Economic transformation in Madhesh (Editorial)


With the elections for the three-tier government - local, State and federal, Communist Party of Nepal swept to power with almost two-thirds majority in parliament. It has expressed commitment to serve the nation as per the spirit of the constitution and popular mandate. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli-led government is grappled with multiple challenges.

Its relationship between the federal and State 2 that includes core eight Madhesh districts has not been so smooth.

But the Oli government has attached due priority to the overall development of the southern hinterland bordering India. It has allocated around Rs 38.35 billion for the current fiscal year. This is so far the highest amount of budget earmarked for the Terai-Madhes in its history. With the allocation of huge amount of budget, Prime Minister Oli wants removes negative image created by some Madhes-based parties and win the trust of Madhes people.

The attitude of present government towards Madhesh had become positive. However, the issue of constitution amendment is still in limbo. This requires building trust between the political parties and people.

The government has provided a good amount of budget for Terai-Madhesh. But simply allocating budget is not enough. It must be implemented effectively. Therefore, the government should fairly spend budget in a way that brings changes to the life of the people of Madhesh.
The current budget allocated to Terai-Madhesh belt was an encouraging initiative that amply suggests that the government was committed to developing Terai-Madhesh. The current budget focuses on connecting Nepal through rail, road and air networks. It promotes cultural and religious heritage sites for tourism development, and introduces Prime Minister Youth Employment Programme and other new schemes for the development of agriculture and industrial sector. The government is committed to finishing all this projects in time. 

Terai-Madhesh, especially Province 2 is the most densely populated area but it vastly lags behind other States in terms of economic development despite having huge potentials of the development of industry, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure and human resources. 

If the government had prioritised agriculture and hydropower sector in Madhesh region, it would have helped in establishing industries, thereby generating job opportunities and making the country economically strong. 

Whatever situation arises in the country, the current stable government should work by taking all political parties into confidence for development and prosperity. 

Terai-Madhesh is the grain store of the country, with geo-strategic importance. A poor and unstable Terai often poses a threat to the national security. When the Madhesh is strong and economically empowered, it will have position repercussions for the socio-economic transformation of the country.

The Oli government has shown prudence and wisdom by allocating a great deal of budget for the economic transformation of the Madhesh.
As the government has allocated humongous amount of budget to the Madhesh’s development, it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to play a role on their part to implement various projects within a deadline.

There has been tendency to divert the development agenda for the sake of parochial political interest. As the nation has attained stability, economic development should be in the priority of all. Like the development of other backwaters of nation, the progress of Madhesh must not be held back on one or another pretext.

The nation will be able to achieve its motto - Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali-, only if the Terai-Madhesh witnesses the rapid economic growth. For this, the government should muster the support of all parties to implement its ambitious economic agenda.

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