Ripped Ears by Hollow Slogans

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Dr. Nawa Raj Subba.

Nepal is a nation of catchphrases. Or, to put it another way, it is a nation of leaders. Here, catchy slogans are sung from house to house. The old government is replaced, and new ones are installed. Empty slogans are those that lack a foundation and exist to garner support.

Regrettably, we have been referring to the free democracy that was born on someone’s lap as democracy. For foreign interests, the leaders and administrators of this country are constantly shifting. The unique trait of Nepali leaders is that they ascend to power to hand over control of Nepal’s rivers to foreigners (Acharya, Upendradev). Once the government changed, Nepali leaders prepared to hand over Nepal’s natural resources to foreigners. Our past is like a frog that jumps no matter how high we jump. Therefore, the frog hopping of the leader and empty phrases have a terrible relationship.

Take a look at the nation’s health. In the 1990s, the phrase “Health for all by the year 2000” was famous. Sadly, that motto was unable to be realised. Then, at the international community’s request, the government modified its position. He emphasised the need to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. The government said that the achievement should make publically sustainable as a result. But unfortunately, we could not accomplish the objectives.

After failing to achieve 2015 targets, a new sweet slogan is being raised: reaching the sustainable development goal by 2030 and boosting the level of even the most marginalised people. Based on the current scenario, it does not appear that its pruning will be completed. The federal, state and local governments have prioritised infrastructure development such as roads and culverts. Roads, drains and gutters have been built with funds from education and health. Complaints began to surface that health professionals were not being paid on schedule. Infrastructure development operations by the government have overtaken public health service projects. There is a greater risk of losing public health gains thus far. Government is transitory. On the other hand, the people will have to pay the price for the government’s shortcomings.

It is not sufficient to forget people by creating appealing slogans. Goals and plans are no longer just talking points. Such slogans have enraged the general public. Did we get everyone well on time as our previous motto suggested? Or did we develop guiding principles and programmes? We declare a vaccinated area, an open defecation-free zone, a fully literate district, and so on, yet the situation does not improve. Socioeconomic reforms, public awareness, and behaviour have not changed as expected.

Campaigns such as complete vaccination and literate district declaration are solely for the government’s aim versus achievement. It is found in the report papers only but not in the fields. So, we should think about the foundation for the excellence scenario. Such accomplishment claims are meaningless without foundation. All neonates should be immunised in time. The vaccination campaign will suffer if the supply of vaccines, logistics, and human resources get disturbed. Likewise, every child should attend school. If students cannot participate in school for whatever reason, their whole literacy suffers. There is no continuity of achievement without guaranteeing the conditions that give that excellence. As a result, producing such noises is likewise a form of hollow phrases.

We must emphasise how frequently government agencies operate to assure service and quality. The state’s information system should guarantee oversight and development. Information is now being gathered on non-governmental organisations’ temporary facilitation of development operations. Various slogans are deemed successful based on that data. No fundamental official database of families in tolls, wards, and municipalities identifies the number of children in each family, the number of births, and the number of children who receive immunisations or education. When development budgets and programmes are available, house-to-house visits are undertaken. The problems identified at that time are minimised. Without a durable and reliable foundation, the government tends to declare slogans or projects effective. Will such programmes or campaigns achieve long-term objectives? That never happens.

It is a crucial fact that non-governmental organisations have affected Nepalese government entities (Acharya, Suryaraj). Non-governmental agencies do collect more information. It is also pressing that they even have political access. That is why they easily bind high-ranking officials and staff. As a result, non-governmental groups assist and actively intervene in Nepal’s policymaking. The projects are implemented locally as a pilot programme with Ministry consent. No government capacity or information infrastructure exists to examine the project’s far-reaching impact. Donors and non-governmental groups take advantage of government authorities’ weaknesses. Non-governmental organisations have used this method to pressure the government at various levels and in different parts of Nepal. Foreign organisations also exert pressure and entice government employees.

Foreign governments and donors fund non-governmental groups and governments. They promise donors that if they pay a certain amount of money, They will do a certain amount of work in a specific location. Some criteria and interests of the donor are hidden in the grant. Non-governmental and government groups create proposals by promising something in exchange for funding from a donor. Even if the task is incomplete, the government and non-governmental groups must digest the donor’s money by displaying paper statistics. They can’t do it on their own. Non-governmental organisations also work with official agencies to break statistics. Government agencies have likewise become donor-focused. Employees are concerned with allowances or benefits.

The office is assigned a budget-based work aim, but no working environment is provided. Employees are compelled to make progress in any way they can. As a result, even government officials engage in incorrect data arrangement; it is their constraint. That is why certain government data is untrustworthy. If the reader needs precise knowledge, he should additionally review other study research reports.

The Ministry is mostly to blame for the current thinness of the bureaucracy. Consider the Ministry of Health, for example. Instead of developing laws, rules, and recommendations appropriate for the country, the Ministry of Health is preoccupied with operating the programmes. It is because they handle money and facilities after running the programme. The Ministry is currently implementing the initiative by inviting non-governmental organisations to the Ministry. As a result, the Ministry falls behind in policymaking, rulemaking, monitoring, and research for the country. The Ministry’s sole mission is to collaborate with non-governmental organisations. The Ministry of Health was unable to collaborate effectively with other ministries.

The Ministry could not produce the regulations on time after creating the health act. Interest groups pressure the Ministry to interpret the rules in their favor. Numerous issues resulted from the Ministry of Health’s extensive and diversified workforce. The Ministry began to interpret the law in favor of special interest groups. Interest groups were compelled to construe the statute to their advantage after the change in political leadership in the Ministry. That violated the principles and ideals of the Health Act as a result of numerous pressures and factors. The health regulation did eventually arrive, but it was contradictory.

The nation’s health system is in disarray, much like Nepal’s political system. The health system’s command structure has loosened. Disability has increased due to political interference in governmental and non-governmental sectors. As a result, health services now have poor quality. Health services are not available to everyone. Health care services are no longer universally accessible. There are health ministries at each of the three levels in federal Nepal. However, people don’t seem to have that impression.

There was a claim yesterday that we need decentralization. The country has got to federalism. There is a voice raising that federalism does now work well. If so, how long goes the cycle of political experimentation? The responsible bodies, the federal government, and local governments were established after the emergence of federalism. But why has the public health sector suffered a decline? The situation the Ministry of Health created is one of the primary causes of this. The misuse of the Health Act, which the Ministry of Health first introduced roughly twenty years ago, was later combined with political influence.

Public health workers with various labels backed by the Health Act and the Union are now present in large numbers at healthcare facilities that offer primary healthcare services to the general public. They got promotions without the required academic qualifications. It was just because of strikes and the power of the trade unions. It was not just one level promotion, but even that post where one does not meet the criteria or qualifications. Any technical position within a healthcare organization cannot be filled by an appointee who does not meet the requirements. Therefore, arrangements should be made for educational qualification or training before granting the designation. We must have plans to offer healthcare for the President and Prime Minister in local hospitals rather than abroad. It will ensure skilled staff and health infrastructure in health institutions. The government should pay close attention to this.

The federal government’s core is where decisions about policies and programs are determined. The current difficulty is reaching the target groups with appropriate programs and services. But, the Center holds the state and municipal governments accountable for their inability to address citizen complaints. The province keeps the federal and local governments accountable. Similarly, the federal and state governments are being blamed locally. In its own right, it may justify to some extent. However, any sovereign government with resources should do its work honestly and not just pay lip service to others.

It is now time to review and improve the healthcare system. Until the country achieves political stability and speed, as the country’s political situation, the health system will most likely not be a tool for the people but a tool for political parties to fulfill their interests. Until then, the health sector will continue to rely on foreign donor agencies. No matter how many doctors, nurses, and health workers are produced in Nepal, there will always be a shortage because the government has delegated health education to special interest groups. He has made this training so expensive that after completing it, he is forced to relocate abroad to raise the cost of education.

Our country was once known as Gorkhas, who produced Lahure and fought for foreign imperialists. The function of a medical college is like a factory, turning workers to care for the elderly and contributing to improving masters’ health abroad rather than at home. We are born for others, not for ourselves. Fight and die for others, but never break the chain for yourself. These institutions are similar to training centers established for Nepalis who have grown up in Nepal to be recruited as foreign servants when they get certificates (Dahal). I am sorry that I’m forced to present the home of my country’s intellectuals as a satirical image.

The reality is not sweet; it is bitter because empty slogans have led Nepal on a journey without a destination. Selfish politics always ignore people’s voices while stabbing them in the eyes. As a result, our children are leaving for foreign countries, and our parents and neighbors are helpless when needed. Foreigners may have rolled the dice to create this environment, but, unfortunately, governments of all parties have become their useful idiots.

Tremulous slogans are constantly resounding from time to time. People are compelled to listen to it. At various levels of the country, there have been tensions and fights between the government and the staff. The poor have fallen victim to its stunning strike. The country is already mired in an unofficial competition between the public and private sectors. Today, one must witness the untrained dance of one’s own people’s representative, who lacks arts and vision. The king used to be above the law. Today, the party is breaking the rules and breaking the law, and running a Kleptocracy. Political parties appear to be supreme in Nepal rather than the people. A small group of political leaders has enslaved the country. Rather than ideology, self-interest rules the party. No political party nowadays is advocating for this method of enhancing the condition of the populace. They are merely weaving a web to draw voters from the coalition of parties.

Who will oversee the general health and education of the populace? Instead of dividing into groups based on policies, the people’s representatives do so. The party’s workers and leaders do not have a vision of the country. Petty leaders respect senior leaders. Senior figures are watching vested interest groups and foreign powers while operating Kleptocracy (Kaidi). To claim that the government established in this manner will provide the populace with papa (food) rather than loppa (kick) is a silly idea. Leaders have evolved into a businessman. They merely serve to frighten people into casting ballots in elections. After winning the election, they begin to collect the expenses along with interest and penalties. All the events have been witnessed and tasted, and they will now occur again. Since the people have been subjugated, those in positions of power will no longer act in their best interests.

Nepal is one of the world’s oldest countries. This country’s existence has been problematic throughout its history. This question came up again today. Our future is precarious unless people become more informed.

References
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02. Acharya, UpendraDev. “Bideshi Poltama Hurkeko Prajatantra Ra Aayatit Samyabadko Parinam.” [Video] Youtube AP1 Television. 8 August 2022, https://youtu.be/NR3LcmXvw5s
03. Dahal, Bharat. “TOUGH talk with Former Maoist Leader & Political Analyst by Dil Bhusan Pathak- part 36” Youtube [Vodeo] Feb 4, 2013, https://youtu.be/l7Kh_Yt1qnY
04. Kaidi, Prem “Aparadhi Utpadan Garne Yo Vyavasthale Kasailai Chuna Sakdaina: Prem Kaidi, Senior Journalist” Sagarmatha TV Youtube [Video] 19 Oct. 2019, https://youtu.be/HclGQaW34fw