Internet forum's dismay over graft – Nepal on the web
A debate rages on the Internet, though quietly, about the wrongs in Nepal’s administration, particularly the nexus between politics, bureaucracy and corruption that has left Nepalis as poor and ignored as ever. TechSansar tries to cover it thru its guest authors.On June 24, Dr Alok Bohora, an economist at the University of New Mexico, started a thread in a Yahoo group, NNSD, on civil service reforms. Inspired by the two-day meeting between PM Madhav Kumar Nepal and the secretaries, where they blamed each other for rampant corruption in the state machinery, he expressed hope that Nepal’s bureaucrats would give their voice.
Since then dozens of distinguished members of the civil society and the bureaucracy are taking part in the conversation in the 1,568-member forum, Nepal Network for Sustainable Development. Central to the discussion are two key agendas that support democracy: right to information (RTI) and Whistleblower Protection Act.
WPA protects honest employees who come forward with evidence of mismanagement and abuse of power. These whistleblowing employees are protected by law against any retaliation if they expose the misconduct.
The RTI, meanwhile, is another pillar of a democratic system where every citizen is guaranteed the right to know. A Whistleblower Protection Bill is currently in the parliament for consideration, although the RTI Act has incorporated two whistleblower protection provisions.
Surya Nath Upadhyay, former secretary and former Chief Commissioner of the anti-corruption body CIAA, says every individual at the helm of the state knows about corruption, but doesn’t allow oneself to “come out of the cobweb”. “The day a single person in the bureaucracy takes the courage and stands against the ills, I tell you it shall be the start of the kind of thing that we want to see happening in the country.”
Dinesh Pant, former Executive Director of Nepal Administrative Staff College, terms this general malaise as “feudalism in public bureaucracy”. “Feudalism in public sector in Nepal is a ‘system’ in which the superior-subordinate relationship is based on exchange of favour and loyalty,” he says. Leaders and superiors engage in “selfserving” to enrich their existence and ensure continuity of establishment by offering favour to subordinates in exchange for their loyalty.
Leela Mani Paudyal, Secretary at the PMO, says the RTI and regulation is comprehensive compared to those in other developing nations.
Thru various sources