Left alliance unveils highly ambitious economic agendas

  • Election Manifesto
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 8, 2017-Nepal’s left alliance on Tuesday formally launched its manifesto for upcoming provincial and federal elections, incorporating highly ambitious economic agendas, such as transforming Nepal into a developed country in the next 25 years, raising per capita electricity consumption by over 13 times within a decade, and creating a million jobs in industrial estates to be built in each of the seven provinces.

The left alliance comprises two large political parties, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), that were bitter rivals at one time. They have now started campaigning together with a slogan ‘A Leftist Government for Good Governance and Prosperity’.

The election manifesto of the alliance has basically taken a swing at “blind support for neoliberalism”, which, it says, has “promoted consumerism and given rise to unproductive sectors”.

“We will end this and adopt an industrialisation and development policy that could generate productive capital and jobs,” says the manifesto, adding, “We will give priority to rapid economic growth that is inclusive, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. Such economic growth should also protect the interest of workers.”

Most of the political parties in Nepal promise voters the moon during the election time. As a result, a big chunk of policy agendas included in the manifestos is never discussed after the polls, as they cannot be implemented. This lack of accountability on the part of political parties has left Nepal underdeveloped. The manifesto unveiled by the left alliance is no different.

The alliance says it will launch a socialist-oriented industrial revolution if it is allowed to steer the government after the elections. This revolution, according to the alliance, will provide people “equal access to all factors of production, such as land, capital and technology”. The alliance also says it will introduce an effective national social security programme to cater to the needs of elderly, children, disabled, people living in remote areas, dalits, single women, marginalised and endangered communities, indigenous people and people living below the poverty line. One of the highlights of this programme is to provide social security allowance to Rs5,000 per month.

The alliance also says it will achieve economic growth rate of over 10 percent per year, which will to “raise per capita income of Nepalis $5,000 in the next 10 years” from existing $862. The alliance has also pledged to roll out economic and social development projects and programmes to transform Nepal into a developed country in the next 25 years.

To attain these goals, the left alliance is planning to focus on development of agricultural, manufacturing, energy, transport and tourism sectors, and attract foreign direct investment in all possible sectors.

The left alliance says it will introduce scientific land reform policies to categorise land and use it for various purposes. “Also, a policy will be introduced to prevent people from encroaching upon agricultural land,” says the manifesto, adding, “All arable land will have irrigation facilities in the next five years.”

These efforts, the alliance hopes, will make Nepal self-sufficient in production of basic food materials, fish, meat, eggs and milk in the next two years and help the country to double agricultural productivity in the next 10 years.

The left alliance has also proposed to generate 15,000 MW of electricity in the next 10 years and raise per capita electricity consumption to 1,500 kilowatt, from 110 kilowatt, within that time. It also intends to build Kathmandu-Tarai expressway in the next four years, Rasuwagadi-Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini electric railway in the next five years and an international airport in Nijgad in the next five years. It is also planning to convert East-West highway into a six-lane road in the next five years.

“The agendas incorporated in the manifesto sounds ambitious,” said CPN-UML leader and former finance minister, Surendra Pandey, who, however, was not involved in manifesto drafting process. “But we have to be ambitious in today’s context as we are shifting focus from political issues to economic issues and prosperity. In this regard, the manifesto has injected confidence in voters.”

Published: 08-11-2017 08:28

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