High on rhetoric

Published On: February 17, 2020 09:26 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Two years of Oli government
Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has expressed resentment about media and public criticisms of his government. He has been saying: We have been doing all we can. We are committed to safeguarding fundamental rights of the citizens and upholding democratic values. We are committed to translating the vision of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali.’ But civil society has not been fair to us, nor the media. We have been targeted simply for our political ideology.  PM Oli reiterated these messages during his address to the parliament on Saturday to update the people the ‘progress’ record of two years. To be fair, prime minister’s claim that good works of the government have not been recognized and disseminated by the media is unfair. As a matter of fact, some of the major developments that took place under his rule have been well supported by the media, by this daily at least. When the PM mainstreamed secessionist force led by CK Raut into the competitive politics, we hailed him. Actually, huge number of people applauded the PM for this. Likewise, the government was credited for making the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Nepal possible in October last year.  Besides, the social security system that the government announced in November, 2018 had also found public and media support.  Now the question is being raised about it because the government has not been able to bring all private institutions and corporate houses under this scheme. 

Again, it should be noted that when the government launched offensive against syndicates and cartels in public transportation sector, all the people stood with it.  When the home minister vowed to take actions against the non-performing and fraudulent contractors, the move had been appreciated by all.  The government itself backtracked on these decisions inviting criticisms.  Government itself agitated the people by bringing in faulty bills—Media Council Bill and IT Bill in particular—which could potentially undermine the freedom of expression, the fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution. Prime minister took the initiatives to ensure ministers and bureaucrats deliver by making them sign performance agreement. But this has not been properly followed through.

It is obvious that prime minister is being protective of business groups close to his party. He has accorded undue favor to Yeti Group by leasing out public lands in cheap bidding. On Saturday, the PM claimed that the government will complete the major development projects under the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Let us hope it will. But on the whole, his two years in Singha Durbar have been high on rhetoric and low on delivery.  It is true that reconstruction works have gained momentum under his leadership but what about Melamchi Drinking Water project? This was supposed to be completed last Dashain. Understandably, it takes long to create new infrastructure. But there are certain things, such as controlling corruption and market prices, which can be accomplished immediately if the government works sincerely. To be honest, Prime Minister spent two years talking big and delivering little.  If his administration can enhance delivery of services to the people he will be appreciated by all.  Plans, policies and long term visions are all important but at the end of the day, it is the delivery that matters and that actually counts.

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