Kathmandu, December 5
Nepali Congress has proposed ‘equitable welfare state’ in its macroeconomic policy proposal tabled in its ongoing central working committee meeting.
The proposal states that health and education are primary responsibilities of the government and that the NC’s health and education policy will be focused on boosting people’s access to ‘quality’ health and education.
NC leader Prakash Sharan Mahat, who led the party’s economic policy proposal committee, said the party would adopt a policy whereby the state would significantly expand investment in technology-based education materials and employment-oriented technical and vocational education.
“We had so far been adopting a policy of ‘health and education for all’, but now onwards we will be adopting a policy of ‘quality health and education for all’,” said Mahat.
The proposal states that social security will be guaranteed through social insurance schemes, employment generation, and targeted subsidy on product and services to women, Dalits, marginalised people, indigenous nationalities and the poor.
The proposal has prioritised old-age allowance to those aged above 65 years, social security package to workers and youth self-employment. The party has also proposed adopting a policy whereby youths will be guaranteed at least 120 days of employment in a year, concessional loans to youth entrepreneurs, allowances to unemployed educated youths for community volunteering, and dividends to those returning from foreign employment by utilising their skills and funds.
According to the policy proposal, foreign loans will be accepted keeping at centre national interest, priority areas, return on investment, and preconditions put forth by the donors. Economic diplomacy will be conducted keeping national interest at its heart based on climate change effects and the status of trade and transit.
To ensure sustainable and broad-based economic growth based on high productivity, the party proposes to implement a one-door policy to attract foreign direct investment, and adopt protectionist policies when it comes to industries helping in import substitution.
“To address the situation where output is far lower than investment in the agriculture sector, a subsidy policy will be implemented for farmers, concessional loans will be ensured, land fragmentation will be stopped, and cooperative and contract farming will be promoted,” states the proposal. “A policy will be adopted whereby farmers will be ensured reasonable price for their produce.”
The proposed policy envisages attracting foreign investment in the energy sector to ensure complete electrification of the country as well as diversification of energy export market.
As far as curbing the ballooning trade deficit is concerned, the proposed policy foresees boosting household electricity consumption and completely halting imports of vehicles running on fossil fuels.
It states that existing roads will be upgraded and new ones will be built to connect tourist spots, mass transit system will be developed with the participation of the private sector, and well-managed settlement and planned cities based on information technology will be developed.
As for tourism, the proposal envisages developing Nepal as international religious and cultural tourism destination to attract high-spending tourists. “Karnali Province will be developed as a major tourism destination,” reads the proposal.
The party also proposes immediately activating National Natural Resources and Fiscal Commission, and making all government bodies accountable to ensure fiscal transparency, discourage middlemen, boost monitoring, and ensure integrity-based financial discipline.
Main areas of NC’s focus
A version of this article appears in print on December 06, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.