Sunday, April 27, 2008

Red Watch: Maoists and the Economy

The Maoists surprised the whole world this month by securing the highest number of seats in the recently held CA elections. Well before that, I was wondering (see this one as well) the economic policies under the Maoists.

While people argue that the cloud of intimidation and insecurity caused by the Maoist affiliated trade unions and YCL are undermining investor confidence, the Maoists seem to be engaged in their own conservative analysis. The chief of industry division of the CPN-Maoist, Krishna Achary, argues that his party would "transform the country's conservative economic policy to make it investment-friendly." Regarding the issue of NPL and defaulters, he says that they would act on the recommendation of a new committee, which is still to be formed.

What I don't understand is on what ground is today's economic policies conservative (remember, Nepal is one of the most liberal economies in South Asia, according to WB standards). Moreover, how would the party ensure investment-friendly climate at a time when the investors are worried by bully from the trade unions and a fear of insecurity? Also, why would we need another committee to look at the same, decades old defaulters issue? We already had a comprehensive report and recommendation two years ago, and note that there have been numerous committees, on average one on each time power changed, to look into the same problem. We already know the solutions, so why do we again want another committee? Just a waste of resources and time! See this.

Meanwhile, Hisila Yami, Maoist minister for Physical Planning and Works, argues that “To cut down the growing congestion in the Kathmandu Valley, the best way is to bring the country into a federal structure at the earliest.” What??? From when did this correlation exist?