THT 10 years ago: Muslim woman breaks new ground

Kathmandu, November 7, 2006

Hasina Banu, the first Muslim woman to join the government security organisation of Nepal, says she joined the Nepal Police to show the world that women, too, can make a living and earn social prestige.

The 23-year-old Muslim woman of Latikoili village development committee-2 of Surkhet, joined the police force as a constable nine months ago.

Following the completion of training, Banu has been posted at the Surkhet District Police Office. Hasina, the third wife of Ajit Baksa, a driver by profession, says she got a divorce as her husband did not love her.

“As I found no other option to make a living, I dared to join the police force,” she said, adding: “I joined the police force to prove to my husband and the society that women can also earn money and social prestige.”

Before joining the force, she was confined to household chores like sewing, cutting and sticthing clothes. “After joining the Nepal Police, I learnt to respect the elders and came to know what an organisation means.

“I learnt about my country, politics, human rights. I feel I have become a civilised human being,” she noted. Training was an uphill task for Hasina. “It was very difficult for me because I was not so strong physically.

But I managed to complete the training because of dedication and cooperation from trainers,” she said.

Foreign employment bill tabled in House

With a view to streamlining the foreign employment sector, the government today proposed a new bill that may see manpower agencies depositing Rs 3.0 million in cash.

Minister for Physical Planning and Works Gopal Man Shrestha tabled the bill on behalf of the Minister of State for Labour and Transport Management, Ramesh Lekhak, in the House of Representatives (HoR).

This bill, if passed, will replace some two-decade-old Foreign Employment Act- 1985, which has drawn heavy criticism for being ‘out-dated’ and ‘impractical.’ The new bill proposes raising the amount of cash to be deposited by manpower agencies to Rs 3.0 million from the existing Rs 0.5 million.

This provision will apply to all new agencies, while the existing companies should make arrangements accordingly within a year of the promulgation of the act. It has also envisaged a separate Department of Foreign Employment to ensure effective and result-oriented administrative activities.

The department will work under the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management. It has also proposed a high-level Foreign Employment Promotion Board that will advise the government on policy matters.

The board will be headed by the minister or the state minister and will comprise senior government officials, experts, representatives of manpower agencies and the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.