Page last updated at 2014-10-22 19:44:19 RSS
Starts At Top
Civil service reform
It was no coincidence that when Krishna Hari Banskota, the head of the Administrative Reform Implementation and Monitoring Committee, was submitting his quarterly report to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Tuesday, our top political leaders had gathered at a luxury resort in Gokarna to hammer out disputed constitutional issues. But it is not just vital inter-party talks that are being held out of station; increasingly, the trend is to conduct even routine government seminars and trainings at such outposts, at considerable extra cost. This is the reason the committee has recommended that such functions be held within the premises of respective offices. Yet there are doubts that this recommendation will be taken up by the political leaders who have gained notoriety for their tendency to visit expensive hospitals abroad even for minor ailments. But that was not the committee’s most notable recommendation, which was the suggestion that public offices be run in two shifts (the first between 7:30 am and 1:30 pm and second between 1:30 pm and 7:30 pm), and keep them open on public holidays. If implemented, these measures will be of tremendous help to those who work odd hours or can’t spare time in their busy workdays. Such flexible shifts would also ease the pressure on the busiest offices like the Department of Passport, Department of Labor and District Administration Offices.
Last Chance
Biswas Baral
Constitution making
You don’t have to be a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist to see Nepali history repeating itself as a farce, again and again. On Tuesday, Big Three bigwigs were scheduled to meet at Gokarna on the outskirts of Kathmandu to thrash out contentious constitutional issues. But since CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli didn’t bother to turn up till 3 pm, a full four hours to the scheduled 11 am meeting, other top leaders were seen lounging around the plush resort, reading newspapers and swatting flies.

Interestingly, even as our leaders were taking their own sweet time, CA Chairman Subhas Chandra Nembang announced yet another (12-day) term extension of the Constitutional Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee (CPDCC), ‘one final time’. Repeat extensions of deadlines, last-ditch ‘resort retreats’ and the two sides on the identity-viability federalism spectrum digging themselves deeper into their respective corners—really, the near history of Nepal seems to be repeating itself.
Death Trap
Prayash Raj Koirala
Migrants in Qatar
On October 1, late evening I received news that my uncle ‘disappeared’ in Qatar. Gunadev Ghimire and his colleague, Krishna Upadhyaya, who had been to Qatar to research on treatment of Nepali migrants working there while Qatar prepares to host World Cup 2022, and were supposed to return the previous day, had not returned. The issue became much suspicious because Upadhyaya had earlier informed one of his friends about being followed by some police officials in civil uniform. Families of both (who were the citizens of the UK, both migrants from Nepal) had already reported to the British authorities about this.

Soon the news spread over. But the whereabouts of the duo was unknown for almost a week. We could feel sense of relief only on October 6, when Qatar authorities confirmed detention of two researchers for violating Qatar’s laws. Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement said: “All of the actions that have been taken against the two Britons are consistent with the principles of human rights enshrined in the Constitution and the laws of the State of Qatar.” A few days later British Embassy officials in Qatar confirmed that they had met both of their citizens. The colleagues were held in solitary confinement for ten days and released on October 9. It took them additional nine days to complete legal proceedings and get back home.
The Stage's Set
Dahal and constitution
As the country enters the final leg of the constitutional process, Pushpa Kamal Dahal the-statesman faces the toughest test yet. Dahal first emerged from the hiding in 2006 with Che Guevara-like aura. During the ten years of civil war there were all kinds of rumors about him. The most famous among them had it that the man known as Prachanda and Gyanendra Shah were the same person. Prachanda was a myth created to unite the Maoists during the torturous years of conflict, it was also said. Others believed he was a RAW agent. So when the actual person emerged in flesh, people were fascinated by the little-understood leader of a bloody insurgency. At the time even his detractors were forced to acknowledge Dahal’s unmatched mass appeal.
Stories Of Pain
Hari Bansh Jha
Migrant workers
Perhaps no other country sends as large section of its workforce abroad as Nepal. Currently, more than a third of the country’s population of 27 million are estimated to be working abroad. About six million Nepalis work in India alone; while the remaining four million are employed in other countries. Continuing political and economic chaos in Nepal has compelled a large number of youth to leave. Push factors such as poverty, unemployment and risk of life are coupled with pull factors like lucrative job opportunities abroad. The choice could not be starker.

Unemployment among the Nepali youth is as high as 40 percent. For many, working abroad has also become a symbol of social status and adds to their credibility back home. Whether rich or poor, skilled or unskilled, male or female, most of the working age population has dreams of going abroad. So each year hundreds of thousands of people apply for the American Diversity Visa, though only around 2,500 eventually get the opportunity to go to the ‘land of dreams’. Recently, almost half-a-million Nepali youth appeared for Korean language tests for a limited number of jobs in South Korea. The frustrated youth often prefer to try their luck abroad, even in the absence of any job guarantee, even if they have to leave their loved ones behind.
More Headlines:
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  • Mixed bag
  • Mind it
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  • Bank on it
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