The Nepal Digest - June 13, 1995 (29 Jestha 2052 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Tuesday 13 June 95: Jestha 30 2052 BkSm Volume 39 Issue 5

 ******************************************************************************
 * TND Board of Staff *
 * ------------------ *
 * Editor/Co-ordinator: Rajpal J. Singh a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu *
 * Consultant Editor: Padam P. Sharma sharma@plains.nodak.edu *
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 * Book Reviews Columns: Pratyoush R. Onta ponta@sas.upenn.edu *
 * News Correspondent Rajendra P Shrestha rajendra@dartmouth.edu *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "If you don't stand up for something, you will fall for anything" -Dr. MLK *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" - Sirdar Khalifa *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************

********************************************************************** To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Nepali communists win chance for fresh mandate Date: Tue, 13 Jun 1995 12:18:29 -0400 From: Amrit R Pant <arp@jungfrau.lcs.mit.edu>

 KATHMANDU, June 13 (Reuter) - Nepal's King Birendra, bowing to the demands of the Himalayan nation's communist government, dissolved parliament on Tuesday and called fresh general elections for November 23, the royal palace said.
         The 49-year-old king asked Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikary, head of the Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) party, to remain as caretaker prime minister, the palace said.
         Adhikary, leader of a minority communist government since snap polls last November, last week asked the king to dissolve the hung parliament and call new polls.
         ``His majesty the king on the advice of the prime minister, Man Mohan Adhikary, has dissolved the House of Representatives and ordered fresh elections to be held on Thursday, November 23,'' the palace said in a statement read on state radio.
         The statement called on Adhikary's caretaker government to
``successfully carry out the task of holding the election in a peaceful, fair and impartial manner.''
         The communists, threatened with a no-confidence motion pushed by opposition parties itching for power, want elections that they believe can strengthen their hand.
         However, three opposition parties controlling a majority of the 205 seats in the lower house had asked King Birendra to allow them to form a new government without calling polls.
         Legal experts say the nation's 4 1/2-year-old constitution did not offer a clear-cut guide to the king, whose father, King Mahendra, once jailed Adhikary for seven years.
         The communists welcomed the king's decision, which scrapped a parliamentary no-confidence motion set for Friday.
         ``We are very happy,'' UML's parliamentary whip Rajendra Pande told Reuters. ``We asked for it (an election). It has come.''
         The leader of the main opposition Nepali Congress's parliamentary party, Sher Bahadur Deuba, expressed surprise at the king's decision.
         ``Nepali people did not want the mid-term election nor can the Nepali economy afford it,'' Deuba told Reuters. ``Frequent elections are not going to help anybody nor democracy.''
         Deuba said the opposition had been in a position to win the no-confidence motion and form an alternative government without resorting to the second snap polls in a year.
         Nepali Congress's new ally, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party
(RPP), which is close to the monarchy, said elections would only serve ``the narrow political objective'' of the UML.
         ``The decision of the government to hold elections renders the constitution as trash and has inflicted grievous injury to all democratic-minded people,'' he told a news conference.
         ``We call upon all democratic parties to unite and save the situation created by the dissolution,'' Thapa said.
         Adhikary, whose party controls 87 seats in the lower house, has come under mounting attack from the opposition, which had withdrawn its tacit support and accused him of politicising the bureaucracy and rolling back free-market reforms.
         Nepali Congress was joined by the RPP and Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP) in demanding a chance to form a government to lead one of the world's poorest countries, with 20 million people.
         The three parties have one more seat in parliament than the number needed to push through a no-confidence motion.
         Nepal, sandwiched between China and India, held its first multiparty polls in 1991 after pro-democracy demonstrators put a bloody end to the monarch's absolute powers.

********************************************************************** Date: Sat, 10 Jun 1995 22:50:50 EDT To: The Nepal digest Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <pkm@acpub.duke.edu> Subject: Welcome to the Political Turmoil in Nepal

These are the times when I tend to agree with people who believe in this definition of democracy: Democracy is the government of the cattle, by the cattle, and for the cattle. On the surface, it seems that the Congress party in Nepal grew jealous of the success of the Communist Party, which they had initially thought would be stranded in the doldrum of international brouhaha against the expansionist Soviet Communist machine. They had thought that the whole world would be falling in line to cut off all life lines for the UML and in six months, nobody would find even the ashes of the Communist government in Nepal. But instead of disappearing into ashes blown by the strong Western wind, the UML declared its honest democratic intentions and won the hearts of the international community, frightening to death both the hotblooded and the septuagenarian and octogenarian leaders of the Congress Party. It turned out that the UML not only didn't impose Stalinism, as feared, it brought some stability in the political scene, even though its own foundation was based on unstable grounds.
        Because of party discipline (in spite of a mix of over half a dozen splinter groups) and dedication not to their own personal gains and fulfilment of personal ambitions and those of their relatives, the UML government, in spite of its minority status, brought about a semblance of stability. The Congress found itself losing its ground. And then came the panacea of all panaceas: Padma Ratna Tuladhar's alleged statement about cow slaughter in Nepal. In deed what Mr. Tuladhar said was enough to bring about all kinds of disasters to the country, from economic to ecological. So, this was the chance to strike a death blow to the UML government which was already surviving on artificial respiration.
        Now, on the surface, all of the above points may sound enough for the Congress to pass the vote of non-confidence, but the root cause I find to be different. I think the fall of the UML government, although expensive for the country, is good for the health of democracy and the development of the country. For one thing, the minority government couldn't carry out any substantial policy changes and stick to those in the absence of absolute majority in the house. For another, it is perhaps the right time for the people of Nepal, after having tasted the flavors of both the UML and the Congress to decide who stands, not only in countless speeches and fear tactics (didn't we have too many of those during the dark period of the Panchayat system?), for the true benefit for the poor, starving, illiterate majority of the Nepali people and who wants only their personal ambitions, and those of their elite urbanite friends and former village zamindars to benefit from a government in Kathmandu, Alkapuri Kantipuri Nagari, modern-day slum-house capital and smoke-factory of Nepal.

******************************************************************* Date: Mon, 12 Jun 1995 12:02 EST Subject: Why PM had to recommend dissolution without facing no-confidence
 vote... To: Nepal@cs.niu.edu From: 74641.3624@compuserve.com "C. Tiwari"

Amulya, thanks for your note with a request for news and views on political developments in Nepal.

Yes, I agree with you tha events in Nepal have taken different turns than what I had perceived previously in my TND article. But developments are well within the boundaries of my predictions. I and perhaps you too expected the recommendation for the dissolution of the House in regular session of parliament. But it has happened two weeks earlier due to NC's use of opposition prerogative of demanding special session of parliament. Why did NC do it?

The NC parliamentarians submitted 70 signatures asking the King for a special session of parliament to present a no-confidence motion against the government. The issue here was the budget. We know that the UML budget would have been voted against any way no matter what. But NC leaders did not want the presentation of the budget at all. Because the budget would have been full with populist programs aimed at upcoming elections. The NC would have been in aposition in which it had to bite the bullet. Passing the budget would naturally give UML a free hand to run the country; voting against the budget would have made the NC unpopular in the eyes of the people. Therefore, they decided to call the special session in order to pull the government out before the presentation of the budget. It was a pre-emptive act.

The UML government, according to my sources, sought an accomodation with RPP with a view to avoid house dissolution and another election. But RPP demanded more than what they deserved. They demanded Deputy Prime Minister, Finance, Foreign, and Water Resources ministries. This, naturally, was unacceptable to the UML whose alternative was to recommend for the dissolution of the house. The use of article 53(4) by the Prime Minister was yet another counter pre-emptive act.

Well, Amulya, up to this moment I have not heard anything about the king's decision. Last year when Girija had recommended for similar action it had taken 38 hrs for the king to make his decision. This time it has already passed 72 hrs and still we don't have royal decision. We must hear it either today or tommorow. But it will be in favor of the Prime Minister. The king is now consulting with as many experts as possible. I think he is doing this only to tell the world that his decision is based on wide consultations. In a parliamentary system PM's recommendation carries heavy weight. Moreover, this government, although a minority government technically, is a MJORITY Govt constitutionally. Nepali constitution does not permit a minority govt to operate more than 30 days.

That all for now, Amulya. Should I hear anything exciting I will let you know.

C. Tiwari

********************************************************* Date: Mon, 12 Jun 1995 12:05 EST From: ATULADHAR@vax.clarku.edu Subject: OPPOSITION PETITION TO FORM COALITION GOVT... To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

[tHIS NEWS ITEM WAS AVAILED TO ME BY DR. MASKEY]

mahesh june11,1995.

         KATHMANDU, June 11 (Reuter) - Three opposition parties staked a joint claim to govern Nepal on Sunday and asked King Birendra to disregard a demand by the Himalayan kingdom's Communist rulers for dissolution of parliament and snap general elections.
         Leaders of Nepali Congress, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party
(RPP) and the Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP) presented a petition to the royal palace demanding a chance to form a new government.
         ``We have petitioned the king to invite us to put up a coalition government as an alternative to the Communist government,'' Sher Bahadur Deuba, leader of Congress's parliamentary party, told reporters.
         The three opposition parties control 104 of 205 seats in Nepal's House of Representatives, one vote more than the minimum number needed to push through a no-confidence motion.
         Nepali Congress has 82 seats; RPP, 19, and NSP, three. One of Congress's seats is held by the house speaker, who can vote only in the event of a tie.
         Two independent lawmakers submitted a separate petition pledging support to the three main opposition parties.
         The 50-year-old king announced on Friday that parliament would take up a no-confidence motion on June 16 and eventually vote on it.
         Threatened with a no-confidence motion, Communist Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikary hours later asked Birendra to dissolve parliament and call elections within six months.
         Adhikary's Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) is the single biggest party in the hung parliament, with 87 seats, but has survived only with the tacit support of the opposition.
         It could count on the support of four extreme-left lawmakers and two independents, giving UML combined strength of 93.
         It was not known how the remaining three independents among the 202 sitting members of parliament would vote.
         The opposition has taken up cudgels against the Communists, charging them with ``authoritarian and totalitarian'' methods of governing.
         Sensing he might lose a no-confidence motion, Adhikary would rather seek a new mandate six months after he took power, hoping to strengthen his parliamentary standing.
         Nepal's 4 1/2-year-old constitution, promulgated following protests that ended absolute monarchy and ushered in multiparty democracy, does not provide a clear-cut guide for the king.
         UML claims the king must accept the prime minister's demand for dismissal of parliament and fresh polls. But the opposition claims the king has leeway because the constitution says only that he ``may'' abide by the demand.
         ``Dissolution is not possible,'' Deuba said.
         Nepali Congress says the constitution gives the opposition the right to try to form a governing coalition, but UML says new general elections must be held first.
         ``Fresh elections so frequently held would only force the people to hate the multiparty democracy apart from being a burden on the economy,'' NSP President Gajendra Narayan Singh told Reuters.
         The opposition said it would lodge a formal petition with parliament later on Sunday demanding a no-confidence vote.
         The RPP called a rally in the capital Kathmandu for Sunday afternoon to protest against the Communist ruler.

************************************************************** From: "Chitra K. Tiwari" <74641.3624@compuserve.com> To: TND <Nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: POLITICAL ANALYSIS

          NEPAL'S DEMOCRACY IN DOLDRUM ?
     
     Six months after the elections and the change of government from NC to
     NCP-UML, Nepali politicians have once again begun to talk about another mid-
     term poll and/or change of government through opposition coalition. Nepali
     Congress has decided to withdraw its support to UML government in the coming
     session parliament and has sought cooperation from the RPP to form the coalition
     government. The RPP, which holds the fragile balance, is sending mixed signals.
     The Thapa group appears to be willing to align with NC for a coalition but the
     Chand group, which commands support of majority of RPP MPs than Thapa
          group, appears to be following a wait and see attitude.
     
     The UML leaders, on the other hand, are seeking support from the RPP
     and other lilliputian parties to hang on to the seat of power. They have,
 however,
     ruled out the possibility of a coalition with the RPP. In the event of the lack of
     such support, the UML leaders say that their government will recommend the
     King for the dissolution of parliament and a mid-term poll. It may be reminded
     here that Girija Koirala, too, had utilized similar tactics to keep his opponents in
          NC and the opposition quiet.
     
     What's wrong with Nepali politics/or politicians? Why are these politicians
     so fond of elections and governmental changes? Is it a struggle for policy? Is it
          a struggle for ideology? Or is it a struggle for naked power?
     
     I don't see any struggle for policy or ideology in Nepali politics. Is
 there
     any fundamental difference between the NC, the UML and the RPP in matters
 of
     policy and ideology? All of them are constitutional monarchists. Both the
 NC and
     UML are clearly social democrats while the RPP, too, can not be described
 as a
     rightist party in view of the party's manifesto although many people perceive the
     RPP as a rightist party. The RPP is a rightist party not because it has rightist
          platform in its manifesto but because it is perceived to be so by many people.
      Why, then, should the UML government be toppled? What are the charges against
     it? What has it done or not done to qualify for displacement? Has it brought about
     a fundamental change in the constitutional structure of the country? Or is it
     allowed to do so by the constitution? Is the economy of Nepal worst than it was
     under the NC and the Panchayat governments? Has the UML introduced Stalinism
     and thrown its opponents into the Gulag? Has there been any police shooting over
     the unarmed masses of people as had happened several times during the Panchayat
     and NC governments? Has its actions disturbed the peace and tranquility of the
     country? Has anyone heard of UML ministers taking bribes and commissions as
     had the NC ministers? Is there a major scandal comparable to RNAC scandal of
     NC time? If so, please educate me. Has the UML government fired any
     government employees as had the NC government? My answer to all of these
     question is frankly, NO. I would, however, appreciate if someone could enlighten
     me. I am open to listen and be convinced if anyone could furnish convincing
     arguments as to why the UML government must be replaced by NC-RPP
          coalition.
     
     I don't see any reason behind NC's decision to withdraw support to UML
     government other than a competition for naked power. Former Prime Minister
     Girija Koirala has informed a mass gathering in Rupandehi that K.P. Bhattarai and
     himself have pledged "not to take rest until we went back to our former
     condition." The message is loud and clear. Koirala and Bhattarai want to topple
     the UML government not for reasons of fundamental policy differences but to go
     back to "former condition." Bhattarai has even said that he has no objection to
     RPP taking the Prime Ministership! I had never imagined that Bhattarai could
          stoop so low for power.
     
     Coalition government? Not a bad idea. In fact, I am a supporter of
     proportional representation system of elections which is more often likely to
     produce coalition government. Coaltion government under a PR system is natural
     and that all parties are prepared for it. But coalition government under
 the Anglo-
     American First-Past-The-Post System (the system that we now have in Nepal
) is
     not natural and parties feel uncomfortable to be a coalition partners. The first-past-
     the-post system is a winner take all system and hence there is a very small scope
     for a coalition. The coalition under this system is only a temporary mechanism.
     It does not work. It invites election within couple months. Under the PR system,
     however, coalitions may be formed several times between several parties
 from the
     date of elections to another election due date but the elections will not be imposed
          upon the people every six months.
     
     We know that NC and RPP had enough opportunity to forge a coalition
     in the aftermath of the November 1994 elections. We all know that they failed
     then. How are we to believe now that they will succeed this time? The assumed
     majority of the combined opposition (NC + RPP=103) is so fragile that
     withdrawal or disagreement by only one dissenting member is good enough to
     make them minority. The likelihood of this scenario is very strong. What
     guarantee is there that the people will not be forced for another election in the
     next six-months? How do we know that NC's Haloween is over? After all, they
     were the one who failed to complete five-year term not because of opposition but
     because of their own internal squabbles. Are there any indicators to believe that
     Girija Koirala and Krishna Bhattarai have glued themselves after the Congress
     Jatra in Pokhara? And what about those NC dissidents who are still rallying
          around Ganesh Man?
     
     Would the RPP fall in the NC trap to be a partner in a coalition? If so,
     would such a coalition last another 4 1/2 years? I honestly don't think so. If RPP
     joins the coalition with NC it will be only to perpetuate the self-serving
     opportunism. It will step out of the coalition the moment it perceives its electoral
     strength to be stronger. It could happen next November. Its slogan will
 be, "see,
     we gave opportunity to UML. It did not do any good to the country. We tried to
     work together with the NC but they did not allow us to push people oriented
     policies. We had no choice but to withdraw our support to UML and to step out
          from the coalition with the NC."
     
     But before engaging ourselves into the scenario that could emerge in the
     next six months, let us ponder over whether the NC-RPP coaltion is at all possible
     under the constitution. The NC leaders are playing the game of wolves. They want
     to climb the ladder of power without elections. They are provoking the
     intellectuals of the country to explore the possibilities of going back to Article 42
     (1) of the constitution. This article provides for a coalition government
 from the
     hung-house. The logic here is that once the support to UML is withdrawn,
 the
     parliament will once again return to be hung-house. In this situation NC
 leaders
     want to invite RPP leaders to form the coalition government. They argue that the
     King will have to accept the coalition. They have further argued that UML
     government being a minority government has no right to recommend the
          dissolution of parliament.
     
     Well, is there a provision for multiple use of Article 42(1) in the
     constitution? I am not aware of such provision. The process of the
 formation of
     government starts from Article 36 and then moves to 42(1), 42(2), 42(3) and
     42(4). If the majority government can not be formed under Article 36 the King
     must call upon any member of parliament under 42(1) to appear with majority
     signatures. If it fails ( and it failed in November 1994), the King must
 call the
     leader of the largest party in parliament to form the minority government.
 Such
     a minority government is required under 42(3) to command the confidence
 of the
     house within 30 days. The UML government had received the vote of confidence
     under this article in December of last year ending its minority status. The UML
     government may be a minority government technically but constutionally it is a
     majority government because a minority government can not function more
 than
     30 days. If the government formed under 42(2) with a support of 42(3) fails then
     the only constitutional choice left for such a government is to move to 42(4) and
     dissolve the house and call for a fresh election. The constitution no where
          provides for a return to 42(1).
     
     The NC leaders and their intellectual apologists know it very well.
     Nonetheless, Koirala group is playing a dangerous game in which NC's defeat is
     inevitable. Koirala group appears to be totally hallucinated by power. They know
     the taste of power and now out of power they have become desperate to regain
     it. They are using all sorts of filthy tricks to return to power. K.P. Bhattarai has
     even said that he has no objection to offer Prime Ministership to RPP. And it has
     raised the ambition of another opportunist, Surya Bahadur Thapa, who has shown
          willingness to participate in a coalition with NC.
     
     The Koirala group wants to return to power without new elections. The
     rank and file of NC, however, know that their party can not win more seats than
     what it now has. It could actually lose a dozen or more seats to UML and RPP.
     That explains why the intellectual apologists of NC are not happy with UML's
     decision to go to polls in the event of passage of no-confidence motion.
 They are
     putting forward a cunning argument saying that the country can not afford
 to
     conduct elections every year. Do we have to remind these politicos and
     intellectual apologists that acceptance of democracy also means acceptance of
          elections. Elections come in a package of democracy.
     
     Notwithstanding this constitutional situation the NC has already decided
     to withdraw its support to UML government in the coming session of parliament.
          As a result the following scenario has emerged:
     
     1. NC will table a no-confidence motion. The RPP may or may not
               dance in NC's tune. If it does not follow NC's tune the UML
                    government will survive.
     
     2. If the RPP dances in line with NC's tune it will trigger a
               constitutional crisis. The UML government will not survive. It will
               recommend the King for the dissolution of parliament and call for
                    a new elections;
     
     3. The RPP may or may not accept coalition with NC. If it rejects
               coalition as in November 1994 there will be election without any
                    question;
     
     4. But if the RPP accepts coalition the NC and RPP will present a
               separate petition to the King asking for the formation of a
                    coalition;
     
     5. What will the King do? I think he will not take the pain in his
               head. He will throw UML's recommendation and NC-RPP's petition
                    to the Supreme Court;
        
     6. If the Supreme Court gives its verdict in favor of UML government
               there will be an election in November; but if the SC supports
               coalition seekers the government will be transferred to NC-RPP
                    coalition;
     
     7. The unholy alliance of NC-RPP will collapse in less than six
               months triggering another election sometimes in May/June 1996.
               But here too there will be another constitutional crisis. Who will
               conduct the elections? A demand for a national government
                    including the UML is a logical sequence.
     
     In the short term playing field appears to be wide for politicians. Good
     luck power hungry politicos!! But watch out! When people get tired of your self-
     serving politics they would not hesitate to pat on the back of a strongman who
          will dare to shut the door of political stadium.
 
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********************************************************************* From: ponta@sas.upenn.edu (Pratyoush R. Onta) Subject: adding to list of Parijat's works To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu (tnd) Date: Mon, 12 Jun 1995 13:02:15 -0400 (EDT)

The following volume of short writings (essays, letters, etc) by Parijat should be added to the list of her works posted by Mahesh Maskey recently.

Parijst 2048 v.s. Aadhi AaKaash. Narayanghat: Chitwan Prakashan.

Pratyoush

***********************************************************************************************

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Mon, 12 Jun 1995 12:11:27 -0500 (CDT) From: Mahesh Ghimire <umghimir@cc.UManitoba.CA> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Tiwari

I was so enlightened by the reply Mr. AAshu Tiwari posted on last TND to the objection raised by Mr. LOhani that I could not stop expressing it.

Ya I fully agree with you Mr. Tiwari that the collective IQs of Bostonwallas is higher than the rest of us poor Nepalis scattered around the world. All animals are equal but some are more equal than others. All nepalese are equal but some are more equal in the sense that they have "more collective IQs".

The posting was in such a good taste that your fellow friends choose to declare non involvement in writting that.So now we know that it was not a collective creation of "higher collective IQs wallas".

 May be among Nepalese in Boston some are even more equal than others.
  Mr. Lohani, I am not sensing any "elitism" in TND and if you are it is your fault. Why don't you start reading it only in crisp june morning.(30 days in a year at most!) and pray that there is no postings from "more equals".

Thank you. A lesser equal Nepali. umghimir@ccu.umanitoba.ca
 
*************************************************************** Date: Mon, 12 Jun 1995 15:01:48 EDT From: rimal@UFCC.UFL.EDU To: Nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Comments on the June 10th article on child labor

Dear editor<

It was heartbreaking to find out that Indian businessman could go so far to aggrevate already troubled economic situation in Nepal. I do agree that if there were any measure to evalaute the degree of child labor used in the manufacture of products, none of the Indian goods will pass their boarder.

In the mean time I would like to look at the situation in a much broader perspective. In most of the developing countries child labor seems to be desired evil. In case of many families alternative to child labor is starvation. It is very hard for those families to comprehend that a child who has some opportunity to earn money should forego such opportunity and go to school and pay fees instead. Recent issue of "the economists"reports in Bangladesh that the garment and carpet factories which were closed due to such strict requirement of adult labor led to the situation where by many child labors previously employed were forced to go into prostitution.

The issue of child labor is substantially different in developing than that in developed countries. In a developed country like USA there is so much of social security for children in the form of welfare programs that any incidence of child labor can be categorized as an act of crime committed by an individual or group in order to explot the child's situation. It is not the same in Nepal. It is a matter of great fortune to get an employment opportunity for any member of the family whether he/she is a child or an adult.

I also do not subscribe to the current situation. Every human being should be given an opportunity for better eduction, which (perhaps) leads to better life. Hence, I see an important role to be played by the government and the multi- national companies which get the supply of carpets and the garments from the developing countries. They should require the carpet and garment factories to reduce the number of working hours by the child labors. The time, thus, saved should be used in providing some form of formal education at the premise of the factory itself or at some facilities jointly sponsored by the fatory owners and the government. My proposition my sound highly simplistic given a very complicated socio-political situation in developing countries. However, any form of proposal should essentially try to strike a balance between maintaining the economic opportunity created by child labor and mitigating the evil of child labor.

Thank You Arbindra Rimal.

********************************************************************** Date: Mon, 12 Jun 1995 17:13:41 -0700 (PDT) From: Dahal Durga <daha9014@uidaho.edu> To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - June 12, 1995 (29 Jestha 2052 BkSm)

        COMMENTS: LITERATURE.

        THE POETRY COMPOSED BY KALPANA SATYAL IS NICE AND INTERESTING TO READ. PEOPLE WHO HAVE INTERNET IDEA CAN ENJOY IT.

        I ALSO ENJOYED THE POETRY COMPOSED BY DIG BAHADUR TAMANG, WHERE THE PRESENT NEPALI SOCIETY EXPECTS FROM AN LAHURE, WHEREEVER HE IS IN ARAB, ASSAM, BOMBAY, DELHI, HONG-KONG, JAPAN, MALAYA, SINGAPORE, OR USA. THE TRAVELLERS ARE CARRYING THE DREAM OF FRIENDS AND FAMILIES. MY CONGRATULATION TO D.B. TAMANG. -THANKS.

%%%%%Editor's Note: A gentle reminder: Please use lowercase for postings. %%%%%
%%%%% In terms of "Internet-Lingo" all upper-case posting %%%%%
%%%%% are known as "barkings" - sort of like shouting in %%%%%
%%%%% in normal verbal conversation. %%%%%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

******************************************************************************* Date: Mon, 12 Jun 1995 16:20:09 -1000 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu From: spike@interpac.net (Spike Werner) Subject: email address of Pralad Yonzon, Ph.D.

Hello from Hawai`i:

Does anyone at your internet hub know Pralad Yonzon, Ph.D.'s email address? If you see him, please give him our very best wishes.

Namaste ALOHA,

Spike and Carol
   400 Hualani Street, 191-A
   Hilo, HI 96720-4378
           Phone: 808/935-1299

*************************************************************************** Date: Mon, 12 Jun 1995 22:30 EST From: ATULADHAR@vax.clarku.edu To: nepal@cs.niu.edu

Amulya's comment: Ekalabya Nepali has taken upon himself the authorial privilege of naming new 'ism" viz "Newarism".

He seems to have done a fine job but I was wondering why he was so ashamed of his creative activity. Otherwise why should he did behind an anonymous posting with a pseudonym?

Perhaps other TNd readers can find other interpretations??
==============================

From: an281287@anon.penet.fi (Ekalabya Nepali) Date: 12-JUN-1995 05:10:04 Description: Newarism: FAQ

 Frequently Asked Questions: NEWARISIM - A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
 ============================================================
  BACKGROUND
==========
  Often practiced but seldom theorized, Newarism is the order of the day in modern Nepal. While some other "ism"s, such as the so-called Brahmanism, have had the enviable honor of being constantly in the lime-light, it is indeed a pity that this fastest growing "ism" in Nepal has not been given its due recognition in print. This contribution is a first attempt to rectify this lamentable injustice. Expounding upon the theory and practice of Newarism in detail is beyond the scope of this writer's limited intellect- hopefully a regular practitioner will enthusiastically embrace the project.
  PURPPOSE OF THIS FAQ
====================
  To let people know that many of the phenomena so avidly discussed among the net-surfing Nepalis are aptly described by the concise and powerful word "Newarism". Contributors will hopefully start using this term liberally (and judiciously of course) so that lines and pargraphs of verbosity can be reduced to just one or two words. This will be good for both the writers and the readers.
  WHAT IS NEWARISM?
================
  Newarism is a way of life. Anyone who answers yes to one or more of the following questions (this is only a partial listing though) can proudly proclaim that s/he is a practitioner of this increasingly popular art:
  1. Are you highly communal?
 - If given the chance, would put only Newars in coveted positions.
 - You feel you are a Newar first and only then a Nepali.
        - You hate Parwate's- simply hearing or seeing that a Parwate has been more successful than a Newar gives you the urge to regurgitate.
 - If possible, you would fire all Parwates and replace them with relatives and fellow Newars.
 - You are very happy being within your small circle of Newar friends and relatives and are not interested in cultivating real friendships with others (especially Parwate's).
 
  2. Are you oblivious of, or fond of hiding, your powers and previledges in the Nepali society while complaining about your opressed status?
  3. Do you hate the Nepali language?
 - you would rather see it destroyed than maintain its status as the national lingua franca.
  4. Do you like/want to use religion to incite ethnic hatreds?
  5. Do you want to create a deep chism between Buddhists and "Hindus" in Nepal (quotes used since it is not clear who is/is Not a Hindu, and most so-called "Hindus" seem perfectly happy with honoring Gautam Buddha as an awatar and his teachings as venerable).
  6. Do you try to portray Hindusism as belonging only to BCs as a way to politically raise anti-Khas hatred among other Nepalis.
  7. Do you tend to forget that a very large number of Nepalis are Tarai Niwasis who are the most dispossesed among all Nepalis.
  8. Do you take great pleasure in blaming BCs for all ills in the nation (conveniently forgetting your own contributions, of course)?
  9. Do you take great pleasure in speaking ill of BCs, or seeing their sentiments hurt?
  10. Do you tend to support a politician because s/he is a Newar?
  11. Do you make it a point to talk in Newari when other non-Newari speaking Nepalis are around?
  12. Despite the fact that the Nepali community in the US is very small, would you would like to form an exclusively Newar community?
  13. Are you adept at currying favors from foreigners?
  14. Do you believe that the traditional art in Kathmandu valley should be known only as Newari art and not Nepali art.
  15. Do you believe that the best way to make money in business is by cheating your customers.
  16. Are you somehow unable to reconcile with the fact that in modern Nepal the KTM valley is not exclusively for Newars.
 
  DO YOU HAVE TO BE A NEWAR TO PRACTICE IT?
=========================================
  Definitely not. Selectively replace the words "Newar", "Parwate" "BC" etc. in the above questions by some other ethnic groups, and you will see quite clearly that even Parwates frequently master this art.
  DO ALL NEWARS PRACTICE IT?
==========================
  Contrary to popular belief, a random sampling done by yours truely suggests that only a minority among Newars practice it. However, it would be wonderful if other independent observers (both Newars and non-Newars) would care to comment on this.
  YES I HAVE SEEN IT. BUT WHY HAVE I NOT HEARD OF IT BEFORE?
=========================================================
  A couple of reasons. One- it is not PC to openly say that someone is practicing this art. And two- the practioners have skillfully managed to divert onlookers to other "ism"s, thus making their practices less visible.
  DOES NEWARISM HAVE DIFFERENT SECTS?
===================================
  Yes, there are two sects. The Subtle and the Blatent. The Subtle tend to agree with the Blatent in private, but prefer to keep quiet in public. However, there are no statistics available regrading the proportion of each sect.
  WHY WOULD ONE WANT TO PRACTICE IT?
==================================
  There seems to be a high correlation between "success" and the practice of this art. But the fundamental motivations behind wanting to practice it can be explained only by a true practioner.
 
  IS IT REALLY THE FASTEST GROWING "ISM" IN NEPAL?
================================================
  It certainly is!! More and more people from all ethnic groups, including BCs, are religiously practicing it these days- both in and outside Nepal.
 
  I AM INTERESTED IN PRACTICING NEWARISM. IS THERE A CLUB I CAN JOIN?
===================================================================
  There are no formal clubs around. But there are regular practitionars on the net who can surely help you. Post a one-line message "Newarism Tutor Wanted" on either SCN or TND and you will be contacted by a potential elmer. Or just use your common sense to identify the Blatents on the net, and contact them directly.
  IS THIS AN OFFENSIVE TERM FOR NEWARS?
=====================================
  Definitely not. Some Newars might see flames agains Newarism as an insult to their ethnic group. But one should learn to separate the people
(Newars) from the problems/issues (Newarism). This FAQ is not meant to hurt the sentiments of anyone.
 
+ Ekalabya Nepali +

*************************************************************************** Date: Tue, 13 Jun 95 0:20:28 EDT From: "Neal Cohen" <ncohen@usaid.gov> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Next Budget of Nepal: Part I

This is part 1 of a two part analysis of what might be in the next budget of the Government of Nepal

SUMMARY

Given the current uncertainty in the political arena we do not know who will present the next budget, and whether they will have a mandate to change policy. This memo looks at what to expect if either UML or a new Coalition presents a budget and has a mandate to make policy changes. It also presents what to expect if UML is tasked with forming a "caretaker" government leading to new elections.

UML is unlikely to make new initiatives toward economic liberalization. Privatization and substantial tax reform are unlikely. They will probably propose a 17% increase in spending, but will keep domestic borrowing under control. The likely tax changes are reduction in the maximum import duties, elimination of at least one of the tax bands with customs, abolishing Octroi and redefining the wealth tax. We hope they will announce additional movement toward a VAT, but doubt it. Needed codifications of rules, simplification of licensing, registration, and foreign investment are also unlikely.

The likely focus of a UML budget will be on expanding social programs such as a massive (and unrealistic) program toward literacy for all by 2000, public works, help for the destitute. They should provide details on their land reform program. We do not expect new initiatives in trade, investment or foreign exchange liberalization.

A Coalition Government is likely to pay greater attention to economic liberalization, revitalizing privatization, substantial tax reform, incentives for exporters, simplifying trade and investment and possibly making foreign exchange easier to acquire. The Coalition will be much more private sector oriented than a UML Government.

A Caretaker Government is not permitted to initiate new programs, but since so many of UML's initiatives were in the first budget, they can argue to continue them. Thus, there may not be too much difference between the Caretaker Budget and the UML regular budget.

BACKGROUND

Because it is unclear who will present the next budget, this memo is more difficult than similar reports in the past.

If the UML Finance Minister presents the budget as the representative of a caretaker government, as Congress did last year, than it is not supposed to contain any new policy initiatives. As most elements to the UML Election Manifesto were mentioned in the December 1994 budget that was unanimously accepted by Parliament, UML could argue that they are just implementing already agreed programs. Some will disagree with this.

If a new coalition government presents the budget than it is unlikely to present many new initiatives because of the lack of time to modify the budget already prepared by the minority UML government. I would expect that the new coalition might present an interim budget and submit a revision after a few months.

ECONOMIC LIBERALIZATION

The UML Government has indicated its support for the idea of economic liberalization and has said that it will continue the program, begun by the Nepali Congress. However, their priorities are not toward liberalization but toward programs like "Build Our Villages Ourselves." No new liberalization measures have occurred, and some, such as privatization and tax reform have been delayed or partially reversed. We do not expect a UML-prepared budget to break new ground on economic liberalization.

A Congress/RPP/NSP government would have to decide what mixture of policies is to be implemented. The previous Congress Government was strongly committed to economic liberalization. On many of these they received tacit support from RPP. It would be expected that such a coalition will try to revitalize the reform programs. However, they may want to continue, with modifications, some of UML's social programs.

STRUCTURE OF BUDGET

This budget is supposed to be part of a three-year rolling budget to ensure government considers the long term implications of new spending initiatives. The last UML budget proposed many new spending programs but provided only token amounts of money. Had the budget included a three- year forecast we would have better understood the importance and implications of these.

Similarly the new budget is supposed to be divided into a recurrent and capital budget and not the previous system of regular and development budget. The definitions under the regular and development system were "flexible." The same item could appear in either budget category. This made analysis difficult. The recurrent budget is supposed to be financed by recurrent revenue (regular taxation), while the capital budget should only include capital investments and thus there is a justification for funding through borrowing. Previous NC and UML budgets presented the budget in the traditional format, but also included a table presenting the budget in the new format. This budget ought to be presented primarily in the new format.

The last Congress Government had prioritized spending so critical items would be funded even if there were a revenue shortfall. UML has not released its revised prioritization. The budget ought to either present this, present the guidelines for determining priorities, or set a date by when the priorities would be made public.

 OVERALL LEVELS

The Finance Minister has spoken of the probability of a Rs50 billion ($1 billion) budget, compared to his last one, which was for Rs43 billion. The current UML budget was 24% higher than the 1993/94 Congress budget. A Rs50 billion budget would be another 17% increase. As inflation is around 9%, this translates to an 8% real increase and would increase the government's share of GDP.

The UML Minister of Finance has also indicated that the deficit will continue to be kept within the 1% of GDP target (achieved this year). To do this would require increasing domestic revenue by around 24%. During the current year tax revenue is running nearly 28% ahead of last year.

UML projects real GDP growth this year at 4% (which appears a bit high). If inflation continues at 9% then this 13% increase in nominal GDP can translate to a 24% increase in revenue only if (a) the tax elasticity is 1.85 (the tax system has an elasticity closer to 1.0); (b) they introduce new taxes; (c) there is sufficient corruption within the system to allow the additional revenue to be collected because of successful work curtailing corruption; or
(d) there will be a very large increase in foreign assistance.

REVENUE AND TAX REFORM

There are many different tax reforms that are possible in the budget. It is likely they will announce the end of the Octroi Tax. More interesting than this is what will be used to replace the lost revenue of the municipalities. No matter what, the new revenue sources will not be active this fiscal year, so the central government will have to make a block transfer to the municipalities. The likely successor tax is some form of land or property tax. At present these are collected, even if barely, by the central Government. The transfer would require considerable time for surveys and training.

Government has talked about reducing the company tax to the SARCC average. There is likely to be a reduction of five percentage points in the rate.

They have also talked about reducing the top customs duty rate and the number of tax bands (the number of different import duty rates). This would simplify the structure of import duty rates and ought to also reduce the scope for corruption. Government probably will announce the introduction of the ASYCUDA
(automated system of customs data) that should improve the determination by Customs officials of value of imported items. This will decrease corruption slightly.

The Wealth Tax has been a disappointment in terms of collections and a source of dispute between government and business. We expect Government to either eliminate it outright, or redefine it. They could make the base the same as the land and house tax and still call it a wealth tax. It would be better to eliminate it completely.

It is expected that government will also announce simplification of sales taxes, expansion of the base (probably to some services and additional commodities), and transferring some excise duties into the sales tax structure. It is hoped that Government will also announce administrative reforms of sales and excise taxes to simplify a future introduction of a Value Added Tax. We do not expect government to announce a date to introduce the VAT, but expect them to announce a desire to implement it when the administrative system is in place and a "consensus" is established.

It is hoped that government announces some simplification of the income and company taxes to reduce rates and improve voluntary compliance. The negotiated quality of these taxes, and their attendant corruption needs to be addressed.

While it is unlikely that government will undertake major reform of customs, such as moving toward pre-shipment inspection for customs duty collection, it would be a positive step if they indicated a willingness to explore this option.

No change in income taxes is expected. It is time for these taxes to be codified and made more transparent.

PRIVATIZATION/ROLE OF GOVERNMENT

The UML government has put the privatization program on hold, although three firms are supposedly being ready for sale. The philosophy has shifted from: it is inappropriate for government to be involved in the direct production or distribution of almost any commodity, to: privatize only those enterprises that are losing money and lack a social rationale for government ownership. We shall be looking for government to say how many enterprises will be privatized this coming year, and any change in philosophy. The current UML policy of encouraging the private sector, but not being willing to sell government enterprises is inconsistent.

The possible coalition government is more likely to privatize state enterprises and to view production and distribution of industrial products as the proper purview of the private sector.

This is the second part of a two part e-mail on what to look for in the next budget of the Government of Nepal.

TRADE LIBERALIZATION

The UML government has talked about the need to diversify and expand trade but has not taken steps to do this. The reduction in the export service fee to 1.5% and the further reduction for small enterprises, did not get at the issue of how export-oriented companies, exempt from the income tax, ought to contribute to the national Treasury. Government could announce a fund to stimulate exports, expansion of the role of the Trade Promotion Center, or reinvigorating Nepali embassies to play a greater commercial role.

The first UML budget made a serious mistake in encouraging protectionism by changing tariffs to protect domestic producers. It is hoped there will not be any more measures like this. It is also hoped that government goes in the opposite direction by providing encouragement to international trade, opening the economy and actively supporting those firms that are active exporters. Government could simplify export procedures that remain unnecessarily complex.

A major step toward trade liberalization would be Nepal's accession to the World Trade Organization (successor to GATT, and the result of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiation). This would simplify Nepal's access to developed country markets and protect Nepal from another unilateral imposition of a trade impasse as India did to Nepal in the late-1980s. As all of Nepal's trade partners are either members or want to become members (China), Nepal is already de facto operating under these rules. Accession provides additional benefits. The presumed cost, gradual elimination of the US garment quota, will happen whether Nepal signs the WTO or not as that is a decision by the US that does not require Nepal's concurrence.

INVESTMENT LIBERALIZATION

Following the trend in the 1980s and early 1990s, Nepal introduced a plethora of investment incentives, essentially tax holidays for different reasons. There are so many of these that they overlap and are excessive. Further, more recent studies have questioned whether tax incentives attract firms other than the fly-by-night quickly movable type. This type will move on when the tax holiday is over, or someone else provides a better deal. Thus, they do little for the long term development of the country. It has been found that establishing a supportive environment for business is more important. This means making it easy to do business, easy to secure licenses, to register, to acquire foreign exchange, to pay legitimate taxes without bribes, and to know before an investment that there are rules that will be fairly applied. This is not the case in Nepal where rules usually have considerable administrative discretion.

Discretionary administrative power increases the likelihood of corruption, and the lack of being sure about the result of an application will reduce the interest in investing. Thus, the proposed selective elimination of the rule precluding foreign investment in firms where fixed capital is less than Rs20 million ($400,000) will not succeed. The rules are unclear and the discretionary power of the Ministry is such that foreigners will not be willing to invest the time and money to determine whether something is viable. They need to know there are codified rules and they will be applied fairly. The continuing hassles on business visas reduce the impact of supposed investment liberalization.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

India has continued to liberalize, even if marginally, access to foreign exchange. Nepal needs to consider additional liberalizations of the capital account including making is simpler to repatriate earnings, to pay interest on foreign loans, pay royalties, do international marketing, provide education out of country, etc..

There are different opinions about whether the Nepali rupee is over or undervalued. The way to find out is to allow the market to decide the rate. The current float of the Nepali rupee is not real, in that the Nepali rupee is fixed against the Indian rupee (NC1.60=IC1.00) with cross rates determined by the exchange rates between the Indian rupee and foreign currencies. My best guess is that the Nepali rupee is overvalued by 10%. While it is doubtful government will consider a devaluation, it would be advantageous to consider floating the Nepali rupee vis-a-vis the Indian rupee.

LET'S BUILD OUR VILLAGES OURSELVES PROGRAM

This was the major new program of the UML Government's first budget. It provided Rs300,000 to each of the 4,000 villages. There are disagreements about whether the money ought to have been spent by the elected Village Development Committees or all-party committees separate from the VDCs as preferred by UML. Further, there has been disagreement on the type of monitoring that ought to take place or the results.

The new budget will probably increase funds for each village to Rs5-600,000, for a total cost of Rs2.4 billion (5% of the total budget). The budget ought to provide detail on what was accomplished by last year's expenditure and the results of program monitoring.

LAND REFORM

The UML Government has committed itself to comprehensive land reform. The new budget ought to announce details of the program including the new land ceiling, how land taken from the current owners will be paid for, how the new owners will pay for the new land (or whether they will pay). Further, government ought to announce what support programs will be implemented to assist the new owners (for example, access to loans, special agricultural extension services).

Government will also need to provide guidance on how they will handle family holdings that are ostensibly held by separate individuals (is there a family ceiling, an individual ceiling and what about land registered in the name of people who are not the real owners, that is, titled to one person but controlled by another).

SOCIAL PROGRAMS

The first UML budget began many new social welfare programs including old age pensions for the poor, special scholarship programs for backward communities, literacy for 554,000 adults, 700 new sub-health posts, vocational training for blind, disabled and destitute, public works programs, special subsidized banks, etc.. Many of these received nominal funding. There was a concern at the time about opening a Pandora's box of spending. The new budget ought to indicate what was accomplished, provide more detail on plans for the coming year and funding projections for the next three years.

We do not expect the UML budget to include any reference to eliminating child labor in carpets, in spite of many petitions and efforts within the industry.

The UML Government has talked about the need to establish Fair Price Shops
(cooperatives supplied by government and selling to the poor at below market prices). These have not been established. The budget should provide detail on when these will be established and how they will operate.

The previous Congress Government had tried this idea and found it unworkable. Thus, we would presume a Coalition Government would not establish Fair Price Shops.

TENDERING/CORRUPTION

A fault of the current government has been the tendency to award contracts without a public tender and to pre-designated companies. This system has lent itself to allegations of abuse and corruption. It is hoped that government will announce a strict adherence to a public tendering process that is transparent and structured to assure as many bids as possible. The greater the competition, the more likely it is that the public will get the lowest price.

Government has indicated its desire to reduce corruption, and a few people have been caught and disciplined. It is hoped that the budget will talk about expanding the effort to reduce corruption especially in the tax, licensing, permit and visa systems.

ARUN 3

Because of confusion about government's commitment to the Arun 3 hydro- electric project, the new budget ought to reiterate government's commitment and be specific, that is, each term and condition ought to be listed so everyone knows what they are. Thus, when the budget is approved by Parliament it also includes a clear and unambiguous public statement.

Effective immediately, please remove my name from the mailing list
(NCohen@USAID.Gov) and replace it with SBanskota@USAID.Gov

I shall be leaving Nepal after 5 1/2 years this Sunday. My new assignment is in Nairobi, Kenya.

I have appreciated reading TND and the incredibly lively and often informative debates and discussions. It has continuously amazed me how you often know about events in Nepal that we, who live here, do not.

I hope there are e-mail services as open, free, uninhibited, challenging and thought provoking as yours for the countries with which I will work in eastern and southern Africa. Leaving Nepal will be very difficult, TND exemplifies many of the reasons for our sadness about departing.

Thank you.

%%%%%EDITOR'S NOTE: As much as joyful it is to welcome new TND members %%%%%
%%%%% aboard, it is as sad to farewell a departing one. %%%%%
%%%%% Neal Cohen's contribution to TND has been a %%%%%
%%%%% memorable one. On behalf of TND, please accept %%%%%
%%%%% our heart-felt thankyou. We wish you all the best.%%%%%
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************************************************************************* From: "Mr. Mahendra Prasad Panthee" <panthee@math.iisc.ernet.in> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: News June 12 Date: Tue, 13 Jun 95 15:19:42 IST

King Birendra holds talks with leaders
======================================

Kathmandu, June 12 (AFP) King Birendra started hectic consultations today over future of Nepal's six-month old minority communist government, threatened with a opposition censure motion.

The king spoke with two former prime ministers and senior constitutional advisers on whether parliament should be dissolved as prime minister Man mohan Adhikari has requested.

The crisis erupted after Mr Adhikari, head of CPN-UML asked the king to dissolve the parliament and hold fresh elections, the secont ina year.

It was in response to the king convening a special parliamentary session on friday to consider an opposition no-confidence motion.

The Nepali Congress has accused the Communists of failing to keep promises to step up economic relief when it was elected last November.

The Congress and other Oppisitions parties officially lodged their motion on Sunday.

The Congress, the rightist RPP and the pro-Indian NSP have claimed to be able to form a new government.

The communist were the largest single party in last year's polls but got only 88 seats out of 205 in parliament.

A majority of legislators have pledged to support the planned no-confidence motion.

Mahendra Panthee IISc, Bangalore.

********************************************************* Date: Tue, 13 Jun 1995 11:07:59 -0400 (EDT) From: uc_ece_1167 <rpanth@uceng.uc.edu> To: ratna@uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.edu Subject: UML and NC

Dear Ratna,
        I saw your posting on TND and your reasoning was very logical. The political situation in Nepal though, is very different from the ideal. Please allow me to give you reasons why NC wants to form a coalition with the RPP:

        i) The last party in power conducts the election. This is important in that they will have full control over "ballot-box stuffing" and all that. Maybe NC will not stuff the boxes but at least it doesn't have to worry about the UML doing so.
        ii) GHUS (bribes) are more accesible to the ruling party. A little bit of GHUS can go a long way in campaigning. Not to sat that the NC is corrupt but,........

        Tell me if you disagree. All your ideas were great but not compatible for Nepal.

Ranjan Panth (rpanth@uceng.uc.edu)

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