SOCIETY and PEOPLE of Nepal
Religion is important in Nepal. Before Nepal became a secular republic in May 2008, Nepal was unique as the one and only official Hindu state in the world with just over 81 percent of its population is Hindu, 9 percent Buddhist and 4.4 percent Muslim. Buddhist and Hindu shrines and festivals are respected and celebrated by members of both of these faiths. Nepali is the official language of Nepal but many government officials also speak English. The 2011 census reported 126 caste/ethnic groups living in Nepal. Nepal is a multilingual, multicultural and multiethnic country.
There are 126 caste/ethnic groups reported in the census 2011. Chhetri isthe largest caste/ethnic groups having 16.6% (4,398,053) of the total population followedby Brahman-Hill (12.2% ; 3,226,903), Magar (7.1% ; 1,887,733), Tharu (6.6% ; 1,737,470),Tamang (5.8% ; 1,539,830), Newar (5% ; 1,321,933), Kami (4.8% ; 1,258,554), Musalman (4.4% ; 1,164,255), Yadav (4% ; 1,054,458) and Rai (2.3% ; 620,004). There are total 123 languages spoken as mother tongue which was reported in census 2011. Nepali is most spoken as mother tongue by 44.6 percent (11,826,953) of the total population and followed by Maithili (11.7% equivalent to 3,092,530 people), similarly, Bhojpuri (5.98%; 1,584,958), Tharu (5.77%; 1,529,875), Tamang (5.11%; 1,353,311), Newar (3.2%; 846,557), Bajjika (2.99%; 793,418), Magar (2.98%; 788,530), Doteli (2.97%; 787,827), Urdu (2.61%; 691,546). There are ten types of religion categories reported in the census. Hindu is followed by 81.3 percent (21,551,492) of the population followed by Buddhism (9%; 2,396,099), Islam (4.4%; 1,162,370), ,Kirat (3.1%; 807,169), Christianity (1.4%; 375,699), Prakriti (0.5%; 121,982), Bon (13,006), Jainism (3,214), Bahai (1,283) and Sikhism (609).
Nepal’s population has continuously increased over time. It is estimated to be 26.9 million in 2008. It was ranked 40th position in the world in 2008. There is a regular census in Nepal in every ten years and the last census was conducted in 2011. According to that census, the population of Nepal as of the census day (June 22, 2011) stands at 26,494,504 showing population growth rate of 1.35 per annum.
Similarly, a total number of households in Nepal is 5,427,302 with 5,423,297 counts of individual households with 4,005 institutional households which were used as Hostels, Barracks, Monasteries etc. Not least but more, One in every four households that is 25.42% equivalent to 1.38 million households are reported that at least one member of their family is absent or is living abroad. And a total number of absent population is found to be 1,921,494 against 0 .76 million in 2001 due to the death, migration to the abroad or been status unknown due to the internal conflict between Maoist and the government. Among them, the highest proportion equivalent to 44.81 % of absent population were from the age group 15 to 24 years which is due to their movement to the abroad.
Arghakhanchi, Gulmi, and Pyuthan districts were reported as the highest proportion of the people in their population being absent as staying abroad. The increment of population within the last decade was recorded as 3,343,081 with the annual average growth rate of 1.35 % which is less then that of the census of 2001 and this change is unlike the last decade which was in increasing index but due to the successful movement of the government about the population education and most of the population were absent and hence there decrease the population growth rate.
Looking the geographically southernmost part of Nepal, Terai had 50.27 percent equivalent to 13,318,705 of the total population while Hill and Mountain had 43 percent which is equivalent to 11,394,007 and 6.73 percent equivalent to 1,781,792 of the total population respectively. And looking on the basis of the development region, among the five development regions, Central development region was recorded to have the highest population of 36.45 percent of total population and that of far western region belongs the lowest that is 9.63 percent of the total population.
Sex ratio which is the index that provides the number of males per 100 females to the national level has decreased to 91.6 in 2011 from 99.8 in 2001 and the reason is sure that more of the household economic responsibility belongs to the male member and male has to move out or abroad from the house to earn for livelihood. And hence in abstract number, there was 796,422 more female than males population in the country. Sex ratio was recorded highest (127) in Manang district and lowest record (76) in Gulmi district.
Similarly, life standard of the women has been improved from last time. Female-headed households in the country have increased by about 11 point percent from 14.87% in 2001 to 25.73% in 2011. Average household size at the national level has decreased from 5.44 in 2001 to 4.88 in the current census 2011. The household size is recorded highest (6.44) in Rautahat district and lowest (3.92) in Kaski. The fastest population growth rate over the decade was found in Kathmandu district of 61.23 percent which is also the capital city of Nepal, and least in Manang ( -31.80 percent ). Altogether 27 districts including Manang, Khotang, Mustang, Terhathum, Bhojpur recorded negative population growth rate during the last decade. This is due to the trend of people migrating toward the developed and administrative center.
In that census, it shows that the working age population (aged 15 to 59 years) has increased from 53 percent (12,310,968) in 2001 to about 57 Percent (15,091,848) in 2011 showing the population structure is shifting for enjoying demographic dividend in the country. Talking about the literacy rate, overall literacy rate (for population aged 5 years and above) has increased from 54.1 percent in 2001 to 65.9 percent in 2011. The male literacy rate is 75.1% compared to a female literacy rate of 57.4%. The highest literacy rate is reported in Kathmandu district (86.3 %) and lowest in Humla (47.8%). These are the census aspect of the people of Nepal. But talking about the living standard of the Nepalese, they are increasing rapidly in the urban area band in average pace in remote area.
ECONOMY of Nepal
According to the constitution of Nepal, the government has their fundamental economic responsibility in order to create the independent and self-dependent economy through even distribution of economic gains, preventing the economic exploitation, as well the development of quality of private and public enterprise. Prior to 2010, the economy, like the country, was essentially closed to the world, and international economic relations were largely in the form of cross-border trade with India and China but in this year Nepal is supplying their goods from the third country as well but still have to respond to a neighboring country for transportation.
Since 1990, the government has adopted market-oriented policies with priority and with greater flexibility on the domestic economy and trade. The economy of Nepal is still characterized by center oriented planning. However, the government is the main source for domestic investment, and the brief on five-year plans usually direct such investment.
Now looking to the Budget of the Nepal the total expenditure outlay for Financial Year 2017 is NRs1048 billion (an estimated 39.5% of GDP), which is 28.1% higher than the budget estimate for FY2016 (Table 2). The FY2017 outlay comprises NRs617.2 billion for recurrent expenditures (58.8% of the total outlay), NRs311.9 billion for capital expenditures (29.7%), and NRs119.8 billion for financial provision (11.4%). The substantially larger size of the budget is due to the large increase in recurrent and capital spending. The outlay for recurrent expenditure (equivalent to 23.3% of GDP) is 42.2% higher than the revised estimated expenditure in FY2016. The planned capital spending has been increased by 96.1% over the FY2016 revised estimate (equivalent to 11.8% of GDP).
A total revenue target of NRs682.8 billion (25.7% of GDP) has been set for FY2017, including projected foreign grants of NRs106.9 billion (4.0% of GDP) and principal repayment of NRs10 billion. The budget deficit is to be financed by foreign loans amounting to NRs195.7 billion, domestic borrowing of NRs111.0 billion, and the FY2016 cash balance of NRs59.4 billion. Net foreign loans and net domestic borrowings are projected to be 6.4% and 3.5% of GDP, respectively. About Rs141 billion has been allocated for post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation in FY2017.
Overview of Transportation:
Nepal’s transportation state is usually regarded as poor and obstacle for Nepal’s economic development. The mountainous and hilly area physically undergo the construction of the transportation network in order to expand the transportation infrastructure, but they remain unimproved and hence natural calamities destroy such trails and road. Most of the developed transportation infrastructure are concentrated mainly in the central and eastern parts of.
Mechanically old and unimproved transportation is common in both urban and rural areas, and mechanically advanced local transportation are only common in the Kathmandu Valley and somehow in Pokhara. The major modes of transportation of Nepal are air and road. Railroads are not in developed phase and that which exist are also in a phase of decline in quality and quantity. The Department of Transport Management oversees transportation issues, and its fiscal year (FY) 2017investment on transportation from the private and governmental sector is about 17.6 billion Nepali rupees.
Roads in Nepal:
Roads of Nepal is the principal transportation mode. From 1951 to 2005, total road length increased from 376 kilometers over 80,000 kilometers. This total road length also includes 3,028.7 kilometers that belong to national highways. Roads are mostly concentrated in the central and eastern development regions, and the government is under high pressure to expand the road network as well preserve and improve roads condition. Government allocations of the budget for roads have increased, but their construction and maintenance costs are usually high because of the mountainous topography, monsoon rains, and occasional landslides. According to Department of Transportation Ministry, the total of 1.99 million (1,995,404) vehicles was registered in the past fiscal year 2016-17
Railroads in Nepal:
Nepal’s railroad system is poor, outdated, as well is in declining use and quality. One and only Janakpur to Jaynagar rail service include two rail lines that link along the railheads of India. The rail distance of 32-kilometer section runs between Jaynagar of India to Janakpur of Nepal, and a 21-kilometer portion goes from Janakpur to Bijalpura. The planning of Birganj dry port with the railway service for freight was planned and The Birganj dry port was already completed in 2000 but only that could become operational only after 2005 due to the lack of an operating agreement between India and Nepal.
The Janakpur railroad has lost budget and money for years because of low fares, overstaffing, and political interference, as well the government is expressing their interest in privatizing the Nepal Railway Corporation. The government had signed an agreement in 2004 with the Container Corporation of India to develop container service between Birganjfor freight with various other Indian cities, including Kolkata. A narrow gauge 53 Km rail line was constructed by the East India Company for the purpose of carrying goods to India, especially for the transportation of wood from Nepalese forest in 1937(Bhattrai and Sitaula, 2011). Since then Nepal has not constructed any other railway line. However, in the first 5-year plan (1956-61) an extension of railway line up to Hetauda, nearest southern city of Kathmandu, was proposed but never materialized. In the sixth, 5-year plan (1980-85) development of railway was completely rejected, because, policy declared the mobility situation was not suitable for the railway.
In recent years, the nationwide electric railway has been given a priority. The government of Nepal has been preparing detailed project report (DPR) for the various section based on feasibility study report (GON, 2010). From the fiscal year 2014/15, a section of the construction project has been started. However, the feasibility study fails to consider the recent technological development in rail transport. One of the most serious concerns of the feasibility study is the recommended gradient. The suggested gradient is only 1%, whereas, with the Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) technology, railway track can be constructed up to 4% of the gradient. With the provision of such 1% gradient, connecting Kathmandu, the capital city of Terai will be made a 255 km additional detour route.
Another major drawback of this study is the track gauge. A broad gauge track had been suggested without doing any research. But many of the countries have been adopting a standard gauge. It seems that suggestion on the feasibility study and DPR is questionable. Without addressing those consequences, starting a construction of railway project raises serious concern about the right allocation of resources and sustainability of the transport project.
Civil Aviation and Airports in Nepal:
All the airports of the country are supposed to be operating under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), but only five of total 48 airports was ready for an airplane to take-off or land under Instrumental Flight Rules (IFR). In a country like Nepal, according to its landscape and associated meteorology, this rules can be implemented in terms of real operational time whereas most of Nepali airports have frequently seasonal problems associated with wind, clouds, rain, and mist which force the airport to delay for some hours or, even some days. Excluding, from these daily problems in the airport, some airports of Nepal remain close during the complete and after monsoon season. Hence, they are said to be seasonal, and the number of such type of airport is 20.
From the report of AIP, 29 of the total airports are considered as STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) ones, which means, airports are in which the short runway length, elevation hinderance, location or obstacles in the departure or landing path make the difficult situation for the construction of a conventional airport. In most of the case, Nepal airports are STOL because they are located in the valley that is between high hills or even the mountains, and hence their runway is too short, as well their runway slope somewhere is too high and hence they need complicated procedures in order to operate at.
Only 14 of the total number of airports in the country have a paved runway, in present status while another 22 of them have grass surface and the remaining two are made of clay material.
In accordance to report of AIP, only 9 of the total 48 airports have Air Traffic Control, and most of them are equipped with Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) of VHF Frequency. Eight of them are not equipped with any of these services and six of them are unmanned. With regard to their profits, none of the airports in the country are profitable, but some of them should be maintained since they act as a social means of transport and provide the resource to the community. The government also had classified 14 airports as social as well trying to provide some aids for private airlines and encourage them to provide their service in these routes, so that people living in those areas would not be completely isolated.
These social airports are the following ones: Bajhang, Bajura, Phaplu, Salley, Simikot, Jumla, Lamidanda, Manang, Rumjatar, Bhojpur, Chaurijhari, Dolpa, Thamkharka, and Tumlingtar. They are usually get served from the Regional Airport, but nowadays some of these routes are diverting or even disappearing along with the construction of new roads to that area. Rest of the airports in the country are most belong to tourism important ones, as well they mainly profitable like Pokhara, Syangboche, Phaplu, Taplejung, Lukla, Manang, Jomson, Meghauli, Dolpa, and Rara. Biratnagar Airport is the most profitable ones.In fact, this airport is the third Nepali biggest airport in terms of its passengers as Biratnagar is the largest business city in the country.
In previous sections, it has been already mentioned that Tribhuvan International Airport is the unique and meet standard requirement of the international airport and is only one airport in Nepal with international routes, but CAANis thinking of opening some others airports in major places to manage the international traffic. These plans are now directed to Bhairahawa and Pokhara and are under construction, but right now it will be for near regional destinations as per the lateral agreements with India which explain that flights to or from there will be treated like regional ones.
Pokhara is now processing on terminal building and it is also expected to link the city with Lucknow (India) in winter 2017-2018, and the Gautam Buddha Airport which is being used as a pilgrim airport for pilgrimage which is coming mainly from India to visit Lumbini, which is famous as Lord Buddha’s birthplace. Although Pokhara Airport is being redesigned, there is an undergoing project of a new airport in the city with the international meet of the infrastructure which can be the international airport in the near future, to substitute the first one. It will be also analyzed with the available source and information, however, it will need some years in order to start operation.
Apart from these plans of opening alternative international operation to those existing airports, Government of Nepal has decided to build another international airport some years ago in Kathmandu. This SIA (Second International Airport), for the moment it is only an assumed project, but in case if it was built, it would affect considerably increase the air traffic and disturbance to the airport’s network organization.
Ports in Nepal:
Nepal is a landlocked country with two large and economically strong nation. Nepal has poor and weak waterway transportation and as well there are no any waterway ports. However, the country has inbuilt two inland container depots right atSirsiya and Birganj, which help to service cargo to and from seaports of India. Both of those ports have experienced periods of nonuse because of problems such as customs disputes with India. There also have been proposals to use Janakpur as a dry port.
Pipelines in Nepal:
Nepal has no any pipelines yet. However, the Nepal Oil Corporation had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Oil Corporation to build a 35-kilometer, pipeline from Raxaul (India) to Amalekhganj (Nepal) with an annual capacity of 1.1 million tons for transport of petroleum, diesel, and kerosene September 9, 2004. But due to the conflict and political disputes that project get vanished.