The government’s slogan of making Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali can be a guiding principle to climb the uphill ladder of prosperity. But the problem lies in the mismatch of slogan, vision and action. When it comes to realising the slogan, the perceptions of the government and people vary. If we read the history of the People’s Republic of China, South Korea and Singapore, we will find that these countries were poor, like us, not too long ago. In the course of time, the governments of these countries behaved as responsible guardians or even strict parents, while their people worked as hard as they could as good sons and daughters of a family.
But our situation is different. The majority of us tend to exhibit two characteristics: First, we do not believe the plan the government brings whole heartedly. Second, we shy away from supporting the government. For example, king Birendra, under the Panchayat system, had brought the slogan of prosperity for the first time. It was named Yesiyali Mapdanda. The slogan was taken by the Nepali people with a pinch of sarcasm, because it was the outcome of the Panchayat system. Later, another slogan was introduced - making Nepal as prosperous and modern as Singapore was at that time. It was also taken lightly.
If we look into the reason behind why the Nepali people take slogans lightly, we find that they are rational because they know the ground reality of the country. There are some parameters to make the country prosperous and people happy. The first parameter of prosperity is self-sufficiency in the basic needs as food, shelter, and clothing. We have plans on this regard, but we do not have action with strong commitment as the Chinese and South Korean governments and people had in the past. The second parameter of prosperity is sustainable development, but our plans have little to show they meet the criteria of sustainability.
The ordinary people’s participation in the economic activities as in production and supply sectors should have been spontaneous and significant. But our production and supply systems are not as strong as our neighbours have. On many fronts, we are dependent on our neighbours. We should have established small and big industries in the country. There should have been labour shortage to run the industries. Instead, we have been seeing the opposite. The Central Bureau of Statistics reports show that about a thousand Nepali youths leave the motherland as migrant workers daily. A big number of talented students leave the country for studies abroad and they seldom return to their home country. The skilled manpower and well educated students prefer going abroad because the country cannot give them the opportunity they deserve.
In that context, the present government should do only two things to make the country prosperous: First, it should seek the reason behind the workforce going out and try to stop them by providing them the right job opportunities and timely education. Second, it should create an environment of luring foreign investment, the semblance of which is happening now. The country cannot prosper until our working youths go abroad as workers. Mere remittance collection cannot bring prosperity to the country. As economist Theodor Herzl says, ‘The wealth of a country is its working people’.