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R&D Economic Research & Business Development

Date: August 17, 2009

Highlights

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal today consulted with the leaders of 25 parties - including coalition partners and the opposition - about the agenda of his upcoming India visit that begins from Tuesday. The leaders suggested to the PM not to sign any agreement of national importance during his visit without forging a consensus back home.

The Nepalese Foreign Minister, Mrs. Sujata Koirala-Jost has said that “I am confident that the forthcoming visit of Right Honorable Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to India would be successful and have a significant impact in further consolidating our traditional relations including our trade relations”.

Indian Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood said on Saturday that Nepal-India relations were unnecessarily politicised. Though there is a huge scope for bilateral cooperation, little has been achieved due to politicisation of NepalIndia ties.

The Constituent Assembly (CA) has been left without business from Sunday after the CA committees failed to prepare their concept papers and preliminary drafts.

The Chairman of the Nepal Communist Party-United Marxist Leninists, Jhal Nath Khanal, has said that the delay in drafting the New Constitution for the country within the stipulated time frame would push the country eventually towards becoming a Failed State.

The Unified CPN (Maoist) blocked the parliamentary proceedings Sunday as well, demanding that the 22-party coalition government address the issue of 'civilian supremacy' vis-à-vis the President's move.

Constituent Assembly (CA) committee on determining the form of governance has proposed to put all government services including civil service, judicial service, Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and public enterprises under an umbrella body.

ISLAMABAD, A day-long seminar on ‘Pak-Nepal Relations’ will be held here at the Foreign Service Academy on Tuesday (August 18) under the auspices of the Association of Friends of Nepal. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is likely to inaugurate the seminar.

The nomination of former chief secretary Bhoj Raj Ghimire as the ambassador to Canada has landed into controversy with the members of the Parliamentary Special Hearing Committee taking exception to his nomination. 1


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Nepal could defer signing of the Treaty to Control Unauthorized Trade, which was scheduled during the prime minister´s upcoming visit to India, after New Delhi declined Nepal´s request to recognize re-export of third country goods through the authorized agents in Nepal.

The head of the UN mission to Nepal - the peacekeeping force supervising Maoist combatants and arms - is the latest senior official to question whether Nepal's new constitution can be finished by the April 2010 deadline.

“CSR is not a marketing tool, though it may benefit the company as added advantage,” said Neeraj Nepali, director of Enterprise Initiatives at Environment Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA).

More than a month after Nepal's new government announced a cash incentive to promote social equality, the state departments are yet to get instructions from the top level, resulting in newly-married couples being unable to claim their gift.

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) is mulling over a new concept aimed at bringing closed and bank-owned industries back into operation through a cooperative model, directly involving both the private sector and the local stakeholders.

Amidst report of rising number of deaths of young Nepali workers in Qatar, the government is preparing to establish foreign employment orientation centers in Kathmandu to inform Qatar-bound Nepali workers about the leading causes of death in the gulf country, including heart attack or cardiac failure.

Nepali industrial entrepreneurs on Sunday met Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and urged him to forge an agreement with India regarding electricity import.

Nepal&aposs Supreme Court today upheld the government&aposs decision to award the 402 MW Arun-III hydropower project to India-based Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam, quashing a writ petition filed by another Indian company Jindal Steel.

“During the fiscal year 2007-08, revenue worth Rs 1.10 billion was generated from the sector and it increased to about Rs 1.55 billion in the fiscal year 2008-09,” said chief of Dillibazar Land Revenue Office Prem Bahadur Khapangi.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has given consent to dairy industries to raise the price of milk by Rs 4 to Rs 38 per liter in the market.

The Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) Sunday gained 4.75 points on the trading floor. The sub-indices on NEPSE saw a mixed result as three of them witnessed a loss while the other two rose on Sunday. The banking sector was the highest gainer on NEPSE as it rose by 10.57 points.

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The government and the World Health Organization (WHO) today appealed to the public not to press the panic button about the raging Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic. The authorities maintained that they were doing their best to combat the spread of the swine flu virus.

Ashok Kumar was impressed to hear that an international relief agency had been distributing aid in such a remote place. But the awe lasted only a few moments, as he soon learnt from locals they were selling medicines at double the price of pharmacists in district headquarters.

POLITICS:

PM takes parties into confidence Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal today consulted with the leaders of 25 parties — including coalition partners and the opposition —about the agenda of his upcoming India visit that begins from Tuesday. The leaders suggested to the PM not to sign any agreement of national importance during his visit without forging a consensus back home.Speaking to mediapersons after the meeting with the PM, Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara said that the present government did not have any authority to make any significant agreement. “We supported the PM’s goodwill visit to India. But the government shouldn’t make any agreement on issues like the Pancheshwor project and other trade-related matters.” However, ruling parties are in favour of action on the Pancheshwor project. Meanwhile, the Maoists have warned of street protests if the PM makes any agreement during his visit toIndia. Earlier, the PM held talks with senior businessmen and took them into confidence on issues pertaining to trade and commerce. He also met President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, apprising him of the upcoming trip. The authorities have almost finalised the team of delegates, who will accompany the PM. The delegation comprises more than 60 members, including ministers and secretaries at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Industry, Commerce, Tourism, Civil Aviation, Energy and Labour. Chief secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire, foreign advisor to the PM Nepal Rajan Bhattarai, press advisor Bishnu Rijal and political advisor Raghuji Panta and public relation officer Kalayani Khadka will be a part of the jumbo team. From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, secretary, chief of India desk PB Shah, chief of protocol department, three undersecretaries, foreign minister’s advisor and personal assistant have been included in the delegation.

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Five MPs and around 18 journalists are also in the team. The journalists today left for India. Kush Kumar Joshi, Surendra Bir Mallakar, Binod Chaudhary and Arun Chaudhary, among others, will represent the business community. The PM will visit India from August 18 to 21 Source: The Himalayan Times Date: 08/17/2009

Nepal to benefit from high growth rates of China and India: FM Sujata The Nepalese Foreign Minister, Mrs. Sujata Koirala-Jost has said that “I am confident that the forthcoming visit of Right Honorable Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to India would be successful and have a significant impact in further consolidating our traditional relations including our trade relations”. Mrs. Koirala made these observations a few hours ago today, August 16, 2009, while addressing a program organized in Kathmandu by the Institute of Foreign Affairs, IFA, on “Enhancement of Nepal-India Bilateral Trade and Commerce. The IFA organized this program with the aim to facilitate the Nepal PM’s India visit that is scheduled for August 18, 2009. Nepal follows a policy of expanding and consolidating political and economic relations with all the countries of the world and particularly with our immediate neighbors, India and China, the minister reiterated. Talking on the high growth rate currently being bagged by the two Asian giants, India and China, the minister said that “we want to be positively benefited by this phenomenal growth and wish to improve our quality of life through sustained development of our country by providing mutually beneficial economic and trade relations with our neighbors”. According to the Nepalese Foreign Minister, Nepal and India enjoy, what she prefers to call, an excellent relations in political, economy, trade and cultural fields, apart from intimately closer people-to-people ties. However, the minister lamented that Nepal’s trade deficit with India was to the tune of an astronomical amount which was largely because of hefty rise in imports and low volume and value of exports and thus this scenario demanded for an urgent action to step up Nepal’s export to promote a sustained regime of trade relationship between the two countries. “We have to make a joint focused strategy to reverse the current situation”, Sujata added. Talking on her freshly concluded India visit, Minister Sujata says, “ my recent official goodwill visit to India was quite successful in briefing the Indian government on

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some major issues of our importance which included various aspects of our bilateral relationship that pertain to our trade ties and problems faced by Nepal in this regard”. “I also raised issues regarding border encroachment by the Indian side in Dang and in other places as well and I found the other side willing to sort out the current border disputes with Nepal in an amicable manner”, the Foreign Minister said. Sujata claims that “she found the Indian government willing to help Nepal in promoting sustained development of bilateral relations”. However, at what cost the Indian side was willing to extend its support to nepal the Minister did not reveal? The President of the IFA, Professor Gopal Prasad Pokhrel presided over the talk program. Ms. Anjan Shakya offered vote of thanks. Others who spoke on the occasion were Mr. Kush Kumar Joshi (FNCCI), Mr. Surendra Bir Malakar (Chamber of Commerce), Mr. Rajesh Agrawal, CNI, and Mr. Bhagwan Ratna Tuladhar, POLSAN. Later, Dr. Chiranjibi Nepal clarified some of the queries posed to him by the attending participants. Dr. Nepal is the foreign relations advisor to the Foreign Minister. Source: www.telegraphnepal.com Date: 2009-08-16 Says too much politics in Nepal-Indo ties Sood again in the mood Indian Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood said on Saturday that Nepal-India relations were unnecessarily politicised. Though there is a huge scope for bilateral cooperation, little has been achieved due to politicisation of Nepal-India ties, Sood said at a programme organised under the aegis of the Nepal-Bharat Friendship Society to mark the 63rd Independence Day of India. Citing the non-implementation of the 1996’s Mahakali Treaty, Sood said that Nepali political leaders should realise that engagement with India is for the prosperity of the Nepalis. The Indian envoy reiterated that his country was ready to help Nepal draft the new constitution on time and take the peace process to a logical conclusion. He said Indian political leadership will convey its support to the current government during Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal’s visit to India, which begins from Tuesday.

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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Physical Planning and Works Bijay Kumar Gachhadar said India progressed due to political stability, while Nepal was faring worse due to dirty politics. He said that India would not undertake any new project in Nepal if there were no agreement on the implementation of the Pancheshwor Multipurpose Project during the visit of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. Former Nepali ambassador to India Bhekh Bahadur Thapa said there should be political cooperation between the two countries because there are endless bilateral agendas. Chairman of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Kush Kumar Joshi said the trade treaty that will be signed between India and Nepal during the prime minister’s visit will reduce the trade gap between two countries. On the occasion, Columnist C.K. Lal said there should be ‘win-win’ situation for both Nepal and India. Source: www.kantipuronline.com Date: 2009-08-16

CA without business, again The Constituent Assembly (CA) has been left without business from Sunday after the CA committees failed to prepare their concept papers and preliminary drafts. Immediately after the CA meeting completed deliberations on the report prepared by the CA committee on legislative bodies on Sunday, CA chair Subas Nembang postponed the meeting until further notice. Of the 10 thematic committees, only five have submitted their reports to the CA, while the Constitutional Committee (CC) has not been able to hold its meeting after then CC chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal was elected to the post of prime minister on May 23. After the CA finished deliberations on the reports of the committee to determine the form of the legislative bodies, the next committee to submit its reports to the CA is the committee on judicial system, but the committee has been hobbled by serious differences between the CA members of the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist). The committee could not finalize its preliminary draft and the concept paper as the Maoists wanted total control over the judiciary by the parliament. “It violates the theory of separation of power as well as check and balance,” CA member from the NC Amod Prasad Upadhyaya, who is also a member of the committee, said. “We have had difficulties as there is no political consensus at higher levels on constitution

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making.” Similarly, the committee on division of natural resources, financial rights, and public revenue, too, has not been able to prepare its reports due to serious differences between the political parties. NC and UML have pressed for scientific land reforms while the Maoists have pressed for revolutionary land reforms. Likewise, the political parties have also remained divided over giving privileges to specific ethnic groups. The whole process has been disturbed for lack of consensus among the top political leaders, says Maoist lawmaker Hari Rokka. So is the condition of the state restructuring committee, which has been hobbled by differences over the number, naming and delineation of the federal provinces, among other things. The UCPN (Maoist) has also registered a note of dissent in the reports submitted by five other committees. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: 08/17/2009 Nepal inching towards a failed state: Khanal The Chairman of the Nepal Communist Party-United Marxist Leninists, Jhal Nath Khanal, has said that the delay in drafting the New Constitution for the country within the stipulated time frame would push the country eventually towards becoming a Failed State. Khanal claimed that in order to give the country a successful roadmap, unity between major three parties, the UML, NC and the Maoists was imperative. Addressing a cadre training program in the capital on August 16, 2009, Mr. Khanal also said that the political parties were confronting five major challenges. “Logical conclusion of the peace process, drafting the constitution on time, state restructuring, economic upliftment and National Unity were the major challenges faced by the country”, opined Khanal. “Petty political interests of the political parties were pushing the country into an abyss” said Khanal adding, “Unity between the NC, UML and the Maoists can only save the country.” “Intense debate is still needed prior to adopting the Federal model”, Khanal said. However, he was of the opinion that the demand for One Madhesh One Province will push the country towards the vertical split. Source: www.telegraphnepal.com Date: 2009-08-17

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Maoists continue House obstruction The Unified CPN (Maoist) blocked the parliamentary proceedings Sunday as well, demanding that the 22-party coalition government address the issue of 'civilian supremacy' vis-Ă -vis the President's move. Maoist lawmakers came to the rostrum and started chanting slogans against the 'unconstitutional move' of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav reversing the erstwhile government's decision to sack the army chief, which ultimately led to the collapse of the Maoist-led coalition government. After continuous sloganeering by the Maoist lawmakers, speaker Subas Nemwang announced the House adjourned till 1 pm Monday. The Unified CPN (Maoist) has been obstructing the House for some time demanding a parliamentary debate on the President's move. The obstruction of the legislature-parliament is part of month-long agitation declared by the party. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: August 16, 2009

CA committee proposes all govt services under one umbrella body Constituent Assembly (CA) committee on determining the form of governance has proposed to put all government services including civil service, judicial service, Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and public enterprises under an umbrella body. The committee has said the services can be governed by separate regulations according to the nature of services. The committee has recommended that the civil service be renamed as public service (Sarwajanik Sewa) in the new constitution. A subcommittee formed under the committee that submitted a report at a meeting on Sunday also recommended that there should be three administrative tiers -- central, provincial and local. As per the concept, the Public Service Commission (PSC), a federal constitutional body, at the central level will be responsible for selecting employees for the central government. And the PSC at a province will select employees for the province and local level. Under the existing system, the PSC at the center is the only body responsible to select civil servants for all central as well as local levels. The CA members in the committee have proposed that the umbrella body-- Public Service-- be entrusted with selection process of employees for public enterprises, government teachers and be given authority to make selection of police personnel as well both in the center and in provinces.

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"There is almost consensus on this provision in the committee," said CPN-UML CA member, Krishna Prasad Sapkota, adding, "I personally suggest that the PSC in the center should be given authority even for the selection process of Nepal Army personnel." It can be done efficiently by making arrangement of separate expert units for the selection process, he added. In the existing system, the PSC (Lok Sewa Aayog) is responsible only to select civil servants. Naresh Bhandari, who headed the subcommittee, said the spirit of the report is to devolve the authority downwards. The committee members have also proposed that members in the constitutional bodies be appointed independently unlike the present system of transferring civil servants to such bodies. Sapkota said that a civil servant sent to a constitutional body cannot work effectively. "For instance if a civil servant is sent to the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), the person cannot take bold actions against an official who is senior to him/her, for instance a secretary or chief secretary," Sapkota explained. The proposed systems are yet to be finalized by the committee. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: 08/17/2009

Seminar on Pak-Nepal relations on ISLAMABAD, Aug 16 (APP): A day-long seminar on ‘Pak-Nepal Relations’ will be held here at the Foreign Service Academy on Tuesday (August 18) under the auspices of the Association of Friends of Nepal. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is likely to inaugurate the seminar, said a press release issued here on Sunday. The seminar will cover the latest developments in Nepal, a review of ties between Pakistan and Nepal, regional problems and efforts to overcome them, promotion of trade, cultural and social relations between the two countries. Eminent scholars, diplomats, analysts and observers of South Asian situation will be attending the seminar to explain the situation in Nepal with reference to South Asia, especially Pakistan. The participants will recall the history of Pak-Nepal relations and suggest ways and means to develop them for the mutual benefit of their people. They will also suggest new vistas of regional co-operation in different walks of life, especially investments, trade and commerce. Source: www.app.com.pk Date: August 16, 2009

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Ghimire's nomination as ambassador lands into controversy The nomination of former chief secretary Bhoj Raj Ghimire as the ambassador to Canada has landed into controversy with the members of the Parliamentary Special Hearing Committee taking exception to his nomination. During a meeting of the committee Sunday, some lawmakers raised strong objection to Ghimire's nomination as the ambassador for Canada where Nepal is yet to establish its mission. The committee decided to seek clarification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as to why the ambassadorial nomination was made before opening the embassy. Following the dispute, the committee decided to defer the hearing on Ghimire's nomination. The government had named Ghimire as the ambassador for Canada last month. He was recommended for the plum job immediately after retiring as the chief secretary of the government. Even as the government appointed the ambassador for Canada it is not clear when exactly the embassy will be established there. Currently, the Nepalese mission in the USA looks after diplomatic matters with Canada. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: August 16, 2009

POLICY:

India refuses re-export provision Nepal may not sign treaty Nepal could defer signing of the Treaty to Control Unauthorized Trade, which was scheduled during the prime minister´s upcoming visit to India, after New Delhi declined Nepal´s request to recognize re-export of third country goods through the authorized agents in Nepal. A high-level government source said if the two countries fail to iron out the differences over the treaty, it would adversely affect the renewal of the Nepal-India Trade Treaty. Nepal has already agreed with India to allow the entry of third country goods imported from international agents based in India. "We want the provision in the renewed treaty to be reciprocal. We are still busy in negotiations through diplomatic channels," said the source, but added that there was stiff resistance from India in this regard.

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Previously, the two sides had agreed that the provision would be reciprocal. However, the problem surfaced after New Delhi pointed out the possibility of trans-shipment of goods to its territory from Nepal even if there were no official agents in Nepal. Despite the latest problem, India has agreed to Nepal´s request to allow temporary reexport of machinery tools to India for repair and maintenance. This facility was absent in the previous bilateral treaties. Bilateral trade treaty, which the two governments will update during the prime minister´s upcoming visit, is widely expected to boost Nepal´s export to India as it categorically binds India not to impose state duty and non-tariff barriers on Nepali goods. The proposed revised treaty will remain valid for the next seven years. Imposition of non-tariff and extra-customs duties, which debilitated Nepal´s competitiveness, has badly been affecting Nepal on the exports front. Sharp rise in consumption, on the other hand, has caused its trade deficit to widen to more than Rs 108 billion Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: 08/17/2009

Standoff in Nepal The head of the UN mission to Nepal - the peacekeeping force supervising Maoist combatants and arms - is the latest senior official to question whether Nepal's new constitution can be finished by the April 2010 deadline. She is certainly not the only one, and any reasonable observer looking at the paralysis in politics here has to agree. At present the Maoists, the largest party in the Constituent Assembly that is an interim parliament as well as constitution-drafting body, are blocking all activity in the assembly. The ostensible reason is their demand to discuss "civilian supremacy." The Maoists ran Nepal's interim government after the April 2007 elections that they won. Earlier this year the Maoist prime minister resigned after his attempt to fire the army chief was blocked by Nepal's president, who is nominal head of the armed forces. Legal action over that controversy continues. Even though the matter is sub judice at the supreme court, the Maoists have taken it up as their main political goal. Reversing the decision would have no practical effect, as the commanding general is on leave and will be replaced in two weeks at the end of his term. The coalition of 22 non-Maoist parties which now governs in place of the Maoists consider the army chief's firing to have been an attempt by the Maoists to take control over a vital national institution. They say that the president is a civilian and has constitutional control of the army; according to them "civilian supremacy" is just code for Maoist supremacy.

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But the issue is enough to provide a pretext for the Maoists to use the politics of destructive opposition. Their real goal is a return to power, and their rhetoric for weeks has been about a "national government" which they would lead. Behind the scenes they have been appealing to Nepali Congress party head Girija Koirala and to the opposition faction of the prime minister's UML party to overthrow the current government. Both the UML opposition faction and the NC are believed to covet the prime ministership for themselves, but Maoist support for either would evaporate as soon as a no-confidence vote was passed. The current squabble over who will chair the constituent assembly's apex committee for the constitution is a proxy for the melee over control of the government. Both the NC and the Maoists demand the seat. The UML, expedient wafflers as always, have not fielded a candidate. The conservative UML faction apparently supports the NC, even though their internal divisions have prevented them from saying so directly. The UML head is reportedly leaning towards supporting the Maoists' candidate, Dr. Baburam Bhatterai, in return for a Maoist pledge to stop disrupting the CA. The confusion over the issue is so great that the decision has been delayed again, and no vote will be taken on the matter until at least August 24th. That will suit the Maoists just fine. They have been clinging to the flimsy issue of civilian supremacy to prevent progress on a new constitution. Even though they emerged from the elections as the largest party, subsequent events have demonstrated that they do not have the strength to create a "people's republic" nor control the form of the new constitution. They have decided that their best course of action is to stall until they can again lead the government. Nor are Maoist bosses clearly in control of their own factions. Their recent party meet decided to decentralize party governance, leaving Pushpa Dahal, AKA Prachanda, with less power. Prachanda's recent overseas trip to England and Russia may have weakened him further, as Maoist international leaders in England refused to meet with him. But his second stop in Russia appears to have been more successful, at least in financial terms. Money from Maoist supporters there will add to the UCPM coffers and perhaps to the party's influence at home. That may help the Maoists bring about the downfall of the current government and return to power, though probably with Dr. Bhatterai as the prime minister. Until then the prospects for an agreement on the many contentious points of a new constitution and the two-thirds plurality required to implement it appear very dim. Source: http://newsblaze.com

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CSR can reduce conflict Experts today opined that coporate social responsibility (CSR) can reduce conflict and create a cordial environment in business and corporate sectors. However, there is a misunderstanding among charity, philanthropy and actual CSR, said Neeraj Nepali, director of Enterprise Initiatives at Environment Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA). “CSR is not a marketing tool, though it may benefit the company as added advantage,” he added. “CSR advocacy is necessary because with today’s public debates concerning the environmental and social issues there is a need to educate the future business leaders how to run a business in a way that can contribute to sustainability development,” Nepali said adding that CSR is about operating business in a manner that positively impacts all stakeholders beyond legal requirements. “The array of CSR has been limited to some stakeholders and communities in most of the cases,” said CSR expert at National Business Initiatives (NBI) Cathrin Froehlich. “Mere schemes of providing relief packages cannot be considered CSR. Instead, strategic planning and a continuous support of a corporate house in any social cause can be announced as socially responsible corporate.”Coordinator of Socially Responsible Business Development Network Kumar Ale said CSR can solve labour problems and other business problems. Source: The Himalayan Times Date: 08/17/2009

Nepali gov't wedding gift policy yet to be implemented (Xinhua) -- More than a month after Nepal's new government announced a cash incentive to promote social equality, the state departments are yet to get instructions from the top level, resulting in newly-married couples being unable to claim their gift, state-run newspaper said on Sunday. Three newly married couples in Parbat district in western Nepal were unable to claim their cash incentive from the chief district officer's office (CDO) as it had yet not received any formal notification from the government, Gorkhapatra, the official Nepali language daily reported Sunday. While unveiling the new budget in parliament on July 13, Finance Minister Surendra Pandey had announced that the government would pay 100,000 Nepali rupees (some 1280 U.S. dollars) to each married couple in which one partner belonged to the Dalit community. Dalits are regarded as being at the bottom of Nepal's social hierarchy and even though Nepal has officially abolished untouchability, Dalits continue to be discriminated against.

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The Nepali daily said that soon after the budget announcement, three newly married couples -- in which the brides were from the Dalit community -- went to the CDO to claim the bounty. "Till I get directives, on what basis can I distribute the money?" the deputy chief district officer Tulsi Ram Poudel told the daily. The government has also announced it would pay 50,000 rupees (some 640 U.S. dollars) to each marriage in which the bride is a widow in a bid to end the stigma on widows, who, traditionally in some communities, are regarded as bringing bad luck. However, that is being opposed by women's organizations, who say the state should instead provide education and job-related training to widows to help them become self-sufficient, but not to create discrimination among women. Source: news.xinhuanet.com Date: 2009-08-16

BUSINESS & ECONOMY: MoF plans cooperative model to reopen closed industries The Ministry of Finance (MoF) is mulling over a new concept aimed at bringing closed and bank-owned industries back into operation through a cooperative model, directly involving both the private sector and the local stakeholders. An official of the ministry informed myrepublica.com that the concept would first focus on reopening those industries that were pledged as loan collateral to banks but were later owned by the lending banks after borrowers failed to repay the loans. "We are first exploring possibilities of industries that are under the lending banks´ ownership, not in operation and have a strong backward linkage to the livelihood of common people," said an official at the MoF. It was a big economic loss to close the industries that could be brought into operation, he said, adding that the ministry is planning to initiate the model by bringing Basuling Sugar and General Industry back into operation. The official further said that the committee to Monitor Actions against Willful Loan Defaulters, formed by the government under the leadership of Constituent Assembly member Dr Hari Roka, had started exploring financial as well as technical viability to reopen the sugar mill that was closed some five years back. Under the model that is under consideration, the sugar mill that is under the ownership of Agriculture Development Bank Limited (ADBL), the lead of a group of banks that jointly extended loan to the mill, will hand over the management and operation of the mill to a consortium participated by experts and local farmers engaged in producing sugarcane.

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The sugar mill was closed down following dispute between sugarcane producers and the mill management. Allowing the representatives of farmers can greatly help to mitigate possible misunderstandings. A high-level delegation of the committee visited Kailali district last week and held discussions with the local farmers on the proposed model, he said. "If things go as planned, the MOF will call for proposal from private sector to participate in the cooperative, which will also incorporate local farmers," said the official and added that the cooperative would negotiate with the bank that owns the mill to set terms and condition for a long-term lease. The official made it clear that private sector would be allowed to manage the mill while allowing representation of farmers in the management board, he added. Basuling Sugar and General Industry, mainly owned by son of former Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand, was blacklisted in August 2004 after it failed to repay loans extended by the consortium led by ADBL Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: 08/17/2009

Govt mulling orientation centers to check rising deaths of Nepali workers in Qatar Amidst report of rising number of deaths of young Nepali workers in Qatar, the government is preparing to establish foreign employment orientation centers in Kathmandu to inform Qatar-bound Nepali workers about the leading causes of death in the gulf country, including heart attack or cardiac failure. Both Nepal and Qatar governments are apparently concerned about the increasing number of Nepali workers dying of heart attack in Qatar and have jointly come up with the plan. As many as 125 Nepali migrant workers died in Qatar in the first six months of this year, and of them 68 died due to heart attack, according to reports. Almost all of them were young workers. Doha-based the Peninsula daily says Qatar sees death of one Nepali blue-collar worker every two days. In 2008, 209 Nepalis had lost their lives in Qatar and 54 percent of them died due to heart attack, which Nepali migrant workers call 'death in sleep'. The terminology was coined as the victims had mostly died during their sleep at night. The cause of the deaths was not known until post-mortem.

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Nepali diplomatic mission in Doha blames excessive use of alcohol, heavy work load, change in weather and food habits and homesickness for the rising number of deaths of Nepali workers. Nepal's Ambassador to Qatar Dr. Surya Nath Mishra was quoted by national news agency as saying that the death of Nepali workers due to the problems related to heart attack is "a matter of worry". The Foreign Employment Promotion Board, which channels significant portion of the fund it gets from the government into assisting families of Nepali workers working in Qatar, has helped bring 31 bodies from Qatar till now, according to another report. Qatar tops the list of countries which hires most number of Nepali blue-collar jobseekers. According to the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), Qatar hired 76,175 of the total 217,164 Nepali migrant workers abroad in the fiscal year 2008-09. Currently over 300,000 Nepali workers are believed to be working there, mainly in low-skilled jobs. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: August 16, 2009

Industrialists push PM for electricity import Nepali industrial entrepreneurs on Sunday met Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and urged him to forge an agreement with India regarding electricity import. Office bearers of several industrial bodies and the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) and Nepal Chamber of Commerce asked the PM to consider the issue of electricity import for discussion during his upcoming India visit. They asked PM Nepal to revive the industrial sector that has been hit hard by the power shortage by importing electricity from India. According to FNCCI Chairman Kush Kumar Joshi, the delegates drew PM Nepal’s attention towards making arrangements for the transport of goods to third countries via India. He informed that the meeting also discussed the review of Nepal-India Trade Treaty and enhancing trade between the two countries. In return, PM Nepal assured to address their issues. PM Nepal is scheduled to leave for New Delhi for an official visit on Aug. 18. Source: www.kantipuronline.com Date: 2009-08-16

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Nepal SC favours govt decision to award Arun-III to Sutlej Nepal&aposs Supreme Court today upheld the government&aposs decision to award the 402 MW Arun-III hydropower project to India-based Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam, quashing a writ petition filed by another Indian company Jindal Steel. The court quashed the writ petition filed by Delhi-based Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) against the government&aposs decision to award the contract to Sutlej JVN two years ago, sources at the Ministry of Energy said. The government decision became controversial after the JSPL moved the Supreme Court arguing that the government should have selected it in place of Sutlej as a government committee had assessed it as the best company for the project based in Sankhuwasabha district of eastern Nepal. According to the sources, the Sutlej JVN will complete construction of the project within five years after it arranges necessary fund for its implementation. Nepal is currently facing shortage of power and the production of the hydropower from Arun-III will mainly serve its domestic demands. Source: www.indopia.in Date: August 17, 2009

Realty sector moving at snail’s pace, says data The realty business has dropped by one-third, according to data from the Land Revenue Office. However, chief of Dillibazar Land Revenue Office Prem Bahadur Khapangi claimed that the realty business has not dropped but is in progressive state. “During the fiscal year 2007-08, revenue worth Rs 1.10 billion was generated from the sector and it increased to about Rs 1.55 billion in the fiscal year 2008-09,” he said during a programme organized here today. However, records at the Dillibazar Land Revenue office depict a different picture. The government had a target of collecting Rs 110.85 million revenue during the month of June. It was able to collect only Rs 80.39 million, data from the office revealed. Similarly, in July the government’s revenue target was Rs 120 million but the office was able to collect Rs 110.75 million only.Economist Rewat Bahdur Karki suggested that Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) strengthen its monitoring capacity in order to save commercial banks from investing in land financing. “Banking sector is an important part of economy. Since real estate business is a risky one, the sector has to be careful while investing in it,” he said adding that the loss of banking sector would affect the national economy as a whole.

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Karki also suggested the banking sector invest in productive sectors rather than investing in non-productive sectors like land and housing. Department of Land Management and Development managing director Rajendra Prasad Sharma said that the government has been developing land policy in order to manage the real estate sector. “The zoning processes are going on according to the national land-use policy,” he said adding that the government has targeted to establish 20 more Land Revenue Offices in the country this year — out of a total target of 85 new offices. “The remaining 65 Land Revenue Offices will be established next year,” he added. Basically remittance and security are the key factors in pushing up land and housing prices. During the decade-long conflict in the country, land and house prices — especially in Kathmandu Valley — increased unbelieveably due to insecurity in the districts. Most of the people moved to their respective district headquarters and Kathmandu Valley due to bad law and order situation. However, after the Maoists joined mainstream politics, the trend slowed Source: The Himalayan Times Date: 08/17/2009

MoAC approves hike in milk price by Rs 4 per liter The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has given consent to dairy industries to raise the price of milk by Rs 4 to Rs 38 per liter in the market. Responding to the demands of farmers and recommendation of a study committee, the MoAC directed the Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) -- the state owned dairy producer and Dairy Development Board (DDB) -- the dairy regulator, to implement the new price. “The price revision was made keeping in view the rising cost of production of milk. Of the total increment, farmers will get Rs 2.76 per liter from dairy industries and the industries are free to fix selling prices on their own,” Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Mrigendra Kumar Singh Yadav told myrepublica.com. “The new prices will come into effect immediately.” A high-level panel had recommended the MoAC to increase milk price by Rs 4 per liter, which the farmers and the industries will share in 69:21 ratio. The committee, led by DN Pathak, executive director of DDB, comprised senior officials from Department of Livestock Service, Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, Nepal Agriculture Research Council, Dairy Development Corporation (DDC), Nepal Dairy Association, Central Dairy Cooperatives and Consumer Interest Protection Forum. The panel was formed on July 6 to recommend the government to increase price of milk by analyzing the cost of production of milk.

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The ministry also decided to recommend concerned ministries regarding the other demands of the farmers. “We will approach to the concerned ministries to press our other demands,� said Dhakaram Aryal, chairman of Central Dairy Co-operatives. The panel had also recommended the government to provide 50 percent discount on interest against loan and cattle insurance premium to give relief to the farmers. The DDB had carried out field study in ten districts, including Ilam, Morang, Chitwan, Kavre, Syangja, Rupandehi and Dang in 2007 to assess the cost of milk production. On the basis of prices of cows and buffaloes, feeds and other inputs, the study had found that the cost per liter of milk was the lowest at Rs 13.68 per liter in Morang and the highest at Rs 20.45 per liter in Dang. The study had found that the average cost of production stood at Rs 17.20 per liter in 2007. It had recommended the government to offer Rs 19.66 per liter to the farmers. The new price has been recommended on the basis of the nationwide study carried out in 2007, considering the rise of production cost by 33.83 percent over the last two years. However, DDC has been maintaining that it is free to revise the prices of dairy products on its own. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: 08/17/2009

MARKET: NEPSE gains 4.75pt The Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) Sunday gained 4.75 points on the trading floor. The sub-indices on NEPSE saw a mixed result as three of them witnessed a loss while the other two rose on Sunday. The banking sector was the highest gainer on NEPSE as it rose by 10.57 points. Meanwhile, the hydro-power sector lost the most on NEPSE by shedding 37.61 points. The share market witnessed a total turnover of Rs. 202.093 million with 243,338 shares being traded. Shares of 57 companies changed hands on NEPSE. Among the 21 commercial banks listed on NEPSE, Standard Chartered Bank posted the biggest growth with its stock rising by 219 points. Source: www.kantipuronline.com Date: 2009-08-17

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GENERAL: Govt, WHO plea for normalcy The government and the World Health Organization (WHO) today appealed to the public not to press the panic button about the raging Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic. The authorities maintained that they were doing their best to combat the spread of the swine flu virus. Speaking at a function, organised at the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), Dr Sudha Sharma, secretary, MoHP, said: “We’ve set up border health check posts at Kakarbhitta in Jhapa, Rani in Morang, Sunauli in Rupandehi, Parsa in Birgunj, Tatopani in Sindhupalchowk and Gadda transit point at Kanchanpur to screen all those, who are entering the country via the land route.” The government has mobilised adequate number of health personnel in other border areas as well for surveillance and also intensified the public awareness campaign. Dr Alexander Andjaparidze, representative, WHO, Nepal, said that the world body was providing technical, logistic and financial support to the MoHP to tackle the growing menace of the pandemic. Source: The Himalayan Times Date: 08/17/2009 Haija in the hinterlands By Shirish Pokharel Ashok Kumar was impressed to hear that an international relief agency had been distributing aid in such a remote place. But the awe lasted only a few moments, as he soon learnt from locals they were selling medicines at double the price of pharmacists in district headquarters. He was not surprised. After all, he had already seen a health assistant drunk as a skunk at midday blabbering foolishly at the locals who came to seek advice for their children, children with sunken eyes and hollow cheeks and very loose bowels, who would probably die soon. Kumar had also seen people cut their nails with a sickle and children in the second grade who could not tell a Rs. 100 note from a Rs. 10 note. He hoped to see at least a toilet in the area during his eight-day stay. He did not. This was Dailekh. “We had to wake up in the darkness of early morning to go toilet in the fields, and had to be careful not to step on places where others had already relieved themselves. When it rained, the shit flowed around, and we could see how easy it was for the various water sources to get contaminated and why people fall sick so frequently. We only had to look at the thick gravy-yellow sludge in the low-lying puddles near the fields to realise how backward these places really are,” Kumar, one of the volunteers

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recently back from the diarrhoea-affected districts in the Mid-West, described the situation thus. According to the World Health Organisation, 94 percent of all diarrhoea cases are caused by poor hygiene and sanitation. Despite this sound warning, the volunteers who went to the region felt that the state has focused entirely on the curative part of treatment, and not at all on the preventive aspects. “There are mule-loads of medicines and Jeevanjal, but the government has still not realised that those wouldn’t be needed in the first place if people were made aware of simple things such as washing their hands and not drinking water directly from the Bheri River. They will be sick again, and more medicines and more mule-loads of Jeevan Jals will be needed,” Thurba Moktan, another volunteer, said. Each one of the 63 volunteers who went to the diarrhoea-affected districts of Rukum, Surkhet, Jajarkot and Dailekh had a similar story to tell. The volunteers were part of Paschim Paaila, a campaign that began in the first week of July during the National Youth Assembly, where Roshan Raj Shrestha of UN-Habitat had told the participants about the Mid-West epidemic. Soon after, participants started discussing it at informal meetings. They wanted to do something more helpful than simply discussing the problem, and arranged for representatives from donor organizations to be present at the meetings. Within three days, an assessment team was sent to check the ground reality. Soon, the 63 were already working in the remote Mid-Western districts, at least Rs. 650,000 in cash had been collected, and 20,000 bottles of chlorine solution to disinfect drinking water had been produced by the volunteers. Of course, there were problems, but none too great. A government director in Surkhet helped coordinate with the government. Sheer determination on part of the volunteers allowed them to cover large distances on foot. They also had to watch out themselves, as Dushala Adhikari, one of the volunteers, fell sick after sipping water from a stream. She contracted diarrhoea, but recovered within a day. Adhikari, in retrospective, feels her illness reflects the entire issue. “I contracted diarrhoea on the way and recovered within a day, while people around me were dying of the same disease. People ask how anyone can die of diarrhoea in the 21st century. They do not realise that those who are dying are not living in the 21st century. They are 300 years behind us in terms of resource and awareness.” The movement is still not over. There are more teams who have been readied to go, and the campaign has received help from other organisations. But what matters most, even now, is that this is not the first, nor will this be the last, diarrhoea epidemic to hit Nepal’s remote districts. The problem needs to be tackled at the very root of the issue, beginning from awareness about the disease to tackling illiteracy and poverty. Until then, an organism that only irritates people in urban areas will keep killing thousands in villages. Source: www.kantipuronline.com Date: 2009-08-15 21


R&D_NewsBrief_17thAug  

R&D_NewsBrief_17thAug

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