Tasks ahead

The three major parties do not now stand united as they did while finalising the constitution, but they have to work together to carry out the Constitution successfully

The Constitution of Nepal came more than a month ago after nearly a decade of political transition, and with that the transitional period is mostly over. All the tasks set by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that had ended the Maoist insurgency and brought the rebels onto the political mainstream were completed. However, to make everything normal business, some tasks still remain to be performed. And to do this last bit is not a small job. The Constitution has to be fully implemented in a political sense too – i.e. to hold the elections at the central, provincial and local levels. Some segments of society and some outsiders feel dissatisfied with the Constitution, with some of its provisions or lack of them in the new Constitution. As a result, some parties are in agitation, and bringing them onto the political mainstream has become a major challenge.

There is much groundwork to be done to be able to carry out the constitution in all its aspects —138 new laws (110 federal laws, 22 provincial laws, and 6 laws relating to local bodies) have to be made and 315 existing laws amended. Without completing this task, the new Constitution cannot come into full play. This task is in itself a stupendous one. This, apart from other tasks like building the physical infrastructure and making various preparations for the new federal system to start working at all levels. The immediate political tasks after promulgation of the Constitution were the election of the Prime Minister, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and these have already been performed, with the election of President and Vice President now underway. At this juncture, after the way the recent elections were held, these elections should be held in a competitive manner too. Though the three major parties do not now stand united as they did during the last phase of constitution making, they are under an obligation to work together to implement the Constitution successfully. A major party just being in the opposition need not mean the pursuit of an obstructionist policy, as far as implementing the Constitution is concerned.

If the political parties are not to prolong this last stretch of the political transition too much, they will have to set about the remaining work on a war footing. The local elections will have to be held within a year of the promulgation of the Constitution. This election will mark an important milestone in practicing federalism on the way to completing the remaining tasks. But the most urgent immediate tasks are to remove, or at least ease the acute supply crunch that has been felt by the Nepalis for well over a month, particularly of petroleum products and some other essential commodities. While the new government has moved in that direction already, all the work in this regard needs to be speeded up as far as possible, with focus on diversifying external sources of supply and on exploring and tapping options within the country itself. Now, with the conclusion of great festival of Dashain, which the Nepalis have celebrated with undaunted courage amid extreme hardship, the government should spare nothing to deal with the most pressing challenges successfully without losing the long-term view.

More to it

The revelation that about 48 per cent of the children in Pyuthan district are malnourished is shocking. According to studies conducted this is because of the poverty prevailing whose does not allow the parents to provide their child with nutritious food badly needed for their proper growth. The children are malnourished because many pregnant women do no partake of nutritious food. Moreover, it was found that new born child and mothers were also not taken care of well. However, it is interesting to note that children from both rich and poor families and also from educated families were found to be suffering from malnutrition. Among other reasons, malnutrition is prevalent in most of the districts of the country mainly due lack of awareness.

Awareness campaigns to do away with malnutrition should be carried out more effectively. There are some government and non-government organizations doing this. But they have not succeeded. The children should be provided with nutritious food. Parents should see to it that the children do not take junk food, which is the case now.