Saturday, January 8, 2011

BP Koirala: The visionary of prosperous Nepal

Most of us have known Bishweshwor Prasad Koirala popularly known as BP Koirala as a political thinker and litterateur only. His economic thoughts and visions are less discussed.
But Dr Chiranjibi Nepal has brought 'BP’s Economic Thoughts' to remind us of his vision of economically prosperous and just Nepal, where he has dreamt of promoting economic growth and social justice.
BP knew the economic disparity will bring friction and tension in the society. Had his voice been heard by the leaders, the country would not have been plunged into a decade long armed conflict that was based on the widening gap in the society between the rich and poor.
The author Dr Nepal has in the book of eight chapters brought in front the economic vision, strategies, socio-economic reconstruction and political economy of BP, though his own party Nepali Congress (NC) has forgotten most of his visions.
It was the Nepali Congress of BP that abolished Birta System of the feudal economic base, in 1959. Not only the Nepali Congress but also the present government should learn the lesson from BP, who had reduced the salary of Prime Minister from Rs 2,500 to Rs 1,500 and salary of Ministers’ from Rs 1500 to Rs 1,000, when he became the Prime Minister in 1959. The ministers of the present government are not only visionless and redundant but also accumulating wealth at the cost of people’s lives.
The book gives us the BP’s vision on foreign aid, unemployment, technology and rural economy and above all social justice.
The reason, we have to read this book and go through BP’s economic visions is also to know the real ground and knowledge of the current governments. The present government’s budget has aimed nothing new from what BP had envisioned more than half century ago.
The budget presented by the then finance minister Suvarna Shamsher on August 9, 1959 had cautioned against excessive dependence on foreign aid for development projects. The BP’s government had brought the budget with five goals; increasing the national income of the country, bringing about the fundamental changes in the agriculture, providing adequate social welfare programmes for the people, solving the problem of unemployment and reducing the inequalities in income levels and the distribution of wealth.
Prime Minister BP Koirala on June 26, 1960 hinted at a press conference of the second five-year plan with a goal to create 500,000 new jobs and to increase the national income by 30 per cent.
He knew that we have twin problem – unemployment and poverty, and without creating employment and more investment on agriculture, the economy cannot grow. But the present government is busy in power play and losing annually over 200,000 youths, who leave the country in search of job. The successive governments failed measurably in creating job in the country forcing the youths to the death trap of deserts of Gulf. When the country cannot create jobs, it has to face the massive out flow of the manpower or political instability. Nepal today is facing both the problems due to visionless leaders.
The book could be a guide for those who want to really develop this country as BP had his own idea of economic development, which is very relevant today as well. He knew without developing the villages, the country cannot develop. “I will ask the planners to set their eyes on the villages and the villagers,” he used to say.

BP’s Economic Thoughts
By Dr Chiranjibi Nepal
Published by: Pairavi Prakashan
Price: Rs 100


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