Policy Document Focuses On Growth

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It probably would be putting it mildly, if you say the political scenario has been quite fluid in the country for some time now. Amidst all the uncertainty, the budget session of the Parliament got under way some days back. The decision of the main opposition party, the Nepali Congress, to not allow any parliamentary proceedings to take place unless its demands were fulfilled by the government, created an environment where the Parliament could not go ahead with its regular works. The opposition let President Ramchandra Paudel to present the policies and programmes of the government for the coming fiscal year on May 14 but did not allow the House to run smoothly. 

But this was easier said than done, as the Nepali Congress still stuck to its demands and mainly the CPN (UML) and the Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) refused to give in to the opposition's demand. There were hectic parlays between the parties and also amongst the party leaders, for coming to an amicable agreement. This is indeed an unfortunate development for the nation and the people, when they had so many expectations from the different political parties. This is a time when all the sides must work together for the development of the country and the welfare of the people.

Encouraging plans 

But to mull over the plans of the government, it is encouraging that there are several sectors on which the government has put its focus on, as to how it could achieve in fulfilling such expectations of the citizens. Naturally, the first sector that has attracted much interest of investors from within the country and foreign shores as well, is the hydro power sector. Nepal not only has ample resources for generating hydro power, it has also proved its capability to produce electricity to export the same, to neighbouring countries.

The government has done a good job in maintaining good relations with many countries in the world and receiving help from them in the development efforts of Nepal and this is a sign of a 'balanced foreign policy'. According to latest reports, the United States of America (USA) has already initiated works to build power grids and sub-stations at the cost of billions of rupees under its MCC project which has already committed to give other billions of rupees in aid to Nepal during a period of five years. This gesture of the US must be hailed by the government and it would definitely help in taking electricity to the doors of the people and also to foreign shores. Under this programme, the US has also promised to contribute significantly for the construction of roads and other infrastructure in this Himalayan country with difficult terrain.

Two other important sectors which the government has not failed to put on its priority list are the areas of tourism and agriculture. Similarly, providing land to the homeless, giving more job opportunities to youths and also making a better future for women through a special programme are some of the other major targets set up by it. While initiating such works, which will definitely contribute in speeding up the country's development, strengthen the economy and make better the life of the people in general, this author feels that more focus must also be put in further expanding the tourism sector, especially at this time when tourism is slowly making a comeback after the COVID-19 epidemic which kept many tourists in the entire world at home for some years.

Tourism's contribution 

Nepal is also seeing a rapid increase in the arrival of tourists and according to tourism officials, as reported by the media, more than half a million tourists have already come here within a short span of time in 2024. This is an encouraging sign as tourism is one sector which gives quick returns to investors, contributes significantly in strengthening the national economy and also providing income generating opportunities to a diverse section of people who earn their bread and butter by providing services to tourists when they arrive here. Right from the time when they arrive in the airport, take vehicles on rent, stay in hotels, eat out at restaurants, hire guides and porters and buy handicrafts among other things, tourism definitely makes life better for thousands of Nepalis in a direct or indirect manner.

Most people have welcomed this 'progressive' method of policies and programmes the government has unveiled, but many have also cautioned that these good policies must be implemented in practice as well if it wants to be good as it promises to be. This cannot be done if there is a climate of political instability and the parliament proceedings are halted by one side or the other. Both the parties in the government and those in the opposition benches, must show more flexibility and come to a compromise on certain issues, which are troubling the nation at present. A fluid political scenario and an environment of uncertainty will not help in making the slogan of 'all be happy and all be well' a success. If for nothing, the political parties have to come to an understanding and work together for the sake of the nation and the welfare of the common citizens. 

(The author is former chief editor of this daily.)

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