1. Overview of Nepal
1.1. Landscape and Climate
The country of Nepal lies between 26~31 north latitude and 80~88 east longitude, with an area of 147,000 square kilometres. The north of the country borders with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, with the rest bordering India. The country has a long horizontal shape, covering a distance of 1,000km from east to west, and a maximum stretch of 241km from north to south. Dramatic differences in landscape can be found in the north and south, varying from the alluvial region of the Ganges plains, which is ideal for agriculture, to the frozen, arid soil of the Himalaya mountains.
In between the two drastically different landscapes are also hills and lowlands, known as the Churia or Mahabharat mountain ranges. In the Himalayan inlands can also be found canyons similar to a desert landscape, known as the Kali Gandaki Basin or the Bheri Gorge. All of these canyons are located at an altitude that is higher than 3,600m.
The landscape of Nepal can be divided into the following three areas based on their physiographic features:
- Mountain: Northern region including the Himalayan mountain range (minimum altitude of 4,000 m)
- Hill:Hill region including the capital Kathmandu (altitude between 300~4,000m)
- Terai: Southern Terai plains (altitude under 300m)
1.1.1 Mountain Region
The upper Himalayas, ranging from 4,000m to 8,848m above sea level, make up 15% of the country’s land area, also being home to 8 of the world’s 14 eight-thousanders (mountains that are higher than 8,000m in altitude). These eight are Everest, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and Annapurna. They are mountains whose summits are known for extremely cold temperatures and strong wind, and considering that there are human settlements in the areas right below, it shows how uninhabitable the summits are. As of farmland, this area is arid compared to the Lower Himalayas, and therefore not much cultivation is done. However, it is the Upper Himalayas that attract trekkers and climbers from worldwide.
1.1.2 Hill Region
More than half of Nepal consists of this hill region and Lower Himalayas, where much of the population resides. This area, which make up 68% of the country, has a mild climate and far more fertile land compared to the above mentioned Upper Himalayas. The highest elevation found in the Mahabharat Range does not exceed 4,000m above sea level, and the Churia Mountains located in the same area are lower. The capital Kathmandu, as well as famous tourist destinations such as Pokhara and Tansen are also located in this region.
1.1.3 Terai Region
The southern area of Nepal is called the Terai Plains, stretching from the western border to the east, making up 17% of the country. The lowest altitude in Nepal is also found in this area, at an elevation of 700m above sea level. The region has a subtropical climate with very fertile land, where most of the grains consumed by the national population is produced. The southern Terai Plains is also home to many nature reserves, including Chitwan National Park, Bardiya National Park, Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, and Koshi-Tappu Wildlife Reserve. These parks and reserves are home to a remarkable variety of wildlife and nature, including the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger, One-Horned Rhinoceros and Gangetic Dolphins.
The wide variety of Nepal’s landscape also affects its climate. The mountain region has an alpine climate, while the hill region has a mesothermal climate. The Terai Plains are strongly affected by the south western monsoon, along with the subtropical climate giving it much rain and high temperature. The country’s season can be divided as the following: spring from March to May, summer from June to August, autumn from September to November, and winter from December to February. The months from June to September make up the rainy season, while October to May is dry. It is one of Nepal’s striking features – something rarely found in other countries and regions – that the amount of precipitation differs so greatly between the rainy and dry season.
In the capital city of Kathmandu, the average temperature ranges from between 10 to 25 degrees celsius. Precipitation is most high during July, and lowest during November as the chart obviously indicates.
Figure 1‑1 Average Temperature and Precipitation in Kathmandu
According to the national census in 2011, the population of Nepal is 26.49 million, indicating an increase of 14.4% compared to the previous 23.15 million in 2001 (an average annual rate of 1.35%). Based on age, those below the age of thirty make up 63% of the population, ensuring the country’s future workforce. As of now, the country’s working population (aged between 15 to 59) is at 57% of the total population. By region, the southern Terai Plain has the highest population with approximately half of the country (50.27%) living there. Since this area also borders the massive economic market of India, it is expected to flourish even more.
Figure 1‑2 Demographics of Nepal
1.3. Language and Religion
The official national language of Nepal is Nepali, but various ethnic groups that speak other languages exist in the country. Among those are a mixture of the Aryan Caucasoid group who speak Indo-Aryan languages, and Mongoloid groups who speak Tibeto-Burman languages. It is said that in the Southern Terai Plains are people groups that speak Northern Indian languages, while those in the Northern Mountain Region speak Tibeto-Burman. However, the two have mixed over time resulting in a more complex state.
Nepal is a rich multiethnic society, comprising of 125 people groups and 123 languages (alongside other people groups and languages that remain unidentified /CBS), with the Gurung and Magar in the west, Rai, Limbu and Sunuwar in the eastern mountain range, the Sherpa, Manang and Lo-Pas in the highlands, Walungs in the Kathmandu Basin, the Tharu and Yadav in the Terai region, as well as the Brahman, Chhetri, Thakali scattered throughout.
Those who speak the current official language of Nepali are ethnic groups from the Indo-European language, who invaded Nepal from the south-west and spread nationwide from the western hill region. The first king of unified Nepal, Phritvi Narayan Shah (1743-1775) conquered areas that mostly make up current-day Nepal, and then established Gorkhali (Nepali) as a national language. The majority of Nepal’s population, though varying in frequency of usage, speak Nepali. Government as well as education, alongside media such as radio and television broadcasting all use Nepali. However, for certain groups Nepali remains a secondary language, placing them at a disadvantage when it comes to education and public services. On the other hand, English has recently become part of the school education, with some private schools even using English as their official language.
Nepal’s two main religion include Hinduism and Buddhism, with an overwhelming majority of 80% following Hinduism. According to areas, although the central development area has a slightly lower population, the more rural the area, the higher the rate of Hinduism. Since Nepal is a non-religious state, other religions such as Islam and Christianity exist, but their numbers remain few. Nepal also has a wide array of national festivals and holidays celebrated throughout the year by the differing people groups and religions. The date changes every year since they use the lunar calendar. Dashain is Nepal’s most popular festival, originally Hindu in roots, which is celebrated every year from mid-October to November. The festival commemorates the beautiful goddess Durga who defeated the devil, and the people wish for increased abundance in harvest and human life. During the festival, many people return home from overseas in order to be with family, and companies and government institutes close down officially for ten days. Schools will have a holiday of up to 2 weeks. Another festival called the Tihar follows after shortly, resulting in a whole month of celebration from October until November.
Table 1‑1 Nepal’s Religion by Population
|Nepal as a whole||Eastern Development Area||Central Development Area||Western Development Area||Central-West Development Area
|Far-West Development Area|
Unit： person (Source：STATISTICAL YEAR BOOK OF NEPAL-2013/CBS）
1.4. Lifestyle and Culture
1.4.1. Caste / Ethnic Groups
Historically, the Aryan-Hindus who invaded from India brought with them Hindu beliefs and teachings as well as the Caste system, which they implemented as they became political rulers. Amongst Tibeto-Burman speaking people groups, there are those who have maintained their beliefs in Buddhism (Tibetan Buddhism) as well as Shamanistic primitive religions.
In Nepalese society, there are ethnic groups that are not Hindu and do not originally speak Nepali. However, they too, have become conformed to Hinduism and the usage of Nepali as a historical result of submission to the rulers. What definitely accelerated this process was the implementation of Muluki Ain, the first codified civil law applied in Nepal in 1854. This resulted in the inclusion of ethnic groups within the caste hierarchy system, resulting in profound effects found in Nepalese society to this day.
Of course today, equality before the law has been clearly defined by the national constitution. However, top-down hierarchical structures as well as the existence of what is considered “untouchables” have continued to live on in social practice under the surface, having influence in both psychological and social aspects of people’s lives.
The majority of poor families in Nepal belong to minority ethnic groups and discriminated people belonging to the lower caste, with exceptionally low income. Those who live in the mountain regions especially live almost entirely up to themselves. This means that they do not have the financial means for their children to receive any education, and even if so, they cannot afford to send all of them to school. Furthermore, children are considered valuable labour-force for each household, depriving them of being released to spend their time going to school. This used to be the case among girls in the past, though gender disparity in school attendance has been gradually declining due to the government’s continuous efforts.
Since the first Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS) was carried out by the Napli government in 1995/96, household income has been on the rise. Between the period of 1995/96 and 2008/09, the nominal average household income has increased by 4.6 times, from 43,732 NPR to 202,374 NPR. The GDP has also continued to grow, with the real GDP growth rate during 2008/09 being 5.00%. The IMF has attributed this to an increase in consumption due to money transfer rather than investment. As a matter of fact, out of all Nepalese households, those that were receiving money transfer have increased from 30% in 2003/04, to 56% in 2010/11. The number of households that had money transferred from overseas increased by more than five times between the period of 1995/96 and 2010/11. In other words, household income in Nepal has increased, but only based on the increase in income owing to money transfer. This may be beneficial for temporary improvement in living standards as well as economic growth, but dependence on money transfer from overseas can also weaken employment opportunities within the country, as well as encouraging people to immigrate overseas.
Despite noticeable improvement in income now, there can also be seen inequality depending on region, career and social group. For example, the average household income in urban areas in 2010/11 was 318,167 NPR, while that of rural areas remained at 171,950 NPR. Based on region, the wealthiest of all which is the urban area of Kathmandu, has an average household income of 404,511 NPR, while that of the poorest region of the central west and western hill region remains as low as 122,544 NPR. There is also great income discrepancy based on ethnic groups, caste and religion. For example, the poverty rate remains low among the upper caste and Newars, while Dalits, and residents of the hill region namely the Janajatis, Tharus and Muslims have a higher poverty rate of 40 to 50%.
Table 1‑2 Poverty Population
|Name of Index||1996||2004||2011|
|National Poverty Rate (%)||41.8||30.9||25.2|
|Poverty Population (Population × National Poverty Rate)||9,253,594||8,255,823||7,682,421|
（Source：World Bank, World Development Indicators）
1.4.3. Underlying Social Customs
For parents living in poverty as mentioned above, it is not difficult to imagine that sending their children to work becomes an inevitable option. However, another obstacle in eradicating the problem of child labour – one of the project’s main purposes – is the widespread belief in Nepal that “child labour is not necessarily a bad thing”. In other words, people in general share a deep understanding that children learn about the “value of labour” through experiencing work themselves.
Furthermore, there are many parents who do not officially register the birth of their child. It is common to find cases in which minority ethnic groups living in remote areas are not aware of registering childbirth and thus do not have birth certificates, resulting in children being unable to attend school. It is said that only a third of Nepalese children have birth certificates; the rest of them have never been officially registered. The government has made an attempt to accomplish a certain rate of registration by 2010, but not much improvement was made.
The custom of selling girls as domestic workers in exchange for cash or goods has also prevailed for many generations. This is the so-called “kamlari” system (a form of indentured servitude for girls), born as a result of land issues in Nepal; landless peasants would borrow money from landowners to make ends meet, eventually accumulating debt that would lead them to selling their daughters as domestic workers, of which the nature became very similar to slavery. It was common especially in western Nepal, notably among the Tharus and people living in the Terai plains. Girls aged around 6 to 8 would be sold to landowners or brokers, without any official contracts, then would be forced to live in the homes of landowners, businessmen or normal households, while helping out with domestic chores and agricultural labour. On average, these girls would work from early morning until late at night, an average of 18 to 19 hours a day, without a salary, receiving meagre rations of food only twice a day. On top of that it is not uncommon for them to suffer physical and mental abuse from the owners, including sexual violence in many cases. Considering these circumstances, the government declared the official abolition of this system in 2000 (alongside the “10point agreement”), therefore resulting in the liberation of many that were enslaved. In 2006 the high courts ruled this practice unconstitutional, thus making it illegal by law.
Despite the fact that gender equality is improving in current day Nepal, underlying beliefs in society remain discriminatory for girls in multiple ways. For example, in cases of poor families with limited finance for school, the son’s education would always be prioritized. Parents who are slightly better off tend to send their sons to more expensive private schools, while only allowing their daughters to attend public schools where the tuition is cheaper. In Nepal, where patriarchal cultural norms remain strong, education expenses for sons are generally considered as investment in his future income that will sustain the family one day. On the other hand, daughters who are expected to marry into other families, will inherit their possessions to their husband’s household, thus making their educational expenses a mere “waste”. The low literacy rate of Nepalese women is a reflection of lack of educational opportunity for girls. As various statistics have shown, children coming from households where the mother or both parents are literate have a higher tendency of attending school. In most cases, parents of children not attending school are illiterate themselves. Poverty, cost of education, and not being able to hope for future employment, all lead to the parents’ reluctance to send their daughters to school.
Therefore, until as recently as 2010, many girls in Nepal would marry as early as age 13 to 15. It is said that more than 40% of girls aged between 15 to 19 are married, with the rate being even higher in rural areas. By law, girls are allowed to continue attending school even after marriage. But in reality, once they are married, especially after children are born, domestic responsibilities hinder them from going to school.
In such a manner, in Nepal’s patriarchal society, women are placed in a lower, subsidiary position inside the home and in the community. Despite her contribution to the household income and management of domestic life, so long as men are considered superior in the family, her role is taken for granted, and thus not appreciated as having any extra worth. Women who are raised in such environments tend to regard themselves with little value, and have difficulty having a sense of confidence or self-respect.
Women tend to not be able to voice themselves and their opinion inside and outside their homes, without even being aware of this fact. They are also embarrassed or unable to ask questions, therefore limiting their ability to collect relevant information. Their illiteracy and lack of knowledge also deter them from taking advantage of opportunities such as adult literacy classes, technical training and lifelong learning programs. Also, because parents don’t have a birth certificate, they at times enroll their children in school with the mistaken age group, possibly leading to cases of drop-outs. Furthermore, abuse from men at home (especially husbands) against women and children are all too common. This led to the government implementing a law against domestic violence in 2009.
1.4.5. Dietary Problems
Despite the rise in the average living standards over the recent years, poverty, natural disasters, and the effects of junk food in urban areas continue to raise serious dietary problems such as malnutrition in Nepal.
According to a 2012 study done by the WTO, some 63% of Nepalese children are malnourished when it comes to protein energy, which is vital for the healthy development of children’s physical and mental abilities. This reveals the fact that more than half the children, especially many street children, in Nepal are not eating enough food, resulting in the inhibition of healthy growth and contributing to the potential development learning disabilities.
Since many pregnant mothers are unable to eat enough nutritious foods, Nepalese children are prone to malnourishment from even before they are born. About 30 to 50% of babies in Nepal are born underweight, with a weight lower than 2.5kg.
Furthermore, the WTO report says that malnutrition and infection during infancy can often cause lifelong harm. Almost half of Nepalese children suffer a chronic case of malnourishment, and this remains a big challenge.
However, women who have received education have a higher tendency to seek treatment for themselves and their children. This leads to improved child-raising and nutrition management, thus resulting in positive influence in the area of children’s school attendance as well.
2. Politics and Economy
2.1. Economic Overview
According to Nepal’s macro-economic report “Nepal Development Update”, which was released by the World Bank in 2014, if the constituent assembly election takes place the following year allowing for political stability owing to the agreement between political parties, and the winning party is able to make full use of Nepal’s economic potentials, along with the boost from favourable climate, steady money transfer from overseas, and consistent spending in public works, the economic growth rate for this year could reach 4 to 4.5%, making a recovery from the previous year’s 3.6% possible.
On the other hand, the Nepalese government has announced a target growth rate of 5.5%. The constituent assembly election should give rise to the consumer price index, possibly resulting in the appreciation of the dollar and a raise in salary, while the increase in crop production due to favourable climate conditions could put the cap on the rise in inflation rate to a single digit figure.
According to Nepal’s Central Bureau of Statistics in 2014, the GDP per capita was approximately 703 USD, with the GDP real growth rate being 5.5%, and the inflation rate 9.9%. In the meantime, Nepal’s economic structure consists of 34% of the GDP as well as 66% of the working population consists of agriculture, followed by 14.4% in wholesale trade, 9.29% in transportation industry, 8.58% real estate businesses, 6.9% in construction, 6.2% in manufacturing, 5.4% in education, 4.2% in finance, and 1.8% in tourism.
Figure 2‑1 Nepal’s Real GDP Annual Growth Rate
2.2. Political Overview
2.2.1 Transition to Constitutional Monarchy
After the People’s Movement in 1990 which brought an end to absolute monarchy (known as Panchayat), Nepal transitioned into a constitutional monarchy, leading to general elections in 1991, 1994 and 1999. However, from 1996 onwards, the Maoists (communists strongly believing in the philosophies of Mao Zedong) began an armed movement, conquering and placing under rule much of the nation’s area. After the house of representatives was dissolved in May 2002, despite efforts in cabinet making under the leadership of the king, failure in dealing with power-sharing battles and the Maoist movement resulted in the subsequent government rules being short-lived.
Then, In February 2005, the king took full control dismissing Prime Minister Deuba, declaring a state of emergency. He carried out restriction of certain basic human rights, arrest of political party leaders of each opposition party, as well as censorship among media broadcast. In October the same year, the king announced local elections (February 2006) and House of Representatives election (by April 2007) promising the people it was the road to democracy. However, political parties remained critical as they saw this as a forced measure and a mere justification of the king’s taking full control.
While division between the king and the opposition parties deepened, the parties and Maoists sought cooperation, resulting in the agreement on the twelve points in November 2005, including the execution of a constituent assembly election, and boycotting the local election as well as House of Representatives elections. They started protest movements with the objective of regaining political power from the king. However, the king carried out the election as planned in February 2006.
In April 2006, the opposition parties staged protests and movements nationwide with the help from Maoists. The royal government responded by arresting those involved and implementing curfews, with little success. Opposition continued to spread, and the mobilization of people in protest movements only accelerated. The king thereby declared, over television broadcast, the restoration of the House of Representatives that was dissolved in 2002. The parties accepted this condition, bringing an end to the unrest.
On the first day of deliberations in the restored House of Representatives in April, the execution of a constituent assembly election, recommencing of dialogue with the Maoists, and the assertion of a ceasefire was adopted. In May of the same year, under Prime Minister G.P Koirala from the Congress Party, a new cabinet was formed including 7 ministers (which later on expanded to twenty members). Then, through the House of Representatives, it was declared that all legislative rights now belong to parliament, all executive political and military powers are discredited from the king, and all authority regarding royal inheritance will be held by parliament, as well as denouncing Nepal as a Hindu Kingdom and becoming a secular state. It was also declared that any constitution or law opposing this decision would be invalid. The government also set up a high level investigation committee with the aim of starting to investigate those who had oppressed the democratic movement.
Since the government under Prime Minister Koirala removed the terrorist tag from the Maoists in May 2006, peace talks between the government and Maoists took place and progressed at a rapid rate, bearing fruit such as the Eight-Point Agreement. In July 2006, the government submitted a request to the United Nations, ensuring their support and involvement in the peace progress.
On 8 November, the Nepalese government and Maoists signed a document “Decisions of the Summit Meeting of the Seven-Party Alliance and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)”, agreeing to the execution of a constituent assembly election to take place by mid-June 2007, as well as agreeing to the UN’s monitoring and management of weapons for both the Nepalese army and the Maoists in order to ensure a free and fair election. In November, the two sides signed the Comprehensive Peace Accord, bringing an end to the ten-year civil war.
In December 2006, leaders from both sides signed the interim constitution, officially proclaiming it in January 2007. In the same month, an interim parliament including the Maoists was inaugurated, resulting in the establishment of an interim government on 1 April, with Koirala as the Prime Minister and both sides involved.
In order to support the peace process in Nepal, the international society set up the United Nations Missions in Nepal (UNMIN) in January 2007 as Japan too, sent six members of the self defence forces as military observers.
The constituent assembly election that was originally scheduled for June 2007 was postponed to November of the same year due to delay in preparations. The Madhesi people, who had been historically discriminated and therefore excluded from the peace process, staged a widespread protest against the fact that their rights were not reflected in the interim constitution issued in January 2007. Such conditions led to general unrest in the Terai region.
In the midst of all this, the scheduled election of November 2007 was postponed yet again due to the political parties unable to reach an agreement regarding the Maoist’s request to carry out the election based on a full-proportional representation system, and the Republic Declaration that was to precede the election. Following that, repeated dialogue between the Madhesis and political parties took place, resulting in the 23-Point Agreement at the first meeting of the constituent assembly in December, including transition to a Federal Democratic Republic. Then, the third amendment to the interim constitution was enacted, and in January 2008, it was decided in a cabinet meeting that a constituent assembly election will take place on 10 April.
The constituent assembly election was executed peacefully with little confusion.
As a result of the election, contrary to what many expected, Maoists won the largest number of seats (though they did not reach over half). The constituent assembly met for the first time in May 2008, officially declaring that Nepal had become a Federal Democratic Republic, bringing an end to monarchy which had continued for 240 years.
After a number of administrations were established and gone, the constituent assembly was called in May 2011, resulting in the agreement on 5 points by the main three political parties (Maoist, Congress Party and UML), including a three-month extension of the same assembly.
In May 2012, the constituent assembly was dissolved upon completion of term without being able to enact the constitution. Political parties held discussions in order to reach a consensus regarding the enactment of a constitution, and in March 2013, the four main political parties agreed on a having a constituent assembly election under the caretaker government led by Regmi, then Chief Justice of Nepal, thus resulting in the inauguration of a caretaker government.
In November 2013, a re-election for the assembly was executed for the enactment of the constitution, reopening the constituent assembly in January 2014. Since then, discussions were held in order to work on the draft, finally resulting in the enactment of a new constitution on 20 September 2015. Shortly after, in October, a prime minister election took place for the first time in the legislative assembly based on the new constitution, resulting in the election of K.P Sharma Oli, leader of CPN-UML Parliamentary Party, as new prime minister. However, the new administration under K.P Sharma Oli was unstable, plagued by a number of problems, domestic or otherwise. As a result of the talks among the three political parties (Maoist, Congress Party and UML), the administration was forced to step down as early as the end of July 2016. Then, at the August assembly, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairman of the Communist Party, was chosen as the new prime minister.
2.3. Challenges of Nepal’s National Development
The Nepalese Government has developed Five-Year Plans as a scheme of national development since 1956. The tenth Five-Year Plan which covers the period between 2002 and 2007 aimed to achieve economic growth by generating an increase in income through creating more employment opportunities, especially focusing on the eradication of rural poverty, thus positioning the plan as a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP).
Following the Tenth Plan, in December 2007, the Three Year Interim Plan (August 2007 ~ November 2010) was set as a connecting plan between the tenth and the next. Furthermore, following the Three Year Interim Plan, another three-year plan was devised to cover the period between 2010/11 until 2012/13.
This Three Year Plan aims for “the realization of a peaceful and wealthy state as a result of successful departure from being a LDC within the next twenty years”. The importance of eradicating discrimination and inequality based on ethnic group, religion and gender is emphasized in order to accomplish this goal. The creation of job opportunities as well as food security, providing access to essential services such as education and health, and minimizing the effects of climate change are mentioned as areas to be tackled with priority, each with a goal figure to aim for.
The current Three Year Plan has succeeded the long-term vision of successfully departing from the status of LDC within the next twenty to thirty years, and becoming a peaceful and just state. It also aims for the accomplishment of the MDGs through bringing down the poverty rate under 21%, by creating job opportunities, improving economic inequality, ensuring inter-regional balance, eradicating of social discrimination, and implementing sustainable economic growth. Specific areas of importance include:
- The development of social as well as physical infrastructure in order to ensure widespread influence of economic growth aimed at reducing poverty
- Promotion of agriculture, tourism, industry and export that can achieve economic growth and creation of job opportunities
- Investment aimed to ensure subsumption in areas of national mechanism, sectors and processes
- Investment that contributes to the realisation and continuation of essential social services such as drinking water, energy, electricity, roads, food security, medical care and education
- The strengthening of “Good Governance” that enables the timely provision of high quality, accessible administrative services to the people
- The minimization as well as taking advantage of the effects of climate change via means of environmental protection
- Programs and projects that directly benefit people who have been designated by national policy
Out of the above, four areas (development of infrastructure, agricultural development, human resources development and economic growth) are positioned as prioritized sectors. According to the government, an annual growth rate of 4% is required in order to accomplish these goals, therefore setting target growth rates at 4.5% for agricultural sectors, and 6.7% for non-agricultural sectors, while also aiming to increase the annual employment growth rate from the current 2.9% to 3.2%. In the draft, development in areas such as energy, roads, and communications is also emphasized under the development of infrastructure, while commercialization of agriculture, tourism industry and trade are the main focus in agriculture and economy sectors. When it comes to human resources development, the improvement of the national work force’ abilities which will enhance its competitive capability is emphasized, with its main foundation being the education sector.
Regarding the education sector, various attempts such as the following have already been made based on the EFA National Plan of Action:
- “Welcome to school” program
- Distribution of free educational materials to all public primary and basic schools
- “School Feeding” programs (“day meal” programs)
- “Oil for mothers” programs
- Providing free education (lower secondary and secondary school) for the Dalit
- Scholarship programs aimed for girls and children under unfortunate circumstances
- Cooperating with NGOs from overseas for school construction
- Community Owned Primary Education (COPE) which contributes to partnership in communities
- Programs that entrust school management to local communities
- Development of early childhood education based on partnership between NGOs from overseas (Save the Children, Nepal), the Israeli Embassy, Nepal Education Division, and United Nations Organizations (UNESCO and UNICEF)
However, as will be mentioned later, various challenges exist and investment in the education sector remains a huge need.
3. Aftermath of 2015 Major Earthquake
2.1. Summary of 2015 Earthquake
On Saturday, 25 April 2015 at 11:56 local time, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake as recorded by Nepal’s National Seismological Centre (NSC), struck Barpak in the historic district of Gorkha, about 76 km northwest of Kathmandu. After the first hit, more than 300 aftershocks have followed; out of which four exceeded the magnitude of 6.0, and the largest aftershock, which occurred 17 days after the 7.6 magnitude earthquake, was recorded at 6.8.
Nepal, the 11th most earthquake-prone country in the world, had not faced a natural shock of comparable magnitude for over 80 years.
The districts affected by the earthquake are shown in Map1-2-9 below.
（Source： GoN/MoHA as of 21 May 2015）
Figure 3-1 Categories of earthquake-affected districts
3.2. Damages and Losses
3.2.1 Disaster Effects according to Sector
There were over 8,790 casualties and 22,300 injuries. It is estimated that the lives of eight million people, almost one-third of the population of Nepal, have been impacted by these earthquakes. More than a month later, tens of thousands of people are still forced to live in temporary or mobile shelters. The transportation and distribution of relief supplies faced many challenges such as the following; (1) many village communities are remotely located, (2) topographical features are often steep or rugged, and (3) the high possibility of landslides.
The damages and losses are estimated to be 706 billion NPR or about 7 billion USD. The breakdown is shown in Table 1-2-4. Most private homes in Nepal were not quake-resistant, which resulted in the collapse of many. (50% of the damage comprises of houses and settlements, followed by 11% of tourism, then 4~5% for environment, education, finance and agriculture.) The education sector suffered a loss of 31.3 billion NPR.
Table 2‑3 Summary of Disaster Effects
|Disaster Effects||Distribution of
|Housing and Human Settlements||303,632||46,908||350,540||350,540||－||－|
|Water and Sanitation||10,506||873||11,379||－||11,379||－|
|Disaster Risk Reduction||155||－||155||－||155||－|
|Environment and Forestry||32,960||1,061||34,021||1,755||32,267||－|
|Total （US$ million)||$5,174||$1,890||$7,065||$5,404||$1,661||$171|
Unit： NRP million
（Source： Estimations by PDNA Team）
Figure 2‑5 Share of Disaster Effects across Sectors
It is estimated that the total value of disaster effects (damages and losses) caused by the earthquakes is NPR 706 billion or its equivalent of US$ 7 billion. Of that amount, NPR 517 billion (or 76 percent of the total effects) represents the value of destroyed physical assets, and NPR 189 billion (24 percent of the total effects) reflects the losses and higher costs of production of goods and services arising from the disaster (see Table 1-2-10). These estimates are based on the aggregation of information and data collected across sectors of social and economic activity and checked to avoid duplication of numbers. The relative distribution of effects, that is, damages versus losses – is typical of disasters caused by natural events of geological origin, whereby the larger fraction of disaster effects represents the destruction of physical and durable assets.
The share of estimated total disaster effects among the main sectors of social and economic activity reveals that the most affected are social sectors (58 percent of the total effects), which includes housing. This is followed by productive sectors (25 percent), infrastructure (10 percent) and cross-cutting issues (7 percent).
（Source： Estimations by PDNA Team）
Figure 2‑6 Share of Disaster Effects across Sectors
3.2.2 The Earthquake’s Impact on the GDP
The earthquake’s impact on the GDP growth is illustrated in Figure 2-7.
The effects of the disasters clearly indicate that the estimated value of total damages and losses (changes in flows) is equivalent to about one third of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in FY 2013-2014. In addition, the estimated value of damage is equivalent to more than 100 percent of the Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF*) for FY 2013-2014. To put it differently, if all other capital formation activities were stopped, it could take Nepal more than one year to rebuild the fixed capital that was destroyed by the earthquakes. Furthermore, the estimated production losses represent about 10 percent of the added value of all goods and services produced in one year in the country, which will result in a slow-down of the economy in the short term, despite the fact that the estimated losses for some sectors like cultural heritage and environment, among others, would unfold over several years.
Annual economic growth in FY 2014-2015 is expected to be the lowest in eight years, at 3 percent (basic prices). The earthquakes suppressed an earlier projection of 4.6 percent by over 1.5 points (see Figure 5). Compared to FY 2013-2014, when growth exceeded 5 percent, the lost momentum through foregone production in just less than three months (between late April and mid-July 2015), valued at NPR 52 billion, is a major setback.4 The losses will continue to accumulate during FY 2015-2016 and beyond until major sectors recover fully.
*GFCF: a flow value measured by the total value of a producer’s acquisitions, less disposals of fixed assets during the accounting period plus certain additions to the value of non-produced assets realized by the productive activity of institutional units.
Note 1: R (revised); P (projected)（Source: CBS）
Figure 2‑7 Impact on GDP Growth
The earthquake’s impact on the national economy categorized by sector is as follows.
- Real Estate
The economic activity that has been the hardest hit is that of real estate (including renting and business services) with annual growth projection revised downwards from 4.8 percent to 0.8 percent. There has been a massive destruction of privately-owned buildings and public assets worth over NPR 300 billion. Partly because of their exposure to residential finance and real estate, the banking and financial institutions (BFIs) are likely to see modest deterioration in the quality of loan portfolios, impacting the solvency of institutions, micro and large, and the overall flow of credit.
The insurance sector faces claim exceeding NPR 16 billion; a large share of this is re-insured by foreign insurance companies, but local liability remains substantial.
In agriculture, the harvest of rice and maize had already been disappointing before. What the earthquakes did additionally was to destroy the stockpile of stored grains and devastate the livestock sector, which accounts for over 23 percent of value added in agriculture. The loss of over 17,000 cattle and about 40,000 smaller, domesticated animals has resulted in the downward revision of the projected growth in agriculture from 2.2 percent to 1.8 percent this year.
- Service Industry
In services, tourism has been adversely affected with every nine in ten planned foreign arrivals cancelled in the aftermath of the quakes which occurred during the first of the two major seasons of the year. The main earthquake and prolonged aftershocks caused damage to seven out of 10 World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley and affected popular trekking routes. Destroyed tourism-related supply of services and decreased tourist spending are likely to lead to a loss of 62 billion NPR over the next two years.
- Social Sectors
At many schools, class activities were suspended for a long period of time due to the collapse of and damage to school buildings caused by earthquakes. An increasing number of children has been forced to become street children, who are deprived of an opportunity of education. In the social sectors, education is expected to record slower growth because of disruptions spanning several weeks, while the health services sector has recorded a modest uptick in its growth even though it accounts for only 1.7 percent of GDP. The largest contributor to value addition in services comes from the wholesale and retail (trading) industries. There has been an estimated decrease of about NPR 7 billion in the tradable ‘margin’ of goods after the earthquake within FY 2014-2015. Women are emerging as traders in Nepal, and might have been disproportionately affected in some sectors. Of the 19 export products prioritized in the national trade integration strategy of 2010, women are the primary producers of more than half of them.
- Large-Scaled Manufacturing and Construction
A majority of the large manufacturing industries located in the plains were not directly affected, but they have felt the externalities of falling national demand and fleeing workers. Private construction in the immediate aftermath of the quakes came to a halt. In the FY 2015-2016, however, labour demand for demolition, clearing of debris, and reconstruction of destroyed and damaged dwellings and other physical infrastructure is likely to grow. This will increase demand and earnings for skilled and unskilled labour in ancillary industries.
- Fiscal and Monetary Sectors
Public revenues have taken a direct hit in the aftermath of the quake. It is now certain that the target for revenue collection in the current fiscal year, of NPR 423 billion, will not be met. With only 390 billion NPR expected to be raised by mid-July 2015, there will be a shortfall of about 8 percent. This sets up a much lower base for FY 2015-2016, where the target now is to raise only between NPR 460 and NPR 480 billion against a projection of NPR 512 billion prior to the earthquake.
Of the five major sources, customs and those deemed non-tax revenue have seen the largest drop in collection. This is because of reduced imports, including luxurious items such as motorized vehicles. A preliminary debt sustainability analysis indicates that Nepal may be able to maintain its current low debt distress rating. However, close monitoring and concessional support will be needed to cope with the upward pressure. Broad money is not expected to grow by more than 17.5 percent and inflation is expected to be contained within single digits during FY 2014-2015.
However, the differences in sector specific inflation rates will be amplified going forward as demand for reconstruction inputs increase. In FY 2015-2016, as a result of an expansionary budget, and, likely supply-side bottlenecks, an inflationary pressure is expected to build up further. There will also be an upward pressure on wages of both skilled and unskilled workers.
- Export Businesses
As a result of the earthquake, export-oriented industries have been damaged. Further, domestic consumption of items that are normally exported have increased, reducing estimated exports by about 6 percent, as compared with the previous year. Imports are likely to expand as a result of increased demand for machinery parts, food, medicines, and construction materials.
The fall in the world price of petroleum products checked the growth in import bills this year. There is an expected surge in both international transfers and remittances. However, the trade imbalance will worsen this year and the next. Exports are unlikely to pick up rapidly because of the uncertain investment climate. Imports are expected to grow by about 18 percent in FY 2015-2016.
The nation will require substantial external assistance to meet the rehabilitation and reconstruction costs, estimated to be at least NPR 669 billion or US$ 6.7 billion over a number of years depending on the sector.
There are limits to internal borrowing. To finance the rehabilitation and reconstruction cost, the government has set up a National Reconstruction Fund of NPR 200 billion, to which it has already committed NPR 20 billion.
In the recovery and reconstruction phase it is critical to prevent actions that end up creating disaster risks by increasing public awareness, and investing in the principle of Build Back Better (BBB).
- Needs by Sector
Table 2‑4 Recovery Budget for Each Sector
Needs by Sector
|Water and Sanitation||18,106||181||2.70%|
|Disaster Risk Reduction||8,204||82||1.20%|
|Environment and Forestry||25,197||252||3.80%|
|Employment and Livelihoods||12,547||125||1.90%|
|Gender and Social Inclusion||1,086||11||0.20%|
（Source：Estimations by PDNA Team）
3.2.3 International Aid Activities
To date, 134 search and rescue teams from 34 nations have been participating in rescue operations, in response to the request from Nepal. According to Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs, the government flew 4,236 helicopters in total, rescuing 7,756 people by air, and 4,689 by land. Urgent humanitarian aid was provided for victims, and more than 60 countries, the United Nations, and other international organizations have played crucial roles in the operations. About $130 million was raised at the behest of the UN.
Japan, which has maintained a long cordial relationship with Nepal, in December 2016 responded to the emergency request of the Nepal’s government by giving relief supplies, emergency grants worth $14 million (about \1.68 billion).
3.3. Damage Overview of Education Sector
The damage and loss suffered in the education sector amounts to 31.3 billion NPR. 80% of this damage has been concentrated in the previously mentioned 14 districts. Damage in education-related infrastructure and real assets is said to be 28 billion NPR, and the loss 3.2 billion NPR. When classified according to public or private institutes, public schools suffered 90.2% of the total damage and loss. According to educational levels, pre-school, primary and secondary education (G1-12) schools suffered 92% of the damage and loss, while higher education (university level) remained at 7.9%, and technical and vocational training institutes 1.6%. Other than that, community learning centres as well as public libraries also suffered from the impacts of the earthquake. The above mentioned damage valuation is based on minimal estimation. Behind this are factors such as damage and loss suffered by private schools being underestimated, limitations in the efforts in damage reports, and calculations of various costs being done in a relatively moderate manner.
Education in areas devastated by the disaster were forced to come to a halt. This interruption has raised concerns of deep influence on the number of enrolment, class attendance, and the effective management of schools in general, potentially leading to a rise in number of students who are unable to attend school. Also, there is also the risk of children with disabilities or heavy illnesses becoming further unable to have access to school education. On the other hand, due to the rising work demand both within and outside households, an increased number of children (especially those of older age) may go to school less or stop attending altogether. Such conditions may rob children of their academic motivation, leading to concerns that school grades of students in earthquake-hit areas may deteriorate at least on the short and medium-term perspective.
Table 2‑5 Damage of Earthquake on the Education Sector
（Source：Post Disaster Needs Assessment/NPC）
It is estimated that a total of 39.7 billion NPR (397.1 million USD) will be needed to fulfill the demands for recovery and reconstruction, out of which 5.18 billion NPR (51.8 million USD) would be for recovery efforts, and 34.5 billion NPR (34.5 million USD) for reconstruction. The cost for recovery and reconstruction has been categorized based on short-term, medium-term, and long-term demands.
Table 2‑6 Cost of Recovery in the Education Sector
|Fiscal Year (NPR million)||Total|
（Source：Post Disaster Needs Assessment/NPC）
Temporary learning environments will be arranged, textbooks and learning materials distributed, rubble and debris removed, as well as evaluating the structure of school facilities in order to pay close attention to the plans and models needed for the reconstruction of schools and systems.
In Nepal, there is no gender gap among the enrolment number in primary school education. However, less girls are found in secondary to higher level education in comparison to boys. In households suffering from the damage of the earthquake, there are many cases where girls must stop attending school in order to help out with work activities.
It is also essential to consider the special needs of girls, children from poverty-stricken homes as well as those with disabilities, and making use of existing systems for them.
4. Environment Surrounding Children
4.1. Definition of Child Labour
In the international convention set by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), child labour is defined as “the employment of children under the age of 15 in the same activities as adults” (Minimum Age Convention, No. 138) (exceptional measures are allowed in developing countries based on the state laws, with the age being 14 instead- Nepal’s law states the age as 14).
The ILO has declared the need to eliminate child labour, which has become one of the social foundations of the global economy, along with working with IPEC (International Program on the Elimination of Child Labour) in introducing programs and specific mechanisms to achieve that goal. Their main declarations include No. 138 “Minimum Age Convention” and No. 182 “Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention”.
The ILO differentiate between “child labour” and “child work” based on the following definition:
- “Child labour” is defined as work that interferes with children’s education and their healthy development (for example, handling pesticides without protective gloves), is mentally and physically harmful (such as the use of dangerous machinery), and is exploitative and against human rights (in cases of low salary, prostitution, debt bondage, child soldiers etc).
- “Child work” is defined as work that is suitable to the children’s age and level of growth and enhances their health and educational purposes, in ways that promote their healthy development and helps them acquire skills and responsibility (such as helping out at home and in the fields, delivering newspapers etc).
Furthermore, the “worst forms” of child labour is defined by ILO in their convention No. 182. This covers all children under the age of 18, and defines the following four points:
- “All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery”: such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour (pledged labour or service for an indefinite period of time as security for the repayment of a certain debt), including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflicts
- “Sexual exploitation”: the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances
- The use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs
- Work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety and morals of children (such as hazardous work, late night shifts, and underground labour etc)
4.2. Changes in Child Labour Policies
The Nepalese government ratified the ILO’s “Convention on the Rights of a Child” in 1990. Following that, in 1992, the Children’s Law was introduced, officially banning the employment of children under the age of 14 (child labour). In cases where underage children are employed, one can be imprisoned up to three months, or a year if the work consisted of dangerous labour or in the case of lack of consent.
Furthermore, the Children’s Law was revised in 1999, with the aim of establishing further penalties by specifically banning the abuse and usage of children in the selling of drugs and alcohol.
On top of that, the “National Master Plan on Child Labour” (2004-2014 Ministry of Labour and Transportation, current day Ministry of Labour and Employment) was formulated in 2004 in order to further tackle the issue of child labour. In this Master Plan, the worst forms of child labour in Nepal are defined as the following: 1. bonded labour 2. rag pickers 3. porters 4. domestic workers (urban areas) 5. mine labour 6. carpet sector and 7. child trafficking. This plan declared to eliminate these worst forms of child labour by 2009, and all forms of child labour by 2014, and constructed plans of administrative efforts in an attempt to accomplish this goal
In addition to that, the government clarified its opposition against Kamlari in 2001, taking action to liberate girls that were in bondage in this type of forced labour.
In 2010, the government drafted the “Guideline to the Ban of Child Labour”, as well as National Plan of Action against Human Trafficking the following year. In the Master Plan of 2004, it was decided that the issue of working children would be tackled through the Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) that was established by the Children’s Law in 1992. CCWB is an organisation that was founded in order to work towards children’s welfare and protection of children’s rights, and the execution of measures to tackle the problem of child labour is also designated to be addressed through this structure.
4.3. Involvement of Local Administration
Nepal consists of five development regions, under which 75 districts exist, including 58 municipalities and 3,915 villages. Within the municipalities, wards and toles also exist.
As CCWB’s lower administrative agency, a District Child Welfare Board (DCWB) is placed in each district, under which a Municipal/Village Child Protection Committee (CPC) will be set up in each of the 58 municipalities and 3,915 villages. The structure aims for these three committees to work together in order to respond to issues regarding children’s welfare and protection of children’s rights.
However, in reality, their range of action is limited due to lack of funding, and the local systems under the districts are actually dysfunctional. Furthermore, because informal sectors of the economy are not covered, the possibility of “black boxes” existing which are not officially addressed cannot be denied. Even though the Ministry of Labour and Transportation had aimed to achieve the elimination of child labour by 2014, the current situation is still grappling for a solution to resolve social issues surrounding child labour. The government is also promoting the establishment of DCWBs and CPCs, but many districts remain unreached, and even existing committees are not functioning fully in reality. These all suggest that urgent efforts need to be made to resolve child labour with more specific policies.
（Source：National Plan of Action for Children、Nepal 2004/05-2014/15、Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare）
Figure 2‑8 System for Child Care in Nepal
4.5. Current Situation of Child Labour
According to the ILO, 72 million out of the world’s children aged between 5 and 17 are unable to attend primary school, with the majority being in developing nations. Furthermore, 759 million people, which amounts to 16% of the world’s adult population, have no basic abilities (such as reading, writing and math) with the largest reason being poverty. The international society has taken various measures in order to achieve “Education for All” by 2015, however, the deadline year has passed with 1 out of 7 still living in child labour, and tens of millions of children remain without access to education. Nepal is not an exception to this.
The Nepalese government conducted a survey on labour conditions in 2008. The ILO and Nepal Central Bureau of Statistics also compiled the “Nepal Child Labour Report” in 2012, based on thorough investigation of activities of children aged between 5 to 17.
According to the report, Nepal’s children population (between the age of 5 to 17) is 7.77 million, making up 33% of the national population. Out of this, 3.14 million children (40.4%) are working, with 1.6 million (51%) being in the category of child labour (making the child labour rate 20%, an equivalent of one out of every five children). 620,000 children work in hazardous conditions, which make up 38.8% of the child labour population, which is 19.7% of working children, amounting to 8% of the children population in general.
According to gender, working children comprise 47.6% of girls, and 36.1% of boys. The rate of child labour is 24% among girls, while that of boys are 17.5%. Furthermore, when it comes to dangerous labour, more than half involved are girls.
Regarding sectors where children are working, more than half is involved in agriculture. In rural areas, children play an important role in domestic duties such as harvesting crop and vegetables, looking after livestock, fetching water, and taking care of younger siblings. “Unpaid domestic labour” has become a norm.
In the manufacturing sector, the carpeting industry has the largest number of child labourers. Carpets are one of Nepal’s main export products, contributing to 60% of the total export value. It is said that 400,000 workers are involved in this industry, with 30% of them estimated to being under the age of 15. The working conditions are notorious, with more than 90% of the workers being forced to work longer than 15 hours a day on a low salary. Furthermore, the spinning mills are filled with scraps of wool that cause respiratory conditions, while those working in textile mills suffer from skin disease. The reason behind children’s involvement in the carpet industry is not limited to poverty, but also due to lack of understanding on their family’s part as well as illiteracy. In other words, 80% of the population live in rural areas, where agricultural work is available for only four to five months of the year. The remainder of the year people go out into the cities, and find jobs making bricks and tiles, or construction work. It is during such occasions where children will go along and start working in the carpet industry, eventually left to stay in the city to continue that work. It is also a common belief in rural communities that parents will be looked after by their children, thus leading to children being sent to factories rather than schools once they reach the approximate age of ten.
In such manners, children are working in various ways, not only in the carpet industry, but also in mines, quarries, brick factories, as well as sewing clothes and also in the production of tea, coffee, sugar canes, salt, frozen vegetables and seafood, soccer balls, and fireworks. They also work as porters, construction workers, bus driver assistants, dish washers in restaurants, hotels and cafes, servants in middle-upper class homes, rag pickers, street vendors and so on.
From an educational perspective, 9% of children (out of 7.77 million) have never been to school, and 59% have not completed primary school, leaving only 21% that have. Those that make it to secondary education onwards make up a mere 3.4%.
（Source： NEPAL CHILD LABOUR REPORT2012/ILO・CBS）
Figure 2‑9 Situation of children in Nepal
Table 2‑7 Children’s Activity Status (Between ages 5 to 17)