Donor agencies play a major role in the development activities. However, the question is whether the aid is reaching those it is purported for. In fact, no one other than the Nepalis know what they need better. So, taking this into consideration, Chief Secretary Lila Mani Poudel must have told the officials at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) not to accept all donor-conceived programmes in the name of development. What we find is that many donors put conditions when providing funds, and they have programmes that are donor-centric rather than recipient-oriented. In fact, there are cases where the donors have been found to be perched on high-handedness to such an extent that they unnecessarily interfere in this country’s affairs. The donors are found to dictate the terms to their liking, and what is disconcerting is that the Nepali officials agree to them although they realize that such projects and the conditions that go with them are not in the interest of the country.
Therefore, there is every need for the Nepali bureaucrats, in particular, to carefully weigh the proposed donor-funded programmes or projects before accepting them. No doubt, there are some donors who are really sincere and their assistance is primarily based upon the needs of this country. As such, the programmes have to be carefully scrutinized as to whether they are suitable for this land and society. But, we find many
programmes do not
follow this line. Many such programmes or projects are not suitable in the first place, and even if they are completed
they do not achieve the objectives being faulty from the start. Such programmes are conceived so that they benefit the donors rather than the targetted people or community. So, the aid comes but it makes no difference to the recipients concerned.
Before accepting the proposals of the donors, the credentials of the donor agencies should be studied carefully. Only those meeting the set strict standards should be allowed to conceive programmes. The Nepalis planners should learn from their past mistakes, that is approving every donor-funded projects. Here, the possibility of graft should also be taken into consideration because observation points to the fact that corruption seems to be rife in many donor-driven development programmes. Nepalis officials are also found to be receiving kickback to approve the donor-conceived programs. Transparency should be maintained for all such projects so that those found engaged in unethical dealings are not allowed to go scot-free. Meanwhile, the MoFALD is normally allocated Rs. 45 billion every year, including Rs. 15 billion that comes from foreign aid. This is a huge amount and the size of the budget and number of projects are increasing in local bodies. Sadly it is found that the quality of governance in this sector is deteriorating. Thus, if we want the country to move in the path of development at an increased pace, it is essential to see that the donor conceived programs are genuine and that they should not be guided wholly by the donors and the Nepali interest is uppermost.
Once there was a great slogan of making Kathmandu “clean, green” which seemed to suggest that the then city fathers had a vision of not letting the city turn into a concrete jungle. However, the passage of time saw the debunking of the grand slogan. It was limited only to rhetoric and nothing beyond it. In fact, the metropolis now symbolises a money churning machine with no thoughts of keeping the greenery intact. Maybe, multi-storied concrete buildings speak of prosperity with no space for greenery. Probably, only Tundikhel is one vast space that exudes greenness most of the year around.
The dull and barren landscape has further made its presence felt with the road widening drive. Besides breaking down the nest of many a people, whatever trees that lined the roads have met an untimely death. The trees along the roads was a sight to be cherished, but now most of the roads have rubble as distraction, with no greenery in sight. One wonders whether this government and the authorities responsible for the wide destruction activity have any trick up their sleeves to have greenery back to dot the city as the road reconstruction continues.