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A hue and cry

By Prajwal Shrestha
After Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced a ban on Rs 500 and 1000 denomination Indian notes, there has been a hue and cry in India. Nepal has not remained aloof from the impact. It is believed that there is the stock of about nine billion such Indian currencies with Nepalis. As the government didn’t restrict transaction of the Indian currencies, in bordering towns, people were keeping such currencies. Besides, those people making money through illegal channels are also believed to have kept such currencies. As Nepal is a country highly dependent on the Indian market, the demand of Indian currency is very high. Therefore, whenever the Indian currency is available, people don’t miss to keep such currencies. That apart, those people going to India for job return to their home with such currencies. In fact, this group has become real sufferers from the recent move of Modi. In the Tarai districts, everyday, there has been seen a long queue of the Nepali people going to change such currencies. If the government or the Nepal Rastra Bank had encouraged the people to keep Nepali currency only, such a problem would not have taken place. Due to the negligence of the local administration, the Indian currency was in circulation without any hurdles.
The Indian prime minister took this move to curb black money in the market and cleaning the Indian economy. In Nepal also, according to an estimate, above ten billion rupees have remained out of the banking transection. Such cash is black money, it is believed. If the government has the courage, it would could also have taken such a move to ban such currencies to clean the economy. As almost all leaders of the leading political parties and high-ranking officials are involved in making black money, this is virtually impossible in Nepal. If anybody initiates such a move, he will be fired or will have to face impeachment. When CIAA chair Lokman Singh Karki attempted to open some corruption files of the top ranking political leaders, he has been suspended and an impeachment motion has been filed against him. There is a popular saying in Nepal that as almost all people are corrupt, those non-corrupt people can be counted in fingers.
The Nepali politicians and bureaucrats are trained in policy-level corruption. They decide purchasing of power in US dollar, this can be included in the category of the policy-level corruption. Many decisions are made through the cabinet to escape corruption investigation. In such decisions, the ministers are involved. When the ministers are involved in corruption, we cannot think about curbing corruption as well as curbing black money.
The political mechanism has encouraged the political leaders for practicing corruption as the leaders need money to run the party. In this regard, corruption is not going to be reduced in the country, rather, corruption is going to be institutionalize in Nepal.

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