The government has on Monday decided to bestow martyr status to the government employees who were killed during the decade-long Maoist insurgency. With the decision, the family members of those killed government employees-Nepali Army, Nepal Police, the Armed Police Force, National Investigation Department, teachers and civil servants and others during the period of decade long insurgency are entitled to Rs one million from the state. The decision is made just after the decision of lowering the age of eligibility for receiving social security allowance from the existing 70 years to 65 years.
Similarly the government had also declared martyrs to those people killed during different period either from the states or from the Maoists. Likewise, the government has also made a decision to grant additional Rs100, 000 for the reconstruction of the damaged houses during the devastating earthquake in 2015. Though the decision made by the government is esteemed most from the victims’ sides, it is also criticized from different sectors for creating long term fiscal consequences in the country. It is obvious that the decision will exert additional pressure on the already stressed budgetary situation of the country.
It is likely that to be formed new government will find it incredibly hard to undo the populist decisions. Since the leftist alliance particularly its head CPN UML is believed to lead the next government, it is in front to criticize the decision. We have also a conviction that such a populist decision made by the government is nothing than the wrong precedence established by the political parties on the name of earning popularity.
It is obvious that the decision would create long term consequence in the national economy in the mean time when the country requires a sustainable development plan for the overall development of the country. Such a populist decision does not suit even to the Nepali Congress though it has suffered from the defeat in the recently held provincial and federal assembly election due to the contemptible election agendas and false promises distributed by the leftist alliance. As the competitive populism has benefited to the UML, it would have worried from the fear that the decision would benefit the Nepali Congress to buy votes in coming elections rather than other reasons.
The UML had been selling the populist decision made in 1994 by then CPN UML Chairman Manmohan Adhikari-led government even in the recent elections. The UML is in forefront to distribute such a competitive populist agenda as it has promised to increase elderly allowance to Rs5, 000 in the election manifesto.
The elections campaigners mobilized by the UML seemed to have asked questions to the elderly people with their own answer that which party had begun to distribute Rs. 1000 to the elderly people- UML, which party had doubled the amount to Rs2000- UML and which party is going to increase the elderly allowance to Rs5, 000- UML with the motive to bag the votes from the elderly people. The incumbent Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government copied the UML’s populist formula with the aim to regain the lost strength of the party. But the decision has not benefitted the party to bag the votes as it was made just after the elections.
The state has to take responsibility to look after the needy people who are unable to take care of themselves for various reasons rather than the distributing budget on the basis of power or influence of power. While criticizing to the government for the populist decision, the vocal critics have to pay their heeds even in the incidents of extortions committed by the leaders either on the name of treatments or others. The state should show its generosity to the deprived people but this should be in line with available resources of the country. The to be formed government should formulate specific rule regarding the welfare scheme to benefit the needy and deprived persons.