Modus Operandi Of Government
The political leaders are apt to think that the Panchayat dispensation was autocratic and did not do anything to develop Nepal. During its 30-year period, the rulers of the Panchayat regime contributed to the development of the country on a small scale. But development did not take place as expected. As a result, the standard of living of the people did not improve. During the period, the system of multi-party democracy was suppressed under the jackboots of the rulers, and political parties were restricted.
The Panchayat system ruled till the 1990s when the waves of liberalisation swept across the world. The waves did not spare Nepal, either. The success of the people’s movement that took place at the helm of the political parties resulted first in de-restricting the prohibited political parties and then in ushering in a new era in the form of the advent of multi-party democracy.
Now it has been 26 years since the Panchayat system was abolished. During these 26 years, many governments ranging from multi-party democratic and loktantrik to republican have ruled the country. Now, a republican government under the leadership of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is ruling the country. Now the question is, what has the leaders who are never tired of blaming the Panchayat regime for underdevelopment have done to develop the country since the 1990s?
The successive governments formed after the reinstatement of multi-party democracy have been obsessed with their self-interests. The political leaders of various hues and colours have been busy forming their own governments or dismantling others. The development planning introduced way back in 2013 B.S. still continues. But when it comes to the fruits of the planning, there is nothing to show for it. As a result, the economy of the country is in tatters, and most of the people are forced to eke out a hand-to-mouth living.
Nepal is now mired in myriad problems. It is an irony that the people are squirming even for the fulfillment of their basic needs. But the political leaders are indulging in a pipedream. They are formulating highly ambitious but chimerical plans to make Nepal a prosperous country. At a time when the people are chafing under the perennial loadshedding, the government is thinking about selling electricity by formulating a long-term plan of generating 10,000 megawatts of electricity in 10 years.
The need of the hour is to generate enough electricity to eliminate loadshedding. But the government is clamouring that it will not only generate enough electricity for domestic consumption but also for export to India and other countries. Making ambitious plans is not bad per se, but what is more important is translating any plan formulated into action.
The history of development planning in Nepal shows that many plans have been formulated, but very few of them have actually materialised. Even during the Panchayat regime, a very ambitious plan of upgrading the standard of living of the people to the Asian standard was formulated, but it did not come to fruition. In fact, not even the basic sketch was drafted to implement the plan.
Such a kind of attitude still runs in the political leaders. They talk big but do not work. The government has made a plan of graduating Nepal from a least developed country to a developing country by 2022. For this, infrastructure development needs to be made, and economic growth needs to be accelerated. It seems the government has not done any homework till now. So there is doubt that the country will transform into a developing country by the said deadline.
The modus operandi of the present government is not satisfactory. The biggest challenge before the government right now is rehabilitation and reconstruction. Most of the people victimised by last year’s earthquake are still living in tents. They are living a life of deprivation. The structures damaged or destroyed in the earthquake are yet to be reconstructed. But the unconscionable delay on the part of the National Reconstruction Authority has made it difficult for the earthquake victims to pick up the pieces even after one year.
But what is absurd is that the government has promised to put up temporary shelters for the earthquake victims before the onset of the monsoon. It is reported that around 500,000 temporary shelters need to be erected. Erecting such a large number of shelters within one or two months is simply out of the question.
The performance of the government during the Madhesi agitation coupled with the Indian blockade was equally disappointing. During the time, the people suffered an acute shortage of essential commodities, but the government, instead of doing away with the shortage, exacerbated the shortage in connivance with the black marketeers. The shortage of cooking gas is still there.
The present government blames its predecessor government for all the chaos obtaining in the country, reasoning that it took over chaos and mismanagement from the previous government. The erstwhile government could neither resolve the Madhesi problem nor remove the Indian embargo. Although the embargo got lifted followed by the cessation of the Madhes agitation, there was no role of the government. Sensing that the embargo would not be able to bring Nepal to its knees and that the embargo was harming both the Nepalese and Indians alike, the embargo was lifted. Thereafter, the Madhesi leaders, who were continuing the agitation on the coattails of India, were compelled to call off the agitation. They were continuing the agitation on the strength of the Indian blockade.
During the agitation and the Indian blockade, the people did not get any relief from the government. Rather, they got a pipe dream of a supply of piped gas to every household, enough electricity within one year to lead a loadshedding-free life and suchlike assurances that may not materialise.
The people have grown highly frustrated with the working style of the government, but the government is indulging in building castles in the air. It seems the modus operandi of the government is not directed towards ameliorating the welfare of the country and the people; rather, it is directed at churning out joie de vivre for the political leaders.
Almost every political leader has a harrowing experience to share while struggling against the Panchayat regime for democracy and freedom. Most of the political leaders had to undergo incarceration at the hands of the Panchayat regime. Now the Panchayat regime is gone and the helm of state affairs has fallen on their shoulders. But the way they are ruling the country shows that their so-called self-abnegation and sacrifice are meant for enjoying the power of politics and attaining self-aggrandisement at the cost of the country and the people with whose help they are what they are at present.
Therefore, it is high time the political leaders changed their modus operandi and devoted their time and energies to the development of the country and the welfare of the people. Only then will their struggle for democracy and freedom have sense. Otherwise, their long-enduring struggle will remain just hypocrisy.