Nepal Today

Monday, August 19, 2013


Kathmandu, 20 Aug.: Chairman of the CPN (UML), Jhalanath Khanal, has said that no talks should be held now onwards on the issue of postponing the date of election to the Constituent Assembly (CA) declared for November 19, RSS reports..
Receiving a memorandum submitted by the Reporters' Club today, Khanal stressed on the need of moving ahead focusing on the preparations of the election after finalizing the ongoing talks with the dissenting parties soon.
He suggested the 33-party front led by the CPN-Maoist to participate in the election in view of the country's situation and to raise their voices of dissatisfaction through the election.
The CPN (UML) chairman said that the party would engage in preparations of the election by holding central committee meeting soon.
Responding to a query, Khanal said the party would take initiatives to stop hooliganism and undisciplined activities surfaced in the sister organisation, Youth Association Nepal (YAN).
Kathmandu, 20 Aug,: Chairman of the Election Council of Ministers Khil Raj Regmi has said maximum achievement could be made of the public expenditure with austerity and rationale with the start of the electronic purchase system, making it competitive in contracts, cleanness, honesty, accountability and trustworthiness, RSS reports..
On the occasion of the seventh founding day of the Public Purchase Monitoring Office, here today, he initiated  a new software on electronic purchase  and expressed the view that it will bring transparency, and trustworthiness in purchase  and control evils and aberrations by giving a feel of good governance in public financial administration.
He also said as the government keeps in high priority good governance, its another most important work is to succeed the November 19 CA election.
Government is focused on good governance, transparency, corruption control and quality and is active in making election successful, he said.
Chief Secretary Leelamani Poudel said the e-purchase will contribute in public purchases. Secretary of the Monitoring Office Dhan Bahadur Tamang said 65 suppliers, contractors and service providers were kept in black list for one to three years for acting against the purchase act and regulations.
He said there are more than 40,000 public bodies and the objective of his Office was to suggest to make transparency and uniformity for good governance.
Best performer in the year, Director Shankar Krishna Shrestha, and long serving staffs were given away prizes and commendation letters.
Kathmandu, 20 Aug.:  Number of people registering their names in biometric voters' list with photograph has been increasing at the three District Election Offices of the Kathmandu valley every day, RSS reports..
People have been registering their names in voters' list by queuing up since  morning.
Chief of the District Election Office, Kathmandu, Shambhu Chalise, said that more computers and human resources have been managed to register names of all the voters who visit the office to register their names.
The office had collected names of 3,600 voters on Sunday. It also has a target to register names of around 6,000 voters today.
Chalise said that the office has made necessary arrangement with an objective that all could register their names in the voters' list.
Similarly, Lalitpur District Election Office Chief, Shanta Nepal (Marasini), said that registering of names of voters in the bio-metric voters' list is going on at the District Election Office and the District Administration Office for the convenience to voters.
She said that a total of 1,500 voters registered their names so far since August 17. Likewise, more than 7,000 voters registered their names in the voters' list at the District Election Office, Bhaktapur, said Office Chief Chudamani Panthi.
The Election Commission has again started a special programme to register names of voters in bio-metric voters' list from August 17.
The EC launched the name registering programme at the District Election Offices in all the 75 districts targeting those who are missed out in the previous voters' list. The programme will continue till August 23.

Kathmandu, 20 Aug.:Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala Monday stressed the need for widening cultural and economic assistance between Nepal and Pakistan to benefit the people of the two countries, The Rising Nepal reports..

Addressing a two-day meeting of Nepal-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission that kicked off in Islamabad, Pakistan, today, Finance Minister Koirala said that Pakistan could be a potential market for Nepali products.

“Pakistan has huge market potential of Nepali tea, coffee, cardamom and ginger,” a press statement issued by the Ministry of Finance quoted Finance Minister Koirala as saying.

Minister Koirala stated that the two friendly nations could expand assistance in agriculture, tourism, education, health and leather products.

Stating that the two separate agreements signed between Nepal and Pakistan in agriculture and tourism sector in 2007 and 2009 were really beneficial for the two countries, he suggested that the private sector of the two countries should exchange their experience for the promotion of trade and industry.

He stated that Nepal had accorded due priority to the private sector and the meeting held after eight years would be useful for both the countries.

Finance Minister Koirala said that the economy of Nepal was improving over the years as the country has been headed to hold the Constituent Assembly election after successfully completing the peace process.

He said that the government has set a target of achieving 5.5 per cent economic growth this fiscal year as revenue generation is encouraging.

On the occasion, Pakistani Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar said that the South Asia would be prosperous if the investment could be promoted in the region through SAARC.

Stating that there is huge potential of promoting bilateral trade between the two countries, he said that the meeting would be a milestone in expanding bilateral economic and cultural relations between the two friendly countries.

Earlier, the first meeting of the Nepal-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission was held in 2005 in Kathmandu. Established with the view to promote trade, investment and economic and technical cooperation, the meeting is supposed to be held turn by turn in the two countries.

The Nepali delegation led by Finance Minister Koirala includes 10 members comprising officials from the Ministry of Finance, Commerce and Supplies, Foreign Affairs and representatives from the private sector.




The resolution introduced in the US House will bring a shift in US  policy to Nepal.
Darshan Rauniyar is an American politician of Nepali origin. He was a Democratic Party candidate in Washington State's 1st congressional district in the party's primary election held in August 2012. Although Rauniyar could not get the winning votes in the primaries and be a candidate for the US election of the House of Representatives, he visited about forty states of the USA and in a way popularized Nepal and Nepalis.  He is currently in Nepal. Given his political activism, experiences in the USA, Nandalal Tiwari of The Rising Nepal talked with Rauniyar about his political experiences, support from NRNs in the US for his poll campaign, his views about Nepali politicians vis-à-vis the American politicians and other related issues.
What's your feeling that you contested as a Democratic candidate in the primaries for the US House of Representatives?
It's a great feeling because it's a proud moment for anybody who is willing to work hard in America because the Constitution allows you to run for those offices. As a Nepali citizen coming from the poorest country in the world to the most developed country and vying for public office, it was a great opportunity for me given by the constitution. What does that mean is that if you are interested in serving a public office you can contest.
My experience has been really amazing. When I announced my candidacy various people came to my support, and it was like a big wave for me similar to the one when Obama announced his candidacy. All the Nepalese people were very excited. They saw there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Non-Nepalese people also gave me a big moral boost and financial support so that I could campaign in forty states. It was a campaign at the grassroots and I gained a lot of experiences and learned that politics is all about policies and how you can make a difference in people's lives- how you can bring a change, what the government is doing and what you can contribute to, what your background is and what you have done for the community and why you want to get into public life to serve the community.   
Despite the huge support from the Nepali community in the US, as you said, you could not get the votes as you expected to run for the Congress. What could be the reasons?
There were various reasons. One of the reasons is that our district was a new district because there is a census every ten year in the US and change of the Congressional district. As there was a huge increase in the Washington State, a new district was formed. And we did not know that whether the new district was Democrat leaning or Republican leaning.
The second reason is that it was an open seat and in the US Congress and it does not happen usually because there is no term limit. The Congressman that has been representing for about fifteen years from that district decided to run for governor of that state. This made that seat vacant. And the open seat invited a lot of candidates for the mix. So we had to contest in the primary, top to primary.
The third thing was that my name was not much recognized as I was running for the first time and jumping to a big race. And the fourth thing is that in the US politics, in fact in any politics around the world, you need to have a lot of money to run for campaign in order to get your message, policy and name across the people. In my case I had to reach out to 700 thousand plus people.  The district was also pretty big, 320 kilometers long. I was not able to broadcast TV to get my message out.

Do you have any plans to contest for such election again?
If there is an opportunity, yes. I am looking for that. But most importantly I am here in Nepal to basically bring a movement of change. In Nepal, democracy is falling, we are going backwards, and there are a lot of issues and problems the country is facing right now. So what can we do to change this? I want to contribute on the basis of my knowledge, experience in the US for good governance. I want to educate the people about what I have learnt being a candidate in the US.
So, how will your movement go ahead?  
I was here in November last year to January. Then I went to a lot of rural, remote areas and saw the condition of the country. We all know our country is in a very dire situation right now, almost on the verge of collapse, I think. This is a time, I suppose, all Nepalis need to unite and be one voice and think about economic development. When I saw the plight of the Nepalese people inside and outside the country I had a turning point to do something for my motherland. It is my moral duty to contribute to my country as a Nepali. As I went back to the US last year, I was very determined to do something and I started educating the members of the Congress both in the Senate side and House side to be the voice about Nepal's situation and the plight of the Nepalis. With that we worked hard and as you know a Nepal resolution was just introduced in the US House of Representatives.  I think this is a very historic moment for Nepal and Nepalis. The resolution has 15 points.
You know Nepal as much as you know the USA, and you are a politician. What are the differences between the Nepali politicians and the Americans? 
(Ha ha ha…) There is a hundred eighty degree of difference. You can even not compare. In the US, the politicians go into the public life to serve the community, people and the country. They are driven by the policy changes. Politics is all about policies over there, where you stand on the issues of education, human rights, economy and so on. There is issue-based politics. Quite the opposite, politics in Nepal has become personal. It's all about personal gain, party gain, and not in the national interest. I think, this needs to be changed to become a developed country.
Is it party politics or individual charisma that plays a vital role in the US poll?
It's individual charisma. As you know the US is a very literate country and it is very hard to convince people and there are strict rules and regulations governing the election campaigns. You need to have sufficient financial support to send your message out to the people about why you want to run for the public office and where you stand on issues related to the community and the country. How you answer to the queries of your constituencies, how logical you are in debate, all matter. In the US, sometimes candidates go against their party's policies. However, in Nepal there are no such debates. I have not seen politics driven by policies. It is hard to find how a party is different from other parties, what it stands for on issues.
There is a debate among the parties over the model of federalism in Nepal. Would you like to make any suggestions since you have had experiences as a politician in the US, a federalist country?
I like American type of federalism because power is not concentrated in the central government, it is very much decentralized. In the case of Nepal, each zone can be a state governed by governor.
You must have interacted with many American politicians during your poll campaign and at other times. What's the perception of the American politicians over Nepal?
During the election campaign, I gave low priority to meeting with the politicians over there. I gave priority to the people, people who could vote for me. My purpose was fund raising during campaign and when I visited around 50 states. I was focused on how I could be the voice of the community and a bridge between the US and Nepal. I gathered an amazing amount of support from Nepali community and from Nepal as well that propelled my candidacy to be credible. I became a viable candidate and it was noticed by the Democratic party.
Nepal is not known to a lot of Americans, even my neighboour did not know about Nepal. I had to struggle because some of the media had projected me as an Indian candidate. After my campaign, now a lot of Americans, the Democratic party, the Republican party and the Congress know much about Nepal and that there is a big Nepali community in the US. The US election is also driven by immigrant community. Parties there are reaching out to me to reach the Nepali community to see how we can work together.
Have you assessed the US policy to Nepal?  Many analysts say that the US perception of Nepal is shaped by the Indian view and that the US looks at Nepal through the Indian lens.
That is what I heard here even from the general public. Obviously, everybody has their own interpretation. We would definitely like the US government to have a direct policy, relationship toward Nepal. One of the reasons for that is that we do not have a voice in the US, we don't have a lobbying body. US policies are not that clear to Nepal. India is the large democracy, and America works with the democratic countries to influence democratic process. That is probably what happens here given the geographic location of Nepal. Perhaps America thinks that since India is the largest democracy in the world and what they think is true. However, with the resolution in the House and the support it has from both the Democrats and the Republicans, I think there will be some sort of shift in the policy. I would say that US-Nepal relations are good, peaceful but passive. I think the US government should see Nepal through its democratic eyes and how it can help Nepal economically.


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