Saturday, September 29, 2018

क्रोनी पुँजीवादबाट क्रोनी समाजवादतर्फ

अघिल्लो शुक्रबार काठमाडौंमा सम्पन्न कारोबार इकोनोमिक कन्क्लेभ–२०१८ का लागि भारतबाट अतिथि वत्ताका रूपमा निम्त्याइएका पाहुना भारतीय जनता पार्टीका आर्थिक मामिलासम्बन्धी प्रवक्ता गोपालकृष्ण अगरवालले आफ्नो मन्तव्यका क्रममा क्रोनी क्यापिटलिज्मबाट जस्तै क्रोनी सोसियलिज्मबाट पनि बच्नुपर्ने बताए । नेपालको संविधानमा समाजवादउन्मुख अर्थतन्त्र लेखिएको परिप्रेक्ष्यमा उनको उक्त भनाइ निकै अर्थपूर्ण छ । किनकि नेपालका पछिल्ला आर्थिक क्रियाकलाप तथा परिवेश गम्भीरताका साथ केलाउने हो भने, नेपालमा साँच्चै ‘क्रोनी’ समाजवाद अर्थात् नेताका असोपासेलाई मात्र समाजवाद आउने छनक देखिन थालेको हो कि भन्ने आभास पाइन्छ ।
सत्ता र शक्तिको निकट रहेर आर्थिक नीतिलाई प्रभावित पार्दै एउटा वर्गले मात्र फाइदा लिएको भन्दै ‘क्रोनी’ पुँजीवाद अर्थात् आसेपासे पुँजीवादको विरोधका स्वर सुनिन थालेको नेपाली समाजमा अगरवालले ‘क्रोनी’ समाजवादबाट पनि बच्नुपर्ने विचार व्यक्त गर्दा कतिपयलाई आश्चर्य लागेको हुन सक्छ र कतिपयलाई असान्दर्भिक पनि । किनकि संविधानमा समाजवादउन्मुख अर्थतन्त्र लेखिए पनि हाल सरकारका व्यवहार र तथा नीतिनिर्माण तहमा भइरहेका कुरा हेर्दा कतै पनि तालमेल छैन । संविधान अक्षरशः पालना गर्ने/गराउने क्रममा निर्माण भइरहेका कुनै पनि कानुनले स्पष्ट रूपमा अर्थतन्त्र कता डोराउने हो, ठ्याक्कै दिशा स्पष्ट पारिसकेको अवस्था पनि छैन । संविधान प्राप्तिपछिको पहिलो तथा करिब दुईतिहाइको सरकारको नीति तथा कार्यक्रम र बजेट केलाउने हो भने पनि समाजवाद वा पुँजीवाद कता जाने, बाटो किटानी छैन । कतै समाजवाद हो कि हो कि जस्तो कतै घोर पुँजीबादि भनेर गाली गरिने नेपाली कांग्रेसका नेता तथा पूर्वअर्थमन्त्री डा. रामशरण महतकै विगतका बजेट तथा कार्यक्रमको निरन्तरताजस्तो तथा डा. गोविन्द केसीको माग तथा अनशनका क्रममा देखिएका परिदृश्य तथा व्यवहार अनि सम्झौतापछि पनि भइरहेको सरकारी छलकपट हेर्दा त झन् कतै–कतै कसै–कसैलाई पुँजीवादभन्दा पनि अत्यन्त उदार व्यक्तिविशेष हेरेर गरिने ‘पञ्चायतकालीन लाइसेन्स राजको झैं उदार व्यवहार’ पनि देखिन थालेका छन् । कुनै एउटा वादको घुम्टो ओढाउँदैमा कुरूप विचार सुन्दर हुन सक्दैन । विचार कुरूप भएपछि त्यसले दिने परिणाम पनि निश्चय नै सुन्दर हुँदैन । किनकि ढिलोचाँडो कुनै पनि वादको अन्तिम परीक्षण नागरिकले आफ्नो जनजीविका कत्तिको सहज र सरल भएको छ, आफ्नो जीवनस्तर उठ्यो कि उठेन, त्यसबाट गर्छ नै ।
समाजवादलाई एउटा आदर्श आर्थिक तथा राजनीतिक प्रणाली मान्ने हो भने राज्यले उत्पादनका साधनहरू नियन्त्रण गर्छ र नागरिकहरूलाई न्यायपूर्ण ढंगले वितरण गर्छ भन्ने मान्नुपर्ने हुन्छ । तर, वितरणको कुरा आउनेबित्तिकै नागरिकभन्दा पहिला कार्यकर्ता आउने होला । किनकि स्वतन्त्र नागरिकको परिकल्पना त यस प्रणलीमा पाइँदैन । समाजवादी राज्य प्रणालीमा व्यक्तिगत सम्पत्ति तथा व्यक्तिगत अस्तित्वको कुनै महत्व हुँदैन । साथै, समाजवादमा त नागरिकको आधारभुत आवश्यकताहरू जस्तै गाँस, बास, कपास, शिक्षा, स्वास्थ्य, रोजगारी, सुरक्षा आदि समान ढंगले वितरण गरिने र प्रत्याभुत गराइने हुन्छ । त्यसो भए डा. केसीले किन पटक–पटक अनशन बस्नुप¥यो त, प्रश्न सोध्न त पाइन्छ नि ?
त्यसैले पनि राजनीतिक दलका उच्च तहबाट आएका अभिव्यक्ति तथा व्यवहारमा समानता नभएपछि बजारले हाल सकारात्मक वा नकारात्मक कुनै प्रतिक्रिया नगरी बसेका अवस्था छ । किनकि राजनीतिक दलहरूको घोषणापत्रको सार तथा उनीहरूको भाषण विश्लेषण गर्ने हो भने नेपालमा राजनीतिक मुद्दा अब सकिए तथा आर्थिक समृद्धिकै दिशामा लाग्छौँ भन्ने भाव देखिन्छ । तर, समाजमा अब केही होला कि भन्ने आशा जगाउने त्यो घोषणापत्रको मसी सुक्न नपाउँदै व्यवहारमा ठीक उल्टो काम हुँदै जाँदा त्यो आशा छिटै निराशामा परिणत हुने खतरातर्फ मुलुक धकेलिएको छ ।
हाल समाजको सतहमा देखिएका ससाना राजनीतिक–सामाजिक असन्तुष्टिहरूले तत्कालै राजनीतिक आन्दोलन हुने तथा सरकारलाई काम गर्न नै नदिने लक्षण पनि छैन । त्यसैले अब सरकारलाई कुनै पनि वाद आदिको बहानामा नागरिकको जीवनमा परिवर्तन ल्याउन रोक्ने अधिकार पनि छैन, त्यो बहाना पनि चल्दैन । तर सरकार अलमलिएको छ अनि अत्तालिएको छ किन ?
संघीय गणतन्त्र नेपालको संविधानले प्रत्येक नेपाली नागरिकलाई आफ्नो योग्यता तथा क्षमताअनुसार आफूले रोजेको पेसा व्यवसाय गरेर जीवनयापन गर्ने स्वतन्त्रता दिएको छ, तर पनि संविधान लेखिने बेला भिन्न–भिन्न दर्शनका राजनीतिक दलहरूले सम्झौताको दस्तावेजका रूपमा संविधानमा समाजवादउन्मुख अर्थतन्त्र लेख्न बाध्य भएताका नेताहरूले देशमा भएका उद्योगधन्दा बन्द गर भनेका छैनन्, उल्टो लगानी बढाउनुहोस् बाह्य लगानी पनि चाहिन्छ भन्दैछन् । तर, पछिल्लो उदाहरण हेर्ने हो भने उद्योगमन्त्रीको लहडका कारण निम्बस समूहअन्तर्गतको तेल उत्पादन गर्ने एउटा उद्योग २२ दिनसम्म बन्द भयो र फेरि खुल्यो । उद्योग किन बन्द भयो र किन खुल्यो ? यसबाट राष्ट्रिय पुँजीपति वर्गको विकास कसरी भयो वा कति राष्ट्रिय पुँजी निर्माण भयो ? कति नयाँ रोजगारी सिर्जना भयो ? सरकारलाई आउने राजस्व कति बढ्यो ? यसको लेखाजोखा समाजवादउन्मुख अर्थतन्त्र निर्माणमा लाग्नुभएका विद्वान्हरूले पक्कै गर्नुभएको होला ।
अझ यसभन्दा पनि गम्भीर कुरा, यस प्रकरणबाट उद्योगीले के पाठ सिक्ने ? उद्योग बन्द गरेर सहजै नाफा हुने गरी विदेशबाट सामान ल्याएर नेपालमा बेचेर कमिसन मात्र खाएर बस्दा अर्थात् बामपन्थी पदाबलिमा ‘दलाल पुँजीवाद’को बाटोमा जान राज्यले उत्प्रेरित गरेको अर्थमा बुझ्ने हो कि ? त्यसो हो भने पनि ठीकै छ । उद्योगीहरूलाई घाटा हुँदैन, उनीहरू धमाधम आफ्ना उद्योग बन्द गरेर व्यापारतिर लाग्छन् । कमिसन खाएर सहज रूपमा व्यापारमात्र गर भन्दै सरकारले त्यही अनुरूप व्यवहार गर्दाको मूल्य उद्योगीहरूले चुकाउन पर्दैन, त्यसको मूल्य त देश र नागरिकले चुकाउनुपर्ने हुन्छ । नेपाली उद्योग बन्द गरेर देशमा भएका युवालाई मलेसियाका जंगल तथा अरबका खाडीमा श्रम गर्न पठाउँदा कति राष्ट्रिय पुँजीको विकास हुन्छ र कति वर्षमा समाजवादउन्मुख अर्थतन्त्रबाट पूर्ण समाजवादमा पुगिन्छ, विद्वान्हरूले यसको पनि राम्रै होमवर्क गर्नुभएको होला ।
समाजवादी सिद्धान्त जन्मेपछि साम्यवादी सिद्धान्त आएको हो । कम्युनिस्ट सिद्धान्त दर्शन भनेको साम्यवादी व्यवस्था हो । त्यसैले पनि हाम्रा नेतागणले समाजवाद हुँदै साम्यवादमा जाने भन्न छोड्नुभएको छैन । गएको १ सय वर्षमा विभिन्न देशमा साम्यवादको विभिन्न तरिकाले व्याख्या गर्दै आएको पाइन्छ । यसमा राजा हुँदैन, एकदलीय शासन व्यवस्था हुन्छ । लोकतन्त्र, प्रजातन्त्र हुँदैन, कुनै विपक्षी पार्टी हुँदैन, नेता हुँदैन । घर, गाडी निजी केही हुँदैन । सबै ३ करोड नेपाली नागरिक, सबै जनताका प्रतिनिधि । कताकता हामीले बालककालमा सुनेको ‘सबै नेपाली पञ्च सबै पञ्च नेपाली’ भन्ने नाराझैं । तर, यसबाट नेपालको समृद्धिको सपना साकार कसरी हुन्छ र कसरी सुखी नेपाली समृद्ध नेपाल बन्छ, यसमा पनि विद्वान्हरूको निश्चिय नै पनि ठोस राय होला नै । नागरिकले कहिले त्यो थाहा पाउने हो, कसरी थाहा पाउने हो ?
अझ समाजवादी अर्थव्यवस्थामा श्रमलाई महत्व दिइन्छ भने पुँजीवादी अर्थव्यवस्थामा पुँजी लगानीकर्ताको महत्व हुन्छ । अब पुँजीवाद नमानिसकेपछि किन भारत तथा चीनसँग विवादास्पद सम्झौता गर्दै राष्ट्रको सम्पत्ति दोहन गर्न दिने ? व्यक्तिगत सम्पत्तिको अधिकार नहुने, पुँजीको विकासलाई महत्व नदिने तथा निजी उद्योग र कम्पनी निर्माणमा रोक लगाउने हो भने मानिसले किन आफ्नो योग्यता र क्षमताले भ्याएसम्म काम गर्ने ? लटरपटर तथा टालटुले काम गरेर राज्यले जीवनयापनको ग्यारेन्टी गर्छ भने किन एउटा मानिस अर्कोभन्दा बढी मेहनत गर्छ । राज्यले जे दिन्छ त्यहि खाने र समृद्ध नेपालको सपना देखिरहने ।
समस्या मात्र होइन, समाधानको पनि कुरा गरौं । अब, वादका विवाद छोडेर नेपालमा भएका उद्योगीहरूले हाल कति रोजगारी सिर्जना गरिरहेका छन्, अब रोजगारी दोब्बर बनाउन के के नीतिगत समस्या छन्, ती तत्काल समाधान गर्दा समाजवाद उन्मुख हुन पक्का मद्दत मिल्छ र राष्ट्रिय पुँजीको विकास तथा राष्ट्रिय पुँजीपति वर्गको पनि विकास हुन्छ । होइन भने, उग्र बामपन्थी धारबाट सीधै उग्र दक्षिणपन्थी धारतिर जाने र आसेपासे पुँजीवादबाट आसेपासे समाजवादतिर लाग्ने खतरा टड्कारो देखिन्छ ।
हाम्रा नेतागणले नेपाली जनताको जीवनस्तर उठाउने, धनी र गरिब, सहर र गाउँबीचको असमानता हटाउने र विकासित र समृद्ध नेपाल बनाउने प्रण नै गरेर राजनीति गरेको हो भने पञ्चायतदेखि गणतन्त्रसम्मको कालखण्डमा किन उस्तै घटनाहरूको पुनरावृत्ति हुन्छ, किन तन्त्र फेरिएपिच्छे मोटाघाटा, सुकिलामुकिला र चिल्ला गाडी चढ्नेहरूको नयाँ जमातको ताउर–माउर देखिन्छ र किन नागरिकले संविधानप्रदत्त आफ्नो पेसा–व्यवसाय गरेर खान पाउने अधिकार खोसिन्छ ?
कार्ल माक्र्स र फ्रेडरिक एगेंल्सले सन १८४८ मा प्रकाशित गरेको कम्युनिस्ट घोषणापत्रमा पहिलो पटक वैज्ञानिक समाजवाद के हो भन्ने स्पष्ट पारिएपछि सायदै नेपालमा झैं संसारमा यसको दुरुपयोग भएको होला । त्यसैले समाजवादउन्मुख अर्थतन्त्रको नाममा अब क्रोनी समाजवाद नआउला भन्न सकिने स्थिति छैन, त्यसैले समाजवादउन्मुख जनवादको सिद्धान्त लेख्ने कसरतमा रहेको नेकपा (नेकपा) सुरुवाती चरणमै दिग्भ्रमित तथा दोहोरो चरित्रको हुँदा नेपालमा क्रोनी समाजवादको जग बसाउने तारतम्य हुन लागेको त हैन ? प्रश्न संवेदनशील, गहन र दूरगामी महत्वको छ । उत्तर आउने दिनमा सरकारको चालचलन, व्यवहार तथा क्रियाकलापमा निर्भर रहन्छ नै ।

New initiative to advance women’s entrepreneurship in Asia-Pacific launched at UN General Assembly

A new initiative to advance women’s entrepreneurship in Asia-Pacific was launched on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York today, by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), with financial support from Global Affairs Canada.
Women, who establish businesses have the potential to achieve economic independence, overcome extreme poverty and improve the well-being of their families and communities. However, many women entrepreneurs face major disadvantages in accessing sufficient finance and technology that prevent them from achieving their full potential.
This unique project seeks to address the challenges and constraints faced by women entrepreneurs through a holistic, multi-pronged approach integrating innovative finance, technology and policy. It will empower women entrepreneurs in the region by utilizing innovative financing mechanisms and providing access to technology.
Launching the project at a High-level side event, Officer-in-Charge of ESCAP Hongjoo Hahm, emphasised that innovative financing mechanisms, such as FinTech solutions and women’s bonds, are emerging to address challenges and increase access to financial resources. However, a paradigm shift to support women entrepreneurs is critical if these promising mechanisms are to be truly inclusive.
“Our ambitions for the initiative are high and we cannot do this alone," Hahm, said adding that they will need to work with governments, bilateral donors and private sector companies. "But most importantly, we will need to work with and for the aspiring women entrepreneurs to better understand their needs and aspirations. Only by doing this will we effectively harness their potential to help us all to meet the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN in New York Louise Blais, called for new approaches to tackle the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. "Women-owned micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have significant financing needs that can be met through innovative financing mechanisms that leverage both public and private financial resources," she said, adding that it would be to the benefit of women entrepreneurs and those they support: their families, employees, and communities.
The event organised by ESCAP, showcased pioneering financing approaches to address barriers women entrepreneurs face in accessing finance, and provided a forum to promote learning from interaction of cross-cutting women’s empowerment, financing, technology and innovation communities.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Malaysian employer to bear all costs of Nepali migrants

Nepal and Malaysia today agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will relieve Nepali workers from paying fees for jobs in Malaysia. "The Malaysian employment companies will bear all the necessary expenses of Nepali migrant workers now," according to the Nepali embassy in Malaysia. "The agreement will be the first such deal between the two countries in 14 years after Malaysia opened its doors to Nepali migrant workers."
The meeting between the officials of both countries at Malaysia’s Ministry of Human Resources in Putrajaya today will not only be the first such formal agreement, but the document will also resume the labour migration of Nepali workers to Malaysia which has been disrupted since mid-May, according to acting Nepali ambassador to Malaysia Kumar Raj Kharel. "Nepal had previously pushed for such understanding in 2009, 2010 and 2013," he said, adding that Malaysia had shared a draft of the labour agreement in August, following Nepal’s suspension of the departure of Nepali workers to Malaysia.
Kharel said the agreement – that includes the provision like 24-hour insurance security for the workers, payment for a two-way ticket by the employer, and compensation to workers and their families in case of accidents – will be signed by ministers of both countries.
Likewise, Nepal has also proposed an annual review of the workers’ salary, he added.
A three member Nepali delegation – led by joint secretary at the Labour Ministry Krishna Gyawali, chief of South East Asia Division of Foreign Ministry Tapas Adhikari and joint secretary at the Law Ministry Kabindra Gautam – had left for Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday to hold discussions and finalise the MoU on a bilateral labour agreement between the two countries.
According to the Malaysian Immigration Department, it hosts a total of 385,000 documented Nepali workers currently, making Nepal the second largest supplier of foreign labour force.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

WTO downgrades outlook for global trade as risks accumulate

Trade will continue to expand but at a more moderate pace than previously forecast. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) anticipates growth in merchandise trade volume of 3.9 per cent in 2018, with trade expansion slowing further to 3.7 per cent in 2019.
The new forecast for 2018 is below the WTO's April 12 estimate of 4.4 per cent but falls within the 3.1 per cent to 5.5 per cent growth range indicated at that time. Trade growth in 2018 is now most likely to fall within a range from 3.4 per cent to 4.4 per cent, the global trade regime reported.
Some of the downside risks identified in the April press release have since materialised, most notably a rise in actual and proposed trade measures targeting a variety of exports from large economies. The direct economic effects of these measures have been modest to date but the uncertainty they generate may already be having an impact through reduced investment spending. Monetary policy tightening in developed economies has also contributed to volatility in exchange rates and may continue to do so in the coming months.
WTO director general Roberto Azevêdo said, "While trade growth remains strong, this downgrade reflects the heightened tensions that we are seeing between major trading partners."
"More than ever, it is critical for governments to work through their differences and show restraint," he said, adding that the WTO will continue to support those efforts and ensure that trade remains a driver of better living standards, growth and job creation around the globe.
The updated trade forecast is based on expectations of world real GDP growth at market exchange rates of 3.1 per cent in 2018 and 2.9 per cent in 2019. This implies a ratio of trade growth to GDP growth of 1.3 in both years.
Trade policy measures are far from the only risk to the forecast. Developing and emerging economies could experience capital outflows and financial contagion as developed countries raise interest rates, with negative consequences for trade. Geopolitical tensions could threaten resource supplies and upset production networks in certain regions. Finally, structural factors such as the rebalancing of the Chinese economy away from investment and toward consumption are still present and could weigh on import demand due to the high import content of investment. Overall, risks to the forecast are considerable and heavily weighted to the downside.

ADB boosting access to urban water and sanitation

The Board of Directors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $130 million to improve access to community-managed water supply and sanitation in 20 urban municipalities of Nepal.
"Unmanaged rapid urban growth and lack of improved water supply and sanitation have led to environmental degradation, public health risks, rising urban poverty, and increased vulnerability to climate change and natural hazards,” said ADB senior Urban Development Specialist Alexandra Vogl. “Building on the experience of three previous ADB projects, the project will finance climate-resilient and accessible water supply and sanitation infrastructure and strengthen capacity in the communities and utility operators to deliver services over the long term.”
Nepal has made strong efforts to improve access to water supply and sanitation, increasing coverage since 2000. However, in 2016, only 34 per cent of water supply was reported to be safe and 15 per cent met the national water quality standards. More efforts are also needed to improve sanitation, given that only 34 per cent of urban households have septic tanks and only 15 per cent have sewer connections. Overall, municipalities lack funds and skilled personnel to provide cost-effective services.
Since 2000, ADB has successfully supported the government in improving water supply and sanitation services based on a community-driven cost-sharing approach in 70 small towns through three projects, introducing continuous water supply and household connections, and subsidising water services to poor and vulnerable households.
The new project will support the installation or repair of 1,600-km of water supply pipes and 15 water treatment plants each with an estimated capacity of 600,000 liters a day. This will result in 66,000 households being connected to piped water. About 8,000 toilets will also be constructed along with 20 public toilets suitable for both genders and the disabled. Among other activities, the project will construct two wastewater treatment plants and 30 km of storm water drainage.
The project will also prepare water, sanitation, and hygiene plans for all project municipalities; support local water user associations and committees; train staff; and carry out awareness campaigns on water conservation and hygiene behaviour.
Poor and vulnerable households will be covered through subsidised connections to the piped water supply. Women will benefit in particular from less time spent on collecting and managing water and from opportunities for work, training, project consultations, and participation in the 20 water users’ and sanitation committees that will be set up. 
The total cost of the project is $178.5 million, of which the government and beneficiaries will contribute $48.5 million. The targeted completion date for the project is October 2023.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

World Bank helps improve bridge connectivity and access

The World Bank today approved a $133 million credit to help Nepal construct and maintain safe, resilient and cost-effective bridges on its Strategic Roads Network. The Strategic Roads Network (SRN) comprises transport backbone and includes roughly 12,142 kilometers of national highways, feeder roads and other roads of national importance that are connected by 1,773 bridges.
The Second Bridges Improvement and Maintenance Program (BIMP II) takes aim at ensuring that Nepal’s bridge development efforts can support the connectivity required for economic growth and development across the seven provinces. New initiatives under BIMP II include support to improve bridge resilience and enhance inclusion of non-motorised transport modes using advanced technical designs.
The credit is targeted to provide support to approximately 477 bridges in Nepal in different ways. This includes maintenance support to approximately 90 bridges and upgrading road safety measures on approximately 180 existing bridges to help reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities on roads. The programme will also support construction, rehabilitation or replacement of approximately 80 new two-lane bridges and 35 four-lane bridges. In addition, it will help the Department of Roads (DoR) complete construction of 92 bridges that are vital to improving connectivity and access throughout Nepal.
“Nepal needs a strong bridge network and even stronger institutions to manage and develop that network into the future," World Bank Country Manager for Nepal Faris Hadad-Zervos, said, adding that BIMP II aims at supporting both the network’s physical development as well as the government systems that manage it. "We hope that the improvement of bridges in the most crucial road network of the country will lead to increased and easier access for all the people in Nepal, while reducing the cost and time of transport and trade."
The predecessor to BIMP II – which was BIMP I – was one of the first two operations globally to use the Program for Results (P4R) financing instrument that links disbursement of funds directly to delivery of verifiable results. The current operation builds on this experience and uses a ‘hybrid’ design that also combines results-based disbursement with a component of traditional financing to capture the benefits of both approaches. The combination of instruments provides a wider breadth of tools to ensure that government systems will be strengthened throughout implementation.
“The operation also has a strong focus on climate resilience, gender inclusion, and innovative technologies," senior Transport Specialist at the World Bank and co-task Team Leader of the Operation Dominic Pasquale Patella said. "For example, it includes an initiative for the advancement of female engineers and the establishment of a new Design and Advanced Technology Cell within the Department of Roads to manage the uptake of new technologies for bridge development,” he added. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Kathmandu joins the global movement to 'Light up the World in RED to End TB'

Kathmandu and Patan Durbar Squares, Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and World Health Organisation (WHO)-Nepal lit two important UNESCO heritage landmarks of Nepal – Patan and Kathmandu Durbar Squares – in red, marking the first ever United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on Tuberculosis (TB), held today in New York. The initiations will set pathway for an accelerated and coordinated response to save millions of lives and prevent TB, a commitment towards a world free of the disease by 2030, according to the UN.
Heads of State and Government, TB survivors, affected communities, technical partners, researchers, private sector representatives, and other key stakeholders are attending United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on Tuberculosis in New York to put TB in the spotlight and this is the first time TB has been addressed in the UN General Assembly.
The UNHLM on TB, with the theme 'United to End Tuberculosis: An Urgent Global Response to a Global Epidemic', is the biggest opportunity to raise political priority for TB and is the most significant political meeting on TB which will lead to a political declaration endorsed by the heads of state.
TB is the 9th leading cause of death globally and is now the leading world’s infectious killer with 1.6 million deaths in 2017 alone, with profound economic and social consequences.
The 'Light up the world in RED to End TB' ceremony was inaugurated by dignitaries from MOHP and WHO country representative to Nepal. During this historical event for a huge global momentum for ending TB in the world, the two important UNESCO heritage landmarks of Nepal has joined the global cities that has participated in the campaign. Every city is invited to join the global movement and light the city in red to bring world’s attention to the devastating impact of TB.
"The presence of the dignitaries from the MOHP and partners here today to commemorate this historical UNHLM on TB is a testimony of Nepal’s commitment towards a world free of TB," WHO representative Dr Jos Vandelaer said in his welcome remarks.

Growth holding up in Asia and the Pacific, trade tensions pose risks

Growth remains stable across most of developing Asia due to robust domestic demand, buoyant oil and gas prices, and a consolidation of India’s growth rebound. But escalating trade tensions will test the region’s resilience, underscoring the importance of efforts to bolster trade ties among its countries, according to a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.
In an update of its flagship annual economic publication, Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2018, ADB maintains its forecast that the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at 6 per cent in 2018. The growth forecast for 2019 is trimmed by 0.1 percentage points to 5.8 per cent.
"Growth in the region has held up to external challenges, helped by strong domestic demand in the People’s Republic of China and India,” said ADB chief economist Yasuyuki Sawada. “The biggest risk to continued growth comes from the disruption of international production linkages caused by a further escalation of trade tensions, but Asia’s growth should remain resilient to the direct effects of the trade measures taken to date.”
Strong domestic demand is driving the region’s largest economies, while buoyant prices for oil and gas are fueling growth at energy-exporting countries like Kazakhstan. However, emerging headwinds cast uncertainty on the region’s future growth trajectory. In addition to escalating trade tensions, tightening global liquidity could further cloud prospects over the coming year.
Industrial economies’ growth will reach 2.3 per cent in 2018 and 2 per cent in 2019, maintaining the April 2018 forecast. Consumer spending and job creation is driving strong growth in the US. However, recovery in the euro area and Japan was sluggish early in the year, prompting slight downward revisions to their 2018 growth projections. The US is expected to normalise monetary conditions further to preempt inflation.
Solid domestic consumption and rapid expansion of services helped to deliver strong economic performance in China over the first half of the year. The growth outlook for 2018 remains unchanged at 6.6 per cent but is revised down to 6.3 per cent for 2019, reflecting lower demand growth and the risk of escalating trade tensions. Supply-side reform supported by monetary and fiscal measures will help to keep growth on track, the report notes.
India’s economy continues on a robust growth path. Its growth forecasts are unchanged at 7.3 per cent for 2018 and 7.6 per cent for 2019 as the temporary effects of the demonetisation of large banknotes and the introduction of the national goods and services tax abate as expected. The impact of rising oil prices is offset by robust domestic demand and rising exports, particularly of manufactures. Depreciation of the rupee and volatile external financial markets pose challenges, as does accelerating inflation though tighter fiscal policy will help quell inflationary pressures.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members; 48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

World economy remains shaky

The global economy remains on shaky ground a decade after the 2008 financial crisis according to the 'Trade and Development Report 2018: Power, Platforms and the Free Trade Delusion', the flagship report from UNCTAD on the state of the world’s economic system.
The report reads that while the global economy has picked up since early 2017, growth remains spasmodic with many countries operating below potential. Meanwhile, trade tensions signal a deeper malaise in the way the global economy works.
The annual Trade and Development Report also analyses current economic trends and major international policy issues and makes suggestions for addressing them.
The 2018 report includes an examination of how economic power is being concentrated in a smaller number of big international firms and the impact this is having on the ability of developing countries to benefit from their participation in the international trading system as well as to gain from new technologies and the digital revolution.

ADB brings down growth projection to 5.5 per cent

Bringing the government's economic growth estimation – of 8 per cent – to lower side, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) claimed that Nepal’s economy is expected to grow by only 5.5 per cent in the current fiscal year 2018-19, down from 5.9 percent a year earlier
According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Nepal Macroeconomic Update – released today – the growth forecast represents a continued trend reversal but is substantially higher than the average rate of 4.3 per cent in the last 10 years from fiscal 2009 to 2018.
The agriculture sector is expected to grow at a rate of 3.5 per cent in 2019, up from 2.8 per cent in 2018 on the back of an anticipated bumper harvest supported by a good monsoon, it further reads, adding that the monsoon season that usually lasts from June to September has so far been normal this fiscal year. "The paddy acreage is reported to be above 95 per cent because of timely and well-distributed rainfall."
Likewise, the industrial sector is expected to expand by 7.2 per cent in the fiscal year 2018-19, buoyed by improved electricity supply. The 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project is expected to be completed within this fiscal year. The addition of electricity produced by the plant to the national grid will relieve Nepal from relying on power imports from India during the wet season.
The manufacturing subsector is expected to do well with the end of load-shedding since May 2018, the ADB said. And the services sector will likely grow by 6.1 per cent with the expansion of wholesale and retail trade, financial intermediation and travel and tourism subsectors.
According to the ADB, inflation is projected to rise to 6 per cent in the current fiscal year from 4.2 per cent, partly reflecting higher inflation expected in India, a modest rise in oil prices, and higher government expenditure under the new federal structure.
The expansionary budget for this fiscal year, an increase of 25.7 percent, and higher government expenditure under the new federal structure will raise inflationary pressure, it said.
Though revenue collection of Rs 731.4 billion amounting to 24.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) slightly exceeded the budget target in the last fiscal year, the fiscal deficit widened to 6.7 per cent of GDP with the rise in government expenditure compared to the previous year.
While capital expenditure increased by 28 per cent in the last fiscal year with the execution rate reaching 79.7 per cent, the hasty nature of spending has continued, undermining the quality of capital projects, the report adds, "While remittance has shown a healthy growth, a substantial rise in the near future is unlikely to offset the rise in the trade deficit, leading to further widening of the current account gap."
Releasing the report ADB’s principal economist for Nepal Sharad Bhandari said that growth will be supported by expectations of greater political stability following the 2017 elections, normal monsoon and efforts to accelerate implementation of mega infrastructure projects.”
The limited capacity at sub-national levels and challenges to smooth implementation of federalism may pose risks to growth, he added.
"Some of the major issues affecting smooth implementation of fiscal federalism are slow progress in requisite legislation and deployment of staff, the need for further clarification of mandates and responsibilities of the three tiers of government, and inconsistencies in revenue mobilisation regarding fees and taxes at the local level," the ADB report reads. "Nepal increasingly faces the risk of external sector instability due to a rising trade and current account deficit. The current account deficit of $2.4 billion (8.2 per cent of GDP) in fiscal year 2017-18 is significantly higher than the deficit of $95.7 million, or 0.4 per cent of GDP, a year earlier."

Asia has the policy tools to address pockets of vulnerability: Report

Policymakers in Asia and the Pacific have a wide range of options at their disposal to ensure that heightened global uncertainty due to monetary policy normalisation in advanced economies and rising global trade tensions does not undermine decades of continuous growth, according to a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.
The special theme chapter in the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2018 Update examines how the region can navigate the uncertain global environment by deploying well-coordinated and proactive policies designed to shore up macroeconomic stability. ADO is ADB’s flagship economic publication.
"Developing Asia has prospered since the Asian financial crisis 20 years ago, but new challenges pose threats to its resilience and growth,” said ADB’s chief economist Yasuyuki Sawada. "Multiple pockets of vulnerability can be managed, however, if they are closely monitored and the policies to tackle them are well designed and carefully implemented."
Emerging pockets of vulnerability that can undermine stability include elevated debt levels, volatile capital flows, sharp currency depreciation, high housing prices, and cross-border contagion. Counter cyclical fiscal policies can help stabilize an economy but require ample fiscal space, the report notes, adding that besides reducing debt or widening the tax base, governments can invest in counter cyclical fiscal buffers such as well-governed sovereign wealth funds in resource rich economies, and in social safety nets to protect vulnerable communities. "Monetary policy should pay attention to the credit cycle as well as the business cycle since the two cycles do not always coincide."
A more flexible exchange rate can better insulate economies against adverse external shocks but monetary authorities may need to take actions to smooth the large volatilities. Another option is to set controls on capital flows, which can reduce pressure on the exchange rate. Macro-prudential policies such as caps on loan to value and debt to income have become more popular since the Global Financial Crisis. Asia became the world’s most intensive user of macroprudential measures, particularly to stabilise housing markets, the report notes.
In addition to such options, measures to strengthen macroeconomic and other fundamentals remain important. Continued efforts are needed to ensure sound fiscal policy, independent central banks which engage in domestic policy coordination, deep financial sectors, market-oriented structural reforms, and adequate social safety nets.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members; 48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hydropower developers to benefit from new guidance

Ministry of Forests and Environment, with the technical support of IFC, has launched the Hydropower Environmental Impact Assessment Manual that will help streamline existing regulatory and review processes, and guide developers on how to minimise negative impacts on the ecosystem while maximizing development benefits.
"Nepal’s efforts to develop more hydropower projects to meet the growing energy needs of the country must go hand-in-hand with doing more to avoid, mitigate, and better manage environmental and social risks,” minister of Forests and Environment Shakti Bahadur Basnet said, adding that the Manual provides the guidance that hydropower proponents and developers need to better identify and manage environmental and social risks and impacts.
Energy continues to take precedence as an important sector for the government with an ambitious target to harness 10,000 MW by 2030. Hydropower is the dominant source of power in the country. Sustainable hydropower development is the key to the long-term success of Nepal.
Following an extensive gap analysis, stakeholder engagement and review of international best practices, the manual emphasises the importance of identifying and engaging a range of stakeholders, conducting baseline studies, and enabling better prediction of project impacts, among others.
“IFC is pleased to have been part of this technical collaboration with the Ministry of Forests and Environment," IFC country manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, Wendy Werner said, adding that they will work together to develop hydropower projects sustainably and provide capacity to the government and the private sector to use the manual.
IFC’s support to the ministry of Forests and Environment is part of a larger effort in Nepal to improve the environmental and social standards of the hydropower sector. The programme is supported by the governments of Australian and Japan and was carried out in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

UN launches first campaign to eliminate violence against children and adolescents

Countries in Asia-Pacific have committed to accelerate efforts to promote the rights of, and eliminate violence against, children and adolescents with disabilities.
The pledge came as part of the regional launch of the Global Campaign for the ‘Good Treatment of Girls, Boys and Adolescents with Disabilities in the World’ held in Bangkok today.
Jointly organised by the Special Envoy to the UN Secretary General on Disability and Accessibility María Soledad Cisternas Reyes, and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the launch brought together policymakers, advocates and persons with disabilities to introduce 10 principles for protection, well-being and development for children and adolescents with disabilities, who are at greater risk of experiencing violence.
Children with disabilities are up to four times more at risk of experiencing violence than their peers without disabilities, and in Asia-Pacific, around half of all children with disabilities do not transition from primary to secondary education. As a result, persons with disabilities are up to six times less likely to be employed.
In his opening remarks, deputy executive secretary of ESCAP Kaveh Zahedi highlighted that the launch provided a timely opportunity to advance regional efforts to enhance the rights for all persons with disabilities.
“This Campaign is a critical part of our efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to do so in a way that is leaving no one behind,” he said, adding that in Asia and the Pacific an estimated 690 million persons live with one or more forms of disability. "Children and adolescents with disabilities are more vulnerable to degrading treatment and more at risk of experiencing violence. Leaving no one behind means addressing their vulnerabilities. And we must act now.”
Special Envoy to the UN Secretary General on Disability and Accessibility María Soledad Cisternas Reyes, on the occasion, added that girls, boys and adolescents with disabilities should always be well treated, like other children and adolescents, protecting them from all forms of violence and abuse. "Good treatment will produce positive effects on their physical, mental and social development," he added.
Policymakers gathered at the launch discussed the challenges faced by children and adolescents with disabilities, and shared national experiences and good practices on advancing their rights in the region.
The event was held with the support of the Thai Government, the Embassy of the Republic of Chile to the Kingdom of Thailand, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNICEF, UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and UN Women.

Nepal climbs five spots in economic freedom index

Nepal climbed five spots and ranked 102 – out of 162 countries and territories – in the 'Economic Freedom of the World: 2018 Annual Report', released today by Samriddhi Foundation in conjunction with Canada’s Fraser Institute.
With an overall score of 6.53 – in a scale of 1 to 10 where a higher value indicates a higher level of economic freedom – Nepal ranked 102 out of 162 jurisdictions in this year’s index, whereas last year, Nepal was ranked 107 out of 159 jurisdictions with a score of 6.50. The year before, Nepal had ranked 108 out of 157 jurisdictions with a score of 6.45.
Nepal’s scores in key components of economic freedom are improved but others dropped. Like, score in size of government dropped to 7.9 from 8.1 in the last year’s report, score in legal system and property rights climbed to 4.6 from 4.5, scores in access to sound money remained as it was last year, on 6.4, score in freedom to trade internationally slid to 6.6 from 6.8, and Regulation of credit, labour and business climbed to 7.1 from 6.7, according to the report.
Of the 24 sub-indicators within these five indicators studied in the report, Nepal climbed up in seven, slid below in five and maintained its last year’s position on 12.
According to research in top peer-reviewed academic journals, people living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and longer lives. For example, countries in the top quartile (25 per cent) of economic freedom (such as the UK, Japan and Ireland) had an average per-capita income of $40,376 in 2016 compared to $5,649 for the bottom quartile countries like Venezuela, Iran and Zimbabwe. And life expectancy is also 79.5 years in the top quartile of countries compared to 64.4 years in the bottom quartile.
"Where people are free to pursue their own opportunities and make their own choices, they lead more prosperous, happier and healthier lives,” according to the Fraser Institute.
Hong Kong and Singapore again top the index, continuing their streak as first and second respectively. New Zealand, Switzerland, Ireland, the United States, Georgia, Mauritius, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada (tied for 10th) round out the top 10.
The 10 lowest-ranked countries are Sudan, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Syria, Algeria, Argentina, Libya and last-place Venezuela. Some despotic countries like North Korea and Cuba can’t be ranked due to lack of data.
Other notable countries include Germany (20th), Japan (41st), France (57th), Russia (87th), India (96th) and China (108th).
The Fraser Institute produces the annual Economic Freedom of the World report in cooperation with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in nearly 100 nations and territories. Samriddhi Foundation is member of the Economic Freedom Network and is a co-publisher of the report in Nepal. The Economic Freedom of the World Report is world’s premier measurement of economic freedom, measuring and ranking countries in five areas: size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation of credit, labour and business.
Economic Freedom of the World measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries support economic freedom. This year’s publication ranks 162 countries and territories. The report also updates data in earlier reports in instances where data has been revised.

Central bank to issue fresh notes from October 7

The central bank is issuing fresh bank notes from October 7 through 22 different branches in the Kathmandu Valley for the Dashain festival.
The new paper money goes into high demand as traditionally they given as gifts during the festival. The Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) also said that there would be no shortage of fresh bank notes this year. Last Dashain, the central bank had brought Rs 40 billion worth of new notes into circulation to meet demand.
The central bank has also set up counters at its currency management department at Thapathali, and also set up services at 21 branches of Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB), Nepal Bank and Agricultural Development Bank to circulate the notes.
Outside the valley, fresh currency notes can be obtained from the central bank's branch offices located in Biratnagar, Janakpur, Birgunj, Pokhara, Siddharthanagar, Nepalgunj and Dhangadhi. However, private banks and financial institutions are not so keen on distributing fresh bank notes as they would need to assign extra personnel and pay additional insurance charges. The central bank said it will also be providing the new paper notes outside the valley through the branches of three government-owned banks that are authorised for maintaining the currencies reserves.
The central bank is providing exchange facility for up to Rs 27,000 per person in denominations of Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50 and Rs 100, according to the Nepal Rastra Bank.

Nepal requires more investment to meet SDG targets

Stakeholders stressed for the need to invest more to meet the target by 2030.
At a joint programme organised by National Planning Commission (NPC), NGO Federation, CSO Forum on SDGs and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – today marking the third anniversary of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – speakers in Kathmandu said while Nepal is on the frontlines in the process of localising the SDGs, substantive investment is needed to make sure Nepal meets all the SDG targets.
All countries across the globe, including Nepal adopted the SDGs on September on 25, 2015 at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, presenting a universal framework for development to be achieved in 15 years, from 2015 to 2030.
"All the development programmes of the government are now SDG-coded, which helps us track the progress made against each of the 17 Development Goals and targets,” said joint secretary at the NPC Dr Narayan Poudel, taking stock of the progress made toward localising the SDGs. "Localising the SDGs at the local level," he said, adding that it is a challenge as Nepal is currently undergoing a complex process of federalization.
Nepal was among the first countries in the world to publish SDG status report taking stock of the progress made in the past 15 years and setting national targets and indicators for the next 15 years.
UN Resident Coordinator Valerie Julliand, on the occasion, said that the 17 SDGs are all interconnected and they cannot be separated. "The SDGs is a very ambitious agenda," she said, adding that more than a development agenda, they are a moral obligation, on all the governments, including Nepal.
The federalisation is an additional opportunity to entrench the values of the SDGs at all levels in programming and decision making within the spirit of leaving no one behind, said the UN Chief.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tiger population up to 235

The number of wild cats has gone up to 235 in Nepal, according to the latest tiger census.
The census report – published today – reads that tiger population in Nepal has gone up to 235 from 198 in 2013. The number has nearly doubled from 121 tigers in 2009.
Nepal has internationally committed to double the tiger population by 2022. According to Nepal's commitment to the Global Tiger Recovery Plan (TX2) – which was endorsed by 13 countries that are home to wild tigers, during the 2010 Saint Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation – Nepal has been working to double its tiger population up to 250 or more by 2022 from around 125 in 2010.
Although the population of tigers has increased, it has gone down at the Chitwan National Park (CNP), according to the latest report. The park has an estimated 93 adult tigers, a drop from 120 that was recorded in the last census of 2013. The CNP had 50 tigers in 1996.
Likewise, Bardiya National Park has 87 adult tigers, followed by 21 in Banke National Park, 18 in Parsa National Park (PNP), and 16 in Shuklaphanta National Park.
According to 2013 census, the number of Royal Bengal tigers stood at 198, of which 120 in the CNP, 50 in Bardiya National Park (BNP), 17 in Shuklaphanta National Park (SNP), seven in PNP, and four in Banke National Park.
The tiger census began last year in November, dividing the potential tiger habitat into three complexes: Chitwan-Parsa Complex, Banke-Bardiya Complex, and Shukla-Laljhadi-Jogbudha Complex.
According to the department of wildlife conservation, 33 tigers had also died in the last five years in protected areas of the country due to natural causes.

Dabur, ICIMOD sign agreement

Dabur Nepal and International Center for Itnegrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to contribute towards sustainable mountain development through responsible business practices.
The partnership was done with an objective of meaningful collaboration on areas of mutual interests through a principle of partnership based on synergy, equity, mutual trust, and transparency.
Director general of ICIMOD Dr David Molden and business head SAARC of Dabur HS Bedi signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organisations in Kathmandu today.
The partnership focuses on various components like partnership and regional cooperation, livelihood component covers livelihood option by promotion of bee keeping and medicinal plants agroforestry model, research and innovation, joint activities and projects, capacity building and technology transfer, knowledge development and exchange of information and joint events.
Dabur Nepal and ICIMOD started their association in 2002 with a joint project in the field of medicinal and aromatic plants. Since then, various joint initiatives have been carried out. They have also promoted herbal gardening in various schools of Nepal to generate awareness on the importance of medicinal and aromatic plants. ICIMOD allotted space in its Knowledge Park in Godavari where Dabur has developed and maintained herbal garden since 2013, which has been visited by thousands of people from all over the world.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Budhi Gandaki again awarded to China Gezhouba

Reversing its predecessor’s decision, the government has awarded the contract for development of the Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project to China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC), without free competition.
The cabinet today has directed the Energy Ministry to sign agreement for the 1200-MW project to the Chinese company, which had – instead of Energy Ministry – applied directly to the Office of the Prime Minister.
The Office of the Prime Minister has then directed the Energy Ministry to bring a proposal to the cabinet. Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun – according to the Office of Prime Minister's directive – submitted the proposal to today cabinet meeting.
Instead of opening the project for international bidding, the cabinet has directed the Energy Ministry to award the biggest hydropower project to CGGC and sign the agreement after finalising the modality of construction. But the government has not brought policy regarding the engineering, procurement, construction and finance (EPCF) model, under which the Chinese company is planning to construct the project.
The Energy Ministry will now invite the Chinese company for talks and prepare a draft of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) before signing it. "The understanding will be signed to execute the project under the engineering, procurement, construction and financing (EPCF) model,” according to a source at the ministry.
Former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government on May 23, 2017 had decided to award the project to CGGC under the EPCF model without a bidding process. Then energy minister Janardan Sharma had signed the agreement with the Chinese developer.
However, the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government on November 13, 2017 had scrapped the decision to award the $2.5 billion deal with the CGGC and awarded it to the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). The government has been collecting fund by charging Rs 5 per litre of petroleum products to construct Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project.
The Dueba-led government had also formed a committee under then National Planning Commission (NPC) vice chair Dr Swarnim Wagle – including finance and energy secretaries, and Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) governor and managing director of NEA – to study investment mode.
The Wagle-led committee had suggested that the government develop the project on its own by providing viability gap funding, covering around one-third of the project’s development cost. The Deuba-cabinet approved the committee report and agreed to provide the gap funding. But the plan never materialised as the government changed before the decision could be minuted. The new administration under Oli, who had publicly criticised Deuba’s decision to scrap the deal with the Chinese company, disowned the previous administration’s decision.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had pledged to revert the decision, if he were elected to power in the elections. Oli became prime minister in February after his Party – Nepal Communist Party (NCP) – scored a landslide poll victory, which according to some experts was funded by the CGGC.
Initially, the project was supposed to be developed under a development committee model. In 2011, the Baburam Bhattarai-led government had formed the Budhi Gandaki Hydroelectric Project Development Committee to execute the project.
The government has allocated Rs 18 billion for compensation payments and operational expenses for this fiscal year, as more than 8,000 households will be affected by the project, according to the report. 

MCC-funded transmission line listed under national pride project

The cabinet today declared a $500-million US government grant-Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)-funded transmission line project as a national pride project making a total of 22 National Pride Projects.
The national pride projects enjoy some relaxation of legal obligations, and their works can be expedited in fast track. "The status of ‘national pride’ helps it to execute the project in the given time frame and encourages them to take rigorous follow-up actions during project management," according to the Office of the Millennium Challenge Account Nepal (MCA-N). "The MCC project has to be completed within five years after the starting."
The MCA-N has started land acquisition for the 300-km-long transmission line project that will be carried out in three different phases: Lapsiphedi-Ratmate-Damauli, Damauli-Sunawal-India border, and Ratmate-Hetauda.
The transmission line – of 400 KVA capacity and is being built with a total investment of $300 million – will become major electricity supply network of the country connecting major cities with major hubs of electricity production from Marshyangdi and Trishuli river basins. The line will also connect with India and will be used to to trade electricity. 
Besides the transmission line, the MCA-N plans to invest the remaining $200 million in six other road maintenance projects including Chaarali-Phidim (130-km), Dharan-Basantapur (88-km), Kadamaha (of Lahan) to Gaighat (26-km), Hetauda-Bhaise-Bhimphedi (22-km), Amelia-Tulsipur (38-km) and a pilot project of 25-km which is yet to begin, but aims at set the best example with the use of latest technology.

Strengthening the UN Special Programme in central Asia

Marking the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA), high-level participants from the seven landlocked participating countries –   Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – recognised the benefits of regional integration and cooperation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region.
The 2018 SPECA Economic Forum was held in Almaty on September 20-21, followed by the 13th session of the SPECA Governing Council. Jointly organised by the Kazakhstan – the current chair country of SPECA – the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the Forum considered how developments in transport, trade, water, energy, the environment, statistics, ICT and innovation, and gender could transform geographical constraints into advantages, while other integration initiatives could facilitate the economic development of SPECA countries.
The Governing Council and the Forum agreed on a set of practical recommendations for structural reform to address the challenges of sustainable development in the subregion. These recommendations clearly outlined steps for strengthening SPECA as a unique platform to harness regional cooperation for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
“As a UN platform, SPECA can be a forum for the countries and development partners to join forces and work towards progress on sustainable development for the region,” said principal adviser and chief of Sustainable Development and Gender Unit at UNECE, Monika Linn.
Head of the ESCAP subregional Office for North and Central Asia, Hirohito Toda, highlighted that high-transaction costs impede the integration of landlocked developing countries into the global economy. "Integration provides impetus for further economic diversification," he said, adding that such economic transformation, however, needs to consider its impact on gender, as well as the statistics needed to measure the resulting economic, social and environmental change, so that growth is inclusive, broad-based and equitable.
Likewise, first deputy minister of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan and chair of the SPECA Working Group on Trade, Zavqi Zavqizoda, added, “Significant progress had been made towards the achievement of SDG target 17.10 on the promotion of a multilateral rules-based trading system under the WTO in the SPECA setting through the regional Trade Policy Forum in Ashgabat, meetings on Aid-for-Trade, and two readiness assessments of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.”
SPECA was established through the Tashkent Declaration of March 26, 1998 to promote regional economic cooperation in Central Asia and the integration of these countries with the economies of Europe and Asia. Stronger subregional cooperation helps countries to fully capitalise on their strategic advantages and jointly address their economic and social challenges.
The SPECA Governing Council elected Turkmenistan to chair the Programme in 2019. The next Economic Forum will focus on connectivity, trade and transport facilitation in the age of the SDGs. The Economic Forum and Governing Council session are scheduled to take place in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in November 2019.

NRA to take initiative to bridge budget gap

The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) is seeking to bridge the budget gap after three years.
According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NRA Sushil Gyewali,  the authority would take initiatives at the national and international level to manage resources to meet the financial requirement to complete the post-earthquake reconstruction.
"The NRA will bridge the financial gap by coordinating with the government and the development partners," Gyewali said, while addressing the eighth meeting of the Development Assistance Coordination and Facilitation Committee (DACFC), the body to coordinate between the government and the development partners to oversee the international contribution in the reconstruction. Representatives of about 25 development partners and international development partners attended today’s meeting.
Gyewali informed the meeting that about Rs 600 billion more is required to complete the overall reconstruction work.
The cost of the five-year reconstruction work had earlier been estimated at Rs 938 billion. The total budgetary expenditure and the projected expenditure this fiscal year would come to around Rs 336 billion.
He, however, said that the actual monetary requirement would be confirmed after the review in the five-year reconstruction plan.
He also said that the NRA would try to acquire the amount pledged by the development partners during the international donors’ conference held soon after the April 2015 earthquake. The development agencies had pledged Rs 410 billion and – out of Rs 343 billion allocated for the reconstruction – the agreements have been signed for Rs 262 billion till now, after spending Rs. 67 billion in relief and rescue work.
Highlighting the progress on the overall reconstruction till date, CEO Gyewali also informed the development partners that the NRA is set to review the Post-Disaster Recovery Framework, prepared after the detailed damage assessment survey in 2016, as the post-earthquake reconstruction reaches a mid-way. The NRA, with the support from the development partners, had published the PDRF 2016-2020 to implement the post-quake reconstruction work in a systematic and structured manner.
“As we are half-way through our tenure, this is the right time to review and (re)design the future priorities,” Gyewali said, adding that it would be done by learning from the experiences till now and best practices we have.
He also informed about the recent decision of the NRA Steering Committee to hand over the responsibility of reconstruction to the local governments and the recent cabinet decision to provide Rs 300,000 loan in a subsidised interest rate.
The representatives of the development partners praised the NRA’s work on private housing reconstruction in the villages and stress the need to focus more on the marginalised groups, who have not been able to rebuild their houses.
They basically raised issues concerning retrofitting of damaged houses, monitoring and evaluation of constructed houses, availability of engineers at the community level, reconstruction of houses for vulnerable groups, third-party monitoring and the capability of the local governments to implement the recent government decision to hand them over the responsibility.
The representatives from the World Bank (WB), the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the UK Aid, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation and various other international organisations attended the meeting.

Fact Sheet
Out of about 800,000 household beneficiaries, more than 90 per cent have received first tranche, 62 per cent second tranche, 32 per cent third tranche and 36 per cent completed their houses.
Out of about 100,000 household beneficiaries in the Kathmandu Valley, about 93 per cent received first tranche, 30 per cent second tranche and 20 per cent received third tranche
Out of about 7,500 schools, about 3,800 have been completed and 2,700 are presently under reconstruction
Out of about 1,200 health institutions, 650 have been completed and 150 are presently under reconstruction
Out of 753 historic monuments (in 14 districts), 185 have been completed and 310 are presently under reconstruction

Tribhuvan International Airport runway dangerous : Jolly

A senior Indian leader has showed a serious concern for sorry state of the only international airport in Nepal.
Senior BJP leader Vijay Jolly in a urgent communication to Prime Minister KP Sharma 'Oli' has stated that the present Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) runway in Kathmandu, is in poor condition.
The TIA is dangerous and needs immediate re-construction he said in his communication from New Delhi to the Nepal government. The 10,007 feet and 3,050 meter length, only international airport's runway was inaugurated by King Mahendra in 1955. "And it has not been re-constructed during the past 63 years," Jolly said, adding that the tragic crash of US-Bangla Airline plane which resulted in the loss of 49 precious human life's along with the skidding of a Turkish Airline flight TK-726 over shooting the runway should have being a eye opener for Civil Aviation Authorities of Nepal (CAAN).
A Public Sector Innovator Er Dipendra Kandel today met senior BJP leader Vijay Jolly in New Delhi and shared his concerns and worst experiences while on flight WT-337 from Muscat to Kathmandu on August 8. The plane was delayed in the air from landing at TIA, due to runway maintenance issues but the airport communication staff misled the plane captain with fake weather conditions alleged Kandel. 
Dipendra Kandel – writing a letter to tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari – on August 13c had made a similar demand and the government had publically committed to re-construct the TIA runway only after February 28, 2019.
Jolly has termed this as unacceptable and dangerous for all the international airlines and their planes, flying in, landing and taking off from Kathmandu. "The need of the hour is to avoid any technical emergency resulting in further loss of precious human lifves,"  Jolly added.

NOC enforces quota for fuel

Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has started rationing of fuel citing depleting stock due to inadequate supply of petroleum products. The quota refueling system effective from today is expected to address the demand for fuel.
The state oil monopoly has directed the fuel stations to refuel motorcycles and scooters with 5 litres of petrol per vehicle, while light weight vehicles, cars and vans will be refueled with maximum of 15 litres of fuel at a time.
Likewise, vehicles plying short distances will get 50 litres of diesel and vehicles covering long distance will get a maximum of 100 litres, according to the NOC that has also directed the petrol pumps to keep ambulances, school buses and government vehicles on priority and refuel them accordingly.
According to NOC spokesperson Birendra Goit, the Nepal Petroleum Dealers' Association (NPDA) – the apex body of private petrol pumps – and Bagmati Petroleum Dealers’ Association (BPDA) have been requested to distribute the fuel based on the quota system.
Petrol pumps across the country have been facing shortage of petroleum products as fuel tanker operators started halting fuel supply from last two days, expressing solidarity with the protest of transporters, who are against a few transport-related provisions in the recently enacted Criminal Code.
A group of transport entrepreneurs, especially those operating tankers, have been staging protest since Tuesday against provisions including 10-year imprisonment for accidents and life imprisonment for causing death in the penal code.
As Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has limited stock of fuel – some 45,000 kilolitres of petrol and diesel, which is sufficient for less than a week, the protest by transport entrepreneurs if prolonged, the fuel supply situation will deteriorate further.
Most of the private petrol pumps were shut, while fuel stations run by Sajha and security forces saw serpentine queues.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Transport operators refuse to open festival ticket booking

Transport operators have backed off from the deal – four days after agreeing – to open bus ticket booking for Dashain,.
Representatives from Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs’ Association (FNNTEA) and Department of Transport Management (DoTM) – on September 16 – had agreed to open bus ticket booking for Dashain from Friday.
The department and transporters had reached the deal to unfreeze the bank accounts of the blacklisted transport committees and review the fare after the festival season.
They have asked the government to adjust the transport fare according to hiked petroleum prices but the government instead hiked in the prices of petroleum products again.
"The government did not give any ear to us forcing us to back off from the commitment to open booking from tomorrow," FNNTEA president Yogendra Karmacharya said, adding that they cannot honour the deal since the government has increased the fuel prices instead of adjusting the earlier hike.
He said the government’s decision to raise the prices of petroleum products contradicted their demand for transport fare revision. "The transport entrepreneurs have long been demanding for a review of transport fare," Karmacharya said, adding that the government has hiked the fuel prices again instead of addressing our concern.
The state oil monopoly had raised the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 2 and Rs 3 per litre respectively on the same day the FNNTEA and the department had agreed to open Dashain ticket booking.
However, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Madhu Sudan Adhikari assured that festival ticket booking service will open.
"We had agreed to facilitate the process of unfreezing the bank accounts of the concerned transport committees," DoTM Spokesperson Gokarna Prasad Upadhyay, said, adding that it is, however, not under the department’s jurisdiction to unfreeze the blacklisted bank accounts, nor revising the fuel prices.

CBS, UNICEF join hands to conduct Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys

The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and UNICEF today signed a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) – Round 6 – which is to be conducted at the beginning of 2019.
MICS is an international household survey programme developed and supported by UNICEF. It constitutes one of the world's largest sources of statistical information on children and women. The information gathered assists countries in filling data gaps for monitoring the status of human development generally, with a particular focus on the situation of children and women.
Over the past 20 years, MICS has evolved to respond to the changing data needs, expanding from 28 indicators of issues pertaining to children and women in the first round to 200 indicators in the current sixth round. As a major source of evidence for monitoring the situation of children and women, MICS results are used to track the progress made towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), national goals and global commitments aimed at promoting welfare of children and women.
“The round 6 of Nepal MICS will provide valuable information and evidence about the children and women in Nepal and its findings will be used to establish Multidimensional Poverty Index for 2019, as well as monitor progress towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goals,” said Nebin Lal Shrestha acting director general of CBS. "To enable the country to achieve the SDGs, it is necessary to track the indicators at regular intervals," he said, adding that the MICS is the major source of data for these indicators at national and provincial levels.
Since its inception, three survey rounds have been carried out in Nepal (in 2000, 2010-11 and 2014). The current survey will be conducted in Nepal from January to June 2019, with technical and financial support from UNICEF. The survey will generate data by each province with a rural and urban breakdown. The survey will also frame the data from an equity perspective by highlighting disparities related to gender, region, geography, education, household wealth, and other characteristics.
NMICS6 will include, for the first time in Nepal, a module on the functional abilities of children. Developed jointly by UNICEF and the Washington Group, the module includes questions around the difficulties faced by children, aged between two to four and five to 17, in performing certain activities. This will support the compilation of comparable data around functional limitations experienced by the population. The key objectives for obtaining this data will be: to identify children with functional limitations and use the data to compare the levels of their participation within their education, social and family life; to measure to what extent children are socially included; and to obtain data for monitoring the situation of children with disabilities in order to address their needs.
In addition, the survey will include information on water quality from sampled households and a questionnaire targeted towards men. Nepal is the second country in the world to test the quality of its drinking water for presence of fecal matter. The results provide valuable information on the steps Nepal can take to improve its water quality and thus reduce water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, typhoid and cholera.
“UNICEF is delighted to partner with CBS once again to conduct this important survey in Nepal,” said UNICEF Deputy Representative Dr Rownak Khan. "Over the many years that this survey has been conducted, we have benefited from an enriched understanding of the situation faced by women and children in Nepal, and a stronger ability to identify the pockets of inequality that demand our prioritisation," he said, adding that the critical data will form the foundation of our work, from the creation of policies to documenting progress, thus supporting collective mandate to improve the lives of every child.

Serious efforts urged on Gender-based violence

Participants, in a meeting, emphasised the need to form a Provincial-level Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Response Coordination Committee housed in the Chief Minister’s Office, sensitisation on GBV prevention and response to elected representatives and local authorities to ensure resource allocation, annual monitoring of law implementation and common understanding of GBV as some of the key steps to prevent and respond to GBV in Nepal.
"We have many laws to address gender-based violence, but implementation is slow”, said Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizens (MoWCSC) Tham Maya Thapa at the meeting today on multi-sectoral services to respond to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Nepal.
"The government is committed to address gender-based violence in Nepal and has been providing various services from different sectors, she said, adding that the issue must be addressed immediately by concerned sectors at national and local levels to provide the survivors with support.
The three-day long meeting brought together stakeholders and service providers from health, justice and social sectors, in recognition that gender-based violence response must be multi-sectoral, if it is to be effective.
UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal, Valerie Julliand, in her opening remarks emphasised that violence against women is a fundamental breach of the human rights of women and girls, particularly the right to a life free from fear and violence. "States have a primary responsibility to respect, protect, and fulfil the rights of women and girls," she said, adding that these obligations are detailed in human rights instruments, international agreements and accompanying declarations and policies that Nepal is party to.
Gender-based violence remains a significant concern in Nepal, with numerous consequences for health, psychological, social and economic well-being of the victims and survivors. Twenty-two per cent of women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and 7 per cent have experienced sexual violence, according to Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2016. The survey also shows that 66 per cent of women who have experienced any type of physical or sexual violence have not sought any help or talked to anyone about resisting or stopping the violence they experience.
With an aim to counter these problems, UN Agencies comprising of UN Women, UNFPA, WHO, UNDP and UNODC and Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC) organised the three-day meeting from September 18 to 20 in Kathmandu. The workshop reviewed progress, achievements and lessons learnt in implementing Essential Services Package – a comprehensive package that outlines a series of ‘essential action’ to be taken by the Government in health, social services, police and justice sectors.
During the workshop, regional experts of the UN entities presented global and national frameworks and commitments to ending GBV and an overview of the Essential Services Package including its implementation.The workshop had participation from various sectors, including the government representatives at federal and provincial levels from key line ministries, government agencies, commissions, service providers, UN Agencies and civil society. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

World Bank approves first energy sector credit in Nepal

The World Bank has approved its first loan to strengthen the finances and operations of Nepal’s energy sector, so it can deliver reliable, affordable and sustainable power to the Nepalis.
The $100 million Nepal Energy Sector Development Policy Credit (DPC) aims at implementing key policy, regulatory and institutional measures. These include improving the financial viability of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) as the sole off-taker; establishing a regulatory framework that is transparent, autonomous, and accountable; encouraging electricity trade; and restructuring NEA to make it easier for the private sector to compete in the energy sector.
"The proposed credit aims at supporting the restructuring and market reform of the electricity sector to improve governance and performance of electricity institutions, eventually enhancing quality and efficiency in services,” said World Bank Country Manager for Nepal Faris Hadad-Zervos. "Our goal is to seek integration into the regional electricity market and create a competitive wholesale market.”
Despite Nepal’s large hydro generation potential, electricity constitutes of less than 5 per cent of energy consumption. While 95 per cent of the population is estimated to have access to grade and off-grid electricity, the per capita electricity consumption of 177 kWh per year is a twentieth of the global average, and a fifth of the per capita electricity consumption in South Asia.
Nepal also relies increasingly on electricity imports to reduce the electricity shortage in the country, while large export-oriented hydropower projects are yet to materialise in spite of huge opportunities. The credit aims at implementing policy and institutional measures to overcome these challenges and help bring about structural reforms in the energy sector, to ensure affordable electricity services and encourage predictability for sustainable investment.   
“The development policy credit is linked to the government’s key sector goals of expanding access to electricity to one hundred percent of the population,” said senior energy specialist at the World Bank and Co-Task Team Leader of the Project Xiaoping Wang. "In the long term, the implementation of the credit will also support key institutional and policy actions necessary for the removal of binding constraints to private investment in the sector."

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

ADB announces winners of Trade Finance Awards

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) recognised leading partner banks at its fourth annual Trade Finance Programme (TFP) Awards and Partners Dinner held yesterday night in Singapore. Over 200 guests from banks and other financial institutions around the world attended the event.
The TFP Awards recognised 23 leading partner banks from 15 countries. One award recognises efforts to boost women in banking. A new award category – the Momentum Award – was launched to recognise partner banks that displayed the highest growth in transactions with TFP from 2017 to 2018. The award categories included: Trade Deal of the Year, Best SME Trade Deal, Most Progressive Bank on Gender Strategy, and Supply Chain Finance Partner of the Year.
“We’ve had amazing growth over the past 12 months," ADB’s head of Trade and Supply Chain Finance Steven Beck said, adding that they couldn’t have done this without the partner banks, which have helped them to close over $4 billion a year in trade finance market gaps. "These awards are a great opportunity to recognise and thank them for their work to provide finance to companies, which helps create growth and jobs”.
The TFP Awards and Partners Dinner was held on the first day of the Global Trade Review's annual conference in Singapore – GTR Asia Trade and Treasury Week 2018 – one of Asia’s leading trade finance conferences. At the GTR event, ADB launched its inaugural Trade Finance Scorecard – Regulation and Market Feedback, a new tool to address small business and developing country financing gaps caused by compliance challenges around efforts to prevent criminals and terrorists from exploiting the global financial system.
TFP provides guarantees and loans to banks to support trade. Backed by ADB's AAA credit rating, the programme works with over 200 partner banks to provide companies with the financial support they need to engage in import and export activities.
Since 2009, ADB’s TFP has supported more than 12,000 small and medium-sized businesses across developing Asia – through over 16,600 transactions valued at over $30 billion – in sectors ranging from commodities and capital goods to medical supplies and consumer goods.
TFP is complemented by ADB’s Supply Chain Finance Programme (SCFP), which was re-launched this year to help small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries gain access to finance in support of their domestic and global open account trade. ADB plans to scale this business in partnership with local, regional, and global banks, as well as SCF platform providers and industry experts to build capacity throughout the region.
The winners are:
Leading Partner Bank in Armenia - Ameriabank CJSC
Leading Partner Bank in Bangladesh - Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited
Leading Partner Bank in Cambodia - ACLEDA Bank PLC
Leading Partner Bank in Georgia - TBC Bank
Leading Partner Bank in Kazakhstan - Tsesnabank JSC
Leading Partner Bank in Mongolia - Khan Bank
Leading Partner Bank in Myanmar - Yoma Bank Limited
Leading Partner Bank in Nepal - Nabil Bank Limited
Leading Partner Bank in Pakistan - National Bank of Pakistan
Leading Partner Bank in Sri Lanka - DFCC Bank PLC
Leading Partner Bank in Tajikistan - OJSC Bank Eskhata
Leading Partner Bank in Uzbekistan - OJSC "Uzpromstroybank"
Leading Partner Bank in Viet Nam - JSC Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam
Leading Confirming Bank - JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Leading SME Trade Bank - Vietnam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank
Trade Deal of the Year (Issuing Bank) - Bank of Georgia
Trade Deal of the Year (Confirming Bank) - Citibank N.A.
Best SME Deal (Confirming Bank) - Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank
Best SME Deal (Issuing Bank) - Prime Bank Limited
Supply Chain Finance Partner of the Year - Standard Chartered Bank
Gender Champion Award - Mutual Trust Bank Limited
TFP Momentum Award (Issuing Bank) - Bank for Industry, Construction and Investment Closed Joint-Stock Company (Ardshinbank CJSC)
TFP Momentum Award (Confirming Bank) - Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

औद्योगिक सुरक्षा, लगानीको वातावरण र कानुन

गत साता सर्वोच्च अदालतले सुन तस्करीको आरोपमा सरकारले बन्द गराएको बाजेको सेकुवा तत्काल खोल्न अन्तरिम आदेश दिएको छ । उक्त व्यवसायका एक प्रमुख लगानीकर्ता सुन तस्करीमा संलग्न रहेको आरोपसहित हराएको भनिएको ३३ किलो सुन पत्ता लगाउन सरकारले बनाएको समितिले बाजेको सेकुवाको सबै रेस्टुराँ बन्द गर्न तथा फ्रेन्चचाइज लिएर चलेका शाखाहरूलाई पनि ब्रान्ड परिवर्तन गर्न लगाएको थियो ।
सर्वोच्च अदालतकी न्यायाधीश सपना प्रधान मल्लको एकल इजलासले तत्कालै बन्द रहेका बाजेको सेकुवाको शाखा खोल्न अन्तरिम आदेश दिएको हुनाले अदालतको अन्तिम फैसला नआउन्जेल यस विषयमा बोल्नु वा लेख्नु अदालतलाई प्रभाव पार्न खोजिएको अर्थ लाग्ला । तर, यस प्रकरणसँग जोडेर नेपालमा व्यवसाय गर्न कति सहज छ भन्ने बहस मात्रै गर्न खोजिएको हो ।
कुनै पनि व्यक्तिमाथि आरोप लाग्नासाथ व्यवसायमा ताला लगाउने प्रचलनले नेपालमा लगानीको वातावरण कस्तो छ भन्ने एउटा झलक भने पक्कै दिन्छ । यसको अर्थ कानुन मिच्ने उद्योगी व्यवसायीलाई कारबाही गर्नु हुन्न भन्न खोजिएको नलगाइयोस् । कुनै पनि उद्योग वा व्यवसायले नियम–कानुनविपरीत कार्य गरे त्यस उद्योग वा व्यवसायसँग सम्बन्धित नियमनकारी निकायले उसलाई कारबाही गर्नु कानुनसम्मत हुन्छ, न कि पुलिस लगाएर थुनिहाल्ने तथा व्यवसाय बन्द गरिहाल्ने । ब्यक्ति थुन्नासाथ समस्या समाधान हुन्छ भन्ने मानसिकता नेपालमा मात्रै हो । तर त्यस उद्योग वा व्यवसायसँग सम्बन्धित नियमनकारी निकायले उसलाई कारबाही गर्दा गैरकानुनी कार्य गर्ने दण्डित पनि हुन्छ र औद्योगिक वातावरणमा आक्षेप लगाउने ठाउँ पनि हुन्न । तर, त्यसका लागि सक्षम नियमनकारी निकाय बनाउन आवश्यक मात्रै छैन, उक्त नियमनकारी निकायलाई कानुनी रूपमा बलियो बनाउन पनि उत्तिकै आवश्यक छ ।
तर नेपालमा औद्योगिक मात्र होइन, समग्र सुरक्षाको बुझाई नै गलत छ । साँझ १० बजे आफ्ना दोकान बन्द गर्नुस्, होटल तथा रेस्टुराँ बन्द गर्नुस् भन्दै प्रहरी आएर बन्द गराउने प्रचलन नेपालमा मात्रै होला । नेपालको सुरक्षा निकायको सुरक्षाप्रतिको सोच बुझ्न बिमस्टेकका बेला बुधबारदेखि शुक्रबारसम्म आफ्नो नागरिकका लागि सरकारले गरेको नाकाबन्दी अर्को उदाहरण हो । विशेषतः सुरक्षा भनेको विश्वास मात्रै हो । सरकार तथा सुरक्षा निकायप्रतिको विश्वासले नागरिकले आफू कति सुरक्षित छु भनेर आकलन गर्छ । र यो नियम उद्योग व्यवसायमा पनि लाग्छ । विश्वमा सबैभन्दा बढी विद्यालयमा बन्दुक प्रयोग गरी हत्या अमेरिकी विद्यालयमा हुन्छ, साथै विश्वका सबै आतंकबादिको तारो पनि अमेरिका नै बनेको छ, जुन दुःखद नै हो । तर, नेपालीहरू त्यही अमेरिकी सपना खोज्दै प्रत्येक वर्ष डिभी भर्छन् र परेपछि गौरवका साथ उड्छन् । किन, अमेरिका सुरक्षित लाग्छ र किन नेपाल असुरक्षित लाग्छ, अधिकांश नेपालीलाई ? किनकि दुर्घटना वा भव्यतव्य त जहाँ पनि हुन सक्छ, त्यसमा सरकार वा सुरक्षा निकायको त्यति धेरै संलग्नता रहन्न । तर, दुर्घटनापछि सरकार तथा सुरक्षा निकायले कति छिटोछरितो तथा निष्पक्ष ढंगले अपराधी समाउँछ र त्यसलाई कानुनी रूपमै दण्डित गर्छ, त्यसबाट नागरिकमा सुरक्षा निकाय तथा सरकारप्रति विश्वास बढ्छ ।
तर, नेपालमा सामान्य मानिसदेखि उद्योगी–व्यवसायी कसैलाई पनि सुरक्षा निकायप्रति विश्वास छैन, साथै अर्को खतरनाक कुरा के हो भने सरकार तथा सुरक्षा निकायलाई पनि आफ्ना नागरिकप्रति विश्वास छैन । यसबाट नेपाल अझै एउटा राष्ट्र बनिसकेको छैन कि भन्ने आशंका उत्पन्न हुँदैन र ?
एउटी १३ वर्षकी बालिकाको बलात्कारपछि हत्या भयो, तर पीडितलाई न्याय दिन अर्को बालकले आफ्नो जीवन आहुती दिनुप¥यो । साउन १० गते बलात्कारपछि हत्या गरिएकी एउटी बालिकाका लागि न्याय मागेर एक महिनापछि आजै पनि काठमाडौंदेखि कञ्चरपुरसम्म आन्दोलनरत हुनुपरेपछि नागरिकले आफूलाई कसरी सुरक्षित सम्झन्छ र सरकार तथा सुरक्षा निकायप्रति विश्वास बढ्छ ? त्यसमाथि पनि आजको गणतान्त्रिक नेपालमा पञ्चायतकालको झल्को दिने यस्ता घटना दोहोरिइरहनुले पनि कसरी नागरिक आफ्नो सरकार तथा सुरक्षा निकायप्रति विश्वस्त हुन सक्छ ? पहुँच हुनेले कानुन मिचे पनि कारबाही नहुने नजिर बसेपछि पहुँच नहुने कोही पनि सुरक्षित नहुने भै हाले । यदि सर्वसाधारण नागरिकको ज्यान सुरक्षित छैन भने उद्योगी–व्यवसायीको जीवन तथा लगानी पनि सुरक्षित छैन । जब आफ्नो जीवन तथा लगानीको सुरक्षा हँुदैन भने जतिसुकै भाषण गरेपनि कसैले पनि लगानी गर्दैन ।
तसर्थ प्रधानमन्त्री केपी ओली साँच्चिकै नेपालमा आर्थिक क्रान्ति चाहनुहुन्छ, लगानी बढोस् तथा रोजगारी सिर्जना होस् भन्ने चाहनुहुन्छ भने उद्योगी व्यवसायीभन्दा पनि पहिला सर्वसाधारण नागरिकको जीउधनको सुरक्षामा कुनै सम्झौता नगर्न मन्त्रीमण्डल तथा सुरक्षा निकायलाई तत्काल निर्देशन होस् । निर्मलाको हत्यारा किन पत्ता लागेन, को–को दोषी छन्, तत्काल कारबाही गरेर सरकारले गुमेको आफूमाथिको विश्वास फिर्ता गर्नु पनि अत्यन्त आवश्यक छ ।
त्यसपछि आफ्ना भाषणैपिच्छे व्यवसायीलाई पुलिस लगाएर थुन्छु भन्ने मन्त्रीहरूलाई आफना भाषा सुधार्न तथा नियमनकारी निकायलाई चुस्त तथा संस्थागत गर्न पहल गर्नुहोस् । साथै, नियमनकारी निकायहरूलाई संस्थागत मात्र होइन, कानुनी रूपमा बलियो बनाएर उनीहरूमार्फत बजारका विकृतिहरू सुधार्न लगाउनुहोस् ।
साथै, सुरक्षा निकायलाई १० बजे व्यवसाय बन्द गरेर मात्र सुरक्षा हुँदैन भन्ने बुझाउन अब ढिलो भइसक्यो । एउटा पर्यटक नेपाल आएर १० बजे होटल वा लजको कोठामा सुत्न जाओस् भन्नुको सट्टा पर्यटकीय स्थान जस्तै, काठमाडौंको ठमेल तथा पोखराको लेकसाइड चौबीसै घण्टा खुल्ने व्यवस्था गर्नुहोस् । व्यवसायीलाई बोलाएर भन्नुहोस्, गैरकानुनी काम नगर्नुस्, तर चैबीसै घण्टा व्यवसाय चलाउनुस्, म सुरक्षा दिन्छु । यसो गर्दा हाल भइरहेको रोजगारी तत्काल दोब्बरदेखि तेब्बरसम्म हुन्छ ।
अनि सुरक्षा निकायलाई भन्नुहोस्, १० बजे व्यवसाय बन्द गराउँदै नहिँड्नुहोस्, मात्र गैरकानुनी काम भएको छ÷छैन, जीउधनको खतरा छ÷छैन हेर्नुहोस् । कानूनीरुपमा ब्यवसाय गर्नेलाई सुरक्षा दिनुहोस् । अनि गैरकानुनी काम गर्ने ठूलादेखि पहुँचवालासम्म जो–कोही होस् नछोड्नुहोस्, तर पहुँच छैन भन्दैमा साना तथा मझौला व्यवसाय गर्नेलाई दुःख नदिनुहोस् । त्यसपछि मात्रै व्यवसायीमा सरकार तथा सुरक्षा निकायप्रति विश्वास बढ्छ ।
जब सर्वसाधारण तथा व्यवसायीले सरकार तथा सुरक्षा निकायप्रति विश्वास गर्न थाल्छन्, अपराधी जोसुकै होस् करबाहीको दायरामा आउँछ र कारबाही हुन्छ तथा निर्दोषलाई कानुनले रक्षा गर्छ, त्यसका लागि जुलुस, हड्ताल तथा बन्द गर्नु पर्दैन भन्ने विश्वास हुन्छ, त्यसपछि लगानी गर्नेको मनोबल पनि बढ्छ । ब्यवसायी तथा ब्यवसाय कुन दोषी हो नछुट्ुटयाई कारवाहि गर्दा त्यसको सन्देश के जान्छ भन्ने बुझनु आवस्यक छ । नत्र प्रधानमन्त्रीले लगानीका लागि जति आह्वान गरे पनि उद्योगी–व्यवसायी जीउधन तथा लगानीको असुरक्षाका कारण बिस्तारै आफ्नो लगानी सुरक्षित स्थानतिर सार्न थाल्नेछन् । नेपालले सात दशकपछि पाएको राजनीतिक स्थिरता तथा विकास अनि समृद्धिको आशा छिटै निराशामा परिणत हुन बेर लाग्दैन । सरकार आफै जानी नजानी नागरिकलाई निराशा बाँड्न उद्यत छ । यदि नागरिक यो सरकारबाट पनि निराश भए भने नेपाल अर्को द्वन्द्वमा होमिने निश्चित छ । एकपटक गम्भीर भएर सोचौं र आर्थिक क्रान्तिको यो अभूतपूर्व अवसर नगुमाऔं ।

Saturday, September 1, 2018

TIA operates for 22 hours daily from today

The only international airport has come into operation for 22 hours a day from today due to increase in flow of passengers following coming festivals and tourist season.
The Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) has extended its opening hour by an hour, according to the TIA officials. "From today, the operating hours starts from 5:00 am to 3:00 am," it said, adding that the TIA used to be operational for 21 hours daily from 5:00 am to 3:00 am till yesterday. "The government had started operating the only international airport for 21 hours from May 21."
"Although the TIA had remained open from 6:00 am from May 21, the domestic flights were operated only from 7:00 am," informed TIA general manager Raj Kumar Chhetri, adding, "But the flights will now be operated from 6:00 am onwards."
Nepal Airlines and Himalaya Airlines have been operating flights in the additional time, 12:30 am to 3:00 am daily.
The new timing is expected to facilitate smooth movement of domestic flights during the peak tourist season, Chettri said, adding that starting an hour early operation will ease traffic congestion to some extent.