Regardless of Kathmandu’s association with glitz and glamour, a research has debunked the misconception that the majority of Kathmanduites hail from the affluent class. Contrarily, a survey conducted by Lumanti Support Group for Shelter in Kathmandu finds that 37.5 per cent of the denizens belong to the poor or lower middle class strata. The study shows Kathmandu with an unemployment rate of 14.4 per cent — substantially higher than the national average of 3.9 per cent. The poor are relatively more unemployed and a major reason for increasing poverty in the city. In total, 28.9 per cent unemployed citizens are ‘inactive’ in Kathmandu. This category does not even bother to seek jobs, thus preying on public utility services without fulfilling their duty of paying the taxes.
Kathmandu is bursting at the seams. The country’s only metropolitan city has witnessed rapid urbanisation with the number of urban poor responsible for hindering the development process. The rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. In addition, rapid migration to the capital is creating an imbalance between the limited resources and the burgeoning population. The survey results can be a real eye-opener only if the planners try to ameliorate the plight of the poor or the lower middle class people by framing suitable programmes and implementing them effectively. Equally significant is the need to consider the policy of decentralisation that can go a long way in diverting the pressure from the capital city and leading to all-round development across the nation.