In many countries, the prime minister and the president themselves were fighting Corona, while the ruling party wasted important time preparing for the crisis in Nepal by engaging in internal power struggles and disputes.
The Corona infection and the crisis that spread around the world revealed three things. First, what development model succeeds in addressing such crises? Second, what kind of governance system is effective? And third, what kind of political character can give the right direction to society, economy, and crisis.
When it comes to development, corona prevention and control have been affected over the years due to ‘preexisting conditions’. For example, countries with relatively large investments in health, societies guaranteed universal and universal health care, and countries with strong social security rights to address the humanitarian crisis seem to be able to address the corona crisis more effectively than others. On the other hand, existing poverty and inequality have further complicated the situation of corona infection and prevention. While India and China are both emerging powers of the world, in terms of population, size of the economy and strategic capabilities, and the impact of diplomacy, these two countries are sure to be major players in world politics in the 21st century. However, in terms of coronavirus control, the weaknesses in the development of both India and China were highlighted.
The total number of corona cases seen in China so far (more than 84,000) has started to be seen in India on the same day. However, China and India have similar populations. Before discussing the government’s effectiveness in controlling the epidemic, it should be noted that in 2018, Indian Prime Minister Modi announced that by 2025, 2.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will be spent on public health, while from 2008 to 2018, China will spend 6 percent of its GDP. More than 5 percent was spent on public health. Looking at the number of hospital beds available for patients, China’s investment in health is many times higher than India’s. With more than four beds available for every 1,000 people in China, it is difficult to find one bed in India.
When examining what kind of centralized or decentralized, controlling, or open democratic system of government is effective for controlling an epidemic like Corona, it was found that the effectiveness and accountability of governance leadership and governance structure are more important than the character of governance. A cursory glance at China and Vietnam shows that the system of governance is effective, and at the corona control of the United States, the democratic system seems to have failed. That is to say. For example, the United States is a democratic country, but in the last 40-50 years, the people have loved the country very much, but the government of the country is incompetent.
Speaking of the political character of the Corona control, different types of political leadership around the world have shown two kinds of character. A character who says, “The Corona problem is not something big, our government has done a good job, so it will get better on its own. Other problems are bigger than Corona.” There have been many leaders who have reassured the public that Corona is not a big problem as the country’s economic situation is declining. However, as the Corona crisis escalated over time, the same political leadership was found to be trying to divert it to other political issues. From Brazil to the United States, from Belarus to Mexico, and from the United Kingdom.
Another characteristic (Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, etc.) was that the corona infection was seen in the country as ‘such an infection will bring a difficult situation, so society and the government will have to pay a heavy price if they do not prepare as projected by science and statistics’. Such leadership, realizing its seriousness, worked to make the society aware and prepare accordingly.
For example, in the early days when many world leaders were saying that corona was not a big problem, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was not only warning the society that 60 to 70 percent of the country’s population could be infected, she was preparing the government accordingly. Due to this, Germany is now considered to be one of the most successful countries in terms of infection, even if it is on par with other European countries.
When it comes to Corona’s political backlash, things like prolonging power, postponing elections, or adopting a new electoral process have been seen around the world as a pretext for a transition. On the one hand, it is not easy to protest against the government due to the corona infection, and on the other hand, there are those who say that it is more justifiable to protest in the streets than to see the government useless in some countries. Demonstrations in Belarus, Thailand, and Lebanon show this. According to the Electoral Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, at least 56 countries have now postponed national or provincial elections.
In the above context, if we look at the political scenario of Nepal within the next six months to two years, it is necessary to examine the politics over Corona and the socio-economic impact of Corona. In many countries, when the infection was on the rise, Nepal had plenty of time to prepare for prevention and control. While the political leadership of the country should make the society aware and use all the power of the state to address the crisis brought by Corona, it was taken lightly that ‘Corona is not a big disease, we have a lot of immunity, let’s eat turmeric water’. It was also argued that tourism should be introduced by declaring Nepal a corona-free country.
In many countries, the prime minister and the president themselves were fighting Corona, while the ruling party wasted important time preparing to address the crisis in Nepal in internal power struggles and disputes. He should have argued that the current government failed to resolve the Corona crisis, so the leadership of the government should be changed.
To cover up the disability, it was argued that “even the so-called countries of the world have not been able to control the corona, we are able to.” By conducting extensive ‘testing’, ‘contact tracing’, and ‘quarantine and isolation’ according to their resources, Bhutan, Thailand, Vietnam, and others have been able to control the corona infection. With all the power, resources, and attention of the country, it does not mean that Nepal cannot do it.
Talking about the overall impact of Corona, Nepal seems to be in the early stages of transition. The humanitarian and economic crisis will now deepen. But the government has not been able to conduct a reliable study and research on human and economic losses, leaving it unclear what short-term and long-term crisis management strategies are.
In neighboring India, up to 90,000 infections, a day is on the rise. Due to our border with India and our close social, economic and cultural ties, India’s transition will have an impact on Nepal, but more importantly, even if the world gets vaccinated, Nepal will not be able to get it immediately. Nepal’s recent monetary policy has tried to address the economic crisis to some extent, but Nepal’s fiscal policy or budget does not seem to have brought much relief package to boost the economy.
Unemployment is said to have risen to 2 million. On the one hand, those who lost their foreign employment are returning, while on the other hand, the number of people returning to India due to unemployment in Nepal is increasing day by day. The crisis is deepening due to long-term full and partial closure. If this situation continues, the crisis in the country is sure to deepen in the coming days, but the ruling party seems to consider the reconciliation between the two presidents as a great achievement. The main opposition, which is pressuring the government, is embroiled in preparations for its general convention and internal politics.
The humanitarian, social and economic crisis is deepening, many young people in the country are struggling to make ends meet due to unemployment, and many people feel that the government is trying to address the crisis in a transparent manner instead of addressing the crisis in a transparent manner. It cannot be said that the situation will not come down on the road. Looking at other countries, on the one hand, the rulers are feeling comfortable in extending their tenure by postponing the elections because of the Corona, on the other hand, the failure of the government to cope with the Corona crisis seems to be eroding public confidence in the government. Remember, movements do not succeed in one day or for one reason alone. Many problems are piled up one after the other and if there is too much in the minds of the people now, there will be a sea of people on the streets.
In Nepal, either by reshuffling the cabinet or by the Prime Minister himself, there is an urgent need for short-term and long-term planning and effective implementation and monitoring to address the humanitarian and economic crisis in Corona. The necessary strategy, plan, and its implementation is an essential first condition. However, it is important for people to know that the government has done its best to maintain the trust of the people.
Resources may not be enough, the challenges of globalization and our geographical location may be in place, but what matters is how sincere those in power or policymakers are in their minds, words, and deeds. In the long run, the more people are frustrated by the fact that Nepal will continue like this, the more the people will feel frustrated and rebellious against the government and the system.
We called democracy, we also brought democracy. We said we needed stability, we also brought a two-thirds government. But the overall politics, governance, and the character of the state remain the same. As the image of the government, the ruling party or the opposition becomes more and more a sign of transparency, accountability, and service to the people, the voice of rebellion seems to be getting stronger. It’s just a matter of how long it will take and which power will ‘cache’ the spirit of rebellion.