Challenges for nation building

Nepal has entered a new phase in history. The people now expect a real process of national reconstruction. The nation has to be reconstructed not only in the political domain, but also in social, cultural, religious and economic aspects, thus guaranteeing people’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, national unity, solidarity, peace, prosperity and harmony. This is definitely an arduous task for the proposed constituent assembly and the drafters of the new constitution.

The objectives can be fulfilled only when Nepalis are able to visualise and implement social welfare projects for all, viable self-dependence and sustainable national reconstruction programmes, especially in the economic sector. Conflicts, revolutions, and insurgency are usually the direct results of a shortage or unequal distribution of resources and means of livelihoods.

Nepal’s economic planning, in vogue since 1956, has been unsuccessful in fulfilling the basic needs and demands of the increasing population and lags far behind the nation’s expectation. The country needs a new plan to reconstruct and revive the destroyed development infrastructure, besides venturing into new productive economic programmes along with big science and technology projects to generate mass employment and to bring spectacular success in the economic growth.

The traditional economic measures, legal structure and fiscal discipline alone are not sufficient to achieve the desired goals. There is need for a revolutionary thinking in economic sector in line with political restructuring of the country incumbent upon the cooperation and understanding that is expected to be reached among different political forces, including the Maoists.

Besides modernising the agriculture sector, the basic planning must deal with maximum utilisation of the hydropower resources, boosting tourism sector and above all, establishment of resource-based industrialisation. The present state of economy, which is remittance-based and commodity-based, has to be transformed into an independent and self-sustainable manufacturing economy. This is possible only when with proper use of foreign aid, check on indiscriminate use and misutilisation of development projects and control in corruption.

The political leaders, planners and policy-makers must show firm commitment for developing industrial science in the country. The challenges can only be met with proper use and management of science and technology, particularly industrial science and technology, which is yet to be introduced in the country. Nepal has witnessed only textbook science and regular lab-based growth of consumer industries. The import of industrial science and technology depends upon sagacious manipulation of bilateral and multilateral policies as well as tactful dealings with the donor agencies.

Unless economic revolution through science and technology is not brought about, no political restructuring or changing political isms or forms of government can give the people the desired results. Rather, there will be the danger of too many cooks spoiling the broth. In that case, the country will dip into utter unmanageable socio-economic chaos. The country cannot bear further trial and error experiments in the name of national development and welfare.