By PR Pradhan
The nation has witnessed a big political change. A Hindu kingdom has been transformed into a secular, federal republic. Will this federalism, secularism and republicanism make the nation prosperous, it is still doubtful.
Recently the Office of the Auditor General made public an alarming report of mal-governance and corruption taking place in the government offices and government undertakings. Meanwhile, 50 former senior officials including former ministers have received clean chits from the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA). They were accused of earning huge property without showing any source. They are: minister Girirajmani Pokhrel, prominent leader and former minister Janardan Sharma, former secretary Shanta Bahadur Shrestha, former director general Bhupendra Basnet, then vice chancellor of the Purbanchal University Maheshwarman Shrestha, former MPs Umesh Shrestha, Janardan Dhakal, Baburam Pokhrel, general secretary Baliram Prasad Singh, Indira Dahal Bhattarai, former AIG Rajendra Singh Bhandari, former deans Sitaram Chaudhari, Shibendra Jha, Rastra Bank’s board member Balkrishna Man Singh, registrar of the Purbanchal University Dr Niroj Pandey, senior engineer of the Kathmandu Metropolis Corporation Narendra Raj Shrestha, Ballavmani Gautam, engineer of the Division Road Office Kameshwor Prasad Shah, deputy manager of the Nepal Electricity Authority Anil Bhakta Shrestha, Armed Police DIG Shobhakant Khanal, deputy regional administrator Bed Prasad Kharel, deputy director of CTEVT Debeschandra Devkota and deputy director of the Forest Department Ganesh Jha.
Accordingly, Deepak Acharya, Baburam Marasini, Purnashankar BC, Kamaljung Kunwar, Devkala Bhandari, Koushalkishor Ray, Bamdev Adhikari and Achutraj Pahadi have also gotten clean chits from CIAA. Although, they have received clean chits, one cannot believe that they are really clean. May be, there could be some exceptional political leaders and high-ranking officers in the government who are not involved in corruption or commission taking, otherwise, it is impossible to find politicians and bureaucrats having a clean image. MPs of the then legislative parliament, who had initiated the impeachment motion against the then CIAA chief Lokman Singh Karki, in fact, were facing corruption charges and Karki was preparing to open files of those high-profile political leaders or say “big fishes”. This is the reason that overnight, by collecting fake signatures of the MPs, an impeachment motion was filed against Karki in the then parliament. It is said that if Karki was able to open the corruption files of those high-profile political leaders, those who are in the government today would have been spending their days under police custody or be in jail.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, perhaps, is comparatively but not totally clean, however, he is encircled by those non-clean people and it is doubtful that the performance of the government led by Oli will remain clean! Little hope, PM Oli, time and again, has said that he wants to live a “significant” life than a long life. May be, he doesn’t want to spoil the rest of his life with a damaging image. Therefore, let’s encourage PM Oli to clean the summit of garbage – corruption, commission, mal-governance, nepotism, sycophancy – in the government and society as well. Indeed, this is a Herculean task for him as every sector in the society has already been destroyed.
Political leaders need money to continue their politics. Civil servicemen are little concerned about their service, rather, their first priority is to earn money and secondly, to squeeze allowances, and services from the government. According to a report, besides their salary, the civil servicemen enjoy 22 billion rupees worth allowances and services, including foreign junkets from the government coffer in a year.
We talk about building a “new” Nepal in active association of the same actors of yesteryears, which is impossible. Along with arrival of Singhadurwar in villages, corruption in Kathmandu’s Singhadurwar has reached the village level. Look at the performance of the municipalities and urban municipalities’ newly elected people’s representatives – they are becoming crazy for vehicles rather than providing facilities to their voters.
The Finance Ministry is seeking foreign donation to meet the expenditure that increased after adoption of federalism. When we need foreign money to feed our people’s representatives, will our economy, which is already ruined, sustain itself? The Finance Ministry has already announced that the size of the budget for the new fiscal year is going to be cut down as the Ministry was not able to manage sources for expenditure. Already, our general expenditure is high compared to our development expenditure. Managing 753 local bodies and seven provinces has further increased general expenditure of the government. When general expenditure has been increased without any growth in the economic sector, obviously, our budget for development expenditure will decrease. In such a scenario, how PM Oli’s development dream will come true?