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Why do projects rarely get done on time? How come that paper you set 3 hours aside for more often than not take you 8? Why are mega-infrastructure projects almost always over budget and still nowhere near complete on projected completion dates? Picture Melamchi, a project envisioned in the late 90s and scheduled to be completed by 2007. 11 years later in 2018, we are still facing the inconveniences of dug up roads for pipelines, the benefits yet to be reaped. Continue reading
The Nepalese public have faced the brunt of the deplorable state of public service delivery for decades. Portugal was in a similar situation before 2006. However, they saw a remarkable improvement in their public services after adopting Simplex. So exploring the model for Nepal can be a worthwhile venture. Continue reading
RINGG. RINNGGG. RINNNGGGG. Snooze. Repeat.
Most of us are unfortunately too familiar with this scenario: we set the alarm for early morning with the intention of getting some extra work/study done, squeezing in a run before getting to work or hitting the gym. However, we end up either hitting snooze till eternity or turning off the alarm altogether.
Being the rational people we are set out to be, shouldn’t we be making the most efficient choices? In this case, getting up bright and early to tackle our tasks head-on!
Richard H. Thaler’s Nobel Prize-winning Nudge Theory explains with refreshing clarity that we as human beings are wired to act on convenience rather than rationale. Simply put, we opt to do what’s easier than what’s wiser. It comes as no surprise then that the “far-sighted Planner” in us – who roots for our long-term welfare – is generally at odds with our “myopic Doer”, battle-stricken in a tightrope act of temptation vs. self-control. Continue reading
“Earlier, we had tongues but could not speak. We had feet but could not walk. Now that we have the land we have the strength to speak and walk!” This quote from women who received land titles in India’s Bodhgaya Land Rights Movement perfectly portrays how land rights empower women.
The struggle for women rights in Nepal has been an on-going battle with property rights being an important component. Although the situation as detailed below is pretty dismal, we have come a long way. From a civil code that limited inheritance rights for women and biases that determined property rights according to marital status and age, to passing of the Gender Equality Act and the Constitution forbidding gender based discrimination, thus granting daughters and sons equal rights to inherit property, progress is evident.
Furthermore, numerous progressive policies are currently in place to help increase land ownership of women. These include:
- Tax exemptions of 25%-50% (depending on geographical area) available to women during land registration, provided she does not sell the land within three years.
- 35% tax exemption for widows during land registration.
- 50% tax exemption when land is transferred within three generations of daughter or granddaughter.
- Joint Land Ownership which can be obtained for just Rs.100.
Why then is women land ownership in the country still dishearteningly low?
- Many women are unaware of the rights and benefits they possess.
- Women do not receive help in the implementation of their rights.
- Deep seated patriarchal norms make women feel that they do not need to own land, especially because of the fear that they risk divorce if they ask for land.
- Families are concerned that women owning land will deprive the family of an asset in the event of marriage or re-marriage and so they are discouraged from getting citizenship certificates.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la … Nope it’s not Christmas! But it sure is a time for joyous celebration all over the country. Bright lights, women donning beautiful colorful attires and fancy jewelry, men in handsome suits, groovy music, delicacies of all sorts; Kathmandu is buzzing with wedding festivities this time of the year. I love weddings just as the next person and these past couple of years I’ve noticed in these revelries that the clothing are a little more refined, decorations a little more tasteful, food a little more lavish and well the parties a little more grander. When all is said and done quite a lot of people may see unnecessary profligate spending and wasted opportunity to invest in productive economic activities beneath all this merriment; however I see prosperity with plentiful economic activities in action.
Just the fact that exclusive boutiques are so swamped with work that they cannot accept additional orders even with 2-3 weeks’ notice and ultra-expensive pieces of clothing and jewelries sell like hot cakes; the economy certainly does seem to be doing well compared to a few years back. People are increasingly able to spend more and so they do and economic prosperity seems to be on the rise. While investing somewhere else is obviously the smarter thing to do in terms of monetary return for themselves; monetary gains isn’t always the most important thing. Why do people earn if not for consumption of goods and services that give them the most utility? Everything has opportunity costs and tradeoffs and if throwing a grand party is what makes people happy and they can afford to do so; so be it!
Caterers, flower shops, decorators, boutiques, hotels, party palaces, party planners, beauty parlors are just a few of the many sectors that are flourishing due to wedding celebrations. So to say that wedding celebrations have no productive economic impact when in fact it generates plentiful entrepreneurs and with that numerous jobs; is flawed. It is of course unfortunate to see people succumb to societal pressures and spend more than they can afford by taking loans which take some years and in some extreme cases entire lifetimes to pay off. This ugly side unfortunately surfaces way too many times. The celebration of two people tying the knot should be a fun and enjoyable affair which embraces our rich culture and reflects the families’ happiness; instead of a stressful show of wealth. I believe it’s important for the society to accept all types of celebrations be it huge parties or simple gatherings of well-wishers, without any judgments.
Economically speaking, spending lavishly in weddings is actually helping a lot of industries to grow and prosper. Does that mean the NRs. 20, 000 you spent on that lehenga or party shoes couldn’t have been put to a better use? Absolutely not! It most definitely could have been spent on a number of other more important things; invested to get higher returns, or given to charity. However, it does mean that you are helping the retail industry prosper and also indirectly create job opportunities; thus you don’t have to be too guilty for your splurge as long as you can afford it and it makes you happy. The wedding expenditures show that the nation or at least the capital is getting a little more prosperous and the standard of living has potentially increased. On that positive note, I wish you all a very happy wedding season and happy spending!