History And Political Structure
Nepal enjoys the distinction of having always been an independent country, it has never colonized. Nepal has its long ancient and medieval history various dynasties namely Gupta (4th Century), Lichhavis (5th Century), and Malla (13th Century ruled over the long period of history, the modern history dates back from the second half of the 18th century. Prithivi Narayan Shah, king of Gorkha State, resumed unification movement to consolidate a strong nation by merging various small states. Since that time Kathmandu has been the capital of the country and ruled by Shah Dynesty. Jung Bahadur Rana declared himself Prime minister of Nepal and started autocratic Rana Regime after the Kot Parba1846 (a massacre) leaving monarchy with only nominal power and Nepal was ruled by the Rana Families by isolating the country by the rest of the world for 104 years. Popular movement of 1950 overthrew the Rana regime and Nepal entered multiparty democratic system and first democratic election held in 1959 for parliament and a democratic government formed as per the constitution, however, it lasted for short period. In 1960 King Mahendra declared democracy a failure and dismissed the elected government and issued new autocratic constitution. King Mahendra imposed autocratic Panchayat System and banned on running political parties.
Another popular movement 1990 leaded by major political parties Nepali Congress and Bam Morcha multiparty democratic system and issued a new constitution ensuring the sovereignty of the people, constitutional monarchy and multi-party elections held in 1991 to elect a truly democratic government under a constitutional monarchy. Under this system Nepal faced political instability by the frequent change of government, at the mean time Maoist insurgency started which destroyed Nepal’s overall internal security system. After the Royal massacre Gyanendra Shah became the King and he started to rule country autocratically avoiding the political parties, which created unified revolution by the CPN Maoist and other leading parties in 2006. The success of popular movement of April 2006 brought the decade-long insurgency to an end. After election of the new constitutional assembly, the first meeting of the Constitutional Assembly historically declared Nepal as Federal Democratic Republic in May 28, 2008. The process of making new constitution under federal republic political system is going on and so Nepal is now in political transitional phase.
Constitutionally Nepalese foreign policy is guided by “the principles of the United Nations Charter, nonalignment, Panchasheel (five principles of peaceful coexistence), international law and the value of world peace.” The fundamental objective of the foreign policy is to enhance the dignity of Nepal in the international arena by maintaining the sovereignty, integrity and independence of the country. Before 1951, Nepal’s foreign relation was limited with four countries; namely – India, United Kingdom, USA and France. After membership of the United Nations in 1955, extension of diplomatic relations with various countries of the world increased considerably, with the diplomatic relationship to 118 countries around the world up to 2010. Membership and active participation on regional and international forums and organizations such as SAARC, BIMSTEC, WTO, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and UN Agencies is making Nepalese foreign relation effective and broad.
The rate of unemployment and underemployment approaches half of the working-age population. The unemployment rate was estimated at 42% in 2004 what means that 30,9% of population is leaving below poverty line. Thus many Nepali citizens move to India in search of work; the Gulf countries and Malaysia being new sources of work. Nepal receives US$50 million a year through the Gurkha soldiers who serve in the Indian and British armies and are highly esteemed for their skill and bravery. The total remittance value is worth around 1 billion USD, including money sent from Persian Gulf and Malaysia, who combined employ around 700,000 Nepali citizens. A long-standing economic agreement underpins a close relationship with India. The country receives foreign aid from India, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union, China, Switzerland, and Scandinavian countries. Poverty is acute; per-capita income is less than US$ 300. The distribution of wealth among the Nepalis is consistent with that in many developed and developing countries: the highest 10% of households control 39.1% of the national wealth and the lowest 10% control only 2.6%. As estimated in 2006 the labour force was about 11.11 billion of economically active population of working age. 76 % of them were engaged in agricultural activities, 18 % in services and 6 % in industry (CIA-The world factbook, 2008).
Nepal remains isolated from the world’s major land, air and sea transport routes although, within the country, aviation is in a better state, with 47 airports, ten of them with paved runways (CIA-The world factbook, 2008). Flights are frequent and support a sizeable traffic. Hilly and mountainous terrain in the northern two-thirds of the country has made the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. There were 9.886 km of paved roads and one 59 km railway line in the south in 2007 (CIA-The world factbook, 2008). There is only one reliable road route from India to the Kathmandu Valley. The only practical seaport of entry for goods bound for Kathmandu is Kolkata in India. Internally, the poor state of development of the road system (22 of 75 administrative districts lack road links) makes volume distribution unrealistic. Not only its landlocked location and technological limitations but also the long-running civil war has prevented Nepal from fully developing its economy.
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