The Contemporary Definition of Development

Subodh Raj Pyakurel

The world is in currently in an economic and strategic crisis. The ongoing conflict between countries with great powers has created a  tense situation. Ukraine, which supplies up to 40 percent of the world’s wheat, soybeans, sunflowers, pulses, and oilseeds, is at war with Russia. Russia, which accounts for 40 percent of the petroleum and gas supplies, that Europe relies on, is under international embargo. Millions of tons of food and petroleum are stagnant in Ukraine and Russia, leading to hunger and severe economic crisis in underdeveloped African and Asian countries.

Europe itself is in the grip of high prices and inflation. Millions of people have resorted to protesting in the streets.

In India, the neighboring country, the inflation rate has increased to 2 digits. Bangladesh has started closing the market after 8 pm. It has become common knowledge that Pakistan is struggling to recover its debt while Sri Lanka is bankrupt. Discussing countries Nepal as a nation imports all the goods. Since the balance of import, export, and payment is 78 percent low, we are meeting more than one-third of the foreign currency requirement through remittance. During this period it is the main responsibility of the state to protect the citizens who are under the influence of multifaceted poverty and under the poverty line. Since cultural and gender discrimination is prevalent within the country, the State has an additional responsibility to protect citizens.

Out of all the fundamental rights and sustainable economic development goals that are guaranteed by the Constitution of Nepal, it is challenging to address 30 rights addressing poverty, nutrition, health, clean drinking water, decent employment, human settlement, education along with infrastructural development. It is the responsibility of the state to protect citizens in crisis. According to experts, the severe effects of the current economic crisis will manifest by 2025. The ratification of the effects, through necessary measures, is gradually possible only after 2030. Our lack of internal production exists codependently with inefficient manpower and incompetent public administration. In addition to that but we lack a structured political leadership to generate a possible solution to the existing problem. We are in a state of social and eco-political conflict.

Following this trend, the government in order to attract foreign investment and currency has started to issue licenses with discounts on tax revenues to automobile industries that import their production materials. However, there has been a minimal study on the pressure exerted on foreign currency, if such industries withdraw their investment. There is a lack of provision aimed at a gradual increase in the use of internal raw materials and human resources. This act of hoarding foreign currency without looking for a practical alternative shows a lack of farsightedness. It is crucial to formulate short-term and medium-term plans to tackle the existing problems. However, the existing political parties would rather indulge in demeaning each other to advance their own electoral agenda than focus on the current crisis. The parliament hasn’t been able to take effective decisions for the interest of the people but instead has been prioritizing the party agenda.

The public administration, whose primary responsibility is the implementation of government decisions, is highly influenced by power and greed. The existing irresolute legislation and procedural laws enable this situation. Procedural laws including regulatory audits and responsibility accountability procedures are more focused on formalities than procedures. Nepal attained democracy in B.S 2007 which gave way to multi-party democracy in B.S 2046. Finally, Nepal became a republic country in B.S 2064. According to the constitution, we are the sovereign citizens of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. However, this civil supremacy that was attained hasn’t manifested into practice yet. The existing system of public administration which was adopted to maintain an autocratic dictatorship, during the Rana and Panchayat period, hasn’t evolved to accommodate the existing governance in Nepal.

Public administration, prisons, and courts are mirrors of government. When such institutions treat citizens like criminals, it results in a lack of trust in the government. With a lack of faith in the system, the youth manpower chooses to migrate to other countries. On a positive note, there is a silver lining to everything. People have started to raise their voices against the traditional way of governance worldwide. In America and Europe, large-scale demonstrations are being held against the government regarding the existing crisis. In Nepal, people have started to realize the importance of building a self-sufficient economy.

People’s anger against government interference is increasing. Nepali politics is being pressured to address the goal of building self-reliant, conscious, dignified, and organized citizens. This is reflected in the local body election along with the increase in the number of independent candidates for the upcoming provincial and federal elections. It is said that democracy is the only system that cures its own diseases. Parties, civil society, the intellectual sector, and the entire state body should embrace that thought. This allows them to ground themselves against the flow of time.

Global economic politics strengthens itself by building a citizen-led public structure for the implementation of human rights and related global sustainable development goals for international solidarity. I believe this to be the contemporary definition of development.