Missing foresight

The lure for foreign employment has not relented, but the openings are becoming scarce with the recession that the west in particular is undergoing. For the Nepalese job seekers, the Gulf countries have been a major destination. With the rapidly booming development programmes there, every category of workers made their way there to make an income to reckon with. This helped the Nepal through the remittances that they sent home. The entry of valuable foreign exchange greatly aided Nepal’s economy that had been for the past decade or so been undergoing a period of stagnancy, particularly with the fallout of the insurgency. Even with the Maoist rebels joining the mainstream politics, the political instability that has held the country in its grip has not allowed any government, even after the Constituent Assembly polls, to grapple with the twin problems of growing unemployment and erosion of the economic activities. The effects have been quite pronounced with the economic growth rate merely touching 3.5 per cent, making a mockery of the double digit one that had been greatly publicized, especially by the previous Maoist-led government.

Despite that gloomy economy outlook, the remittances that flowed in with regularly growing volume was something that gave some amount of respectability to the thousands of families whose breadwinners were engaged in employment abroad. It is besides the point that many job seekers have been reported to be duped even before taking off. But those who made it and became successful in a foreign land have to be thanked for the support that they provided to the local economy here. The direct effect has been that the thousands of people who have gone abroad for employment would have remained without any work if they had stayed here because of the lax manner with which the successive governments have been working on the employment generation front. Even the present government is lost on the issue because, without the development activities taking off for good, the employment market scenario will continue to remain. It is only a massive injection of investment that can spur the employment opportunities.

With education opportunities reaching new height, the urgency is evident for more avenues to employ the graduates within the country itself urgently. This has to be the top priority considering the fact that foreign job prospects are becoming somewhat discouraging, and as a result the number of those going abroad to cash in on the opportunities have been declining, because the global meltdown has affected prospective Nepali workers. In such a situation, the government must get its think tank working overtime in preparing strategies, policies and programmes to gear up to absorb a greater number of people in income generating activities in the country. It must also be remembered that the unemployment rate will go on increasing unless remedial measures are taken at the earliest. Moreover, if such a state exists for long then anti-social activities will raise its head in a manner never seen before. Gimmicks will not work, concrete action for massive employment has to come.

Safer roads

Traffic accidents in the capital’s streets are taking a heavy toll. Almost no day passes by without casualties being reported. On Saturday alone four people were killed in road accidents in several places. What makes these mishaps tragic is that most of the accidents could have been prevented if precautions were taken and the traffic rules adhered to. We can see many drivers driving rashly inviting disasters. The trouble is that they get away it. Furthermore, we find many pedestrians violating traffic rules by not using the overhead bridge. We also find that zebra crossings made for the safety of pedestrians being ignored. Why paint them in the first place if the vehicle drivers are not going to let the pedestrians use them as they were supposed to?

Since many of the accidents are caused by over speeding perhaps there is a need to set speed limits. Speed breakers should be put on some roads known to be particularly accident prone. Meanwhile, the traffic police play a major role in preventing accidents. Under no circumstances should they let their vigil down for a mistake or a lapse on their part could cost dearly to the extent of people losing their life.