On July 13 the government unveiled a Rs 618 billion annual budget for the fiscal year 2014-15 with significant investment promised in energy, infrastructure, agriculture and irrigation sectors. Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, who has time and again committed to kick-start second generation of economic reforms, termed the budget as reform-and investment-oriented. Though the budget has not introduced any new programmes as such and has drawn mixed reactions from experts and politicians, the minister believes that the fiscal policy will help give momentum to the sluggish national economy. Here’s an analysis by Siromani Dhungana:
This is the first time that the government succeeded in introducing full-fledged budget on time in the last four years. The delayed implementation of the budget had resulted in economic stagnation, as economic activities could not speed up in the absence of a spur from the government, the largest spender. Though timely budget announcement this year is expected to change the scenario for the better, the journey ahead is not easy for the Finance Minister.
Expansionary Fiscal Policy
Considering the Rs 596 billion ceiling put forward by the National Planning Commission (NPC) the budget was bigger-than-expected. The Minister crossed the recommended ceiling mostly because of two reasons. Despite his reluctance, he had to concede to the pressure of the MPs from the largest partners of the ruling coalition – Nepali Congress and CPN-UML – to earmark Rs 10 million for infrastructure project in each constituency. Next to it, the budget increased the amount of constituency development fund, provided to each of the 601 MPs for funding various development activities in their respective constituency as per their discretion, from the erstwhile Rs 1 million to Rs 1.5 million per MP. Adding to it, the budget made upward revisions in the civil servants’ salary and other perks as well.
Despite being flexible in its spending, the budget did not make any major hikes in the taxation rates. Expansionary budget, like the one under discussion, is expected to accelerate economic growth, help in employment creation and in poverty reduction. However, analysts claim that this budget comes with many risks. It may create demand pressures and fuel inflation. Analysts claim its forecast of a 8 percent inflation rate to be unrealistic.
Moon rose from the east as sun cast its last rays of the day over the summit of Mt Machhapuchhre
Climate change-driven events like melting glaciers pose a grave risk to Nepal’s economy, and could cause losses equal to almost 10% of the country’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) by 2100, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) climate and economics report for South Asia.
“The population is extremely vulnerable, not only to the immediate threats of increasingly frequent glacial lake overflows, landslides, flash floods, and droughts, but also to longer-term climate change, which will ultimately reduce water availability and limit crop productivity,” said Bindu Lohani, ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development. Continue reading
UWB founder Dinesh Wagle is interviewed by Kathmandu Post’s Weena Pun in today’s issue of the newspaper.
What is United We Blog?
It is a political blog—Nepal’s first—founded on my personal web domain in 2004. Initially it started as a forum to express private feelings and the daily grind lived by journalists and included stories by my friends Ujjwal Acharya and Deepak Adhikari and myself. Later, the site was hosted on blog.com.np and soon became the only uncensored source of political information in Nepal for a while in 2005.
Why did you decide to blog?
I was excited by the new medium of expression. In 2004, I had been a journalist with the mainstream media for seven years, and at that time, the new media was still very new in Nepal. Blogs were the ‘social media’ of that time. They provided additional and unlimited space for expressing ourselves, as opposed to limited print and air space of the old media. This ‘limitless’ space was the second reason for me to start a blog.
Originally posted on Wagle Street Journal:
The Kathmandu Post celebrates its (and Kantipur’s) 21st anniversary today by publishing a 16-page pullout on Nepal’s social media scene. The supplement, titled “Platforms of Change“, explores how Nepalis are using the Internet and its various platforms mainly to express themselves and to connect and share and debate. In the lead article ‘Teleprinter to Twitter’, Editor-in-Chief Akhilesh Upadhyay talks about the impact of technological changes (and a constitutional provision that guaranteed press freedom) in impressive expansion of Nepal’s media.
I was interviewed by the Post’s Weena Pun on my political blogging and journalism days.
Here’s the page as it appeared in the Post (PDF) and the following is the text:
When the then-king Gyanendra imposed his authoritarian rule in February 2005 and later clamped down on all private media outlets in Nepal, United We Blog became the go-to site for delivering uncensored political news. One of the two co-founders behind the blog, Dinesh Wagle, a former journalist with…
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This gallery contains 16 photos.
Originally posted on Wagle Street Journal:
A man in Thabang, Rolpa, face smeared with colored powder, celebrated Maghi festival. On the background is an anti-election slogan- “the one who asks for vote will get chot (hurt).” (यो लेखलाई नेपालीमा पढ्न…
“I have repeated many times that the English language media circuit in Nepal is an echo chamber, consisting of a very narrow group of privileged and detached people who always agree with each other, often to imply that the Maoist war was the greatest achievement in the history of Nepal. As it is, relying on most of Nepal’s English language pundits can end up in very embarrassing situations for yourself. As was evident in one instance from last week, a very vocal “Nepal expert” English language writer was found criticizing a New York Times article because, according to her, the article was making fun of the Maoists in Nepal by calling them “Dashists” and “Cashists.” In fact, the Nepali language press and the streets of Nepal have long been using these terms coined by the Maoists themselves. In the past, the Maoists have made public remarks like calling the third largest party “an eunuch party,” and the echo chamber didn’t even produce as much as a whisper for this insult (or joke for them) that would be unacceptable in most of the civilized countries.”
“Take another example. We had an election for the constituency assembly in 2008 too. The run up to that election was full of violence, intimidation and countless other incidents that could have influenced the result in the end. However, election observers and foreign press, watching elections in the polling centers near the highways, and from the eyes of Nepal’s English language commentators, were unaware of all that was going around. In the end, a very violent polling campaign was termed as completely free and fair, even before polling had closed at all centers.
“Nepal’s politics and society is much complex than it seems. The English language press can make you believe in a very simplistic picture of good guys vs bad guys (with Nepal’s radical forces always being their good guys), but you will be left very ill informed with sources like these, which can be both ignorant about the issues and manipulative and driven by their vested interests at the same time. It is no surprise that many commentators, writers and columnists do not provide full disclosure in Nepal, often hiding their affiliations with interest groups, which however, are of common knowledge to many others inside Nepal.”
We agree with Ushaft. We will reblog him as soon as he comes up with informed analysis on the site.
Originally posted on Ushaft's Blog:
More info (22nd Nov): Followups to this blog post can be seen here: How was the polling day? and Citizens’ Statement about Maoists’ walkout from vote counting. After polling closed across Nepal, I have made some revisions about my prediction made in the initial posts of this series. The results that are coming out right now confirm the general mood in Nepal I had described in one another post and the vested interests and ignorance of the echo-chamber.
Starting today, I’ll cover some of the discussion from the Nepali social media circle related to the upcoming election. Because of the discussions being in Nepali, many outside observers will miss the real pulse of Nepal as we draw very close to the election. The aim of this blog-series is to narrow this gap and let everybody get a feel of how it is like here at present. Many such reports…
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As today is Blog Action Day 2013, and the theme this year is Human Rights, I thought it would be an appropriate time to write a piece about transitional justice in Nepal. All say Nepal is in political transition but none of them are clear how to end this transition. It seems political parties have not realized the gravity of human rights issues. The country which faced a decade long bloody war is yet to form an ‘independent and powerful’ Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Politicians and security forces, who were supposedly involved in war time crime, have been demanding blanket amnesty to all criminal cases. In this piece, I will focus on transitional justice and issue of disappearance in Nepal.
Nepal abolished the monarchy and become a federal democratic republic. In spite of the change in the political sphere, overall human rights situation in Nepal is yet to be improved. Political parties are far ahead in paying lip service to provide justice to victims. But they are reluctant to translate their words into action.
Communists waged war against the state when then Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) openly declared that they do not follow parliamentarian system in 1996.
The ‘red revolution’ began with armed conflict, resulting in the death of more than 13,000 people in a decade — from 1996 to 2006. Besides, approximately 1,300 people were forcibly disappeared during a decade long armed conflict in this small Himalayan country. Continue reading
Jesse Watters and Bill O’Reilly: Scroll down to find the English text. We won’t laugh at your inability to read the Nepali text.
By शिरोमणी ढुङ्गाना/Siromani Dhungana
भाषा ज्ञानको अर्को नाम होईन । तर अपसोच नेपालमा विस्तारै भाषालाई नै ज्ञान र विद्याको अर्को नामको रुपमा लिन थालिएको छ । त्यो पनि अंग्रेजी भाषा । अंग्रेजी खर्रर्र बोल्न आउने जुनै पनि स्वाठ नेपाली समाजमा जान्ने व्यक्तिकोरुपमा स्थापित हुने र अंग्रेजी बोल्न नआउनेलाई पाखे वा ल्वादेकोरूपमा प्रस्तुत गरिने क्रम बढ्दो छ ।
भाषाको सामान्य उदेश्य सञ्चार स्थापित गर्नु हो । आलोचनात्मक सांस्कृतिक सिद्धान्तकारहरु भन्छन्ः कथित ठुलाबडाले सधैं संस्कृति निर्माण गर्छन र गरिबहरुको संस्कृतिलाई दमन गर्छन ।
यसको पछिल्लो सिकार भएका छन् एकजना सज्जन नेपाली – सुदर्शन सुवेदी । यूएनको महासभामा अतिथि भएर न्युयोर्क पुगेका सुवेदीलाई टहलीरहेका बेला अमेरिकी टीभी च्यानल फक्सको कार्यक्रम द ओरेल्लि फ्याक्टरका तर्फबाट जेस्सी वाटर्सले हठात र छिटोछिटो अमेरिकी अंग्रेजीमा केही प्रश्नहरु सोधे । सुवेदी अन्कनाए किनकी उनले भन्न खोजेका कुरा अंग्रेजीमा व्यक्त गर्न जानेनन् । तर भिडियोमा प्रष्ट देखिन्छ उनी जुन मुस्कानका साथ प्रस्तुत भए – त्यो उनको भद्रता थियो । Continue reading
स्कूल हुँदा नै मैले पढेको हुँ, नेपाल मन्दिर नै मन्दिरको देश हो भनेर । ठूलो भएपछि थाह पाए, किन त्यसो भनिएको रहेछ भनेर । त्यतिबेला नेपाल हिन्दु राष्ट्र थियो, त्यसैले पो त्यसो भनिएको थियो कि ? पछि थाह पाए, यहाँ मन्दिर मात्रै रहेनछन, मस्जिद, गिर्जाघर, गुम्बा पनि रहेनछ । अलिक ठूलो भएपछि मैले अर्को कुरा पनि थाह पाए, मन्दिर भन्दा त धेरै नेपालमा गैरसरकारी संस्थाहरु नै पो छन कि ? त्यसो भए, नेपाललाई ‘गैससहरुको देश’ किन नभनिएको होला ? मैले आजसम्म थाह पाएको छैन ।
गैसस र गैससकर्मी । यि दुवै शब्द नेपालीका निम्ती नौलो होईन । जसले सुकिलो कपडा लगाउछन, योजनाहरु कोर्छन, प्रतिवेदनहरु लेख्छन, बेला बेलामा छलफल नामका कार्यक्रमहरु चलाउछन । गाउँघरतिरको फोटो खिच्छन, भिडियो पनि खिच्छन र तिनलाई पनि प्रतिवेदनमा चढाउँछन । गैससहरुको नियमन गर्न बनेको समाजकल्याण परिषदको पछिल्लो तथ्यांक अनुसार देशका झण्डै वार्षिक २० अर्व रुपियाको बजेट यिनै गैससहरुले यस्तै काममा चलाउछन । विकासका नाममा, जागरणका नाममा अनि खाने तरिका सिकाउन, बाच्ने तरिका सिकाउन, हात धुने तरिका सिकाउन, शौचालय प्रयोग गर्ने तरिका सिकाउन र अरु धेरै कुरा सिकाउन गैससहरुले वार्षिक यतिका धेरै पैसा खर्चिन्छन । Continue reading