The Human Development Report 2009 seems like a whiff of fresh breeze when Nepal’s showing particularly in the three dimensions of human development that is life expectancy, adult literacy and gross enrollment in education and income is concerned. It is true that the Human Development Index (HDI) does not present the total picture of human development as it relies on a broader definition of wellness, a fact illustrated by it looking beyond the GDP, the usual tool to view the socio-economic status of any country. However, the message given by the report is that Nepal’s ranking has made an improvement, it now ranks 144th among 182 countries, compared to 142nd out of 177 countries that were included last year. Herein, it makes sense to note that Nepal’s HDI increased by 2.1 per cent annually from 1980 to 2007, but it is down now to 0.533 which is attributed to the poor economic component of the HDI. This clearly spells out Nepal’s real problems in its quest to achieve what can be referred to as dignified human development. Anyone aware of the pitfalls of economic development in the country will be quick to point out the unstable political situation, fall in industrial productivity, and the loss of work days due to strikes, closures and the like, among others.
The one glaring fact that has been pinpointed is the vital contribution of remittance that is a direct result of migration that impacts positively on raising the living standard of the people concerned and their families back home. Migration may have become a necessity in the present situation in the country with fewer job openings every year. This sees an exodus from the country to job generating markets abroad. However, the issue of enhanced economic performance has to take all the elements into consideration, and foreign employment is one of them. This is the reason why the country is slowly sliding down the scale with not much achievement to boast of, particularly in the recent years with the politicization of almost every sector. The law and order situation is not too encouraging to ensure the productive sector to go for full scale output. The regular lockouts, bandhs, load-shedding and such have hampered the industrial units as well as affected the production, transportation and distribution of agricultural produce.
Viusalising the actual economic machinery at present, there can be no room for complacency. It is further likely to deteriorate for politics dictates all economic activities in the country, and there is no indication that the sailing will be smooth in the months to come. The political will is the key factor that makes the difference as far as the economy functions and the vigour provided to the three dimensions of human development. In the backdrop can be found the slackness as far as development activities in the country are concerned. With low key development works taking place, the GDP per capita can never become respectable, which impinges on all aspects of social upliftment as well. The grim message is plain and clear: politics must accord socio-economic development its highest priority.
Reports are continuing to pour in about attempts to smuggle firecrackers being foiled. By now the authorities seem to be engaged in a losing battle as far as banning the use of firecrackers, and their smuggling are concerned. As is customary, stern announcements are made that the culprits would face harsh punishment but we can still hear and see firecrackers being used, usually by children, with impunity. This time around the concerned should be serious about implementing the provision prohibiting their use. After all it is for the safety of the people for every year many are maimed and even killed when they use firecrackers.
These days we find firecrackers being smuggled in the most innovative ways. Although some of the contrabands are seized we can assume that a significant quantity of firecrackers is smuggled into the country come Tihar. The firecrackers also are allowed in with the collaboration of those in high posts who are out to make a fast buck heedless of the harm they could be doing. Thus, there should be no laxity in preventing the smuggling of firecrackers and those guilty of doing so should be brought to book at the same time preventing their use.