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Lok Sabha TV Insights: Nepal’s New Constitution

Lok Sabha TV Insights: Nepal’s New Constitution

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After a process of eight years, Nepal has turned from Hindu Monarchy to Secular Democratic Republic country. The recent Constitution has divided Nepal into 7 Provinces and has provision for Bicameral legislature. 

But this Constitution is being considered as “constitution in haste”. It is also said that wishes of political leaders have been forced for short term political ambitions and this process is a kind of backroom dealing.

The adoption of constitution has led to opposition and violence in many parts of the country. Few sections of people are not happy with the existing provisions of the constitution.

According to analysts, the hasty process has been done under Chinese pressure. Other than China, European Union and American interests are also involved in this. But, there are no evidences to support the same.

How did India play its role ?          

  • Throughout the process of constitution-making in Nepal, India has supported a federal, democratic, republican and inclusive constitution
  • India was a facilitator of the peace process between different stakeholder communities (especially from Himal, pahad and Terai) in Nepal.
  • Election Commission of India helped Nepal in conducting two Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 and 2013.
  • India was a guarantor of a 2008 pact between the Nepal government and Terai forces.
  • India’s foreign secretary has been assisting the representatives of Nepal in framing the constitution.
  • India’s PM made visits to Nepal urging the Nepal’s CA to adopt a consensus-based constitution. Similar messages were conveyed by India’s MEA.
  • The Indian embassy in Kathmandu had been actively monitoring the framing and promulgation of Nepalese constitution.

What are the concerns for India on recent constitutions ?

  • The present format of the constitution is not inclusive
  • The past assurances have gone in vain.
  • Aspirations of all regions and sections of society have not been met.
  • India wants a stable Nepal, future instability can also lead to heavy in-migration in India.
  • India has an open border with Nepal. Bordering states like Bihar had raised concerns of violence in Terai region spilling over to India.

What India can do ?

  • Should review traditional partnership since the political structure has changed. Dealing with democratic country now would be different than earlier.
  • Should involve due to strategic reasons.
  • India’s concern was to learn from India’s diversity and make same provisions for the diverse Nepal.
  • India’s cold reply is to show dissatisfaction and has also sent a public message to Nepali citizen.

Why Nepal is becoming federal ?

  • For Balanced regional growth and development
  • Demand from Madhesi people and other groups like Tharu, etc.
  • Due Ethnic structure which represents widespread diversity

What are the issues involved ?

Related to Constitution:

  • Provinces have been carved out keeping political interest and Demarcation does not follow identity basis or geographic basis. The demand was for single identity basis federalism.
  • Interest of Marginalized group have been not promoted
  • Delineation of electoral constituencies in the Terai (where more than 50 per cent of Nepal’s people live) which has not been done on the basis of the population in the plains;
  • Other complaints relate to citizenship norms that disallow children of Nepali mothers married to foreigners from inheriting Nepali citizenship.
  • Women groups are also opposing for representations, citizenship and marriage issues= created categories of citizenship = causing division = restricting empowerment

Related to present situation :-

  • Nepal government is being insensitive towards people and sending worst attitude towards people.
  • Country has been paralyzed by curfew, ongoing violence and people are dying.
  • Mainstream media also opposing the narrow response and attitude of Government
  • Traces of anti-Indianism are being found
  • Trust deficit within regions like Kathmandu and Terai regions, which is dominated by Madhesi group who live in southern plains of Nepal

Impact

  • May distort the India- Nepal relation
  • Desire of China to involve can create complexity.
  • Parties have assured that federal boundaries can be changed later as it has divided Madhesis in 5 provinces and they are protesting against it.