Nepal is caught in a political chaos and the uncertainty is affecting its development efforts.
One of the least developed nation in the world, Nepal's economy has still not recovered from 10 year long violent insurgency which ended in 2006. The conflict between the state and the Maoists rebels claimed more than 13,000 lives and millions of dollars in damaged infrastructure and lost opportunities.
Five years after the peace accord was signed, Nepal is still far from being in a normal state. The country has been without a legitimate government for past six months and the promises made in the peace accord are far from being fulfilled. New constitution was supposed to be ready by now, but not a single page has been written.
In this environment, Nepal's development efforts are being negatively affected. Number of projects, especially those with substantially high investment-like hydro-electric plants, industries and manufacturing, have been cancelled or are progressing very slowly. This has had direct effect on the country's employment scene and also on local economy.
Every year thousands of Nepali young men and women seek employment opportunities abroad. Most of them choose the Middle East because of the booming job market in the region which has successfully weathered the worldwide economic slump.
Large scale exodus of its young people surely has deep repercussions for a nation, even though the remittance they send helps the economy for a while. Labor shortages faced by however limited business in the country, break down in social and family relations cannot be ignored.
Studying Nepal's popular media scene, it is clear that development policy and the country's problems stemming from years of political arrogance come in a distant second to emphasis in covering the breaking news and sensational political stories-usually dealing with political infighting and bickering.
As Nepal is going through very rough times, here are some of the headlines and most read stories of past few days. You be the judge,
Republica English Daily on January 11, 2011, had the news about the possibility of former Prince Paras losing his security detail in the front page and the story about cold wave killing four people who were too poor to afford proper heating was pushed to a column in the third page.
Same day's Kathmandu Post English Daily pushed the news on Nepal's textile industry destitute status to the far corners of the economy section, while Paul Krugman's sermon from New York got the center stage in the same page.
Development and social issues need to on the media's priority list in Nepal. Otherwise the picture of the situation will be painfully incomplete.