OPEN SECRETE: Poverty or Class Discrimination Never Alleviates in Nepal ?
As an outcome of following headlines of Aljazeera `Failed Nepal’s Development’, I am opening up the bitter reality of development practices of Nepal and its POVERTY. The poverty alleviation is a key concern of government and all kinds of non-governmental organizations including INGOs, NGOs, UNs, multinational companies through contributing government policies and procedures from grassroots level of international level. In some extent, the contribution includes income, education; health, women, youth empowerment etc are highly appreciated. However, these changes are not really significantly contributed in poverty alleviation at large. The national planning commission claimed that the poverty is downsizing by 23% but the scenario says that it is not true at all e.g. the life expectancy of Kathmandu people is 86 years old whereas 36 years old of people from Jumla. Since 2009, a part of reconstruction and rehabilitation, the government and NGO’s attention is shifting towards the far, mid west region and central Terai but the dynamic of poverty is not changing at all by two reasons. First, the foreign aid lead by elite leaders and mostly focused on input rather results. The results are not important either for donors as well as recipient because mostly fund are diverting on the basis of connection. There is no value of passion, commitment and working modalities in front of the power and connection. Lastly, the duration of engagement is very serious issues in regards to far, mid west region and few districts from southern Terai. These places are in marginalization and exclusion since long so people are living with so many deprivations, isolation, depression and it takes more time and cost for getting same level of results. The rhetoric social inclusion is not really matters in holistic transformation. Thus, such sympathetic input never ends the poverty in Nepal. This kind of poverty has already exit in Nepal before endorsement of the development in Nepal or about 6 decades before.
The NGO Communities are Promoting Class Discrimination in Nepal: Despite having above mentioned tragedies, the class discrimination won’t minimize in Nepal in current development structure and practices because the NGO communities are themselves are contributing in increasing poverty gaps or class discrimination. The other type poverty or class discrimination is evolved when the development agencies emerged rapidly specially after restoration of democracy 1991. At the name of alleviation of primary poverty, various types of projects and organizations are coming front. If anyone analyze the level and pattern of poverty between target group and staff who are supposed to deliver services for last 20 years, can find huge gap. The level of remuneration has vast difference among government, local NGO, INGO, UN. The culture of working in NGO is been taught in wrong way since beginning of the development practice in Nepal. Indeed, everyone should work very hard in all sectors, no matter where they do work. In practice, it says that the NGOs people work harder than the government. Choosing the working areas or entities is a matter of their choice but working hard is matter of discipline but no need to pay high salary. What is the basis of paying high salary? For instance, the four students graduate from the university at the same month and they get the job based on their access (mostly) and interest. The same capacitated person join in UN and getting triple digit salary where as double digit salary in international NGO and single digit or low rank double digit salary by NGO and government. Because of such practice, the class discrimination is gradually developed and it has high impact on their children’s education, living status and everything. Like, money attracts money; an opportunity attracts opportunity one by one. Finally, the number of houses, cars and national /international links gradually seen in practice that has makes matters in class discrimination largely. Is there any rational to pay high salary? Why should they need additional salary and benefits if they chose their work by their choice? At the mean time many of their friends who were graduate in same time, might more laborious or genius but they are not getting working class job and might join private teaching or flying aboard as migrant workers. In this situation, is it possible to alleviate the poverty in Nepal? Who would hold accountability in such unfair practice? It shows very clear devastating picture of Nepal’s economy.
Corrupted Culture Mostly Contributed by NGO Communities: In practice, as like poverty alleviation, many NGOs and others are working directly and indirectly in eliminating the corruption. Nepal is second country in Asia in corruption survey. The powerless people are becoming stateless due to having corruption in each steps and seconds. No one has right for questioning. If anyone dares to question, that person deliberatively abandoned or isolated wherever s/he stands, no one is ready to support in action form. At the name of ownership and institutionalize the project activities, endorsement of certain activities, power or connection with government people or visibility of government people, NGO are paying so much money (as fellowship, resource person, incentive, communication, transportation etc) for government people. In many cases, the regular financial norms are violated at the name of senior, expert/expat etc. Principally, the NGOs are working for assisting the government and why should NGOs pay them. NGOs get more physical, moral and institutional support if they get benefit from NGOs otherwise NGOs are put in street or more than that. Further, many government people are taking their personal leave and joining NGO’s activities at national and international level activities. NGO workers are not exceptional in taking leave and doing consulting work in other I/NGOs. It is all happen once there is connection. These examples are only representative examples, there are many substantial evidences and everyone aware on it but no one likes to speak up like Open Secrete’. Likewise, mostly NGOs buy the media as fellowship, incentives and bring the issue in to the limelight and later journalist awarded by NGOs. Issues and concerns are not necessarily to understand if they have connections and power with NGOs. The level of appreciation and criticism is mostly determined on the basis of incentives and facilities enjoyed by them directly and indirectly. If it is not true, why doesn’t an issue remain at same level even after decade to decade? Who is monitoring the NGO’s activities and fund? Does the Social Welfare Council really stand for real monitoring? Has it have clear road map and enough expertise to assess and take corrective actions on time. Further, mostly, NGOs are not standing as civil society organizations, they are advocating a particular group or party or connection. If the person or the organization doesn’t have any connection, it is very tough to get space either in accessing fund or anything else. There is very tough, unfair competition and nepotism among NGO communities. How can such NGOs combat poverty or class discrimination and build equal, peace and prosperous country. Everyone aware about the fact but doesn’t like to speak because they also a part of it and enjoying of it in a way and the other.
Remittance is Only Temporary Means for Combating Poverty: Flying to aboard is becoming a fashion in Nepali community. More importantly, it is an option for survival. Due to globalization and trade politics, the value of Nepali currency is depreciated badly where as youths are in deep pressure to earn more to cope the changing Nepali life style and market. In this connection, they are flying aboard even those who unable to fill up their forms at immigrant office. The national statistics has already revealed that the remittance is a key contributing source of national economy. However, it is not a permanent solution at all which is already proven by Philippines. In Nepali context, migrant workers are facing various forms of violence while working aboard as well as experience negative effects as origin country or family as well. In future, Nepal couldn’t transfer the skills due to very poor academic background and working in very exploitative context. The remittance money is used for maintaining basic needs largely and misuse in some extent. The purchasing capacity and practice is changing among rural communities which will create pressure in future as well. In other hand, there is very marginal possibility to replicate the skills back to home country because mostly occupied in such difficult, danger and dirt work. Professional don’t like to back their country usually. In conclusion, the level poverty will be continued associated with negative symptoms. In connection with remittance, the villages from east to west, north to south are sounds empty. Only the elders, disables, and women are living in villages. Using readymade foods and clothes is a matter of status because at least a family member of them is working outside of the homeland or nearby city as migrant/worker. Most of the young women whose husbands are working outside are living in Kathmandu or nearby cities in rental house for better education of their children. If someone likes to continue their traditional occupation is matter of stigma so the land and sheds are empty. If anyone likes to continue their traditional occupation, it is very hard to get assistance and the rent against their support is very high. There are other forms of local and traditional trades such a herbs, husbandry which is also heavily ignored by the government and as well as by new generation. Even the deliberate programs are at risk to continue their performance e.g. continue of home stay in Ghalegaun by next generation. Thus, the local resources are getting under or misused and contributing poverty and class decimation again.
Emerging Entrepreneurship: Like as silver lining, few youths are really trying to work hard for initiating the entrepreneurship or combating poverty. Few youths even returned to country to do something after their higher education. They come up with fascinating plans and deep passion but they failed largely. Sadly, they are restless due to lack of enabling environment such as funding, marketing, skills, policies and stable politics. As a popular strategy, often the government brings the programs for youths, unemployed and marginalized group per say unfortunately it is heavily used for party cadres as guided by party of government head and almost misused. The real passionate and marginalized communities don’t enjoy at all. Such type of scenario is creating frustration and bringing new dimension of poverty and class discrimination again in Nepali community.
In this given scenario, poverty has seen in two ways; primary or traditional poverty and modern poverty. There are other confounding factors associated with. The modern poverty is getting more attention than the traditional poverty. However, both forms of poverty are really very dangerous for national economy and urgent to address strategically that demands sets of actions for holistic implementation to end its gaps.