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   Unleashing Nepal
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
09 Dec 2009

A nation in the making

Unleashing Nepal is a revealing narrative on a country that has rarely been seen beyond a tourism destination by most middle-class Indians. That it is land-locked country strategically located between two traditional enemies - India and China - is beyond the imagination of those for whom the images of the ubiquitous chowkidar and the glamorous Manisha Koirala complete the Nepalese picture. Neither was any conscious effort made to alter that picture.

Sujeev Sakhya, a business executive with societal conscience, attempts to re-write the past by tracing nearly 300-year old history of the country which, many believe, is still in the making. Successive rulers focused on 'Kathmandu centricism' as a deliberate attempt to keep the masses impoverished. It made the then mountain kingdom a development aid destination. Nepal's economy remains precariously dependant on remittance and aid.

The development industry in Nepal is estimated to account for 10 per cent of the national GDP, compared to the 3 per cent contribution of tourism and 7 per cent contribution of manufacturing. Sakhya argues that the new government must realize, understand and believe in ensuring and protecting economic freedom as a non-negotiable. Reforms in financial sector must run concurrent with land and tax reforms in fuelling a vibrant economy. Without doubt, the Nepali youth have global aspirations even when the capital city contends with darkness on account of consistent power failures. Sakhya hopes that the constituent assembly that is drafting the country's constitution will pull the country out of the dark, literally and figuratively.

Unleashing Nepal
By Sujeev Shakya, Penguin Books, Delhi, 258 pages, Rs. 299

 Other books reviewed by Dr Sudhirendar Sharma
Features > Book Shelf
Spoiling Tibet
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

A Journey in the Future of Water
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Yamuna Manifesto
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

Lead View
People, Partition and the Pain
By Rina Mukherji
15 Aug 2013

Dr Jayanti Basu's book analyzes the complex feelings of hatred and longing for the homeland that have contributed to shaping the personalities of a generation of people who were forced to ..
Book Shelf

Yamuna Manifesto

A Journey in the Future of Water

Spoiling Tibet

On Western Terrorism
Devinder Sharma
Carmen Miranda
Pandurang Hegde
Sudhirendar Sharma
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