By PR Pradhan
Those political leaders, who are enjoying power, have coined the present system as “loktantra”. However, we don’t see the democratic characteristic — “for the people, of the people and by the people” — in this “loktantra”, nevertheless, it sounds appropriate to say the system “for the leaders, of the leaders and by the leaders” as the present system has enormously benefitted the political leaders.
We have three categories of governments – federal government, province government and local government. All the elected representatives in these governments are receiving salary plus other facilities, which, they have decided on their own. The financial picture of the nation is that domestically collected government revenue is not even enough to manage the salary and other facilities of the civil servicemen and elected people’s representatives.
In Nepal’s budget expenditure, general expenditure is found higher than the development expenditure. In other words, we have no funds for investment in infrastructural sector. We borrow or take loans from abroad for infrastructural investment or say development investment. Expenditure on general sector is considered as non-productive investment and we are spending much in non-productive sector. If such a trend will continue, it will not lead the nation towards prosperity.
Since the introduction of seven provinces and 753 local bodies, the government expenditure on general sector has increased significantly as the number of representatives has increased accordingly and all the people’s representatives are enjoying salary and facilities. As such governments have been empowered with the right of self decision, local bodies have been converted into corruption centers due to lack of strong regulating body. According to the CIAA report, the cases of corruption and abuse of authority have increased in an alarming level in local bodies. The same applies in province and federal governments. On the one hand, the Prime Minister is lauding that he will not tolerate corruption at any cost, in the mean time, he is found rewarding a particular business group – Yeti Group – in exploiting the government property even by amending existing laws. The government, to escape CIAA investigation, is taking important decisions from the cabinet. The Nepal government has decided to import security press from France through a deal at the government to government level. It is reported that the government officials have planned to manipulate 12 billion rupees while procuring the security printing press. It seems, the source of corruption and abuse of authority is the Prime Minister’s Office. Furthermore, the government is trying to further curtail the CIAA’s authority by amending CIAA law that CIAA would not be allowed to initiate investigation against the deals made by the federal and province governments.
Look at the plight of commoners! The federal government, province governments and local governments are squeezing the general public with heavy taxation. According to a report from Taplejung, land tax has been increased by above five times. Earlier the land owners, who were paying two thousand rupees, are now compelled to pay above ten thousand rupees. In every sector, tax has been increased by many folds giving the reason that these taxes are needed to meet the government expenditure.
The government is unable to timely supply of fertilizers to the farmers. The government is unable to provide facilities and incentives to the farmers. It is serious to note, the government is unable to give proper price for the farmers’ agro products. The farmers are exploited by the government and also the brokers and middlemen. The government is not even able to check and control those brokers who are exploiting farmers and the consumers.
According to reports, the federal government as well as the province government have allotted huge budgets to support farmers. In reality, the fund didn’t go to the real farmers but those relatives and close people of the ministers have enjoyed the funds. Reports state that minister’s nearer and dearer ones have received the funds in the name of establishing cold-storages. One Comrade said that those Communist ministers are self-centered to that extent that they don’t see others except from their own family members and relatives.
Likewise, the construction contractors, under the political protection, are exploiting the government coffer by delaying projects and in the name of verification, they are claiming additional budget and the government officials are found paying additional amounts to them. The government seems helpless, and for several times, the government regulation on the public procurement has been amended by making it friendly for those construction contract defaulters.
Look at the market price! There is no any effective monitoring body to check and control black marketing.
Sugarcane farmers have been agitated again as they were unable to receive dues from different sugar mills. There is the communist government but those communists in the government are not friendly with the sugarcane farmers, rather, they seem friendly with the mill owners. Otherwise, if the government wishes, it can immediately suspend their bank accounts and also it can intervene on other businesses run by those mill owners compelling them to surrender immediately.
In conclusion, all the people’s representatives are in a race to loot the country and commoners in the name of “loktantra”!