--BY MADAN LAMSAL
The country has no jobs. Without jobs, there’s no fame or wealth. And when there’s no money to be made, naturally there’s no food. To make some money and to make sure that their families back home have enough food to eat, millions of Nepali youths are toiling hard in the Gulf at temperatures of 42 degrees Celsius or more. And they keep sending money to Nepal. Many of them even return home in coffins.
Every year, nearly 500,000 Nepali youths go abroad to work and it is with their toil and sweat remittance that we have been able to buy foreign cars, TVs, mobiles, bikes, gold etc. Apart from this, some entrepreneurs and business persons at home have been working day and night facing a number of hassles and paying taxes to the government. We have been importing goods worth hundreds of billions of rupees with this money. That’s probably why the government has proudly proclaimed that Nepal's trade deficit has reached the 1,000 billion rupees mark.
But no matter how much money comes from abroad or is raised domestically, there always seems to be a shortage of cash in the country. It’s like the old Nepali saying, a python's stomach is never full. Ordinary Nepalis are sending money from abroad. But again, it's ordinary Nepalis who are dying without even getting simple medicines. The country is said to be quite rich in water resources, but the farmers' fields are parched and cracked; their clothes are torn; and their health is pretty poor. Thus, quite a few of them can't even fill their bellies and become old prematurely. Though the country imports rice worth about Rs 25 billion every year, it only fills the bellies of some Nepalis, not all Nepalis.
Thus, there only seems to be a shortage, scarcity and imbalance in every sector in the country. Therefore, to bring about completeness, abundance and balance in everything, it seems we have to do more of what we've been doing. For one, we have to send more Nepali youths overseas for foreign employment; we need to send more Nepali girls and women abroad (not only to Mumbai or Delhi!). To feed the unfed Nepalis, we need to import more paddy and rice.
According to a report by Transparency International, Nepal lags behind Afghanistan and Bangladesh on the list of South Asian countries with high corruption. We should try our best so that it gets to the top of the list by next year. And for that, the government, the political parties, civil servants and non-government organisations and even some people from the private sector are doing everything at their disposal to institutionalise corruption. Let’s hope for the best. Nepal will surely become number one in corruption. Nigeria once went through a similar situation; today it is one of the developing countries.
The main thing is those who want to eat should be able to eat. In fact, a country's success depends on its ability to feed those who want to eat. Like the famous Nepali proverb - Kam garne Kalu, Makai khane bhalu (those who do the work and the bears who eat the corn) – Nepal is full of those who work hard, the kalus, but there are more bhalus, or bears, those who profit off the hard work of others. And it seems we need to safeguard them. I mean it's our job now to conserve and protect these big bears even if that requires sending more Kalus to do the work abroad.