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Again remembering the Panchayat days

By PR Pradhan

The action programme of the government has once again compelled this scribe to recall the beauty of the Panchaya era.
Decades ago, during the Panchayat days, Nepal had adopted the new education programme emphasizing on vocational education; Nepal had always insisted on peaceful labour movement and thus discouraged labour unions’ intervention in industries and business houses; syndicate system in public transportation was discouraged; INGOs as well as foreign missions’ activities were closely monitored; the agriculture sector and import substituting and export oriented industries/businessmen were encouraged by rewarding them with bonus and incentives on the basis of quantity of export; civil servicemen were not allowed to run organizations or to become member of any organization and corruption, so far, was not at the zero level, but not rampant like these days.
Today, the present government led by Oli is following the same path. The other day, the Education Minister announced for introducing a new education plan focusing on vocational education; the Home Minister has expressed commitment to maintain law and order in every sector. Likewise, he has expressed commitment to end syndicate system in public transportation and he has already initiated a move to the misuse of low level police personnel being used as domestic help; PM Oli has given special priority to increase production of agro-products; he is assuring investors that the government is going to develop a peaceful environment in running industries; he has urged for direct foreign investment saying that there is a very sound environment for investment in Nepal; the government has issued a strict directives for the civil servicemen; the leaders are saying that teachers cannot be associated with any of the political parties and they cannot do politics.
However, during the Panchayat days, the then banned political parties had used the very sectors for agitation. The new education system was opposed by the political parties and finally, that was scrapped. The then banned political parties had mobilized students, teachers labourers, civil servicemen, public transport operators against the Panchayat system. These forces were the real strength of the political parties while launching agitation and organizing strikes.
The political parties, to achieve their goal, had used these groups. Finally, when they came to power, they have realized that these over politicized organs are the main hurdle for development. What were the goals of the political parties and their struggle, today, I am confused as all the political leaders’ main agenda was to grab power and to rule the country to earn money.
We fought against each other for decades. Even after the demise of the Panchayat system, we witnessed bloody Maoist war and we destroyed the development structure by pushing the nation decades back.
To recall, although Nepal was a less developed country, during the Panchayat days, her economy was stronger as compared with today’s national economy. Trade deficit was nominal, whereas balance of payment was positive which are seriously negative and at an alarming stage now.
Talking about governance, it was far better during the Panchyat era than now. The level of comialmission and corruption is at an alarming stage and also beyond the control of the government. Commission mafias seem stronger than the government. Bureaucracy has been totally destroyed and there cannot be any significant improvement overnight.
In real term, what have the Nepali people achieved from this so-called democracy except that the commoners are always deprived and exploited. By dethroning one king, we are seeing many kings. The nation is already in a non-functional situation. For example, the finance ministry is compelled to downsize its budget as it was unable to manage funding source. To conclude, the present system is just for the leaders, of the leaders and by the leaders, no more than that.

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