Oli’s Diction on International Relations: Current Scroll on His Speech and Fiscal Policy 2021-22

by Rajeev Kunwar - 4 June, 2021, 12:00 1373 Views 0 Comment

Olicracy is getting widespread criticism of having an appetite for autocratic temptations when it twice dissolved Nepal’s Federal Parliament. When no alternative government is formed despite political exercises in Kathmandu, Oli is defiant not to succumb to political pressure to resign from the Chief Executive with political grace and dignity. Oli substantiates why the Parliament is dissolved and there are a plethora of reasons he puts forth to bolster democracy he fought for five decades in a monarchical and parliamentary system. The reasons he says are similar to the political bickering in the aftermath of democratic restoration in 1990 and juvenile leadership culture endangering infant democracy that invoked extremist political elements to fish in the troubled waters of politics in Nepal.

Oli underscores consolidating comprehensive democracy in Nepal and its consummate consequences in the nation- and state-building in an open and responsible political society. Oli’s rhetoric is emboldening his argument on the governance agenda amid the emergency public health challenge of the Corona Pandemic that is sweeping across the world. In this contingent situation, a vehement opposition and trenchant criticisms of health system crises perceived to be intractable have qualms of governmentality and governability in Nepal too. In these daunting times and circumstances, Oli is continuing to govern by ordinance and his eloquent remarks in a national address on 28th May. His national address is not capitalized as a political ritual as usual terms of Annual Program and Policy. But he just termed it as policy guidance or precursor principles of Fiscal Policy 2021-22 delivered by Finance Minister on 29th May.

On 31 pager 71 points full document has covered CORONA control activities and action undertaken during an unprecedented pressure of an enfeebled health infrastructure and equipment in a short supply in its deadly second wave. A virtual lockdown of the State of Nepal created trouble and a hurdle to sustain the economy and finance. Thus, it is an obstacle to achieve SDGs goals in the stipulated time frame. A war footing-like episode to fight this scourge of global public health threat has been challenging furthermore when vaccine drive was slow and cannot ensure well-managed immunization process in proper fashion. While Bhutan declared 92% of the population are inoculated and it was ready to assist India in this hour of emergency health crises. On the contrary, Nepal’s fate was dismal with India gripped over the rising mortality rate putting its health system under duress from this pandemic disaster. Oli in his remarks updates about the government initiatives and invaluable assistance extended to Nepal from India, China, Sichuan and Tibetan Autonomous Region, the United States, Spain, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand, Finland, and other friendly nations. Nepal’s migrant workers too provided helping hands to alleviate the country from a further collateral collapse Oli acknowledged.

Experts talk of vaccine apartheid or vaccine divides between producer nations and demand makers of the Global South. It wreaked havoc when the immunization program was forestalled due to the unavailability of doses of vaccines left many to blues. Oli in his remarks urged G7 and G 20 countries to bear responsibility globally to deliver and support vaccination programs by supplying medicines and palliative measures to overturn the situation. In this matter, COVAX Alliance seems to be fallen apart when supplies were inadequate putting human lives in danger. Oli called for the “Life First” motto to upkeep and save human lives from falling prey to this pandemic. Therefore, this concert of international coalition is a must for vaccine-deprived states of the world.

Meanwhile, Oli mentioned the recommendation of Nepal to depart from the Least Developed Countries status to middle-income country. Before Coronavirus (BC) Nepal’s economic growth is said to be prospering, and After Coronavirus (AC), the Oli government claims robust financial condition of an export sector that reached Rs 1 Billion. He further asserts financial investment in hydropower generation is increasing, the country’s poverty level has gone down, and commercial relations with India, Bangladesh, America and Bhutan have been accomplished in bilateral government meetings.

To dwell on the current scroll of the Oli Government’s International Relations, he underlines its expansion and improving status. Territorial acquisition of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani pursued by the Federal Parliament’s unanimous approval to territorial map-making is fulfilled. A redrawn map is his nationalistic triumph that capitalizes fervor and sentiments. However, it has been an awkward position when the Vaccine Diplomacy response of the Narendra Modi Government granted free jabs to Nepal in a hapless situation. This shows how weak and whimsical relations Nepal has with India. Oli notes that Nepal is a signatory to establish bilateral relations with 170 countries of late. The Oli government has participated in regional and international conclaves of important sectoral issues. The Brain Gain Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in functional operations he reports.

On the other hand, Nepal’s electricity/energy surplus is ready to export to the immediate neighborhood, Oli states. He talks of waterways with India to expand business, trade and commerce through riveries connection to major embankment cities of the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Oli seeks the international community’s assistance and attention to grapple with climate change and biodiversity protection. In national frontiers, Oli remarked to start the creation of necessary Border Police Outposts and record management of tourists’ arrival by land. Oli says the International Relations of Nepal is based on national interests, mutual benefit and equal state recognition. On this bedrock, international commitment and responsibility are supported. Based on justice, sovereign equality, trust, understanding and cooperation in South Asia and fraternal relations with other countries will be enhanced and promoted. In resolving boundary disputes, and open diplomatic channels particularly India will be fostered keeping intact evidence and documents of Nepal.

In pursuit of connectivity, in reality, regional groupings like SAARC, BIMSTEC and BBIN, etc., are policy avenues where Nepal can play a proactive role. Nepal can assume an appropriate role to contribute to world peace, express solidarity to common concerns and causes, and find the propitious environment to ensure national interests at the international level. Oli states to pursue the effective and empowered position of Nepal while mobilizing economic and social development cooperation via UN Agencies, multilateral forums and spaces. The conflict management and unique peace process skills of Nepal would be an example to internal conflict-ridden countries. Gender equality, sensitiveness, inclusion and empowerment are ensured. Thus, in the domain of equality and justice, a fundamental framework of civil rights and freedoms is wholeheartedly supported by Oli regime claims. Activities are conducted to achieve these lofty aims to show the unparalleled special achievements of Nepal in the establishment of world peace, ecological balance, and a safe world society.

Meanwhile, in this Fiscal Year, an International Platform on deliberating these burning issues, the Oli Government’s flagship event initiates the Sagarmatha Dialogue. Thus the fiscal policy is based on his thematic outline of the nation address a day before the release of the Annual Fiscal Policy.

On the next day, the Oli Government issued a Fiscal Policy 2078-79 V.S., a public disclosure of estimation of revenue and expenditure, and financial and public debt enacted by the Ordinance while the Federal Parliament was in dissolution. A 103 pager with 503 points full of coverage of the economic and financial sector, economic growth is projected to be 4% while last year it was only 2.1%. Despite adequate foreign currency exchange reserves, a revenue item mentions an aid-dependent country comprising internal public debt and foreign loans.

In this policy, foreign tourists are exempted from the visa fee procedure and are invited to international investment in adventure tourism. The Oli government in a copycat policy to promote Made in Nepal and Make in Nepal products in a niche investment of local, national and international business ventures. Oli’s financial minister favors the world’s top 10 automotive industries to establish plants in the country so as to phase out fossil fuel-dependent transportation mode into an electric vehicle segment by a decade. Oli’s finance portfolio simplifies profit return policy in the Foreign Direct Investment industries. For example, lucrative incentives are given to including hydropower development and high-quality international potable water export business. Additionally, tax is exempted in income in foreign direct investment enterprises and foreign owners. Nepal’s agro products are to be promoted in international markets Oli states. In transit protocol with India and China, Nepal is to utilize a third country exports policy. Inter-continental depot and customs infrastructure are to be built in border areas of India and China. Nepal will participate in international sporting events Oli assure.

Thus international commerce, safe foreign employment, FDI, and tourism promotions will be a high priority of Nepal’s diplomatic missions abroad according to this policy. This is economic diplomacy topping the development agenda and Nepali Diaspora is said to be mobilized to enhance national interests. Nepali citizens abroad will be granted voting rights and an action plan thereof will be initiated the Oli Government gives surety. Nepali passport identity will be given a boost in esteem and pride with an electronic passport issuance in this Fiscal Year. Non Resident Nepalese knowledge, capital, and technology will be utilized optimally for the Nepal NRN Fund towards infrastructure development, new smart NRN card distribution and nation-building programs, and inter-allied activities of Brain Gain Center. In priority sectors of Nepal’s development, international assistance will be engaged and focused on to get a maximum impact on progress, prosperity and peace. Public debt is indispensable in development expenditure it is said in this Fiscal Policy 2078/79 V.S.

In the talking points of international relations, development is a core issue that endures democracy and polity in all terms. Diplomacy and foreign policy are to be adjusted accordingly to lift Nepal’s profile as a country not only full of promises and commitment but a responsible nation that avows liberty and justice is maintained based on peace, prosperity and happiness. At utmost changes are to be seen and felt in a positive spirit of the soft power of the heritage of Nepal and the DNA of the Nepalese.

Rajeev Kunwar
Author is a doctoral student of political science at Tribhuvan University.

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