By PR Pradhan
The entire country is in election mood. Candidates for the post of House of Representatives and provincial parliament have intensified their election campaign and they are trying their best to please the voters to ensure their victory. In our “loktantra” vote does not come free. Voters believe that the candidates are liars as they distribute sweet dreams before the elections and they disappear after the election. Therefore, the claver voters demand money from the candidates by exhibiting heads. Voters say that once the candidates are elected, they will become multi-billionaires, therefore, why should vote them without money! Ten million rupees may not be enough to secure victory for candidates. Candidates’ roadmap is also clear. They spend money to get victory in elections and once they will get power, they concentrate on money making deals. Our political leaders think that politics is their occupation and thus they want to make money from politics. Once elected, they believe themselves above the law and also above the anti-graft bodies. The Commission for Investigation on Abuse of Authority is able to catch small fishes but unable to catch the big ones, which has encouraged morale of the political leaders enormously. The lawmakers, thus, are not concerned about nation building they just want to serve their personal interests. In this regard, our politics have become the venue of those corrupt people, dons, culprits and criminals – one can assume from the candidates presented by big parties. Besides, politics has become the venue for leaders’ wives, brothers and sisters-in-law rather than dedicated party workers who worked hard for the party. Furthermore, those party workers who are honest and who want to contribute for the nation, these sort of people rarely get opportunity and even if such person gets opportunity, he cannot secure victory as he has no money to distribute to the voters. In conclusion, politics has been transformed into a casino house.
Holding election has also become very expensive. The cost of conducting election, as estimated by the Election Commission, is above 100 billion, from which we could complete at least one infrastructural project of national pride.
On the other hand, the country has adopted such an expensive political structures such as 744 local bodies having minimum 40 to 50 staffers; seven provinces and central parliaments. Operational cost is going to be increased by many folds compared to the previous structure. Earlier, in one VDC, there used to be only one non-gazetted officer as VDC secretary. In new structure, there should be engineer, overseer, doctor, nurse, school teachers and many other technicians under one local body. Besides, infrastructures are also needed to construct. We don’t have one parliament house but there is needed additional seven parliament houses, provincial secretariats, provincial ministries, high court. The estimated cost for such infrastructural investment crosses 100 billion rupees. Obviously, the provincial ministers will not move around on a bike or a bicycle, they need luxury vehicles along with security escorting team. How many new vehicles are needed for the provinces, one can imagine. To fully function this new constitution, the government needss to spend a huge amount of money, which is after all a non-productive expenditure.
Investment towards development projects is very nominal. Although the finance ministry allots huge funds for the development projects, the government is unable to spend the funds and at the last hours, in Jun-July, the fund is spent not to complete the project but to share commission by those who are involved in the project. There is daylight loot in the country but there is no action against those corrupt officials and political are happy in this setup. In other word, corruption has been institutionalized in a strong manner.
Look at the country’s economy, every year, the rate of international trade deficit is increasing very seriously. The country has not been able to increase exports as all the domestic industries have been ruined by politics, trade unions and political leaders’ donation derive move and make life un-survival for the industries. Our total exports cannot meet the amount needed for import of petro-products. Load-shedding has been managed by importing electricity from India. Compared to this “loktantrik” era, the erstwhile Panchayat system was far better in all areas, including economic prosperity. Nepal was the country exporting rice and other agriculture products. Today, we import huge quantity of rice and even vegetables by spending foreign currency received through remittance of those youths doing hard work in deserts having 52 degree Celsius temperature. Above six million youths are in foreign involved in employment as they saw no job for them in Nepal. Many government undertaking industries, such as Hetauda Textiles, Bansbari Leather Shoes Factory, Brihukuti Paper Mles, Royal Nepal Airlines, Birgunj Sugar Factory, Janakpur Cigarette Factory were not only in operation but they were making attractive profits. Hundreds of thousands locals had got jobs within the country. The political parties are solely responsible in ruining these golden-egg giving industries by compelling our youth to go abroad for risky and dirty jobs.
If the present model of constitution will further continue, it will be like feeding to an elephant by a poor man.
By PR Pradhan