Report of the program on Prosperity and Social
Justice in Draft of Nepal's Constitution
Organised by Center for Consolidation of
12 September 2015, Kathmandu
A half day interaction program on "Prosperity and Social
Justice in Draft of Nepal's Constitution (2015)" was organized
on September 12, 2015 (25 Bhadra 2072 BS) by Centre for Consolidation
of Democracy (CCD) in Local Development Training Academy in Jawalakhel,
Lalitpur. In the program Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel ex-Vice
Chairperson) of National Planning Commission (NPC) and Chairperson
of CCD presented on "Issue of Prosperity in the Draft of
Nepal's Constitution" and Deputy Chairperson of CCD, Prof.
Dr. Yagya Prasad Adhikari presented on "Social Justice in
the Draft of Nepal's Constitution". The presenters also answered
the questions from the floor following the presentation. Friedrich
Ebert Stiftung (FES), Nepal had supported the program.
Chairperson of CCD Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel chaired the
inaugural session of the program. Minister of Forest and Soil
Conservation Mahesh Acharya was the chief guest of the program.
Members of parliament (then Constituent Assembly as well) Man
Bahadur Bishwakarma, Ram Chandra Pokharel, Mohan Baral, Amrit
Aryal, Jeevan Pariyar were present during the program. Prof.
Dr. Kul Shekhar Koirala, Vice-Chancellor of Nepal Sanskrit University,
Madhu Acharya , Deputy Director of Policy and Training Department
of Nepali Congress, Gopal Krishna Ghimire , Chairperson of Democratic
Lawyers Association (DLA), Dr. Posh Raj Pandey , former member
of National Planning Commission, Dr. Dinesh Bhattarai , Foreign
Affairs Advisor to then Prime minister and representative from
FES Nepal Dr. Chandra Dev Bhatta and many other University teachers,
intellectuals and people associated with various political parties
had also been active participant in the program.
In welcome speech of the program, Prof. Dr. Bishnu Shankar
Poudel said that CCD has been consistently advocating for social
justice and democratic socialism. Poudel also said that because
of long history of discrimination and marginalization in Nepal,
if social justice and democratic socialism are not institutionalized
democracy cannot be consolidated.
Talking about the objectives of the program, Prof. Dr. Yagya
Prasad Adhikari said that social justice and democratic socialism
should not be thought of as guiding principle of particular
political party. He emphasized that besides Nepali Congress,
they also should be ideological elements of Communist Party
of Nepal-United Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML), United Communist
Party of Nepal -Maoist (UCPN-M), Madhesh based parties and other
political parties as well. Adhikari reminded the role of great
leaders of Nepali Congress Ganesh Man Singh, Krishna Prasad
Bhattarai and Girija Prasad Koirala in establishment of CCD
and thanked FES, Nepal for continuous support in organizing
Speeches of different people in the inaugural session went
Mahesh Acharya (Chief Guest, Minister of Forest and Soil
Organizations and institutions involved in research and in
depth studies should keep on advising and suggesting political
parties and the government.
Nepal is already in the web of globalization of due to unprecedented
speed and scale of flow of trade, knowledge and technology.
The discussion programs aimed at advising on policy making should
also think about how the policies can address and manage globalization.
Democratic constitution is to ensure life, dignity and freedom
and these things are not possible without social justice. Therefore,
social justice will be an integral part of the constitution.
To ensure social justice we need to ensure dignified life and
livelihood, liberty, ensure fundamental human rights, right
to employment, right to food, easy access to health services,
secured shelter, clean environment and other ways of empowerment
of people. If these issues can be included in the constitution
itself, it will be easy to implement issues of social justice.
B.P. Koirala used to say that socialism and democracy could
foster only through just distribution of resources and opportunities.
Social justice can be important guiding principle for this purpose.
For example, cooperatives can financially enable and empower
people and can help in the process of responsible and easier
livelihood and these can be important vehicles of democratic
socialism and social justice.
Eliminating caste based discrimination, preserving and conserving
different languages and cultures and provision of clean environment
can contribute to social justice.
In the age of liberalism and globalization there has been strong
advocacy for lesser role of the state in distribution and management
of resources. In this context, scholars and researchers should
offer advices about the role of the government and private sector
in distribution of resources. The scholars should study about
the degrees of roles of state and private sectors in enhancing
productions and distribution of such products and impact of
these activities in maintaining social justice in the context
of our society.
There can be an alternative way of political economy wherein
there may be possibility of attaining social justice through
market friendly economy that gives enough space for private
enterprises. Researches should be directed to see possibility
of such thing happening.
Minister Acharya recalled that he had been to Germany to study
about three decades ago under the scholarship provided by FES
and expressed happiness that he got to be the chief guest in
a program sponsored by the FES.
Dr. Chandra Dev Bhatta (Representative from FES Nepal)
Listening to the minister's speech makes us hopeful and feel
as if good days would come but the reality is that democracy
and social justice have not been translated into reality. Leaving
basic services such as education and health in the hands of
profit oriented and uncontrolled private sectors could limit
'social justice' only in rhetoric. We have to redefine development
according to present social, political and cultural context
of Nepal. Outside forces have become dominant players even in
our policy making and political system because we are trying
to blindly imitate and implement developmental and political
models developed and dictated by the others.
Even if there is capital formation in our country, capital
flight has increased significantly. By 2015 AD (2072 BS) our
dependence has been about 70-72 %. Farmers and agriculture as
a whole have been affected by the apathy of the state. This
will further increase the dependence on other countries. Such
state of affairs cannot be friendly to democracy and social
justice. The development model tested in some countries of Africa
is tried to impose in Nepal , which is irrelevant and unsuitable
in Nepal's context.
Gopal Krishna Ghimire , (Chairperson of Democratic Lawyers
Instead of keeping 'employment' as guiding principle of the
state, it has been listed as the fundamental right, which is
not going to be economically feasible for the country. The right
to employment and allowances for unemployed may appear soothing
and just from the perspective of 'social justice' but it can
make citizens passive and the government will almost for sure
not able to afford this.
Prof. Dr. Kul Shekhar Koirala (Vice-Chancellor of Nepal
Our social and political system should be in line with our
culture, language and tradition. I assure that Nepal Sanskrit
University (NSU) through its research will contribute in knowledge
production related to social justice in Nepal's context.
The speeches in inaugural session were followed by paper presentations
by Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel and Prof. Dr. Yagya Prasad
Adhikari. Pokharel's presentation was titled "Nepal's Draft
Constitution 2072 and Issue of Prosperity" and Adhikari's
presentation was on "Nepal's Draft Constitution and Issue
of Social Justice". Dr. Posh Raj Pandey, former member
of National Planning Commission and Prof. Kapil Sharma from
Department of Political Science in Tribhuvan University commented
on the paper presented by Pokharel and Adhikari respectively.
The presentations and comments were followed by floor discussions.
The presenters and commentators answered the questions that
were asked to them during floor discussions. The main comments,
suggestions and questions from the floor are as follows:
Prof. Kunji Lal Yadav (Patan Campus, Tribhuvan University)
- Minister Mahesh Acharya and Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel
said that we should aim at increasing per capita income. However,
can social justice be achieved by increasing per capita income
- It was said during minister's speech and during presentations
that cooperatives can help in fostering democratic socialism,
it would have been better if the relationship between these
two would have been elaborated.
- Most probably social justice could be achieved if there
are equalities in participation, duties, rights and distribution
- The discriminations based on caste, religion should be reduced
but defining them as the main sources of identity and taking
benefits in the name of caste, and religion is not appropriate.
- After the result of referendum in 1980 (2036 BS), many cadres
of Nepali Congress suggested B.P. Koirala not to accept the
result of referendum (in favour of reformed Panchayati System)
because the elections were rigged. However, B.P. Koirala said
that the results must be accepted because of commitment made
by the Nepali Congress leadership. Present leadership in various
political parties should also engage in politics of commitment.
Prof. Dam Raj Regmi, (Head of Central Department of Linguistics,
Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur)
- The Constitution of 1990 (2047 BS) gave more role to private
sector than the government in management of economy, government
was more of a facilitator. The Interim Constitution of 2007
(2063BS) also had similar provisions. As a result, many state
controlled industries were privatized. However, in present
draft of the constitution it has been said that state remains
not merely as a facilitator but as an active player itself
in management of economy. The presentations made here say
that such provisions may have negative repercussions. Elaborations
could have been done for further clarifications.
- The Interim Constitution says that children have right to
education in their mother tongue. It also says that English
and French can be mother tongue of Nepali children but some
local and organic languages have not been listed as the mother
tongue. For example, language of Rana Tharus (which is different
from that of Dagaura Tharus) has not been listed as the mother
tongue. Why did such error happen? Since this issue of language
is also associated with social justice, is it possible to
get the answer of this?
Dr. Indra Adhikari (Researcher)
- Prof. Dr. Yagya Adhikari in his presentation said that hungry
stomach does not search for identity of caste and religion.
Most probably, Prof. Adhikari does not mean to say that caste
and religion are not related to social justice because having
worked for long in the sector of social justice; he knows
well that caste and religion come as important factors in
social justice discourse in Nepal. In Nepal's context, religion
and caste play important role in creation of class because
experiences of certain castes and religion are not included
in knowledge system of our country. For example, for a person
from Madhesh who wants to enter Nepal Army, his mother tongue
does not help in the proficiency required in Nepali and English
language. This limits their entry and participation in the
institutions of the state. Similarly, visiting temple and
taking oath with hand on Gita, limits a Muslims entry in Nepali
Army. Such structures of state institutions appear to be contrary
to social justice. These are just few examples. Therefore,
caste and religion cannot be negated when we talk about social
justice in Nepal.
Prof. Dr. Govinda Man Singh Karki (Tri-Chandra Campus, Tribhuvan
- In Nepal's context, prosperity is also related to geographical
location of places and people. For example, Province no. 3
(where Kathmandu is located) is double the Province no. 6
(where Karnali is located) in almost all indicators of prosperity.
It would have been better if presentations and papers had
focused on how such a huge gap could be narrowed.
- When Nepal goes to federal structures there will be three
levels of government- Federal (Central), Provincial and Local.
It would have been better if the presentations had focused
on how these three levels of governances affect the prosperity.
- Chairperson of UCPN (Maoist), Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda)
says that capitalism is their final aim but entrepreneurs
are scared about the word 'socialism' in the constitution.
If the presenters could have explained in simpler terms about
the type of political economy this constitution would create,
it would have been better.
- It would have been better if the papers had put articles
in draft constitution that could address issues of education,
health, women, children, old aged from the perspective of
- I felt happy to see that education has been defined as fundamental
right even in the draft of the constitution but the minister
said that government would engage itself in sectors in which
private sectors do not engage themselves. However, private
sectors have been investing aggressively in the sectors of
education and health. Does it mean that government will let
free hand to private investments in the sectors of education
and health? Is it not against social justice?
Om Adhikari (Trade Unionist)
- The country is about to promulgate constitution within few
days and the program on such an important topic of 'social
justice' is quite late. Such program should have been conducted
- In the presentations and comments, many of you said that
trade unions got their demands included in the constitution
and interests of the entrepreneurs were not well addressed.
It is not against investors' and entrepreneurs' interest,
when workers demand basic minimum salary, dignified working
environment and insurances for work related health problems
- It would have been better if paper presented how federalism
would affect economic system and prosperity through such economic
Kisan Prasad Adhikari (Lecturer, Prithvi Narayan Campus
, Pokhara, Tribhuvan University)
- We are talking about prosperity but conflicts seen in different
parts of Nepal are not due to issues concerned with prosperity
but due to inability of state to maintain social justice.
Therefore, issues that rose here in the presentations and
in floor discussions should be incorporated in the constitution.
- Social justice can be an ideological platform for leftists
and rightists to reconcile to give solutions to the problems
faced by the country.
- Political discourse now has almost totally been focused
on caste, sex and region. These should not be totally negated
but their appropriate and knowledge based solutions must be
Shiva Kumar Yadav (A Nepali Citizen, this is how he liked
to identify himself)
- People in Surkhet, Far West, Jumla, Baglung demanded provinces
according to convenience for them and they got but Madhesis
are not getting their demands fulfilled but just bullets from
the state. Is it a social justice?
Narayan Dutta Mishra (Politician, Nepali Congress, Kailali)
- Identity is not only about caste, sex, religion but a region
as well. For example, people in Far Western region of Nepal
like to identify themselves not by their caste, religion etc.
but by their region. So-called advocates of identity politics
say that it is against federalism. It is time to say a 'no'
to federalism that divides nation that too under leadership
of CCD only.
Dr. Purna Nepali (Researcher and Lecturer)
- From perspective of social justice Chitwan's Chepangs, Sunsari's
Musahars and Dolpa's Brahmans cannot be put under same category.
All of them might have been denied social justice but the
causes and ways of denial of social justices are diverse hence
different methods and approaches should be adopted to provide
social justice to them.
- B.P. Koirala's concept of small house and agricultural land
sufficient for a single family is still relevant and this
vision should not be taken in ordinary manner and dismissed.
UN has recently observed International Year of Family Farming
to promote self-sufficient households. We could not tell international
community that our late leader's concept was similar to this.
We could have connected our leaders name to UN's this concept.
- If historical discriminations and marginalization cannot
be addressed another conflict even more dangerous than Maoist
Conflict can emerge. Neoliberal market economy cannot give
solution to everything; it instead completely distorts democratic
- Complete ownership of properties and economy by of state
is not good but greater ownership of properties and distribution
of resources by private sector can be even more dangerous.
Democratic socialism is the best middle path.
Ambika Regmi (Student of Linguistics)
- When Central Bureau of Statistics was listing speakers of
different languages, Rana and Katharia Tharus said that their
language was different from language of Dagaura (Chaudhary)
Tharus, but in order to show larger number of Tharu language
speakers, language of Dagaura Tharus was listed as language
of Rana and Katharia Tharus as well. Did Rana and Katharia
Tharus get social justice this way?
Krishna Bhandari Mumukshu (Central Department of Nepali,
Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur , Kathmandu)
- Though the papers were good in terms of the content, there
were many errors in use of language. Attention should be paid
to language of paper in such standard programs.
- The papers end on notes of dissatisfaction. The participants
have to go home with this sense of dissatisfaction. Could
the paper not be ended in a happier note?
Nagina Yadav (Ph. D. Scholar in Finance)
- In prosperity of any country Gross Domestic Product plays
an important role. Natural, human, geographical and physical
resources play important role in GDP of a country. Monetary
policy of a state also plays important role in determining
GDP. Just distribution of resources can contribute in social
justice but economy and GDP also play important role in maintaining
Jeevan Pariyar (Member of Constituent Assembly and Member
of Executive Committee of CCD)
- Social justice includes political, cultural and educational
justice as well. I thank Prof. Dr. Yagya Adhikari for discussing
these things in detail.
- We come from a society that assumed that women, Dalits and
other disadvantaged categories should not study. These assumptions
are antithetical to social justice. We have to try to change
such thoughts and behaviours based on such thoughts.
- Ensuring equality as human individual and just distribution
of resource are best ways of provisioning social justice and
these things have to be kept in mind when we talk about social
Prepared by: Shiva Prasad Tiwari
Faculty Member, Masters Program in International Relations and
Diplomacy (MIRD)-Tribhuvan University.
Contact no: 00977-985116529