Political Transition in Nepal: Toward an Analytical Framework

Chaitanya Mishra, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu

Proceedings of Unfolding Futures: Nepalese Economy, Society, and Politics
Friday-Sunday, October 5-7, 2007, Ottawa, Canada

Abstract

Nepal is in transition heading to a political break from the monarchy and the past semi-feudal instruments but the scope and implications of the transition remain uncertain. Also remain uncertain the constitutive political-economic themes: neoliberal vs. liberal democratic vs. social democratic, and state structures: union of near-sovereign units vs. less than federal but highly autonomous local governments vs. centralized. The conjecture made in the article is that the ensemble of historical shifts and contradictions at multiple levels of social organizations, for example, the levels of the individual, household, class, gender, caste, ethnic groups as well those at state and international levels, have led to a specific form of political transition in Nepal. The constitutive features of the transition in general and democratization in particular were erected upon five variables including (a) the weakening and demise of precapitalist, including feudal, political, economic and cultural forms at multiple levels of social organization, (b) the expansion and intensification of capitalism. The framework for explaining the historic development leading to the 2006 political transition in Nepal is developed on those five variables is presented in this paper.

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Citizen Participation in Local Government Management

Ishwor Dhungel, Canada Forum for Nepal, Ottawa, Canada & University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

Proceedings of Unfolding Futures: Nepalese Economy, Society, and Politics
Friday-Sunday, October 5-7, 2007, Ottawa, Canada ID

Abstract

Citizens’ participation in program development, management and service delivery is an integral part of local government administration. It is obvious that involved participation of the people will let new ideas emerge, including techniques, methods, and innovation in local government settings so that quality services can be delivered. Participatory management will support local governance through productive, impartial, sustainable and democratic development practices. Local governments in the developing world still have less autonomy compared to the developed world. It appears that more power lies with the federal and provincial government. With the lack of power decentralization and autonomy, local governments don’t often develop citizen participation in the developing world. This is one of the barriers that local governments face to serving their citizens better. The crucial factor in establishing a sustainable citizen participation program is providing room for local people in the management and decision making process of the local government initiatives. Developing, implementing and institutionalizing citizen participation programs at the local level are very important in empowering government staff and local citizens. It is noted that local government employees’ attitudes toward citizens are often negative and unsupportive. Either they have no power or fear dealing with the roles and rights of citizens. Continue reading

Inclusive Education: Empowering Public Education in the New Age of Communication

Pramod Dhakal, CFFN, Ottawa, Canada

Proceedings of Unfolding Futures: Nepalese Economy, Society, and Politics
Friday-Sunday, October 5-7, 2007, Ottawa, Canada

Abstract

Ranked 140th out of 177 countries by UNDP in Human Development Index, Nepal suffers from chronic illiteracy and human poverty. However, attempts to rescue its 28 million people out of this situation have produced dismal results and the Millennium Development Goals set by UNDP remains an illusive promise for Nepal. While politicians and policy makers are busy selling their own policies as being inclusive, the gap between the rich and the poor, the privileged and the marginalized, and the elite politicians and the grassroots people are steadily widening. Breaking this cycle of gloom is not going to be possible unless some non-conventional and innovative approaches are used to deliver education to the people living in the economically deprived regions of Nepal. Among the many approaches proposed in the article as being important for delivering significantly improved access and quality of education to the population, two have been identified as the most significant:

  1. Making education supported and sustained by the communities themselves,
  2. Supplementing educational institutions with a common pool of knowledge-resources collected and distributed with the use of modern telecommunication, computing, and multi-media technology.

This approach necessitates mechanisms for pooling of technical and knowledge resource, economical to distribution of existing knowledge, compounding new knowledge, and creating the environment for rewarding the emergence and growth of new knowledge, innovations, and inventions.
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