Nepal in 21st Century!
– Bikram Nembang, M.E
Today Nepal is in search for “a strong leader and strong parliament”. For the past two decades Nepal is in experience with the constant political turmoil and instability. Citizens are exhausted and have no additional solidarity for the ongoing state of affairs in Nepal. As a result every citizen admits a need for a new political reform. Today in know-how situation shows that intervention to chief (leader) from the political parties be it representing or opposition is extremely predictable, which must be diminished completely.The new reform should much grant a chief sovereign to create his/her own governmental body and while MPs should maintain their seats only for modernizing the law legislation of the country with an effective multi-party system with about 3-5 political parties representing various points of view. A new political system could be based upon a center-right party and a center-left one. The first could be supported by business – big and mid-sized, and large part of the middle class working in private economic sector. The second backed by traditional businesses – including agriculture, farmers and the elderly. Regional governors of the state as well should be elected in direct suffrage, as it is in the developing countries. But beside political issues today Nepalese people and leaders must instantaneously become conscious of the need for modernizing our various structures, such as market economy, industries, law enforcement, police structure etc, if we want to preserve certain positions in this world, be a respected country or a country whose opinion is taken into account in 21st century.
Today the foremost key dilemma of our country is the need for development of the “innovative economy” and to work out ways of tackling it. Therefore the main focus must be in the development of the venture investment market .It is obligatory in this modern time to push reforms for finally moving to innovative from primitive resource-oriented economy. But this change cannot happen overnight. The equation of today’s problem would simply be resolved, if initiative is prearranged by our leaders to persuade investors for a business although Nepal has no guarantee in terms of investment security. A secure political life is one of the crucial factors for investment security. But beside secure political life, there are other factors as well to proceed such as: the advance law implementation, the development of the system of expertise and other services, the efficient use of grants, developing local financial market as well as creating an attractive climate for foreign investment and, finally it is necessary to organizethe non-stop and well-coordinated work of all the links of the innovative chain.
Therefore for an innovative economy it is necessary #1 to develop the system of expert evaluation as well as the whole range of consulting services including legal, information and accounting. #2 expand the fields financed by the Fund for Small Business Support using the mechanisms of grant and repayment financing. #3 essential to actively attract foreign investments, and in the same time develop the domestic financial market and create such conditions that allow the capital attracted to stay in Nepali companies, irrespective of circumstances on the international markets. Finally the flow of non-stop operation of all the links of the innovative chain and co-ordination of development institutions. We must set the task of creating a green corridor for high-tech companies. It is time to create a single information base for such projects and a kind of a logistics system for innovative projects.
Secondly the most essential reform required is the “Modernization of Police structure”. The reform is necessary first of all to lower the general level of corruption not only in the police structure, but in the entire law enforcement system. We need to make sure that this entire complex of institutions serves people. Today there is a challenge to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to win back the belief of the people, because the main mission of police is to assist citizens all the time in need, rather people complain about their (police) actions. Everybody understands that the quality of police work is very poor and that a reform is needed instantly, this is the key factor. There is an understanding among officers, the authorities, the experts, and in the community. Therefore this understanding is necessary to have reflection in our leaders as well. Today there are lot of substances that need to be reformed in our police structure.
Such as; “create telephone numbers of organizations”, where people in need can apply and report their rights violation. This system could facilitate all the population to be aware and ready to act, when civilian experiences a police illegal act in any part of the country. Therefore a new call-center service (a unified hotline) for citizens to voice their complaints over illegal police actions, negligence, and violation of human rights shall be created. But it is equally important for our leaders to instruct the government to work very efficiently on this issue. Such services should be free of charge and should be possible to call the center from any part of Nepal for free. The main point of the idea must be to create the call-center to build up law and order within the police. Although there can be some negative sides in what relates to carrying out an investigation because there might be a possibility that a suspect would use the right to call to cover up the crime. And reform as “a clause obliging policemen to inform suspects on their rights” shall be included in the draft law and implemented in practice as well. This regulation is used in developing countries like in the US known as the Miranda warning. For Nepalese it has so far been just an attribute of Hollywood movies. So while submitting the ideas on the draft, Nepalese policemen should also read detainees their constitutional rights and explain what they can act under the law. On one hand, this practice may seem to be pure formality which gives nothing, but on the other hand it provides reasonable judicial effect. I believe it is possible to include the regulation into the law on the police, because It would not create too much trouble for a policeman and it won’t harm a detainee to hear [one’s rights] once again.
Today we, Nepalese have lost much respect to the police over the years. The trust to the police has become tragically very low. People couldn’t have thought about today’s levels of corruption. Things have taken in such a turn, that criminal groups are capable of blackmailing the police staff and pressure them not to file criminal lawsuits. The criminal groups understand that the Ministry has a discord and no corporate spirit to fight against them, and in experience an Interior Ministry employees are being threatened for the action if taken against the criminals. So today there is a need of advance and strong police structure and the first step shall be to get rid of corrupted groups within an internal police structure. Besides there are numbers of honest personals in police department too. The corrupted officials must be segregated and punished under the country’s law order and in this circumstance, the honest and brave officers may perhaps risk their lives on the battle so called war on corruption and crime, but foremost the initiative and desire of implementing such challenging assignment has to stir through our leaders. Once if there is an input, police are able to carry out the anticorruption and anticrime reform. As I said it is not only about police, but prosecutor’s office, the courts and all authorities in Nepal are failing. It is a failure of the entire law enforcement system. And according to specialist one of the main source for judicial errors lies in the classification of crimes, where very often a person he/she dedicated to an administrative offence is held criminally liable, and this note must be taken into account very seriously. The Nepalese penal system has not been subjected to reforms for several decades and has considerable drawback. Therefore judicial system of the country has to be changed and needs more order in other words modernized as well.
The third essential necessity Nepal needs is “Modernization of Industries”. Nepal should keep goal that it must pass over to the next stage of civilization and to the next stage of technological development. Our economy should above all be based on our intellectuality, our knowledge and ability to invent new technologies. This is a matter of political influence, because no weapons in the contemporary world, no powerful army can replace essential products, in the broad sense of this word, which people use in everyday life.
Today all the products around us, which we use are by and large not made or invented in Nepal. I would repeat again that you do not have to read books or present lofty arguments to understand this. Just look around, look in your pockets. What kind of cell phone do you have? What kind of car do you ride? and what household appliances do you use, etc? Then you will understand a lot. This is a question of political influence which is disclosed in full measure in this capacity and achieves maximum effect. Those, who possess unique knowledge will hold dominating positions in technology and always be the leaders in 21st century.
I do not think that this is the last task for Nepal but apart from that, there are very simple things, which we should understand almost literally. A higher level of technological development is a must. If the labor productivity is high, then society is rich. We have to be aware that the living standards depend on the level of technological development in the first place. What was impossible a hundred years ago is possible today. The thing is not in some kind of political transformations, although they also play their role, but the thing is we must start applying modern technologies in a trite way. Consequently you may calculate: the higher the yield, the more money earned, and more money means that not only businessmen, but also farmers, agricultural, engineers and all those who are involved in the work shall have higher earnings.
In our everyday life we tend to forget and somehow escapes from our mind that, if we do not maintain our industry at a fairly high level of technological development, we will start degrading and get poorer. All the previous decades have shown us the abilities of an economy based exclusively on the extraction of raw materials. But what was our achievement? We should try by ourselves to become the driving force of economic development. We should be a country that re-launches its economy and of which everybody expects growth. That’s a dream we all want, but let us get down to earth once again. This is above all, leaders and as well as of society’s task, because I am absolutely sure that a raw-material economy is unable to elementarily feed this country in a long-term perspective. We cannot proceed from the fact that we are going to survive on a primitive way, as I have already said, approach – sell raw materials and buy various products for another hundred years. I am sure that the economy of raw materials has exhausted its abilities to improve the well-being of our citizens. We are not rich, but a small country with a large population. Today we have a very small and aged infrastructure. Besides we should also bear in mind, which we are in between the two giant powerful countries. Our daily expenses are getting higher and higher with today’s modern goods and technology. Our untouched water resources and raw materials are not capable to feed our population. Therefore, we should learn to earn money with our brains. And, in my view, what we have in our heads is far more expensive and profitable, than what we have in our soil, because head is the main natural resource of Nepal and its people. We are very talented, but neglected and underestimated by ourselves. As once our nation’s legend Araniko is known to the world for his architect capability, today the time has come for all of us to follow the same path for higher achievements in all sphere. That is why we should start modernizing our country today and not a day later; we can no longer put off the project. Our task is to enter a new stage of civilization. Our task is to build a new Nepal with a new economy.
To achieve these goals the best conditions should be created for the intellectuals. We must be able to inject the new creative energy and raise it to a new level among the people on whom the future of our economy depends. And who are they? They are engineers, inventors and scientists. I personally think that they are the number one professions for Nepal. We have enough lawyers and degree holders to represent the other professions, but it is the engineer, inventors, and scientist who will bring a country forward in the first place in terms of innovation. Thus we need a certain type of a system in which they feel comfortable to work and primarily we need the investors, businessmen support and help (financial) for applying technological achievements in practical life. So it is very important to have effective independent research centers be in school or in universities, which shall be financed by both government and the private sector as well.
After all do we want to be inventors or not? Do we want to continue obtaining things from others or do we want to invent them by ourselves? I think that an invention should be taken to the first leading positions in the country. And a social environment is also a very important factor. The arrangement and environment to me would be like, when a young man, a young scientist looks around and could say: yes this is the best place of all. This is the most modern and comfortable place to work. Today innovation is something which is far from us but possibly exist and that depends a lot on the spirit of innovation from our own society. If any individual who sees a problem wants to solve it instead of thinking that someone else could solve it for him or if he sees a certain thing and wants to improve it, this is what an innovative economy is about. This is not an economy of miracles, not an economy of some fundamental knowledge or some outer space never-before-seen truths – this is everyday life. The improvement of a pen and the improvement of shoes – all this is innovative economy. Millions of men and women around the world are working on it. If we don’t have this spirit, a desire to improve life around us, no innovative economy will emerge, and no prosperity of our country shall exist in this 21 Century and this is a clue to it, this is path we must drive from today to follow and make it all possible and those in power for their part should support and cultivate such qualities inside our society.