Give This Government Benefit Of Doubt

Kushal Pokharel

Since his election to the post of the Prime Minister for the second time, KP Sharma Oli has adopted a strict and non-tolerant approach in running the daily affairs of the government. To serve his cabinet, the dream chaser Oli has inducted action oriented ministers with a proven track record and some really enthusiastic but untested leaders. Continuing to give a big hope to the general public that the situation of the country will drastically improve in the coming years, the present government has repeatedly expressed its commitment to uproot corruption and promote good governance in the country.

The PM’s address to the nation on the occasion of the New Year from the beautiful and serene Rara lake was nothing but an attempt to keep the public aspirations of a better Nepal alive. In a more sentimental tone, the PM stated that the nation now is bestowed with an unprecedented opportunity to embark on the path of development and prosperity. Reiterating his commitment to utilise the natural and human resources- skill, capital and technology available in the country, the ambitious PM vowed to take stern legal actions against corruption.
Hence, there seems to be a clear message from the PM to his ministers to work relentlessly to change the destiny of the nation. If we closely analyse the activities of this government so far, we find that all of the ministers have a sense of urgency at least for now. Only time will tell whether these initiations are for cheap popularity or for carving a much needed development trajectory. But at the moment, it would not be unwise to give them a benefit of doubt.
Contrary to the previous style of managing the government affairs, the ministers in the present government have expressed their willingness to lead by action. Perhaps the sense of responsibility has also increased among the political leaders learning lessons from the past. Whether we refer to the pro-active leadership of the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to reform the Tribhuvan International Airport or the initiation of the home minister to bring the law violators under appropriate legal action, the signs are definitely positive in the direction of transforming the nation. Such instances are emerging in other government ministries and departments too.
The news of state minister of health leading the sanitation campaign at Bir Hospital also caught media headlines this week. In a bid to maintain the hygiene at the government hospitals, this move has begun and will continue in the coming days according to the state minister. Interestingly, the minister has vowed to make it a part of the campaign on other days too as long as her time permits which is really a good sign of making long term contributions in such efforts.
Of late, the government has won appreciation for its action on abolishing the syndicate in public buses from the ordinary public. The solidarity expressed by the ordinary citizen on the day of the transport strike last week is a testimony of support that the government received. Even the social media was flooded with the positive comments on the government’s decision.
Moreover, many private vehicles also offered a lift to the needy people on that woeful day to express their solidarity in the government’s noble cause.
Having said that, a certain section of the society has taken the government’s move as a brutal act to demolish the lives of the transport entrepreneurs incited by revenge. Moreover, this issue has once again become politicised with Nepali Congress (NC), the opposition party in the federal parliament outrightly criticising this action and blaming the government for creating the mess. Perturbed by its shocking defeat in the recent elections, NC has lost its composure and has been traumatised badly in the last few months the consequence of which might have been its fearful and negative comments to every actions of the leftist alliance.
Nevertheless, the ripple effects of this action has already been visible in other sectors with the government ministers view of ending such monopoly system in education, health, oil and petroleum among others. Referring to this current action as just the beginning towards eliminating the syndicate in all areas, the government has created moral fear among the group of the syndicate entrepreneurs who are used to extracting the state resources to maximise their welfare.

In light of the above, no less significant will be the role of the ordinary citizens to determine the fate of the government’s activities. A culture of appreciating the government for good deeds has become urgent. Similarly, the civil society needs to act as a watchdog of the government and provide constructive feedback as deemed necessary to the government to effectively execute its functions. In sum, restoring people’s lost faith in the state system will be a turning point in the history of Nepalese politics to march towards development and prosperity.


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