Nepal and Development: what’s in between?

RASHI MAHARJAN, Daayitwa-Worldlink Fellow 2022

The citizens of Nepal are too quick to repulse the government for any kind of inconvenience that arises; for problems like poor infrastructure, bad governance, peaking inflation, inaction amidst the pandemic and the list goes on. However, there are grave problems that keep lingering around and it needs to be addressed. Sadly, we are too comfortable with the idea of staying silent and ‘resilient’. Understandably so, there might be numerous reasons behind this silence. For instance, we are used to seeing the same problems that have been surfacing around for decades now and we have attached perpetuity to them, sick and tired of the duplicity of the government officials. On the other hand, it might also be that our frustration as citizens has simply turned into indifference, because when has one person ever changed anything? Whatever the reason might be for our silence, one thing is certain: we need to break this silence to see the changes that we want to see because if we don’t, this government will read us as passive observers or voyeurs enjoying their dirty politics. Knowing this, we as the citizens of Nepal need to break this ‘resilient’ tag and send constant reminders to the officials whose job it is to hear us. 

Bad Governance

Paul Collier, a British Economist, in his book called ‘The Bottom Billion’ identifies four ‘developmental traps’ that a developing nation faces. Bad governance is one of them. A very recent example of this issue is the MCC fiasco that shed light on the unreliability and duplicity of our political leaders. The coalition parties used this compact as a means to fulfill their separate agendas and clauses to endorse it. The fact that the politicians instigated a conspiracy against a compact that was proposed by the very government they work for in coordination with the private sector as a prerequisite to apply for this grant, is ludicrous.  It appears as if the leaders have forgotten that they are to be held accountable for every action they take. The leader of the CPN (Moist Centre), Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who emerged as the orchestrator of the student-led protests heavily opposing the compact, is apparently “Happy that Nepal has saved itself from an accident” stating that whatever he did was necessary in order to ratify the interpretive declaration of the compact which many observers say does not change significantly from the original version of the document. Dahal changed sides rather easily here and nobody, citizens and politicians alike, is asking him one simple question: What would he do if the protests he instigated had escalated into a bloody one. How would he ensure that there would be no casualty? It is safe to conclude that our politicians have nothing to do with the MCC compact that will aid the economic growth and infrastructure development when they gave a green signal to the protestors to damage somewhat of a functioning infrastructure that we have in front of the parliament building.

Depopulation and Overpopulation 

The preliminary data of the national census of 2021 depicts the future at hand. The data shows that more than half of the population lives in Tarai. The reason is proper access to opportunities and infrastructure. However, it is only a matter of time before the cities in Tarai turn into Kathmandu, populated and polluted. What adds more to this concern is that among our three ecologically divided regions, Tarai makes up the least area covered, hence, it should be an alarming issue for the policymakers to shift their attention before the situation worsens. It is a simple understanding that wherever there is a dense population, facilities follow; Hospitals, trading centers, and businesses establish where there is high demand. Unfortunately, we see no policies that are aimed toward stopping the population from migrating towards urban cities for the lack of facilities in their hometown. As long as this problem is not tackled, we can get used to the traffic jams, pollution, unmanaged waste, and disappearing public spaces in urban areas. 

Apathy for our migrant workers 

It is no secret that Nepal is losing its young manpower to countries abroad, but this problem turns into somewhat of a blessing when the money comes back to the economy in the form of remittance. The money obtained from remittance stimulates the capital formation of the country directly impacting the foreign exchange reserves. Due to Covid-19, the foreign exchange reserve has already faced a steady dip as the tourism sector has been severely hit, this is why the remittance has been a saving grace. Sadly, Nepal has no policy that aids workers abroad to set aside some percentage of their income as a savings back in Nepal. Many unskilled and semi-skilled workers migrate for better opportunities abroad, the government is fairly aware of the treatment they face as low-skilled workers, but it does nothing to ensure that these workers are not facing any kind of discrimination at work. There are numerous instances of tragedies that we read on a daily basis, but when has our government pledged to a proper investigation and given hope to the rest of the workers who fear a similar fate? How is it possible that we expect these workers to come back to Nepal when they are aware of the fact that the government is only interested in the money they inject into the economy? The government needs to create an opportunity and ensure its citizens that it is not going to tolerate misconduct of any sort to its citizens abroad. Surely, once migrated, people do not want to return to a country where sweat and tears barely make a living, but showing some love to its citizens abroad and strictly ensuring their safety wouldn’t hurt. 

Contextual Policy Making 

Kathmandu, along with other urban cities in Nepal is undoubtedly the education hub for students, where they are met with a wide variety of fields to study. Unfortunately, there is no one who is assessing career opportunities available to students in the villages. It is safe to say that after SEE, the students have to leave their village in order to pursue higher studies because an amount as small as Rs. 50,000 cannot be allocated from the government side to hire a commerce teacher in a government school located in Tanahun. It is time the government started addressing issues that each village faces rather than implementing a ‘one size fits all policy. Once implemented on a national level, the policies should be then assessed and scrutinized according to the needs of the rural sectors where policy implementation never takes place. Similarly, there is a need to study the rural areas of Nepal in depth as there are ample opportunities that can shape the lives of the people and the nation as a whole. 


Collier, P. (2008). The bottom billion. Oxford University Press.

National Census 2021, retrieved from

Federalism in Nepal: Issues and Challenges retrieved from

Experts urge providing incentives to remittance senders to use banks retrieved from


For An Enterprising Nepal