For a New Nepal, Start With You

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For children, adults are wondrous creatures. They like coffee without sugar, eat unpalatable vegetables, read boring newspapers and books without pictures, and talk about things that would put any sane child straight to sleep. For Nepalese people—children in regards to the amount of development they have witnessed—it seems, other developed countries may well be feats of wonder. Last week, I talked to a friend who had visited Hong Kong who said that there ought to be more tiers to define the levels of development of a country, Nepal is not even “tenth world” compared to their development he said.

Let us think why we do not consider it possible to have a functioning railway in the valley to curb the problem of overcrowded public vehicles. Let us contemplate why our brethren are always skeptical about the availability of petroleum products. And let us laugh at why Melamchi Khanepani is a twenty year old joke that is still funny. The problem lies in our expectations. We still feel that the government can never provide a functioning railway system. We are doubtful of the ability of Nepal Oil Corporation, government owned of course, to deal with the Indian Oil Corporation. And we are wary of government owned utility companies with their take it or leave it attitude. It is time not to look up to the government to provide our services, rather, it is now time to look among us and allow those with ideas to take steps towards realizing those dreams. It is time not to ask the government to provide us with facilities and services; it is pertinent to demand a stable environment, one where our property is safeguarded from marauders and the government alike, in order to be able to grow our wealth. It is not necessary to wait for the government to plan, discuss, evaluate, budget, and authorize projects, but it is essential to demand to be able to take the lead and conduct activities in which one feels adept.

We are more than able to make decisions based on evidence and people from all walks of life showcase the ability to make decisions based on past experience and probabilities. Yet it seems, time and again, we simply ignore the inefficiencies of government sectors and continue to lament at the way it has affected our lives. While lines of customers waiting at the bank teller signals dependability and consumer trust, a similar line is alomost always a telltale sign of inefficiency in the case of government run enterprises. When long lines outside of KFC shows people excited to experience the taste of Kentucky style fried chicken (product), lines outside the license office or tax office hints at disinterested workers and management. We have enough examples, enough success stories, of individuals like you and me who have generated wealth and provided avenues for individuals to support themselves and their families. On the other hand we have sycophants and hypocrites, power hungry people pleasers and social discord creators, who take pride at having toppled the kingdom but still feel entitled to kingship.

Granted, demanding that the size of the government be reduced in Nepal is like demanding for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it is definitely possible to demand that its size not grow for the meanwhile. The time now calls for the government to be able to face the market and compete with others who are participating in the sector. It is time to call for politics to be separated from the economy. It is time to speak and say that our economy is not a scapegoat to further political agendas. It is time to pay heed to evidence and see how the private sector has created while those involved in governing or hoping to govern are simply halting, disregarding, or pilfering what is being created.

Anurag Pant

About Anurag Pant

Anurag holds a Bachelors of Science in Economics and works as a Research Assistant at Samriddhi, the Prosperity Foundation. He also lectures on Economics at Xavier International College.