Tuesday, 23 July, 2024

Hopes From NRNs

Bini Dahal

Brain drain is a growing concern in developing countries around the world. And Nepal is no exception to this. The country has been facing a serious manpower constraint. Most of the skilled and highly educated Nepalis are travelling abroad in search of better education and job opportunities. Once settled abroad, very few return home and most of them become Non-Resident Nepalis (NRNs). To protect and promote rights and interests of NRNs and to establish their global network and common platform for them, the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) was first established in 2003. Today, this association has widened its network and has members from around 51 countries in the world, except those residing in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations.
The remittance sent over by the NRNs to their family members back at home have been a real saviour of the economy. A report published by the World Bank in 2018 showed Nepal to be the 19th largest remittance receiver in the world having received remittance equivalent to Rs. 1.8 billion. Not only this, non-residents in small number have been spending their money on various investment projects such as hydro-power, banking, health care, education, tourism, food processing and manufacturing, among others, to contribute to the nation’s development. Yet, the participation of the NRNs is not that very big. It has been 15 years since the establishment of the association but not all of the set goals and objectives have been met.
From October 15 to 16 this year, the NRNA’s 9th annual global conference was organised in the capital. Many members of the association from around the world took part in the event. Though in the past, NRNA was considered to be a very good and respectable community, this year it had to face a lot of backlashes and criticisms. The members were blamed for welcoming politics into a neutral association. The founding president of NRNA, Dr. Upendra Mahato went as far as to boycott the inaugural and the election programme because of the changing ways of the association. A usually peaceful conference turned into a noisy and strength-showing session due to differences in thoughts of the people in regard to the method of voting. Likewise, a non-resident was made to pay a fine of Rs. 50,000 for creating problems at the immigration section at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
If we ignore this kind of behaviour and focus on their knowledge and expertise, we can call NRNs Nepal’s development partner. We are in dire need of money, skills, knowledge and technology for accelerating the country’s development process. They could help the country through transfer of technology, development of human resources, promoting Nepali culture, linking the country with international investment opportunities, enticing foreign investors and also creating job opportunities for Nepali people. The NRNA can also become a major promoter of the government’s upcoming national tourism campaign-- Visit Nepal Year 2020 (VNY). Though this campaign, the nation aims to welcome two million international tourists into the country.
Associations like NRNA are like a backbone of the country. The support they can provide to the country is not just economic but multidimensional. The association and its members must come up actively to fulfill the motives and goals that they have formulated in order to uplift the conditions of their motherland. Also the association must prevent any kinds of political influence and must remain neutral. By doing so, it can work independently for the betterment of the nation and the people, who have really pinned high hopes on NRNs.