‘Post-1990 decade productive’

Kathmandu, August 23:

Restoration of democracy in 1990 has provided people with better access to resources as they were empowered and liberal economic policy was adopted, proponents of free market economy said at a launching of a book ‘In Defence of Democracy, Dynamics and Fault Lines of Nepal’s Political Economy’ written by Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, former finance minister, here today. “In the post-1990 era, people were empowered and they had better access to resources,” said Girija Prasad Koirala, president of Nepali Congress at the programme that was organised by Nepal Economic Association (NEA), National Booksellers and Publishers Association of Nepal (NBPAN) and Adroit Publishers, New Delhi, India. “However, the economy has been hit hard due to increased violence and ‘difficult political environment’ lately,” he added.

Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, writer of the book said that the past one decade was the most productive in terms of economic reforms, adoption of free market instruments for exploring economic benefits, policy shift for the betterment of people, integration of Nepali economy into the global market, access to electricity and creation of wealth. “There is no alternative to democracy when it comes to the survival of people with sufficient access to resources,” he added. Mahat also analysed the strengths and weaknesses of the past governments and called for improving governance. He said the focus should now be on economic issues rather than political to achieve economic development. “Even the political parties have to re-orient themselves and push economic agendas more effectively for a country like Nepal in a changed globalised environment,” he added. Mahat alerted the meeting on the ‘international-aid politics’ also.

Professor Bishwambher Pyakuryal, president of NEA said that the book was useful as it has been able to integrate the views of economic and political historians. Therefore, it can be a good reference for the University students. “It is a general accounts of various sectors’ development in the last decade rather than an ‘impact assessment’. It would have been better if the author could have linked ‘output and productivity’,” Prof Pyakuryal commented.

Dr Harka Gurung, a prominent intellectual, said, “Dr Mahat was a key player in ‘economic policy and reform initiatives’ after 1990 that has helped explore business and economic activities. Kanak Mani Dixit, editor of Himal South Asia also commented on Dr Mahat’s book. “Mahat was a proponent of free market economy after 1990s,” he said. “When it comes to economy and development, his name will be remembered for long.”