Pipe dream musing

If the recently launched Human Development Report 2009 is any indication, Nepal has a long way to traverse amidst the multifarious problems of political instability, governance bottlenecks and the inter-party suspicions plaguing it. The country may have inched forward to get its Human Development Index rise to 0.534 on a scale of 1. There can, however, be no complacency on the score that the country ranks 146th out of the 176 that are included. Though not the last, the scenario back home is quite frustrating. There are pluses and minuses but the latter outweigh in a manner that leaves even the seasoned analysts frustrated. It is true that the country is just three years out of the Maoist insurgency, but the concrete steps that should have materialized post-Constituent Assembly (CA) polls has all been a pipe dream only. What was billed as an unprecedented historical exercise to elect the CA members to draft a new constitution of the democratic republic is floundering amidst uncertainties and indecisiveness all emanating from the way the major political parties are behaving. Their antics on and off the Legislature Parliament does not behove their stature as they have the mandate of the people to keep up with the democratic ideals and values. Yet, only lip service is what can be discerned and a total lack of commitment and adherence to the genuine aspirations of the people who have suffered all along in the hope of the role models of the politicians charting the path in the run up to the emergence of the new Nepal.

Yet, the HDI 2009 does have some good words for the gains made in some of the areas

that it has taken into account like life expectancy and literacy. But, they are a part of the regular schemes that achieve results despite all the

political fight that continues. The grand talk of addressing exclusion and inequalities have not

transformed into action plan to the fullest extent

because of the power play now rather than when

the new constitution is enforced. The problem lies in the successive governments’ failure to look into

the creation of the peace mechanism that can be

the greatest wand to tackle the aftereffects of the decade long conflict. The delay in doing the needful, unfortunately, has seen the Maoist combatants moving freely in and out from their designated cantonments and often indulging in violent activities. This alone has played with the peace in the society, which is so vital for the inclusive political and socio-economic programmes to bear fruit.

It comes as a shocker that the parties that have promised to take the country forward through consensus are indulging in brickbats instead. What can be more alarming than the top two parties wrangling over the choice of the Constitutional Committee (CC) chief. The camaraderie that had been sown with the Comprehensive Peace Accord is all but lost. The hostility among the parties in the transitional phase is but a reflection of the greed for power rather than fulfilling their responsibilities by putting all their efforts unitedly to meet the statute drafting deadline and getting the peace process to its finale so that the country could really move in notching up greater success in the HDI ranking.

Riding high

Just when things looked fine for the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and it was actually making a profit, there is disturbing news that it has once again plunged into the red. Once again consumers now anticipate that it will hike up the price of petrol

and diesel. These are already hard to afford by the majority of them. The rise in the cost of petrol also creates price rise of other commodities. Thus, it is the common man who is going to bear the brunt. Then NOC had been given a reprieve when the price of petrol and diesel had fallen down to record level. Now, however, the international price of crude oil is again rising which has led the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to increase the prices.

The effects of this can already be seen, and, probably, NOC too will be compelled to follow suit. So once again NOC will be having a difficult time paying back its loans. Since the NOC receives a new price list for petrol and diesel every month from IOC, consumers will be anxiously awaiting the steps of NOC. Before revising their price NOC should consider other alternatives such as more efficient management of the corporation by enforcing austerity drives.