Nepal’s top three challenges: Deputy PM Thapa has a list

Kamal thapa_840

The country has entered into a new phase with the promulgation of the constitution. I believe the future not only holds a lot of opportunities, but also a plethora of challenges. There are three challenges that we need to deal with, that too with urgency.

The first challenge

In course of 240 years, we as a nation have seen many ups and downs. We faced different challenges. But we never heard voices that wanted to split to the country. But now, there are a bunch of people, who have opened organisations to do just that. Who is behind them has become a matter of speculation. This could be a crucial challenge for us, looking at things from the nationalistic perspective.

The second challenge (many may not have noticed it) and I repeat, is the attack on Nepal’s traditional religious and cultural values. Due to this, our society is smoldering from the inside. This could turn to a wildfire that could threaten the country’s religious and cultural harmony. This threat is more imminent than many of us think.

The third challenge is related to good governance and economic development. More than four million Nepali youths have gone abroad in search of work; we need to create an environment in which they can come home and earn a living.

There’s no need to run to the jungle, or to picket the border

There still are people, who are not satisfied with the constitution, and there are those who are still on agitation. This is only natural in a democracy.

Though our new constitution has not recognised many things we would have liked it to, we should concede that it has incorporated values that constitutions around the world have adopted.

When it comes to the question of proportional inclusiveness, you all know what my stance is. I say this constitution is progressive on both the issues.

A few months ago when I was in India, the Congress’ Sonia Gandhi was saying in Parliament that the Indian legislature should set aside 33 per cent seats for women. India is considered the largest democracy in the world. In a country, which has exercised democracy for 60 years, they are talking about 33 per cent reservation only now!

Our constitution has already guaranteed 33 per cent seats for women. In case of local government, the number goes up to 40 per cent. This is unheard of in any part of the world. The constitution has also made representation of Dalits and indigenous people mandatory.

Although we may disagree with certain provisions of the constitution, there is no need to take up arms again nor picket the border.

If you believe in the supremacy of the people, there are ample opportunities for you to win support of the people and bring changes you want to bring. That is why I believe that despite the challenges, the promulgation of the constitution has led the country into a new era.

(Translated excerpts from a recent speech)

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