The Terai Lags Behind

English: "Malnourishment in Niger" M...
English: "Malnourishment in Niger" Malnourished children in Niger, during the 2005 famine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Help, not hinder
Almost all statistics including population density, literacy rate, annual income, unemployment, infant mortality rate, malnourished children, wasted status of children (20.4 percent in Tarai vs. 6.9 percent in Hills), anaemic women (42.0 in Tarai vs. 26.9 in Hills), families without toilet (51.2 in Tarai vs. 24.8 in Hills), Human Development Indicator, Human Poverty Index and Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) demonstrate much worse condition in Tarai compared to Hills. Despite this, only a small fraction of foreign aids and grants is allocated for Tarai. 51 percent of Nepal’s population lives in this region and carries the same proportion of burden of the loans by the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and other donor agencies. Moreover, international agencies fare much worse than Nepal government’s structures in regards to the inclusion of Madheshis. According to the UNDP data published in 2001 about the manpower involved in 30 major multilateral agencies and 61 projects, they had only 5.2 percent of Madheshis. Foreign tourists, volunteers and journalists often flock to Nepal with their backpacks, full of stereotypes. Their Nepal revolves around mountains, monks and medieval temples. They crave for virgin goddess and yetis, for trekking on trails and resting in resorts. Madhesh is no Nepal-like for them. They are not ready to buy tickets to Nepal and then end up in a place that looks much like India, as a European friend of mine remarked after looking at the landscape and people of Tarai. “If I have to see this and spend time with these types of people, I’ll go to India. Why bother about Nepal?”
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