Nov 19, 2013

Youth and Politics in Nepal : My Radio Interview

On November 13, I was interviewed by The Human Face, a radio program that is aired every Wednesday on Citizens FM 94 Megahertz on the issue of youth and politics. The program is run by SAATH Nepal a non-governmental organization working on social service, awareness raising and advocacy for tranquillity and humanity. Along with my fellow guest Rajesh Poudel, I have discussed about what should be the role of youth in the next Constitution Assembly, what political ideology best suits Nepal, what implication will youth candidates like those from Bibeksheel Nepali have, what can be done for effective leadership development and succession planning among young politicians etc. You can listen to my interview at the following link. Please check it out. I would be happy to answer any query or comment that you might have.


Nov 12, 2013

जुजुमानका साहसिक कार्यहरु - भाग ३९ (अन्तिम भाग ) (धर्ती र स्वतन्त्रता)

अर्थशार्त्री केन स्कुल्ल्यान्डद्वारा लिखित, नेपाली भाषा सहित गरेर विश्वका ४७ भाषामा अनुवाद भैसकेको "दि एड्भेन्चरस अफ जनाथन गलिबल : अ फ्री मार्केट ओडीसी" नामक पुस्तकको नेपाली अनुवादको पोड्कास्ट्को यस ३९ औं (अन्तिम) भागमा  कोन्डोरले जुजुमानलाई उनको घरसम्म पुर्याइदिन्छ ।  आफ्ना बाबुआमालाई भेट्न पाउँदा अत्यन्त हर्षित भएका जुजुमानले केहि संकल्पहरु गर्छन । 

ति संकल्पहरु के के हुन त ? जान्नको लागि तलको पोड्कास्ट सुन्नुहोला ।  सुनेर प्रतिकृया पनि  दिनुहोला ।   

पोड्कास्ट सुन्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोस ।


पोड्कास्ट डाउनलोड गर्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोला।


यस पोड्कास्टका अरु अङ्क सुन्नको लागि तल क्लिक गर्नु होला ।

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible (Nepali)

Nov 11, 2013

Election Promises!

The second round of the Constitution Assembly polls are at our doorstep. So are politicians representing different political parties. Political parties have come up with their election manifestos which, if reality were to be ignored, are very impressive. Almost every political party has gone out of their way to make beautiful commitments, especially in the economic sphere.

Unrealistic Promises

For instance, U-CPN Maoists party has promised us a 7.9 per cent economic growth rate for the next five years which is supposed to increase to 11 per cent in the next decade whereas the Rastriya Prajatantra Party has promised us double digit economic growth within a decade. Nepali Congress promises us a double digit growth in four to eight years. Similarly, CPN-UML promises to create 300 thousand jobs annually and bring two million international tourists to Nepal in the next five years among other things.

Although fun to read, these manifestos raise some very important questions:

The first and foremost question is how. How are they going to achieve those goals? How is Nepal going to have a more than seven per cent economic growth rate, let alone double digit growth? If we look at our current growth rate, it hovers around four per cent which is hardly indicative of our possibility of leaping to a double digit growth in the near future. Economic growth does not come out of thin air. It requires economic policies friendly to growth, an environment encouraging entrepreneurship and a commitment from the government to support the growth process or at least not act as a hindrance to economic growth.

In this regard, the current picture of Nepal is miles away from satisfactory.  In the recently released Doing Business 2014: Understanding regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises report, Nepal ranks 105th out of 180 countries with regards to the ease of doing business. Although improving, the pace of reforms are too slow to have any significant effect. Similarly, in the latest Economic Freedom of the World report which measures the degree of economic freedom enjoyed by citizens of a country, Nepal ranks 125th out of 152 countries with a score of 6.19 out of 10. Out of the 10 components of the index, Nepal’s performance is especially dismal in regard to legal structures and security of property rights. Security of property rights and economic freedom are essential for growth of any society. Empirical evidences also show that promotion of entrepreneurship and the private sector is a prerequisite for economic growth and development.

Unfortunately, none of the political parties seem to have anything to say on these issues. 

Unanswerable Questions

Since the upcoming elections is Constitution Assembly polls not just regular elections, it is important that political parties discuss macro issues like economic model, role of government and private sector in the economy et cetera rather than micro issues like how many tourists we will bring or what roads will we build. What kind of development path shall we follow is more important than what roads we will build. Rather than discussing what amount of Megawatts of electricity will we produce, we should be discussing about macro issues like will foreign direct investment be a major instrument of hydro-power development? If we are creating 300 thousand jobs, how will that happen? Will the government create those jobs for the sake of jobs or will the government be committed to creating a business-friendly environment to create more jobs? Will the government be committed to building the necessary infrastructure and business environment for preventing industries from shutting down? Will we embrace an open economic model or try a closed economic model?  Will we do it through economic reforms and by attracting foreign direct investment like China and India or will we shun foreign investment like before?

Not answering these questions means repeating past mistakes. The Nepali people have heard promises of rapid growth, transformation of Nepal into Singapore and Switzerland number of times. And they have been disappointed several times and this time will not be an exception too. In the last CA elections too, we had heard numerous lofty promises such as 10,000 Megawatt of hydro-electricity within a decade. The ensuing disappointment is well-known to everyone. The trend of making arbitrary promises in election manifestos also shows that political parties are not taking economic issues seriously.

Conclusion

For every revolution and political change in the past, political agendas have taken the front seat. An economic agenda has never been a priority and no wonder countless revolutions and political changes have failed to deliver economic growth and prosperity.  It is time that political parties start taking about economic issues and agenda more seriously. The citizens too have the responsibility to ask and analyse how political parties plan to achieve what they promise. Without answers to the how question, the economic aspects of the manifestos are nothing more than empty promises. 

-Surath Giri

Nov 10, 2013

जुजुमानका साहसिक कार्यहरु - भाग ३८ (गिद्द, मगन्ते, धूर्त र राजाहरु)

अर्थशार्त्री केन स्कुल्ल्यान्डद्वारा लिखित, नेपाली भाषा सहित गरेर विश्वका ४७ भाषामा अनुवाद भैसकेको "दि एड्भेन्चरस अफ जनाथन गलिबल : अ फ्री मार्केट ओडीसी" नामक पुस्तकको नेपाली अनुवादको पोड्कास्ट्को यस३८ औं भागमा जुजुमान र एलिशाको कोन्डोर भन्ने गिद्द सँग भेट हुन्छ ।  कोन्डोरलाई जुजुमान र एलिशाले उक्त टापूका केहि मानिस हरुलाई गिद्द भनेर सम्बोधन गरेकोमा ठुलो चित्त दुखाई छ ।  कोन्डोरको विचारमा गिद्दहरु मगन्ते, धूर्त र राजाहरु भन्दा धेरै असल र नैतिक हुन्छन रे ।  त्यसैले उनिहरुको तुलना गिद्द सँग गर्नु गिद्दको अपमान हो रे ।

कोन्डोरले किन त्यसो भनेको रहेछ ? र के साँच्चै गिद्दहरु मगन्ते, धूर्त र राजाहरु भन्दा असल र नैतिक हुन्छन त ? जान्नको लागि तलको पोड्कास्ट सुन्नुहोला ।  सुनेर प्रतिकृया पनि  दिनुहोला ।  

पोड्कास्ट सुन्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोस ।



पोड्कास्ट डाउनलोड गर्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोला।


यस पोड्कास्टका अरु अङ्क सुन्नको लागि तल क्लिक गर्नु होला ।

Nov 9, 2013

जुजुमानका साहसिक कार्यहरु - भाग ३७ (लोकतन्त्र टोली)

अर्थशार्त्री केन स्कुल्ल्यान्डद्वारा लिखित, नेपाली भाषा सहित गरेर विश्वका ४७ भाषामा अनुवाद भैसकेको "दि एड्भेन्चरस अफ जनाथन गलिबल : अ फ्री मार्केट ओडीसी" नामक पुस्तकको नेपाली अनुवादको पोड्कास्ट्को यस ३७औं भागमा जुजुमानको केहि समय पहिले भेटिएर छुट्टिएकी एलिशासँग पुन:भेट हुन्छ । एलिशा पनि उक्त कुस्ती प्रतियोगिता हेर्न आएकी रैछ । तर यस्तैमा उक्त प्रतियोगिता भएको ठाँउमा लोकतन्त्र टोली आइपुग्छन जसले गर्दा सबै दर्शक बिच भागाभाग मच्चिन्छ ।  मानिस हरु उक्त मैदान बाट मात्र नभै शहर बाटै भाग्छन उक्त टोली को आगमन पछी । 

लोकतन्त्र टोली देखेर मानिस हरु भागाभाग गरेका रहेछन ? लोकतन्त्र टोलीलाई त उनिहरुले स्वागत गर्नु पर्ने होईन र ? अनि जुजुमानको एलिशा सँगको भेट कस्तो हुन्छ त ? जान्नको लागि तलको पोड्कास्ट सुन्नुहोला ।  सुनेर प्रतिकृया पनि  दिनुहोला ।  

पोड्कास्ट सुन्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोस ।

  
पोड्कास्ट डाउनलोड गर्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोला।


यस पोड्कास्टका अरु अङ्क सुन्नको लागि तल क्लिक गर्नु होला ।

Nov 8, 2013

Why do cartels and syndicates persist in Nepal?

Anti-competitive practices such as syndicates, cartels, price-fixing are prevalent in almost every sector of Nepalese economy. Transport sector seems to be the most affected by syndicates and cartels. General public have not only been paying premium prices for sub-par transportation services but they have also been exposed to higher risks during their travels as they are forced to travel in decades old vehicles. This has resulted in unusually high death rates due to road accidents in Nepal. Although the Supreme Court has already declared cartels illegal, the government has not bothered to enforce the decision. Similarly, other sectors of the economy like education in the service sector is also facing anti-competitive prices mainly due to collusive price fixing. Many people, especially the socialists point out to syndicates and cartels and condemn the liberalization efforts of 1990s implying that they are the results of free market economy.

But is it true? What are the causes behind these anti-competitive practices in Nepal? Why do they  persist and why does not the government make efforts to tackle such practices? Who is benefiting from these practices? My colleagues at Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation have tried to answer these questions by analyzing the anti-competitive practices in five sectors of Nepalese economy, namely hydropower, education, agriculture, transport and tourism. Please go through the paper and let us know what you think of the paper. Please feel free to add your opinion and information in the comments below.

Nov 7, 2013

जुजुमानका साहसिक कार्यहरु - भाग ३६ (हरुवाको नियम)

अर्थशार्त्री केन स्कुल्ल्यान्डद्वारा लिखित, नेपाली भाषा सहित गरेर विश्वका ४७ भाषामा अनुवाद भैसकेको "दि एड्भेन्चरस अफ जनाथन गलिबल : अ फ्री मार्केट ओडीसी" नामक पुस्तकको नेपाली अनुवादको पोड्कास्ट्को यस ३६औं भागमा जुजुमान् क्रोम्पो टापूको एउटा एकदमै चर्चित खेल हेर्न पुग्छन् । त्यो खेल एउटा कुस्ती प्रतियोगिता हो । तर  यसमा एउटा नौलो कुरा चै के छ भने यस खेल मा जित्ने ले मात्र नभै हार्नेले पनि पुरस्कार जित्छ । साथै हार्ने प्रतियोगीले जिन्दगी भर काम गर्नु पर्दैन । 

किन त्यस खेल मा हार्नेले पनि पुरस्कार पाउँदो रहेछ त ? अनि झन हार्ने मान्छेले चै जिन्दगी भर काम गर्नु नपर्ने ? किन त्यस्तो अचम्मको नियम ? जान्नको लागि तलको पोड्कास्ट सुन्नुहोला ।  सुनेर प्रतिकृया पनि  दिनुहोला ।  

पोड्कास्ट सुन्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोस ।


पोड्कास्ट डाउनलोड गर्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोला।


यस पोड्कास्टका अरु अङ्क सुन्नको लागि तल क्लिक गर्नु होला ।

Nov 6, 2013

जुजुमानका साहसिक कार्यहरु - भाग ३५ (महान अन्वेषक)

अर्थशार्त्री केन स्कुल्ल्यान्डद्वारा लिखित, नेपाली भाषा सहित गरेर विश्वका ४७ भाषामा अनुवाद भैसकेको "दि एड्भेन्चरस अफ जनाथन गलिबल : अ फ्री मार्केट ओडीसी" नामक पुस्तकको नेपाली अनुवादको पोड्कास्ट्को यस ३५औं  भागमा जुजुमानलाई डुबी र जमुनाले उनिहरुको महान अन्वेषककोमा लिएर जान्छन ।  जुजुमानले उनिहरुलाई प्रश्नै प्रश्न सोधेर हैरान पारे पछी उनिहरुले त्यसो गरेका हुन ।  ती महान अन्वेषकले मानिसहरुलाई  "शान्ती नै युद्ध हो, बुद्धी अज्ञानता हो, स्वतन्त्रता दासत्व हो" भनेर सिकाउँदा रहेछन ।  मानिस हरुचै विना कुनै प्रश्न उनले भनेको मान्दा रहेछन । तर हाम्रो जुजुमान चानचुने मानिस होईनन । उनले महान अन्वेषकलाई पनि प्रश्न गर्दी हाल्छन ।  

ती महान अन्वेषकले किन त्यसो भनेका रहेछन ? अनि जुजुमानको प्रश्न को जवाफ उनले कसरी दिन्छन त ? जान्नको लागि तलको पोड्कास्ट सुन्नुहोला ।  सुनेर प्रतिकृया पनि  दिनुहोला ।

पोड्कास्ट सुन्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोस ।


पोड्कास्ट डाउनलोड गर्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोला।


यस पोड्कास्टका अरु अङ्क सुन्नको लागि तल क्लिक गर्नु होला ।

Doing Business in Nepal : Ground Realities

Since the economic reforms started in 1980s under the Structural Adjustment Program of IMF and World Bank, Nepal has endeavoured to follow an open and export-oriented economic model. Many restrictions on imports have been removed and custom duties have been reduced, the controls on foreign exchange also have been relaxed. Industrial licensing system has been reformed and foreign investment has been allowed in the country. Private sector has been recognized as one of the major pillars of the Nepalese economy. 

One of the major characteristics of a market economy is the freedom to enterprise which requires that there are no excessive regulations from the government. Studies have found that poor countries regulate their business the most and heavier regulations usually result in more inefficiency in public institutions with longer delays and higher costs along with higher unemployment, higher rates of corruption and less investment and productivity (World Bank, 2004). Nepal is not an exception despite adopting market friendly economic regime in the framework of economic liberalization with the objective of improving the competition and doing business scenario.

In the  Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises report, Nepal has been ranked 105th out 189 countries with regards to ease of doing business. Nepalese enterprises seem to face additional problems and hurdles that are not covered in the report. Under the guidance of Dr. Dileep K. Adhikary, I have co-written a paper titled "Doing Business in Nepal: Ground Realities" with my colleague at Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation. I have tried to find out what kind of additional hurdles do business enterprises in Nepal face and what can be done about it. I would love your comments and feedback on the paper.


Nov 5, 2013

जुजुमानका साहसिक कार्यहरु - भाग ३४ (मेरीबेरिज)

अर्थशार्त्री केन स्कुल्ल्यान्डद्वारा लिखित, नेपाली भाषा सहित गरेर विश्वका ४७ भाषामा अनुवाद भैसकेको "दि एड्भेन्चरस अफ जनाथन गलिबल : अ फ्री मार्केट ओडीसी" नामक पुस्तकको नेपाली अनुवादको पोड्कास्ट्को यस ३४औं  भागमा जुजुमानको फेरी एक महिलासँग जम्काभेट हुन्छ ।  ति महिला अत्यन्त मोटी छिन र शरीरको धेरै भाग देखिने गरी लुगा लगाएकी छिन । उनले जुजुमानलाई सोध्छिन्, "के तिमी आनन्द लिन चाहन्छौं ?" जुजुमानलाई भने केहि समय पहिले भेटेका अनैतिक कार्य हेर्ने प्रहरीको याद आउँछ र ती महिलाको शरीर बाट आएको दुर्गन्धले गर्दा वाक्क आउला आउला जस्तो हुन्छ ।  

ती महिलाले कस्तो आनन्द को कुरा गरेकी रैछन त ? अनि जुजुमानले तीनीलाई के जवाफ दिन्छन त ? जान्नको लागि तलको पोड्कास्ट सुन्नुहोला ।  सुनेर प्रतिकृया पनि  दिनुहोला ।

पोड्कास्ट सुन्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोस ।




पोड्कास्ट डाउनलोड गर्नका लागि तल क्लिक गर्नुहोला।


यस पोड्कास्टका अरु अङ्क सुन्नको लागि तल क्लिक गर्नु होला ।