Nepal is at a crossroads. It is essential that all Nepalese come together now to put Nepal on the right course. Whether living abroad or at home, Nepalese need to speak out with one voice for a resolution to the stalled restoration of a functional, full democracy and bringing about a better life for all. Everyone needs to focus on economic development and save ideological battles for another time. Nepal should dedicate itself to becoming one of the most developed countries in South Asia with an economic development plan that calls for and hard work and merits funding by the both the public and private sectors, international and Nepalese.
My vision for Nepal is inclusive and based on democratic values. Policies must be equitable and sustainable so that everyone will feel served regardless of religion, gender, sexual orientation, or caste. All the people should have their voices heard and leaders must be held accountable for their actions.
To realize this vision, I believe that the following have to be in place. This is not to imply a lack of anything I mention, but just a reiteration of my conviction in this regard.
The new government should be based on democratic values and norms at all levels to earn the consent of the governed. There should be a national government on matters that affect the whole nation and international affairs and local governments, more responsive to the needs of their constituents, which will protect their people from overreaching by the national government. Government needs to promote law and order and enforce the rule of law consistently according to a strict code of conduct and following standard operating procedures regardless of who is in power. All must work on nation building rather than party building. Corruption should not be tolerated.
There should be constitution guaranteeing people universal human rights. These include freedom of speech, the press, assembly, religion as well as the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the right against self-incrimination and the right to humane punishment if convicted. There should be an unshakeable commitment to provide basic needs such as clean air, water and electricity, food, shelter, and health care.
In order to understand Nepalâ€™s present conditions better I recently undertook a two-month tour of Nepal and visited with many different people both in and outside of Kathmandu. My interactions with them led to the following observations, realizations and expectations of what the future of Nepal could be like. These are purely personal and not necessarily comprehensive.
Nepalese all over the world must be mobilized to help and their combined resources and expertise utilized properly to develop Nepal. This includes the orderly phase out of the vast numbers engaged in migrant labor by creating jobs and opportunities for them within the country.
Nepalâ€™s farmers have the potential to be much more productive and continued widespread sharing of agricultural knowledge and improved irrigation, leading to diversification of crops, and better use of pesticides and fertilizers can lead to increased productivity which will allow them to meet basic needs for food crops, and produce cash crops to augment their income.
An improved countrywide transportation infrastructure will be essential. Development of rail links throughout the country and with neighbors, development of “port” facilities for goods to be loaded onto rail cars and increased capacity of airports, facilitating travel and trade, are some examples.
It will be necessary to build new and strengthen existing schools and universities, providing universal access to the best possible education. Focus on the creation of a skilled workforce for manufacturing, information technology, and other modern industries such as green energy.
Nepal has to find a way fuller and more rapid development of her hydro resources, providing widespread access to safe drinking water increased irrigation and enhanced exploitation of hydroelectric potential.
Nepalâ€™s natural environment is one of its greatest resources and it must be judiciously exploited to help the advancement of the country. Tourism, mountaineering and related activities should be increased; kept within sustainable levels and the protection and maintenance of national parks and wildlife reserves must remain high priorities.
There must be a commitment to provide more hospitals and health clinics for people, even in the remotest areas, to have access to quality health care. There has to be an incentive structure designed to attract medical professionals to serve in remote areas.
The country must pursue economic policies designed to increase international trade and encourage foreign investment while keeping inflation rates and unemployment low. Promote an economy where well-educated and creative people can expand the economy through innovation. Strengthen financial institutions and implement a progressive tax structure to allow as many people as possible to live the lifestyle they choose and reward innovators for investments that improve the quality of life.
Eliminate corruption through regulations, oversight and strict enforcement.
Nepal must work with foreign governments to rescue Nepalese women victims of human trafficking and to protect Nepalese citizens from exploitation while they are abroad. Children should be shielded from labor to focus on education. People must be freed of long-term obligations that might lead to human trafficking or exploitation.
Nepal must not allow foreign nations or multinational corporations to interfere with internal affairs and some review of international treaties need to be in order.
In conclusion, a lack of visionary leadership and internal political fighting has led to the condition Nepal is in today. It is disheartening to see the condition of Nepal and that of the overlooked Nepalese people. The time has come for Nepalese to find a visionary leader (inside or outside Nepal) to lead the country back. Now is the time for Nepalese to decide their own fate and that of their country. This is not a time to sit back passively and allow events to unfold in front of their eyes but to take actions, demand change and take part in mobilizing and building the movement for change. Ultimately, I believe, anything is possible and any goal is attainable. Now is the time to say enough is enough, and strive for a better, truly New, Nepal.
Darshan Rauniyar is the first Nepalese to run for the United States of America House of Representative in Washington Stateâ€™s 1st Congressional district in 2012.
He is a business professional who earned his Masters of Business Administration from Portland State University and his Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering from the Oregon Institute of Technology, USA. He had a successful ten-year career working for high tech companies and has held various senior level positions in management, marketing, sales and engineering, overseeing business enterprises worldwide. He is an entrepreneur and a self-made businessman.