Seminar on Building Modern State through
Organised by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)
2-3 November 2010, Kaski
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Nepal
Office, organised a two- day seminar on the challenges of state-building
and constitutional process in Lekthnath Municipality of Kaski
District on 2nd-3rd November, 2010. There were altogether 95
participants which included 25 female participants. The programme
was attended, among others, by leaders of the political parties,
academicians, teachers, media personnel, lawyers, civil society
members, students and other stake-holders of society. The overarching
aim of this seminar was to educate local political leaders/civil
society activists on issues pertaining to state-building and
constitutional process in Nepal.
Dev Raj Dahal, Head of FES Nepal welcomed
participants. During his welcome speech he spoke about the organisational
goal of FES and emphasised on the fact that the whole idea of
such types of programme is to generate sense of awareness in
society about the issues of national importance. He said that
we are in the process of writing a new constitution and restructuring
the state, at this juncture, there are serious issues attached
with this process which need careful attention from all strata
of society. In particular, future model of governance, the model
of federalism, and judiciary needs special attention. Active
participation of people and inclusion of their voices, visions
and views increase legitimacy, people's ownership towards it
and provide constitutional stability thereby constructing active
citizenship rather than passive citizenship is important.
Mr Kashi Raj Dahal, spoke about the
constitutional issues, process including models of governance,
federalism and judiciary. While Chandra D. Bhatta spoke about
components of democracy that are necessary to be incorporated
into the future constitution. He said that the clientalism that
has been seen in every sphere of governances needs to discourage.
The clientele politics has disassociated citizens from the state
and the need of the hour is to bring citizens closer to the
Participating in the discussion Mr Kul
Prasad Adhikari was of the view that economy is the main element
for the nation-building and underlined the need of formulating
economic policies to uplift poor out of poverty. He further
inquired about the countries where constitutions have been written
through Constituent Assembly. He was strongly against the idea
of ethnic state. Mr Pushpa Raj Dhungel asked where the recommendations
have submitted by people gone. Ms Bishnu Tiwari said that political
leaders have promised constitution after the election of CA
but where is it. Rather than settling political issues, our
political leaders are busy in travelling abroad said Ms Tiwari.
She also enquired what happened to the self-employment programme
floated by the political parties in the past. Why our political
leaders have failed to create employment without our own country?
She further said that we have to root out the causes of conflict
in from our society and said no to federalism. Similarly Balraj
Poudyal enquired about the indicators of the modern state. Why
we have failed to put right man in the right place? We have
to focus only on two classes - rich and poor and design our
policies accordingly. Poor should not be denied of state facilities
merely because comes from Bahun-Chhetri family as it will create
further complications in our society.
Another participant Lekhnath Sapkota
blamed that same people are getting opportunities again and
again. There is an urgent need to fix qualification to participate
in the electoral process said Mr Sapkota. Federal states should
be demarcated north-south and we should eliminate contractual
system that exists in our society be it politics or business.
Ramjee Lamichhane (teacher) enquired about the constitutional
process and issues at stake. How do you define modern state
and how does it being in Nepali context, asked Mr Lamicchane.
Mr Dhruba Adhikar also asked the differences between ancient
state, modern state and the constitutional state. What type
of state is Nepal where lawmakers slap the CDO ? Where is the
rule of law, asked Mr Adhikari. Why interim constitution has
been amended so many times, was it for the benefit of the society
or that of political leaders?
Dhanapati Dhungana was of the view that
federal states should not be drawn on the basis of ethnicity.
The best way would be to convert existing five development regions
into five federal states opined Mr Dhungana. He also blamed
that our civil society is highly politicized and we are heavily
relying on exported politics/policy. Ramjee Thapa also enquired
about the foundations of the modern Nepali state? Prem Kaji
Gurng was of the view that we need to have strong anti-corruption
law in the country to end the rampant corruption in the country.
Mr Rishi Budhathoki of Public Administration Campus argued that
civil society should not be included in the politics as they
are highly partisan. Kul Prasad Adhikari said that we have had
so many movements in the name of democracy but where the economic
movement for the prosperity of the people at large lies. In
the absence of economic movement, there is no way that we can
achieve political rights fully argued Mr. Adhikari. Mrs Uma
Pairyar said that this is good opportunity for us to express
our views on politics, economy, constitution and alike and underlined
the need of culture of compromise among political leaders. She
said that those who are backward, economically deprived needs
to be empowered as it will bridge the class-gap that exists
in our society.
Mr Daya Ram Tiwari raised the question
that why we have failed to create employment within our own
country? Why our political leaders have failed civic movements.
Rudra Mani Bhattarai was of the view that like single-women,
single-men who are affected by the conflict should also get
benefit (allowance) from the state. Mr Giri Raj Gautam, Social
Worker, argued that while our political leaders are not in constitution
and election - what is the need of talking about presidential
and parliamentarian system.
Ms. Geeta Subedi said that who is dalit
- we have to clearly define it. Prem Raj Gurung said that every
citizen should get all sorts of rights without any discrimination.
All the youths below 22 years of age should be given vocational
In Pokhara a lot of participants asked
about as what exactly is the modern state and how does it differ
it from the ancient and constitutional state. They also blamed
our political leaders for providing political stability in the
country, uplifting people's economic conditions. It appears
that day-by-day people at large are getting frustrated with
the extended political instability in the country. Hence the
need of the hour is to restore people's confidence on politics,
system and the state.