The importance of economic rights cannot be belittled for on these fundamental rights hinges political freedom or civil freedom. It is universally acknowledged that economic rights are prerequisite for all round human development. The right to personal property is essential for prosperity. Thus, it is a matter of concern that Nepal has been unable to improve its legal structure and property rights. As per this year’s Economic Freedom of the World Report 2012, Nepal’s score has decreased revealing that as far economic freedom is concerned the country is not doing enough. Again, considering that it was because of the weak property rights and legal structure that Nepal did not attract sufficient foreign direct investment, so much has to be done in this regard as it is considered essential for economic progress. We should also consider the fact that property rights are linked with both poverty and prosperity. In the absence or curtailing of property rights, prosperity will prove elusive. Although the government realizes this, it has failed miserably in protecting the property rights.
Thus, the forecasts that Nepal’s score in property rights will plummet further in the next two years has given rise to immense concern for it appears that this government is now against property rights. There can be no second thoughts about the desirability of having economic freedom. Still, the government refuses to acknowledge this. There is economic freedom when individuals can acquire property without using force, fraud or theft and they are protected from physical invasion by others and they have the right to use, exchange or give the property to others without impinging on the identical rights of others. It is the responsibility of the government to provide law and order but in this it has failed miserably. This has an impact on economic freedom for it would not be conducive to the respect of contracts made. The government should be able to fulfill these basic responsibilities.
What more, the government has also been promoting cartelling and syndicates and to make matters worse even the private sector is doing so. The market should be free and this would promote prosperity by the freedom to trade, but this is not being put to practice and, in fact, is being misinterpreted in Nepal. To elaborate further, the market should also play fair for it is realized that freedom alone is not sufficient. To compound the present dismal plight of the Nepalese economy, the private sector does not appear to be competitive. Their anti-competitive behaviour has a telling effect on the market prices. Also exacerbating this trend is the lack of rule of law. Other unfavorable developments are the cartelling of interest rates, with ramifications on economic financing, and little investment in agriculture. Adding to the problem is the shortage of manpower in agriculture and the politicization of the industrial labor unions leading to the reduction of labor productivity. These happen because of the weak regulation in the labour market. Therefore, that the economy is being taken on a more controlled course should be stiffly opposed in the better interest of economic freedom.
Despite the hype over the goal-oriented anti-drunk-driving campaign of the police, the open sale and distribution of liquor both through licensed bars as well unauthorised restaurants are causing problems. Of course, the fear instilled by the police has led to very few taking to driving under the influence of alcohol. All this is fine in the Kathmandu Valley, but the highways throughout the country present a dreary tale. Almost all the shops along the highways sell alcohol of all brands. But, with the government sensing a loss of revenue from the sale of illegally brewed alcohol, seems to be mooting hitting out at the roadside alcohol outlets. If done, this will not only stifle anti-social activities by intoxicated people, but also discourage the vehicle drivers from taking the sips that may spell disaster while driving.
There is no denying that most of the accidents have been found to take place with a drunk driver at the wheels. The easy accessibility of alcohol along the roadside shops has to be blamed in the overall picture. With the ban on the roadside alcohol vendors, and enhanced vigilance of the police, this may help contain the spate of accidents.