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Submitted by Ramu Bishwakarma on
Thank you for initiating this discussion. For me there are two important things Nepal should focus on now 1) A massive public work (like you said), and 2) Institutional strengthening/reform. The first part-- massive (labor intensive) public work-- is a need of this time. This can make multiple contributions to the country. For example, Nepal is in a dire need of engaging youths that represent the largest size of national population. The unemployed mass, specially from the minority ethnic/caste groups, if continue to be unemployed, may be pushed to find their way to the activities that are counter-productive (violence, conflict) to the development. Due to the agrarian nature of the economy, mass absorption of the labor by the private sector is nearly impossible at this time. Thus a large scale public work is important. Furthermore, the harsh physical make up of the country makes it extremely difficult for efficient exchange of goods, services, and information across all subnational units. Since a majority of the population (nearly 80%) still live in often scattered remote rural areas, public infrastructure projects that help them connect to the market and mainstream society is critically important for Nepal's growth and development. This is particularly important in these days as the changing climate has exposed an increased risk of these populations' livelihood (agriculture, livestock, water resources and so forth). Second most important aspect would be a massive institutional reform/strengthening effort. The service delivery mechanism of Nepalese institutions is extremely poor. This is especially the case in rural areas. For instance, a letter sent from Kathmandu to Kalikot district--western part of the country through public postal office, may take several weeks to reach there. For a small country like Nepal, this should not be the case. Likewise, despite the prevalence of health posts/health centers in most of the villages, thousands of children die by diarrhea every year across the country. This also suggest that existing institutions are not functioning well. In fact many traditional institutions (many of them counterproductive for the development) govern Nepalese daily life. Hence, the institutional structures are needed to be updated or modernized so that people get efficient service without paying a huge transaction cost as they do now. Such efficiency could help boost the growth and development. These are some of the points that I feel strongly about. Thanks for the opportunity to express my thoughts.