BY SHAMBHU RAM JOSHI
While going through the preamble of the new constitution of the country, it has been clearly stated that the present system is for achieving socialism. However, political leaders either belonging to the ruling or other parties, are confused on the definition of socialism!
People had expected better economic policies and programs mainly directed towards public welfare and economic self-reliance along with new employment opportunity after appointment of Dr. Yuva Raj Khatiwada as the Finance Minister. The present economic policy will not help achieving the goals set by the constitution, neither, it will make Nepal prosperous and Nepali happy.
There are doubts that the provisions made in the new budget will make better the economic condition of this poor country. Economic prosperity is not possible without adopting the policy of economic self-reliance.
Economic self-reliance, one of the basic norms of socialist economic system, will provide us the true solution of various economic problems which we are being faced by the country at present. But there is absence of such a policy, although, Khatiwada has claimed for making the country self-reliant. We question, how is it possible?
It is clear that the policy of self-reliance and free trade cannot move together in Nepal like small country. Even if we go through the economic history of the developed countries, such as the US, South Korea, United Kingdom, among others, these countries had protected their home industries and economic self-reliance was major part of their policy in the beginning of their economic progress. Everyone knows that Nepal was self-reliant in many goods during the Panchayat regime. We have seen perversion and downfall of the economy since the country has adopted free economy. Unless and until removing free economy policy by protecting national industries/products, self-reliance in any commodity is impossible for Nepal.
Basic model of the socialist system is to establish economic equality. But the government dependency on various types of indirect taxes – considered as regressive in nature — and exemption of income tax to high income earners will further widen existing economic inequality.
The nexus between criminals and politicians and politicization of crimes or criminalization of politics are the examples of absence of rule of law. Political leaders and bureaucrats are involved in rampant corruption and giving impunity to the culprits. Is socialism possible without presence of rule of law?
In a socialist system, basic health care and education facilities are provided by the government. But at present the government is showing its keen interest in promoting private sectors to open private hospitals and medical colleges along with other academic institutions.
In practice, the government is showing less interest in following the socialist norms and interest on public welfare. One should not forget the fact that many socialist norms were into practice during the Panchayat regime. Contrary to that, those leaders, who were said to be fighting against poverty are spending luxurious lifestyle today making poor further poorer. Do they have moral right to call the monarchs of Nepal as feudal? Is not there the rise of many new feudal now? In such a manner, how can the people expect that their future will become better in the days to come?
Where has the socialist norms gone?
BY SHAMBHU RAM JOSHI