Looking forward

The Non-Resident Nepalis (NRN) Association is scheduled to hold their Fourth Global Conference, in Kathmandu, from tomorrow. It is a matter of pleasure that the non-resident Nepalis abroad are taking keen interest in their homeland. This makes sense when it is estimated that there are around 2.5 million NRNs spread across 55 countries worldwide. The interest that their association has shown to see their greater involvement in the development of Nepal is encouraging. However, the pace of the investment by NRNs in projects here has not been commensurate with the assurances that flow in from time to time. The NRNs have become affluent while living and working in the country of their adoption, and they now feel that they could invest adequately to uplift the nation in their own beneficial way. Of course, it has been only about seven years since the NRN Association was formed in 2002. The mission was clear: to form a forum for the non-resident Nepalis spread globally. Their investment is being seen though in a small manner. With the knowledge, skill and the financial backup at their disposal, they could make their presence felt markedly in the development efforts of Nepal.

The bone of contention at the moment seems be the dual-citizenship issue. The NRN Act has come as a breather as recognition of the contributions that they have made and will continue. The Act has been hailed by the NRNs, but they feel that it falls short of their requirement. On the dual-citizenship issue, the government seems to have reservations because of certain visualized complexities. In fact, the said Act has the provisions that should have satisfied the NRNs. Of course,

the government realizes that the NRNs could

make real contributions in the various sectors

which have not received adequate investment, all because of the low investment capacity of the

state. Such an initiative coming from the NRNs would be more than welcome, as it will open the floodgates for development as well as employment to some extent. But, as is clear, it is referring to their investment in the country of their birth, which is not asking too much from them. The returns would be there for them, and also from the philanthropic works that they are interested in. Their interest might be valid, but the hitch over the definition of the term NRN has to be agreed upon before the government could set out for giving them the facilities and privileges that suit them.

Besides the direct investment that could be brought into the country with courtesy from the NRNs, it would also pave the way for them to directly involve themselves in enhancing the image of Nepal in the country of their domicile. This presents itself as the tourism sector that would benefit the most. And, Nepal has the tourism potentials but tapping them has not received the attention that it deserves. Moreover, as the NRNs propose making investments, the government must be able to get all the legal provisions readied so that the NRNs could feel assured that their investment would benefit all, without any bureaucratic red tape hampering the show.

Play it safe

The 15th National Condom Day was marked Saturday amidst much fanfare. The use of condoms should get the widest publicity possible, and it is high time people shed their inhibitions. Condoms not only serve as contraceptives but also afford protection against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The high risk groups should particularly be made aware of practicing safe sex by using condoms. It is estimated that 40 million condoms are sold every year in the country. However, the usage of condoms is still far below what the projection is. This calls for encouraging the use of condoms, and the observance of the Condom Day is one such way towards this campaign.

That many people still hesitate to use condoms is one area for health experts to work on. For starters, sex education should be imparted from the school level by including it in the curricula. That could make a difference when the children reach the reproductive age. Since there is no cure against the dreaded disease AIDS, awareness about the protection provided by the use of condoms should be imparted preferably from an early stage so that they realize the hazards of unsafe sex and wisdom of using condoms.