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Forging a Path to Prosperous Democracy: The Significance of Annual Policy Declarations in Nepal

The Government of Nepal annually releases the policy and programmatic activities document that outlines its strategic commitments and direction for the year. This document serves as a code of conduct for the annual action directions of the Government. Its formulation involves stakeholders’ participation, consultation, and incorporating their suggestions on implementation. It includes mechanisms for monitoring and assessing financial and budgetary aspects. The document is based on principles, norms, and values, and sets quantitative expectations for the government’s activities.

In the current scenario, the coalition government emphasizes cooperation, collaboration, and coordination to achieve its objectives through a declared duty of work. The Executive Body, which includes multiple coalition parties, aims to create mutual understanding and consensus on principled positions while drafting this document. Political science suggests that coalition governments are often fragile due to political calculations and equations, making them susceptible to instability unless they function exceptionally well. Its standard application is based on performance on the ground. In normal cases or business as usual, the government’s annual proclamation of action is not just the ritual of the head of state to declare the needs and demands of the political society and federal state but an action to accomplish. The success of this proclamation depends on the political and administrative willpower. If this willpower is weak, the proclamation risks becoming an ineffective exercise rather than a meaningful commitment to action.

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Every year, policies and programs should be reviewed at the end of the year and made a priority agenda in parliamentary proceedings and deliberations. This approach ensures that democracy remains accountable, responsible, and transparent. The parliament can establish itself as a proactive mechanism to oversight the implementation of policies and programs.

By doing so, a unanimous consensus or social contract of the prevailing polity can be forged, thereby consolidating functional governance’s noble and lofty principles. Besides attending to public affairs and responding to news broadcasts, the parliament should prioritize discussions and actions on proclamation documents to achieve a prosperous democracy. This involves both the ruling and opposition parties and sets a high standard for measuring the quality of government and governance.

Such measures would enhance the quality of citizenship and improve the country’s international profile. It would also help eradicate the negative stereotypes of Nepal as a poor, backward, and least-developed country. Therefore, parliamentary oversight of the government’s public policies and activities, in terms of implementation status and outcomes, is crucial. This oversight would create a conducive environment for the state and government to refine and consolidate democratic elements.

Strategic and enduring measures are essential to foster a stable, people-oriented polity in Nepal amidst the country’s history of extreme political movements. This involves strengthening the parliament, parliamentary committees, and the prudence of MPs in shaping policies, acts, rules, regulations, and laws. Such efforts contribute to the longevity and stability of the political system.

A lasting impact on Nepal’s political landscape can be achieved by emphasizing principled originality over imitating party stances or engaging in rhetoric. Maintaining democratic decorum and a liberal realist order is crucial. Avoiding cyclical retribution by opposition groups against former incumbents is important, as this undermines political stability.

Political parties should engage in support or opposition within the parliament based on their principled dignity and ideological history, rather than pursuing short-term popularity or populism. This approach ensures an enduring campaign for democracy and supports the stability and effectiveness of the political system in the short, medium, and long term.

The role of the ruling party and the opposition has been blurring since 2005. Democracy has become a mockery even today because the parties do not take care of the value of the parliamentary and political role with a clear, just, and valid criticism. It is appropriate for the ruling party to emphasize the performance of the policies and programs decided by the executive board to maintain popular opinion. The opposition must keep a sense of responsibility to account for the past, present, and future of policy, decision, and implementation. The ruling party and the opposition party should question the stance of the party’s principles and behavior and confirm the inherent sovereignty of the people by garnering appropriate mutual response learning at or outside the Parliamentary domain.

Modern political history is witness to the advantageous and bittersweet experience of parliamentary practice in Nepal. It is clear that the voice of the common Nepalese has to be raised, mustered, and articulated thoughtfully as discussions, actions, and protests in the House become intensive and extensive. The characteristic of the parliamentary system is to question, explain, remind, and exert pressure to accept political challenges, public interest, and people’s concerns. Annual policies and programs need to interpret the intrinsic spirit of principles mentioned in the Constitution. The incumbent government has to expand and broaden public policy towards its promulgation, promotion, and development. This constitutional provision is the basis of public policy resources.

With the restoration of democracy in 1990, the prevalent political situation lest not forget the national policy, existing policy, and public policy under the scanner of review, redressal of grievances and feedback, and at changing times mature revision. The debate about the problems, errors, shortcomings, and irresponsibility in the implementation of the policy document should be undertaken during its time frame of action. Its annual release is often forgotten by the establishment side, the opposition, and civil society fading into the background of current political history. Politics, speech, and rhetoric seem to revolve around the problems surfacing or dormant in society. The urgent question of addressing responses within the immediate surroundings seems far from resolution.

Even though debates, dialogues, and discourse continue, they are limited to the scope of commentary and participation and the results are intangible, the ability to defend democracy may weaken. Distorted politics that do not embrace parliamentary norms and values are characterized by a problematic, sluggish and ineffective nature. This harms the nourishment that democracy needs, such as the provision of quality public services and goods, adherence to basic rights, and the rule of law. Even in a democracy, conduct, ethics, and discipline are essential. If the constitutional responsibilities of citizens and countrymen are not observed and followed then the sensitivity and tolerant discursive nature of an open society are compromised, discrediting unbridled attachment to freedom and liberalism.

Strengthening democracy requires the active presence of political figures and stakeholders, expression of voices and complaints, and hearing and addressing it. The real journey of democracy, which has been practiced as an ideal since ancient political history for twenty-five hundred years, continues to this day despite various setbacks and uprooting. For the prosperity of democracy, policies and programs ought to be based on federal interest exercising the sovereignty of the people in the parliament. The opposition to such initiatives should be criticized from the prudential, theoretical, and practical perspectives. By documenting its institutional memory and analyzing the current history, it is to take forward or progress-oriented policies. Human society has been limited to nation-states since ancient times. It is not so clear to determine the political direction towards the thinking, solidarity, or solution at the state or within the state or at the sub-national levels or conceptual practices in the future. The fact that political activities below or above the state level create news and various study reports and analysis statements. Such interest in intellectual circles and leadership are in vogue in contemporary times.

At the dawn of every new year, when policies and programs are presented in Nepal, the environment is propitious to take its implementation resolution. The ruling and opposition parties grapple gamut of errors and encounter challenges and a connivance of laxity in the implementation of policies. This is a lucrative opportunity for the leadership to make Nepal an exemplary country in global democracy. In addition to enriching excellence, leadership can maintain outstanding political practices which one can read about in cradles of democracy to promote civic governance and liberal international order or the rule of international law.

The journey of development administration and administrative development is ongoing, with development not being the final destination. Good governance and development policies and programs operate in three major stages. The initial stage involves communication-related to the subject area, which includes information, knowledge, and scientific bases in fields such as political, economic, and social conversations, personal opinions and ideas, environmental assessments, and humanitarian and cultural sensitivities.

The second stage is the process of making these initiatives acceptable, which includes proposal, planning, implementation, maintenance, adaptation, risk mitigation, and inevitable amendments or refinements.

The third stage involves maintaining good governance and undertaking development activities. Generally speaking, the human, financial, and physical resources, as well as scientific and technical means needed to achieve these goals, are estimated, made available, and mobilized. The main priority is to gather the necessary resources and tools. However, if resources are inadequate, the success of the strategic action plan can still be measured by how effectively the limitations are exploited and by becoming resourceful.

The height of the Himalayas, the struggle in our mountain world and the wide granaries of the Terai plains add meaning, and understanding and attempting to reduce suffering connotations are thematic inclusion in the annual policies and programs. For example, every Government has been underlining building economy, achieving development and sustaining prosperity through tourism, climate and biological diversity protection, human and social capital building, and the need to promote production and productivity in Nepal. While the approach of political science may seem complex, the gravity of performing and adhering to policy documents and engaging in parliamentary debate should gradually resolve matters of public affairs. Positive politics, economics, society, and culture serve as ideological standards, embodying a quest for mutual and reciprocal respect, existential acceptance, and agreement in disagreement. However, realizing these ideals is not easy; they often appear as idealistic thinking amidst historical turbulence. It’s ironic that while positive documents pronounce simplicity, indication, and progress, they may remain unseen or only partially realized in contemporary humanities and social sciences.

Nevertheless, the new awakening of the practical combination of idealism and realism offers hope. Challenges faced in public policy, leadership, and political society can be addressed through action realization and the exercise of responsible freedom of expression and speech.

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Rajeev Kunwar

Mr. Kunwar is a politics and international relations analyst based in Kathmandu.

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