Encourage micro-finance:

The write-up “Micro-credit key to poverty alleviation” that appeared in the Business page of THT on December 10 highlights the contribution made by micro-credit programmes for poverty alleviation in Nepal.

Despite government’s priority to fight poverty and emphasis on micro-credit as a measure to alleviate poverty, there is no national policy on micro-finance. There is no reflection about micro-credit in the Tenth Plan also.

Micro-credit was started in Nepal with the launching of Small Farmers’ Development Programme in 1974, and subsequently followed by Production Credit for Rural Women in 1982, and various other schemes. Between 1992 and 1996 five Regional Grameen Bikas Banks were established, one each in five development regions as a replication of Grameen Bank, Bangladesh. Over the years five private sector micro-credit banks have also been established to provide micro-credit to the poor. As a result of all these and beyond, the clientele of micro-credit might have reached 600,000. But going through the article, one gets the wrong impression that this achievement is the sole contribution of Rural Micro-finance Development Centre (RMDC) and its partner organisations.

RMDC was established in 1999 as a wholesale lending organisation to provide fund to INGOs to lend to the poor under the Asian Development Bank’s loan assistance of $20 million for a period of six years terminating in December 2004. However, as mentioned in the article, so far RMDC has disbursed only a sum of Rs 458.15 million to 36 partners, which comes to only 29.4 per cent of the total loan. This means that 70 per cent of the fund remains unused. This disappointing performance by RMDC reveals its conservative lending policy as it has been supporting only the bigger MFIs having high network and financial resources. This also indicates the failure of RMDC to encompass a larger number of smaller NGOs. This vitiates the very objective behind the establishment of RMDC.

Ram Hari Acharya, Teku

Unsung heroes:

We are having an overdose of intellectuals giving us wonderful methods to solve the present problem. There are talk shows in every television channel showing the so-called intellectuals giving answers to the repeated questions of the talk show hosts. We have seen and heard enough of the theories and far-fetched formulas to solve problems of the country for the last 14 years. All of us know that, if the parties come together and if the Maoists come for talks, a lot of problems will be solved.

The media should divert its attention to day-to-day happenings and hardship faced by the people. Media could give news of, for example, how villagers are defying the Maoists, the families of both the police and the rebels, those bus passengers who cleared the blockade and removed the fake bombs placed on the bridges etc. The media should highlight stories of unsung heroes.

Dorji Tsering Sherpa, Galfutar

Drug haul:

The haul of huge hashish in the capital on last Thursday was indeed a hint of an organised crime ring. We all know that a separate department for drug control has been established long ago. But it seems that there are many loopholes in it, which has made the department unable to work efficiently. There is a stigma attached with the drug addicts, but the supply side has always been neglected. Nepal is the major supplier of drugs and it has become an easy transit for drug supply. The department needs to do a better job.

Shriyam Dhakal,

St Xavier’s College