As immunization is the key to economic recovery, it is up to the government to accelerate the vaccination campaign
After a year of depressing economic performance, the Nepalese economy is expected to experience modest growth of 4.1% in 2021-2022, according to the latest update of Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021, a flagship publication of the Asian Bank. of development. While this is an improvement from the dismal 2.3% growth seen in fiscal year 2020-21, the latest update falls short of the 6-7% growth seen before. the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the country, and the world as a whole, since the start of 2020. The multi-month lockdown in 2020 has crippled the Nepalese economy, after crippling all economic activity with all businesses closed and people forced to stay inside. There was not a single sector that was not affected by the rapidly spreading coronavirus, forcing the government to divert all available resources to testing patients for the virus and equipping hospitals and other facilities with health to treat a deluge of sick people.
The somewhat optimistic ADO 2021 update is based on the assumption that the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign will expand. Although Nepal was among the first countries to start vaccinating its citizens in January this year, the campaign failed in the following weeks following India’s ban on vaccine exports. But the vaccination campaign gained momentum again with vaccines coming from different sources – China, Japan, United States
United States, United Kingdom and World Health Organization. Agriculture is also expected to experience robust growth this year, with increased paddy production, thanks to above-normal rainfall this monsoon season.
Likewise, industrial production is expected to increase in a context of increasing exports and domestic demand.
Industries began to open following the lifting of ban orders that were lifted at the end of April, and workers have returned to work. However, how much tourism, which contributed about 7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), will contribute to GDP growth remains unclear. While some adventurous tourists have arrived to hike the hiking trails or climb the Himalayas, it will be some time, perhaps a year or two, before hotels, restaurants, travel and tourism regain their standards. before the pandemic.
ADO’s new projections, however, depend on the country’s ability to keep COVID infections low. Under pressure from business and academia, the government opened up all sectors, with life on the streets seemingly normal. Despite warnings of a third wave of the virus, everyone seems in a festive mood as Dasain approaches in less than a fortnight. As the national immunization plan remains the key to the country’s economic recovery, it is incumbent on the government to step up the campaign to immunize the 21 million targeted people over the age of 14 and even the youngest if schools are to open. without fear. People, for their part, have a duty to respect the health security measures of wearing a mask during outings and maintaining physical distancing, which is not practiced. The last thing we want is an increase in COVID-19 cases and subsequent severe containment measures, such as a lockdown.
Trafficking in women
The trafficking of women to India has not stopped, even during the time of the coronavirus pandemic which forced Nepal and India to close the open border and restrict the movement of people to either side. . According to Maiti Nepal, the Dhangadhi chapter, up to 109 women and girls were prevented at the Trinagar border point from sneaking into India in the previous fiscal year when Nepal and India imposed a lockdown to hold the coronavirus. from a distance.
We learn that unsuspecting girls and women, especially in rural areas, are drawn to their relatives, lovers and acquaintances via social media with promises of good jobs in Indian cities and then forced to indulge. to illegal activities.
It was easy to lure them in with promises of jobs in India when they faced unemployment problem in their country. Security personnel stationed at customs posts should also closely monitor girls and women escorted by relatives and friends while crossing the porous border. Trafficking in women cannot be controlled by just monitoring women at border posts. An awareness campaign should be launched at the village level to combat trafficking in human beings.
A version of this article appears in print, September 24, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.