Tourism has also have been badly hit by the pandemic, and may take years to recover. The coalition’s election-era goal of 5 million tourists in 10 years was questionable given the lack of proper marketing and infrastructure improvements, now it looks even more unrealistic.
The government promised to allocate 20% of the budget for education, but this fiscal year saw only 11.68% used. Illiteracy persists, and only 58% of the population above 15 were considered literate in 2018.
Government debt has been steadily increasing and is expected to rise further with the pandemic as it lowers internal revenue generation. A full 20% of this fiscal year’s budget is made up of foreign loans, while Rs10% is in foreign aid and grants.
There are some bright spots. Two million people have signed up for a compulsory health insurance program since the government came into power. Its social security package is on course to meet the goal of Rs5,000 per person, currently standing at Rs 3,000 per person.
However, a slew of projects remain stuck — fertiliser factories, independence in perishable goods and health, residential and employment facilities at the local level.
Experts cite a moral failure on part of the government to provide citizens with the most basic facilities such as healthcare, education and security. Despite being a fundamental obligation of a government to its people, the Oli administration has been tied up with inter-party infighting and failed to deliver on its most basic promises.
Financial expert Keshav Acharya says people will be ready to form their own judgement on the performance of the government in the next election in 2022. That seems to be the only hope – vote those who do not perform out of office.
“Young voters are fully aware of the social and political situation and can make their own informed decisions,” Acharya says. “Mere promises and big speeches will no longer be enough to win their votes.”