skilled, savvy and smart leaders and these people have guided the country well whether politically, economically and like in the field of education for example. The country has made good progress in many other sectors as well and like said by a minister just recently at a function, Nepal too has done well in its diplomatic relations with most of the countries of the world.
It is good policy for Nepal to maintain international sound relations not only because it depends a lot on foreign grants and loans, but also because top level international agencies provide help to this impoverished country especially in times of need. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank have continued their support for Nepal, especially now when not only Nepal, but many other countries are suffering from economic woes.
Goodwill of foreign countries
Now that Nepal depends heavily on foreign remittance to run the country's economy and provide a better lifestyle to those public who have little chance of earning to make ends meet and also buy some happiness to their family back home. Nepal having good relations with nations which provide better job opportunities is even more vital. These things are all fine and it also proved the goodwill of the international community in the country where the terrain may be rough but the majority of the people are honest, jolly and happy in spite of the poverty they live in.
Yet, on a serious note, the country cannot move forward no matter how visionary or brilliant persons come to power and plans for the future, unless corruption is controlled to a large extent. Whatever people may say and whatever statistics or graphs may be shown regarding the growth of the country's economy, the sad truth is the country' state of economy is in a dismal state.
Actually, a coalition government could have been like a jewel at a time when no one party has the strength to form the government alone. But in hindsight coalition governments have not been able to perform well, when they all could work together for the development of the nation and welfare of the people in general. We all have to agree that coalitions have failed in other nations as well and snap elections have had to be held but there are other nations where coalitions have had success and both the country and the people have benefited.
Unfortunately, this has not happened here now when not only differences exist among parties with different ideologies, but there also seem intra-party tussles. This instability within the parties themselves is one of the causes for the present confusion. This has led to a lot of confusion not only among the people, but the supporters of the parties themselves. There seems to be no clear path or plans to get the country out of the rut it is in now. Experts and commentators are warning of an economic disaster which could match many other nations in the world, including some in the South Asian region, but few say we could be in a worse situation.
We are not only highly dependent on imports but the inflation rate is also alarming. The people are already feeling the pinch hard in making ends meet, but inflation has even hit the kitchens of the people, which definitely is not a good sign. Just seeing TV coverage and pictures of people starving for enough food wrenches one's heart and it becomes a nightmare when one considers such a situation hitting nearby our homes. Furthermore, when the people cannot have the goods or things they want due to the rising inflation, there will also be recession. Recession is even more harmful as this will turn the markets sluggish and in turn this could affect the whole economy of the nation.
But to come back to where we started, the government has done well by initiating action against corrupt practices especially when powerful government officials are involved. Like mentioned many times before, corruption is the core behind all the economic woes faced by the nation. In fact, corruption at high places is destroying the nation and making the people of this impoverished nation poorer. This is out and out treason and the guilty, no matter whether in the government sector or the private sector must be given the harshest of punishment and their property confiscated to deter such crimes in the future.
In the past, perhaps due to strong networking of the wrongdoers or some corrupt persons, we have seen many hard-core criminals walk free on bail with just little amounts of bail money. This is ridiculous. It is not that we are saying capital punishment has to be introduced in peaceful Nepal, but criminals must be taught a lesson so that they will not think of this country as a criminal haven. For this, our own security personnel too must be very vigilant and honest as well.
So a coalition government is not a bad political deal and a lot can be achieved when parties work together instead of only putting down or criticising each another. This will pave a smoother path and take it away from the treacherous way the country is heading towards now and also contribute a great deal in strengthening the economy which will guide all the sectors for the benefit of the nation.
(The author is former chief editor of this daily.)