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Understanding Supply System

Distribution of goods and Services in Nepal's Conflict Situation

Distribution of goods and Services in Nepal's Conflict Situation


Published Year: 2006

Published by: Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) & Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)

Edited By : Ananda P. Srestha & Hari Uprety

Price: Not mentioned, Pages: 172

 

By RKC

The supply bottleneck is not a new problem in Nepal. Thousands of people in the mid-hill and remote districts have been confronting a dire food scarcity for decades. But the problem is still the same despite huge changes (both political and economic) taking place in the country.

A handful of people with access to power in the centre are successfully reaping benefits at the cost of those who have been grappling with poverty throughout their life.

Such abhorrent trend has been more prominent after the 1990 change grappling with poverty throughout their life.

Such abhorrent trend has been more prominent after the 1990 change though the democratic governments tried to make substantial efforts to improve the supply of food in those areas.

Of course, the rugged topography could be the main reason for peer supply system, but the reason alone is not justifiable.

It is the responsibility of the state to provide food where there is a food deficiency.

Nobody would go against the views that poor supply system and imbalanced development priority has been the major cause of social discontent, which ultimately led to the emergence of the Maoist movement in 1996. The movement was somehow the result of frustration among the poor who were unable to get a stomach-full meal a day. Of course, the political leaders were never serious in addressing the problem of the short supply of food grains to the poor living in the remote districts.

Democracy was restored and democracy was distorted. Again it has been restored with efforts of the people across the country.

But it is sad that the leaders in the power have always ignored them.

The problem of food shortage in remote and far-western Nepal has become more intense the recent years. The pathetic scene of people in squabbling over for a kilogram of rice should at least make those politicians, policy makers and even donors realize about their dire situation.

'The changing paradigm of development from welfare to rights-based, supply to demanded-oriented, urban-centric to rural based and paternalistic to inclusive governance have all increased cost for this impoverished country'.
To strengthen the supply system is the responsibility of the government. But non-governmental organizations and other institutions including the donor agencies have taken the initiatives. The book entitled "Distribution of goods and Services in Nepal's Conflict Situation" published by the NEFAS can be taken as token for improving the supply of food in the needy areas.

The book is just a collection of working papers presented at a seminar in the capital a couple of months before. The book entitled "Distribution of Goods and Services in Nepal's Conflict Situation" published by the NEFAS is just a guideline for understanding the supply paraphernalia of food and other basic necessities.

In fact the seminar was organized with the objective of mustering views on supply mechanism and its dimension.

In view of Dev Raj Dahal, a prominent sociologist and strategist 'the delivery of supplies by the market and civil society sectors suffer from a lack of interest in collaboration.

Sustained failures of hitherto service provisions through mobile groups, public hearings, citizens' charters, cooperatives, service centers have forced policy makers to rethink their strategies.'

Ananda Shrestha in his remarks observe that due to poor governance and lack of voice from the society and Rights groups on such a crucial issue, democracy has little to offer these needy people, except the tedious parroting of poverty alleviation which has now become even more pronounced within the Loktantrik framework.

The book contains working papers presented by Prof. Guna Nidhi Sharma, Vidya Nath Nepal, Jagannath Ojha, Uma Shankar Prasad and Ram Kumar Dahal.

Vidya Nath Nepal in his paper has described the overall structure of Nepal's public distribution system.

The capacity of Nepal Oil Corporation, National Trading Concern and Nepal Food Corporation and even Salt Trading Corporation to carry out their tasks is limited, in spite of their extensive networks.

They need drastic changes in their institutional set up and service delivery systems through infusion of modern management tools to make their distribution chain effective in the remote areas.

Prof (Dr) Guna Nidhi Sharma explicitly uphold that 'anti poor biased distribution of productive assets like land ownership of enterprises, lending and investment of financial institutions employment and self-employment opportunities, urban centric development activities without proper distribution across regions.

On the other hand, and the flat rate of land tax, rebates to bigger investment, collateral based credit system absence of protection to cottage and small industries employing indigenous labour.'

Vidya Bir Kanskar's paper on Remote areas of Nepal: Reality, Potential and Prospects of Development and Delivery of Basic Services and Infrastructures," is very comprehensive.

The book is a guideline for improving Nepal's supply system. The NEFAS and FES have done a terrific job by publishing such papers fully based on academic exercises.

It can be hoped that the book would be very helpful in opening the eyes of the policy makers. The book is very informative and worth-reading. Efforts of NEFAS and FES should be appreciated.

Source: Friday Supplement, The Rising Nepal (22 September 2006)

 
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