Sunday, November 16, 2008

Economic Crisis 2008 on SAARC

1. All SAARC stock markets have crumbled; India and Pakistan leading the table.
2. India most affected and Bhutan the least.
3. SAARC is certainly among the least affected RECs in the world

Issues brought by the crisis in the region:

  • US investors have flown back to save their home operations
  • Corporate spending have dried up due to unavailable credit
  • Unemployment is on the rise
  • Few Indian Banks are in trouble; almost all MNC Banks are affected
  • Consumer Spending have come down
Some good things that happened:
  • Inflation is lowered
  • Local Banks get chance to better their MNC rivals
  • Low Petroleum cost is sure to benefit the region (who are major oil importers)
  • Majorly Agriculture based Economy; least chance for recession
My take:
  • Not so much bad News for SAARC
  • Economy Growth will slow due to lack to external funding
  • Internal Economic Dependence will increase thus pushing up intra-regional trade
  • External Competition will be fierce, but our competitiveness will be high due to low cost
  • Governments will speed up infrastructure spend to boost economic growth; good time to take it up
  • Co-operation between member states will rise as external factors wont be favorable
  • Overall a much better SAARC; probably a sooner SAEU
Whats your take on it? Share your views/comments here. Would be interesting to know them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Madhesi-Pahadi Divide should stop now!

The issue about VP using Hindi while taking oath is going out of the bounds. This has to be stopped and logical discussion needs to be started.

1. VP has committed legal crime, and needs to be penalized.
This is not a question respecting or not respecting Hindi language. It is about following rules and regulations of the country. Hindi is not among the listed national languages of Nepal, and as per the interim constitution VP Jha needs to be penalized.

2. Hindi can be made to the National Languages List
It is true that most of the communities in Terai including Tharu, Khas and Marwari speak Hindi as second language, while most of the Maithili, Bhojpuri, Angika and Awadhi speaking people use Hindi as common medium of communication. This very well calls for adding Hindi in the national languages list.
Along with Hindi, Marwari language may also need to be given the national status.

3. India should not come into internal politics
India is more hurt than pleased by the Hindi language controversy in Nepal. VP Jha has once again given point for anti-Indian lobby to play their politics in Nepal.
This is sad for both Nepal and India. We are amongst the most culturally connected communities, and we need to be one. The relation needs to be developed like US-Canada or US-UK in a progressive manner, and this can happen only when people stop creating pro-Indian and anti-Indian fuss in Nepal.
India is one of the best possible neighbor, and its history proves this fact. Let us respect and be constructive.

4. Dhoti is a ethnic dress of Nepali Citizens, lets not forget that
Dhoti is the ethnic dress of few communities in Nepal, specially the Bhopuriyas and Maithilayas. And in Democratic Nepal, they will have full rights to promote their culture and tradition, lets not create debate in it.

5. There can not be one Madesh
When many communities including Tharu are against One Madesh, it can not simply be created. This is also against the national interest of economic inclusiveness. Whole Madesh as a single state will create a privileged belt and other people will lose a lot.

States needs to be formed in Ethnic and Economic lines while keeping in mind the strategic interest of the country. It can in no case be compromised.

6. New Text Books needs to be included highlighting history of great Nepali Civilizations
This is one very important point. Mithila was once one of the most prominent country in South Asia and its historic importance needs to be emphasized in our school text books. Similarly for Limbuwan, Khumbuwan, Birat, Newa etc. Shah dynasty has some good history, but that should dominate overall past. It needs to be more inclusive and people should feel proud of all our ancient civilization and culture.

7. Stop Ethnic Attacks
Whether it is Madeshi Moment or any other moment, it should be checked. They should just focus on getting ethnic, cultural and political rights. It should focus on getting govt attention by peaceful protests, and mass public moment. This should just focus on protesting against govt. and people responsible for it, and should not be a generic racial protests.
Any attack on Gurkha, Marwari, Maithili, Tharu or Dhimal etc communities is sure to hurt many innocents who have no control on decision making. So the attack on communities needs to be stopped as it serves no purpose, but just flare up communal disputes.

8. No question on Terrotorial Integrity
We all know, all Nepalese Love Nepal and there is no question of more or less. But in frustration many people question the terrotorial integrity of Nepal. One such example is once Paramendra Bhagat, a prominent blogger, once says, "we will get Madesh. But it is a question of getting Madesh within Nepal, independent or with India."
This type of comments really hurts.

Guys, This is all I have to say. share your thoughts here. Lets seriously think to make a better Nepal.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Madhesi-Pahadi Conflict : Rise of Chure Bhawar

Rights have been given to the Madhesi people. Both the President and Vice President are from the same community. This is in result of the Madhesi movement that happened after the fall of Monarchs led by MJF, and supported by all the Terai based parties.

The movement went forward and Mr. Vice President went ahead taking oath in Hindi, where Hindi language is neither his mother tongue nor amongst national languages of Nepal. This has clearly undermine the national sovereignty of the citizens of Nepal who has voted him to power.

This has hurt India and MJF the most.

I am sure, neither Indian congress nor the Indian Govt is in a mood to puppetize Nepali govt. They very well know any such attempt will backfire, specially when China lies on the other side.
India in no way should have any hand in this activity. It is just the immaturity of our Mr. Vice President to take such step. Today's India is a Economic India and Nepal's development is in line with Indian interest, where in days Nepal can partner India's growth by providing huge energy from Mega Hydro Projects. And we all should know how much important is power for India now when Indian govt has kept its life at stake to do Nuclear Pact with the US.

Regarding MJF, they have now lost everything they have gained except the few constituencies they won in the election. MJF is slowly being dominated old opportunistic politicians of NC, UML, RPP; and the actual revolutionaries are getting sidelined.

They have also lost their agenda of fighting for Madhesi rights and moved to hurting other communities. They are now the vocal attackers of Pahade community and culture. They don't hesitate saying gate pales to the Gurkhas. They say that the Nepali Marwaris are not Nepalis, and they believe other communities in Madesh like Tharu, Dhimal and Rajbangsi dont need their identity in New Nepal.

To answer all these questions, Chure Bhawar, which was one sidelined by the Pahades to give way for progressive and national parties like Maoists, NC and UML, has now come up. Now Mainali of Chure seems to be gaining ground and the strikes against the VP has been organized by them.

Now, its the real test of NC, UML and Maoists to keep people with them. To do this both Forum and Chure needs to be sidelined, and communal politics needs to be ended.

Its the test for these parties, but its the responsibilities of all of us to keep social harmony in the country.

God Bless Us. Yet Again.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

President and Vice President! Did Maoist Lose?

Maoist's candidates have lost both the President and Vice President posts in Nepal. This shows that Maoist are really raw for the parliamentary game. They have been played well by the old Nepal parties and sidelined.

Maoist are seen as a lost power today. And they are going to be in opposition in coming govt too. But that can be a ideal position for Maoist to be to safe guard their long term political interest.

With Dr. Ram Baran Yadav as President, Madhesi forces have achieved the electoral victory but have faced an ideological defeat. Dr saab is a Maithili Brahmin (from so called Madhesi community) and is a vocal supporter of one Nepal like most of the Nepali Congress and UML Leaders.
Also, NC and UML is the party who are not convinced for Federal Nepal too, leave the One Madesh, One Pahad concept.

This is sure to bring MJF is jeopardy in the coming days, as they will now be fighting with NC, UML and MJF (itself) alliance for One Madesh. While Maoist will see the drama from outside.
Maoist can play both the swords now. They can play against MJF is MJF sacrifices the One Madesh demand; and can play against NC and UML for Pahadi vote if MJF went otherwise. This clearly indicates a win-win situation for the emerging forces.

I see this drama for the first president as a strategic victory for the Maoist too. Nepal has a majority of communist people and it always had atleast for last 50 yrs. And this is not likely to change anytime soon.
The presidential election has brought three parties together leading towards the democratic alliance. This will hurt the image of UML and the migrants likely join MAoists.

Rest will have to watch!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

New Nepal Should Have New Thought

Newly formed Nepal government will have many challenges going forward and they will have to work actively and aggressively. It is challenging but not impossible.

Here are my suggestions for the new Nepal Government.

1. Integration to Global Economy

Free Trade Agreement with China, Japan and US to make the economy multi-lateral. This can be in-line with FTA with India.
This should be accompanied with aggressive infrastructure building to get maximum benefit from these bilateral treaties and SAFTA.

2. Suitable Investment Climate
Industrial Protection Act and Liberal Labor Regime to increase investor confidence. Indian Business houses in particular needs to be protected which are the most affected ones, as in todays world Indian Corporates are among the best governed and most aggressive ones. Entry of Companies like IBM, Accenture, GM, GE, Toyota, Infosys, Reliance, Bharti, ICICI etc can completely change the way companies function in Nepal. They will bring quality technology and huge volume of business, thus creating huge employment and great technological know-how.

3. Independent Planning and Execution of National Projects
National Planning Commission with more representation from Nepali Private sector and less dependent from donor agency like ADB, WB or IMF. ADB, WB and IMF are the masters of putting useless conditions for their help and thus take economy towards more bad, so that their relevance in the world remains. Their conditions should not be taken unless utmost necessary and their overall involvement in the economy should be reduced as far as possible.

4. Government Investment Channelization to increase Professionalism
Establishment of a Professional Investment Company to hold all Government Investments in all companies in the lines of Tamasek, Singapore. This needs to be run by Professional Managers on Competitive Excellence Basis.

5. Aggressive Infrastructure Development by adopting all mediums
Open Infrastructure Development Policy to bring in Huge Foreign Institutional Investment (FII) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This should be mainly targeted towards building Hydro-Power, Telecoms, and Transport Facilities.

6. A Nuclear, Power Sufficient Nepal
Nuclear Energy Development Board to work with India and China for development of Nuclear Energy in civil use. RONAST needs to be made more professional and pulled to support Nuclear Case.
Nepal is reach in Hydro-resources but it should not just stick to its use because production and maintenance of Hydro-power is not efficient and effective. Argentina and Hungary has already seen very bad economic and environmental effect with over focus on Hydropower and Nepal needs to learn form them.
Nuclear Energy is safe and has cost effective maintenance. This makes it favorable for long term interest of the economy.

7. where there is Resources there needs to be Military
Effective Military Development more on the lines of Singapore, less Army but most sophisticated and modern equipment.
It can also be making of SAMA (South Asian Military Alliance) or joining Shanghai Co-operation or NATO. This will make sovereign voice strong.

8. Complement India and Not Consume India
Cancellation of 1950 Ind0-Nepal Treaty and replacing it with a new one. This should take care of changed political and economic scenario between the two culturally similar nations. It can be in lines of US-Canada Relation.
Nepal should work on building more natural relations with India on the lines of Australia or UK having with US. This will mean having more meaningful and business friendly relations, and not based on favoritism and puppetism.
Nepal is India's natural ally and vice-versa. They are so much culturally linked that in there is unlikely that the bond will weaken or break. This needs to be actively voiced.
The good and progressive relation will mean great for private sector from both the countries. Indian business houses can invest heavily in Hydro-Power and other areas, while Nepali Business will have one of the World's largest Market for their products. This will increase people to people contact and in good note, which I feel is better than India Government financing projects in Nepal and providing aid (which actually flows to few corrupt takers).

9. Upgradation of Rural and Agricultural Economy
Agricultural Revolution is the next thing in line, and this is the right time to start. With Petroleum cost rising and subsequently food prices rising with the production of bio-fuel, the market for food products is huge.
Nepal has good and fertile land, and can produce much more than it is doing today. It just needs effective people awareness. Government can play a facilitator by creating Tax Breaks for companies involved in food production, distribution and processing industries. This should however be accompanied with good policy for bringing in international players to maintain quality of service.

10. Strict and Good Governance
Hard stance on Anti-Government forces accompanied with effective Government facilities. single window can be created to pay all bills like electricity bill, water bill, taxes etc. This can be outsourced to a professional company and operated 24 hrs in major areas with complete IT Automated Facilities.
It is very important to have strong anti-terrorism and anti-corruption act to include capital punishment. There should be no second thought in clear anti-socials from the country and the economy.

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