A deceptive image of Nepal « Himal Post | Online News Revolution

A deceptive image of Nepal

-Gyaneshwar Agrahari

This is the image of Adwait Marg near Bagbazar in Kathmandu, Nepal. Since Nepal is one of the favorite destinations of tourists from all around the world, one who views this image will definitely assume that the taxis are waiting for visitors to take them to different locations of the Kathmandu valley, but this prediction is far from the reality. These taxis are waiting for common Nepalese people who are heading towards the Tribhuvan International Airport leaving their friends and families.

Nepal is an agricultural country, where most of the people follow substantial farming. The nation has not progressed enough in manufacturing and mining sectors despite healthy availability of natural resources. Tourism sector hasn’t expanded to every corner of the country; it is only centralized in few well- known places like Pokhara, Lumbini, Mustang, Chitwan, etc. Jobs offering huge payments are limited to a small group of people. Even highly educated people do not get jobs per their qualifications. Hence, the people, especially of age 18-40, move to other countries in search of jobs.

I snapped this picture while I was walking in a cool morning in this area. Every day, I see 10- 12 people keeping their luggage and heading towards the airport. The pavements are filled with their relatives and friends who are there to wish them for happy journey. Many agents, who fill their pockets with big money because of this trend of foreign employment, have settled in and around the area. The agents easily trap the common people who desperately wants to earn a large remuneration with their tempting offers and cajoling words.

According to statistics of Department of Foreign Employment, 399,406 people left Nepal for jobs (fiscal year 2072/73). More than half of the households in Nepal have at least one person in any foreign country. Traditionally, India has been the most favorite destination for Nepalese people but in recent years, countries like South Korea, UAE, Qatar, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, have attracted many highly skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled manpower of Nepal. The newest way of involving in foreign employment is getting a student visa of countries which provide permanent residence easily. Many of Nepalese students go to countries like Australia for higher education but find jobs for them and shift their focus from studying to earning money

According to the World Bank report, personal remittance contributed 31.3 percent of total GDP of Nepal in 2016, which is the highest in the world in terms of remittance’s portion in national GDP. This is the reason remittance is considered as the vertebral column of Nepal’s economy; however, there is no any noticeable benefit for the nation’s infrastructure development. The money the Nepalese workers send from other countries is mostly consumed in household necessities by their families. The United Nations COMTRADE data base of 2015 said that Nepal expended 488.49 million US Dollar just on importing electronic items. According to the CEIC Data, there is a growth of 56.7% in the motor vehicle sales in Nepal in 2016 despite the government has levied extremely huge customs on imported vehicles. These statistics clearly show that the remittance in our country is consumed in luxurious goods rather than in productive sectors like agriculture, industries and business. Moreover, people have adopted new methods of transiting cash in form of gold and other valuable items. In this case, the government does not get its share from the remittance.

The government has not still realized that foreign employment neither can be be the key to financial revolution of the country nor be the permanent solution of Nepalese people’s survival. The biggest reason behind it is that foreign employment heavily depends on political situation of the nations, where Nepalese go for work. The latest example is Qatar Crisis: Saudi Arabia and its seven Arab allies cut diplomatic relations with Qatar blaming Qatar to fund terrorism and have strong connections with Iran: Saudi Arab’s biggest rival. Because of this restrictions on Qatar, jobs of 400,000 Nepalese were in danger; however, Qatar maintained its internal economy due to assistance of Turkey and Iran and thus our people did not lost their jobs. Our government does not have any backups for its people, if any catastrophic incident like Qatar crisis happens again in the future. Moreover, the developed nations have already developed schemes at a massive scale to replace human manpower with robots which will directly affect the employment rates in coming years. In such circumstances, Nepalese people have to return their homeland, where the government possibly will be welcoming them with ‘No Vacancy” posters.

Nevertheless, only the Nepal government can not be blamed for everything. One of the biggest factor behind big number people leaving our country is their mindset. Foreign employment actually upgraded the standard of living of Nepalese people extensively; the dream of bagging a luxurious lifestyle for themselves and their family members drives common Nepalese people to be ” slaves of the Sheikhs.” In place of starting initiatives from the experience they have gained from their jobs, Nepalese people not only work for lifetime in foreign countries but also encourage their children to follow their footsteps. A common concept has been promoted among everyone that foreign employment is the one and only alternative for their progress. Unless this misconception is not eradicated, Nepalese people will continue to move to other nations in search of employment.