Excerpts

Table of Content

  • Chapter 1
    • Sowing the Rent Seeking Mentality
      (Page 16 last para)
    • The Decline and Fall of the Ranas
      (Page 26 2nd last line)
    • The Decline and Fall of the Ranas
      (page 27 last para)
  • Chapter 2
    • Foreign Aid Begins
      (Page 33 2nd para)
    • Tourism of the 1950s - A Success Story
      (page 45 line 4)
  • Chapter 3
    • 1993-94: Dream Run for the Nepal Economy
      (page 59 2nd para)
    • Labour Woes
      (page 65 1st line)
    • Bandhs Galore: The Business of Closure
      (page 67 line 5 - 19)
  • Chapter 4
    • Give us Protection
      (page 79 line 10)
    • Missing the IT Bus
      (page 84 line 1)
  • Chapter 5
    • Acute Immune Dependency Syndrome
      (page 98 line 4)
    • Imported Bikas and Original Bikas
      (page 113 line 3)
  • Chapter 6
    • Multiparty Democracy, Graft for All
      (page 120 last para)
    • Private Schools and a Foreign Education
      (page 127 line 4)
  • Chapter 7
    • The Psychological Impact of War
      (page 147)
    • The Insurgency: A Great Excuse
      (page 148)
  • Chapter 8
    • Conflict Pushes, Remittance Surges
      (page 160 last para)
    • NRN Dreams and Nepal
      (page 165 last para)
  • Chapter 9
    • The Business of Wealth Creation
      (page 171 line 4)
    • Towards a More Ambitious Private Sector
      (page 177 line 1)
  • Chapter 10
    • Leveraging Agriculture
      (page 199 line 8)
    • Infrastructure Mantra
      (page 209 2nd para)
  • Chapter 11
    • The Importance of a Workable Value System
      (page 220 last para)
    • From Rock Concerts to Global Youth Icons
      (page 227 last para)
  • Chapter 12
    • The Political Border and Economic Border
      (page 234 last para)
    • Brand Nepal
      (page 243 last para)
Part I: The Part till the 1990s

Chapter 1: Isolation, Isolation and Isolation
There is a rich tradition in Nepal which encourages the aristocracy and rich land owners to do nothing but tend to the renting out of their land. Upper caste males of the Brahmin, Chhettri and some Newar castes frowned upon the idea of working. The belief was that work was meant for the lower castes and the only dignified service for those of the upper caste was religious activity (for the Brahmins) or military service (for the Chhettris). The pattern of elite members of society showing an aversion to work, remaining content with doing nothing other than collecting rent and being socially praised for such inactivity, is what I call here the rent-seeking mentality...

Chapter 2: Mixed Economy of the 50s - Confused Results
It is slightly ironic, that a country which had remained isolated and detached from the world for over a century should, upon reentering the world stage, immediately lapse into a state of acute dependency. However, such was the case with Nepal and this dependency only grew with time. The average aid to GDP ratio of a mere 2% in the 1960s grew to around 10% by the 1990s. The government's revenues were perennially lower than its expenditure thereby requiring the government to borrow from aid agencies and obtain grants to meet the gap between revenue and expenditure...

Part II: Present Continuous - 1990 till 2008

Chapter 3: The People's Movement of the 1990: Emergence and Squander
The strategy of closing down the nation or obstructing traffic to make a political statement is perhaps a remnant of the power of the Indian embargo in Nepal. Whatever the cause, the chakka jam and Nepal bandh soon became an integral part of Nepali society. Political parties, labourers, businesses, social workers and even grief stricken family members took to the streets in some form of chakka jam or Nepal bandh the moment their rights were threatened or demands remained unmet. Websites like www.nepalbandh.com started providing advance information on such events, helping people to plan their days of travel and decide whether to keep offices open or shut...

Chapter 4: Disappointing Private Sector
Although several global software companies have explored the potential of Business Process Outsourcing in Nepal, their two major points of concern in entering the Nepali market remain: labour and labour. First, labour in the form of militant labour unions who propagate direct employment by firms and not through outsourcing agencies and the other in the form of a labour force that cannot match the quality of India's digital clerks, due to weak English and a substandard quality of education. With labour unions demanding direct employment by firms, labour was essentially saying that outsourcing would only be a possibility in Nepal if Citibank or Microsoft directly employed the workers here on their payroll...

Chapter 5: The Business of Development
Thus, the concept of development as introduced to the Nepali people was not something they ever identified with. It has never been internalized by the Nepali people and they never saw it as something that involved them personally. This understanding is clearly demonstrated by the use of the word bikas to describe things ranging from imported apple varieties (bikase shyau) to character, education, infrastructure development and employment. The Nepali dictionary understanding of bikas is very close to that of the English word development, but it can be used in colloquial speech in reference to anything foreign or imported. This has created further stratification in Nepali society, with an almost racial distinction between those who were 'developed' and those who received the 'development.'

Chapter 6: Governance Woes
With multiparty democracy, the art of graft that had formerly been limited to people in close circuits of power was also democratized. Corruption became rampant and started becoming accepted as a way of life. This can also be attributed to the sociocultural phenomenon where one does not ever hesitate to offer sweets, money or promises to gods. Dubbed as the 'two-laddoo' syndrome, it encompasses the tendency to corrupt even the gods people worship, with offerings of sweets in return for favours. Such a mentality could only have led to the formation of a society where corruption was not taken as a social evil and people flaunted the wealth they acquired by graft or even talked about it openly...

Chapter 7: Conflictonomics
Given the substantial number of people the insurgency has directly and indirectly impacted, a strong undercurrent of resentment can be felt in Nepali society. Feelings of anger, hatred and revenge have established themselves in the minds and hearts of many Nepalis and pose an invisible danger to the social fabric. There is no way of predicting or being prepared for the possibly violent reactions of people who have themselves witnessed and suffered from violence...

Chapter 8: Emergence of the Remittance Economy
Their zeal for the Nepali state and politics is but an indication of their interest in Nepal. Many NRNs are searching for a means to invest in Nepal, many are actively contemplating the idea of returning to Nepal and still more would like to try short stints working in Nepal. Although a general atmosphere of gloom shrouds their views on Nepal, the will to do something for the motherland remains strong since having left is almost seen as an NRN's original sin. The myth of 'I shall return back home one day and change it', remains embedded in the NRN mindset from the days that they aspired to seek their fortunes abroad...

Part III: Unleashing Nepal

Chapter 9: Alleviating Poverty, Creating Wealth
The simplest way of ensuring wealth creation is to create free, fair and competitive markets, which are accessible to all levels of society, class and caste. Although this is an idealistic vision, it retains a level of structural realism that utopian societies, such as those envisioned by the Maoists in their early conflict days, cannot match. The structural resilience and flexibility of democratic and market oriented governments in comparison to ideological communist regimes attests to the more successful strategy of the former. The primary reason that an open society is more likely to create wealth is that people in such societies are secure in the knowledge that their rights-to do business, create wealth and earn it-are all protected by the law.

Chapter 10: Scaling up
The end goal is to maximize the net gains per hectare, per worker. For instance, experiments have shown how better agricultural practices can yield seven tons of maize per hectare against the average Nepali yield of two tons. The value addition per agricultural worker for Nepal is just USD 211 compared to USD 5,170 for Malaysia, which indicates that the potential for growth in agriculture is tremendous. Tapping into these shortfalls in production is the first step towards value addition...

Chapter 11: Nepali Youth: An Engine of Productivity and Change
When one watches Nepali youths swaying to music at a peace concert in the tourist district in downtown Thamel, one wonders what can be done to tap this infectious energy of 50,000 people. The CPN (Maoist) did their bit in trying to woo the youth, which led to a conflict where more than 13,000 people died. One hopes that the Nepali youth have seen the folly of violence and the power of a non-violent movement. They appear to be attuned to changes in the global economic and political landscape and are increasingly aware of the false dreams that political leaders have been selling to the Nepali people.

Chapter 12: Redefining Nepal's Economic Borders
The biggest brand for Nepal would be the identity of the Nepali youth that will take on the service sector of the world be it in hospitality, retail or IT outsourcing. These omnipresent and talented youth with smiles that can win the world at hotels, restaurants, banks, shopping malls, cruises and hospitals in Nepal and all around the world, will be the future brand of Nepal. Already there are Nepali fashion designers who have made it to the front cover of Vogue, a Nepali working for NASA, and Nepali bands and artists that have captured international recognition. This is but the beginning, the youth of Nepal are just awakening and they should be able to chase their dreams.
Beed Management Nepal Economic Forum Arthabeed Sujeev Shakya