The start-up scene in Nepal is okay, if not too well. The launching of start-ups didn’t slow down although all other sectors of the economy were held back by the COVID-19 pandemic for over two years. Similarly, there is no dearth of innovative business ideas introduced by the budding and young entrepreneurs in the country. That certainly gives us a glimmer of hope in these torrid times. But right government policies, implementation of government commitments made to the start-ups in the past, and investors willing to take risks are lacking.
The country is already in two weeks of lockdown and we don’t know how long it will go. While the government is concentrating efforts (though inadequate and less effective in some cases) to combat the threat of COVID-19, including testing and tracing of the possible and suspected cases, it’s getting too late to address the adverse implications stemming from this, particularly shortage of essentials to carry on day-to-day life, which if ignored for too long, will become the matter of life and death for the people. Yes, people have forgone their livelihoods, abiding by the government’s request and also in the hope that the lockdown is in their best interests, but lives must be taken care of. People have begun to say: ‘We will die of hunger before the virus kills us. We are running out of foodstuffs and we have no money left to replenish it with new ones.’
We often hear people say that Nepal has been passing through transition. In fact, the country has witnessed multiple of them. In the last seven decades the country has gone through major changes owing to both endogenous and exogenous factors.This has led to a situation which can be described as troubled times where people are caught between multiple hopes and despair. The multiplicity of the change and its pace forces people to adapt to new forms of coping strategies.
On Friday, President Bidya Devi Bhandari unveiled the government’s policies and programs for this fiscal year at the Federal Parliament. The focus was on completing construction of long-stalled national pride projects on time, human resource development and maintaining rule of law in the country. She announced that the government will generate 500,000 employment opportunities in the upcoming fiscal year, Mid-Hill Highway will be constructed within four years, Gautam Buddha Airport and Pokhara International Airport will come into operation by 2019 and 2021 respectively and 300 suspension bridges will be constructed in the upcoming fiscal year.