The first government of the Republic of Nepal is now set to implement its ambitious policies and programs after they are passed by the legislature parliament. The implementation of the policies and programs and its results will not only determine the future of Nepal but will play a vital role for the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist),who is now leading the government.
The government presented its policies and programs in less than a month after the Maoist Chairman was elected as the Prime Minister. President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav read it out in the Constituent Assembly meeting on 10 September. Despite the amendment proposal floated by various parties, including the Nepali Congress, the Legislature-Parliament endorsed it with overwhelming majority.
The document had stated that the major responsibility of the government is to guide the socio-economic transformation process toward a progressive direction by taking the peace-process to a logical end: “It is the Government’s primary responsibility to help in the process of writing the Federal Democratic constitution within the stipulated timeline, in keeping with the peoples’ mandate together with bringing the on-going peace process to a logical conclusion and taking the socio-economic transformation process to a progressive direction. The Government of Nepal is quite aware and conscious towards this end. The present Government is expectant of the active co-operation, participation and support of all the honourable members, political parties, intellectuals, professional organizations/institutions, civil society, Nepalese sisters and brothers of a wider spectrum, levels/groups, class, gender to realise this common responsibility with ease and felicity.”
The government has vowed to pay special attention to relief, rehabilitation and better care of family member of the martyrs of the People’s war, the People’s Movement and Madhesh movement. Likewise, the document has stated to honour the Martyrs and the injured, and special attention be paid for treatment of the injured. For all these factors, the government is setting up various commissions, including one to investigate the cases of the disappeared people.
The document says that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will be integrated within six months, according to Comprehensive Peace Accord and the Interim Constitution. Some Parties including the NC have repeatedly opposed the integration of PLA and the Nepal Army into a National Army, but the coalition government has reiterated its commitment for it.
The document also contains several ambitious plans for the economic and infrastructure development. Declaring the coming decade a ‘decade of economic revolution’ the government has promised to run a hydro-power development campaign. Through this way, the government aims to generate 10 thousands Mega Watts of electricity in ten years time. In this way every household in Nepal will have electricity within that time.
Likewise, the government will initiate the construction of fast track road that will link Kathmandu with the Terai. The survey for an electric railway from Tibet to Chitwan via Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lumbini, and from east to west will be pushed forwarded. All the headquarters will be linked with roads in two years time. The government document says that all the Nepali people will have clean drinking water in five years time.
The document has clarified that the role of government and the private sector co-operation will be re-defined for the benefit of the people and public-private partnership will be implemented. The government will encourage co-operatives. The document explains the government policy in the following way:
Work will be initiated to develop cooperatives as a strong movement so as to make it a hub for the development of areas such as employment, income generation, poverty reduction as well as the modernization of welfare-oriented and cottage and small scale industries, forest, agriculture etc; to make it competitive with the private sector. In this regard, the existing organization structure, policies and working system of the cooperative sector will be reviewed. In this process, a High Level Cooperative Board headed by the Prime Minister will be formed to promote the growth of the cooperative sector in a coordinated manner.
Likewise the government will establish a ‘high level investment board headed by the Prime Minister “to make available the facilities to be provided to the industries in a co-ordinated way by introducing necessary reforms in the policy, laws, institutions and the procedures so as to simplify the process of industry establishment and create investment-friendly environment.”
Taking the agriculture as the mainstay of the rural economy, the government: ‘will give attention to bring about changes in production relations, increase irrigation facilities and extension of improved and appropriate technology so as to increase agricultural productivity.’ The government has vowed ‘to make available fallow public land to the landless, the freed bonded-labours (Haliya, Kamaiya) for joint and cooperative farming. Special attention will be given to promote skill development, employment and accommodation facility to these groups by making arrangements for the necessary resources.”
The government will provide free education at the school level. It will give emphasis to technical education to develop skilled manpower. The document has clarified to keep the policy to provide education through open schools and open universities.
The government has also promised to review treaties and agreements concluded with various friendly countries in the past that are inconsistent with the national interest, and they will be redrawn on the basis of mutual benefit and equality.
On September 14, PM Prachanda clarified a question raised by lawmakers, and said that the country cannot remain static by following the parliamentary system. He further said ‘all the multi-party systems in the world are not parliamentary democracies.”
He informed the legislature parliament that the government would introduce ration-cards to provide relief for the poor through the budget. He also clarified that the government would adopt land reform policies based on national welfare for the benefit of the people from lower classes and to establish the farmers’ right to the land.
While the document contains a lot of positive factors, some plans seem to be ambitious to accomplish in its stipulated time. Making all the citizens literate within two years is one of them. It seems like a joke which overshadows other serious matters. Likewise, generating 10 thousands Mega Watts of electricity also seems over-ambitious. Moreover, linking all the district headquarters with serviceable roads within two years will be hard to do.
It is clear that this document is a common expression of the coalition government. The government has the major task of writing a new constitution, but this shouldn’t hamper the mission of restructuring the state and establishing people’s rule. People had expected a more revolutionary and clear-cut policy and program in favour of the oppressed people from Maoist-led government. As the document had to take on board the plans and policies of the CPN UML and the MJF as well as other small parties, it has been a cause of disillusionment in some contexts. The policy of creating a harmonious environment between investors and workers, returning the land of big feudal occupied by landless may create confusion for the oppressed people. The Maoist leaders will have to work hard to convince the people that they stand on side of the poor and oppressed people, as they did in the past.