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‘I have a dream that my four little children will one daylive in a nation where they will not be judged by thecolour of th...
AbstractIn context of Nepal, social development is not found equal in all corner of the nation.Discrimination exists in th...
Promoting Inclusion: Combating Exclusion         Inclusion Strategies from human development perspective for Madheshis in ...
of NHDR 2009, IPRI 2008……………………… Basically people speaking Maithaili,Bhojpuri, Abadhai, Muslim, are considered as Madhesi....
have the least HDI in the country i.e.0.383.The above data also indicates thatdiscrimination in education and employment o...
give positive results. Integration, partnership, participation and spatial approaches are thecornerstone on which most pro...
literacy. There is, however, substantial difference in the literacy level between hill Dalits(45.50%) and Terai Dalits (27...
B             Non-enslavable              Magar and Gurung (associated with              (Alcohol Drinkers )         Gorkh...
brought under the umbrella of the Social Exclusion Unit with the aim of combatingexclusion in any form including labor, he...
Development Index, Source: Sharma and Shah 2002- New ERA, ICIMOD 1997)indicates that the Terai districts having higher pro...
to local circumstances and create an institutionalized system of consultation with andparticipation of Madheshis in order ...
In continuation, the structural discrimination, manifested in low levels of politicalrepresentation, lack of access to edu...
The significant role transnational networks can play in combating exclusion can not beoverlooked. International agencies c...
Reference:   Bennett, L 2005. Gender, Caste and Ethnic Exclusion in Nepal: Following the Policy      Process from Analysis...
Experiences of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples. Minority Rights Group       International, UK.   Nepal Human Development...
‘The strong and the gifted have special responsibilities to thosewho are not so blessed, and we all have responsibilities ...
- John F. Kennedy
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Social exclusion in madhes_Mukesh_Mishra

  1. 1. ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one daylive in a nation where they will not be judged by thecolour of their skin, but by the content of theircharacter.’ - Rev. Dr Martin Luther King
  2. 2. AbstractIn context of Nepal, social development is not found equal in all corner of the nation.Discrimination exists in this matter. It persists loud among Madheshis, Women, Dalitsand Janjatis, who have been the victims of the State’s policies and practices until now. Itis about time for a constitution that manifests in social change. This study is carried outbased on secondary data, following descriptive research methodology. The study showsthat Madheshis are kept behind the main stream of development. They are made socially,economically and politically backward due to government’s discriminating attitude. Thusthe level of social exclusion is extremely high among Madheshi communities. Thisresearch basically focuses on inclusive development strategies for marginalizedcommunities particularly Madheshis. The paper aims to focus that the underlying goal ofthe new constitution should be the strategic transformation of the Nepalese society forthe eradication of exclusion and a respectable space for everyone, including theMadheshis,. The Madheshis, constitute more than a third of Nepal’s population ,in spitethat their issue has remained on the back burner so far, it is essential to create aplatform for them to be socially, politically, and economically inclusive in the nationalmainstream, including governance, decision making and policy planning.
  3. 3. Promoting Inclusion: Combating Exclusion Inclusion Strategies from human development perspective for Madheshis in Nepal By Mukesh Kumar Mishra CDPS, T.U, NepalA. BackgroundOne of the most fundamental human rights recognized in international law, as well as inmany of the national constitutions is the right to non-discrimination on the basis ofnational or ethnic origin, religion, race, caste, color, descent, tribe or ideologicalconviction or any other ground. In spite, discrimination persists. In Nepal, it persists loudamong Madheshis*, Women, Dalits and Janjatis, who have been the victims of the State’spolicies and practices until now. It is about time for a constitution that manifests in socialchange.The origin of the word ‘Madhes’ is contested, but believed to originate from ‘Madhya-desh’, a geographic marker distinguishing the plains from the hilly region (or Parbat,from which is derived Pahadi, meaning hill-dweller) of modern Nepal. A Madhesi,therefore, originally meant only an inhabitant of this region.( David Gellner, 2008). Theword Terai is of relatively recent origin and is used interchangeably for Madhesh whichis derived from the sanskirt word Madhyadesh meaning the land between the foot hillsof Himalayan mountain in the North and the Vindhya mountain on the South. Peopleliving in this region have been called Madheshee or Madheshiyas. Manu, the law makerof the Hindus, also mentioned the term Madhyadesh. Furthermore, the word Madhesh isalso found in Buddhist Pali literature e.g. the Vinayapitaka.The country is passing through the period of new constitution formulation. Theunderlying goal of the new constitution should be the strategic transformation of theNepalese society for the eradication of exclusion and a respectable space for everyone,including the Madheshis, which this paper aims to focus. The Madheshis, who constitutemore than one third of Nepal’s population, and the issue that has remained on the backburner so far, needs eyes and ears instantaneously to have them socially, politically, andeconomically inclusive in the national mainstream, including governance, decisionmaking and policy planning.A sense of belonging comes from civic, economic, social and interpersonal integrationinto a society, which is promoted by democratic and legal system, the labor market, thewelfare state system, and the family and community system consecutively. Hence, socialexclusion can be defined in terms of the failure of one or more of the four systems (Shucksmith and Philip 2000). Exclusion is also defined as a cumulative and multi-dimensionalprocess which, through successive ruptures, distances individuals, groups, communitiesand territories from the centers of power and prevailing resources and values, graduallyplacing them in an inferior position (ILO/Estivill 2003).* Madheshi” is one of the most controversial and mooted terminology in Nepal. It isneither defined by the government nor legitimated by any official research. It is onlyrecently that the term has been used in legal documents and has also used in documents
  4. 4. of NHDR 2009, IPRI 2008……………………… Basically people speaking Maithaili,Bhojpuri, Abadhai, Muslim, are considered as Madhesi. In a socially inclusive state therefore, the individual’s identity as a citizen trumps allother identities (e.g. gender, ethnicity, caste or religion) as a basis for claims for stateservices and commitments (e.g. justice, social service provision, investment in publicinfrastructure, police protection) through the constitution and legal system (Bennett, L2005).Exclusion has multi-dimensional causes and consequences, affecting individuals, familiesand the society as a whole. Exclusion includes poverty and low income, unemploymentand poor skills, discrimination and barring from social and support services such ashealth, drinking water and basic infrastructure. The problems create a vicious cyclebetween social and economic exclusion, a process with consequences stretching acrossgenerations. The following table describes the various dimensions of social exclusion,and illustrates the inter-relatedness between social and economic exclusion. For instance,a minority or ethnic group may not be suffering from material deprivation, but they maynot be able to gain access to adequate employment due to poor education or poor health(Justino and Litchfield 2003). It thus follows that in order to comprehend the factorsinfluencing the economic exclusion of Madheshis who share 32% of the country’s totalhuman resource, it may be necessary to pore over the various dimensions of socialexclusion, and vice-versa.Recently published Nepal Human Development Report 2009 indicates that the HDI ofNepal in 2006 was 0.509. Likewise, the HDI for all Hill/Mountain groups was 0.531where as it was just 0.448 for all Terai/Madhesi groups. Among them also Madhesi Dalits
  5. 5. have the least HDI in the country i.e.0.383.The above data also indicates thatdiscrimination in education and employment opportunities, in gaining access to the statedeveloped community infrastructure and facilities, in gaining admittance in military etcprevails in Nepal which has kept Madhesis excluded from the national mainstream. Theyare neither in the development agenda of the country, nor are they fairly represented inpolitics or decision-making process. It may not be unreasonable to say that the virtue ofbeing born a Madheshi makes them the object of social, economic and politicalexclusion. International evidence too illustrate that welfare and socio-economic status canhave an ethnic dimension, such as the disparities in welfare between blacks, whites andnative Americans in the United States, the conditions of indigenous people in LatinAmerica, or the status of ethnic minorities in other parts of the world ( Ringold, Orensteinand Wilkens 2003).Better late than never however, the government overwhelmingly identified socialexclusion as a development problem and realized the importance of social inclusion forpoverty alleviation in its Tenth Plan, reflected in the PRSP (Poverty Reduction StrategyPaper/ Tenth Plan 2002-2007), the most serious and comprehensive governmentstatement about inclusion to date. Nonetheless, even with the recognition that the lack ofvoice, political representation and empowerment are the important dimensions ofpoverty, there seems a lack of conceptual clarity, for the reason that the indigenouspeople has been lumped together with Dalit, women and other disadvantaged groups, andsecondly, it nowhere specifically mentions whether Madheshis come under its‘disadvantaged groups’ or whether they are its subject of inclusion. Despite rhetoric of anintegrated approach to poverty alleviation, the legacies of the past still overrule, and thedevelopment planners, political leaders and bureaucrats continue to espouse sectoralapproach.The new constitution should stand as a basic landmark in establishing fundamental andsocial rights for all by focusing on values of adhesion, pluralism, non-discrimination,tolerance, fairness, solidarity and equality as guiding principles. There are Nepalesearound the globe keeping abreast about the developments in the country, hoping thetransition will institutionalize equality and justice and freedom for all, the foundationsupon which democracy stands.B. ObjectivesThe major objectives of the study are • To identify the magnitude of social exclusion among Madheshis. • To find out the major causes of social exclusion in Madheshi community. • To develop strategies for combating such social exclusion among Madheshi people.B. Manifestation and Strategies for combating ExclusionEven though there is no single universally accepted strategy or methodology foraddressing exclusion, it is possible to identify a number of strategic approaches which
  6. 6. give positive results. Integration, partnership, participation and spatial approaches are thecornerstone on which most programs aimed at combating exclusion are based. Theprinciple of integration aims at multi-dimensional action program (on various dimensionsof exclusion such as inadequate income, poor health, low levels of schooling, precariousjobs, absence of rights, human poverty, women empowerment, etc), in stead of havingcompartmentalized policies for each of them. Partnership calls for mobilizing a coalitionof interests and the commitment of a range of partners (including the actors at theeconomic, social and political levels) without whose collaboration it is difficult toachieve any substantive progress. Participation is a means of involving people in all thesectors (covering economic, social, political and cultural dimensions) because ofcorrespondences between them. The important aspect of participation is the activeinvolvement of people in all its levels, including information, organization, consultationand decision-making stages. Lastly, the spatial approach calls for the need to create localunits for the identification of the characteristic structures, mechanisms and processes ofexclusion so as to carry out spatially significant analysis and intervention (Estivill, 2003).Following this theoretical backdrop, the interventions aimed at combating exclusion ofMadheshis in Nepal should maintain consistency with the strategic approaches describedabove. An attempt has been made in this section to briefly touch upon the manifestationand strategies for combating social, economic and political exclusion of Madheshis.a) Social ExclusionMadheshis have been socially, economically, politically, culturally and linguisticallydiscriminated against for centuries. It is such a disgrace to realize that Madhesh and theMadheshis practically do not exist in the consciousness of national or transnationalcommunity because Madheshis are still dealing with scores of basic development issuessuch as land, languages, identity, citizenship certificates, and discrimination in health,education, employment and so on. And, this is, in spite of the fact that Nepal is party tomore than 16 international instruments on human rights.i. Exclusion in EducationLow education attainment is an important aspect of social exclusion, as well as one of thecontributing factors for economic exclusion. It gives a bad taste in mouth to state that thepeople of Terai are educationally disadvantaged, Dalits and women among them beingfurther deprived. About 90 percent of the Terai districts (where 95.5 percent of the totalMadheshi people live) have a large number of educationally deprived populationscompared to only about 13 percent in hills and mountains. In addition, 50 percent of theTerai districts have ‘worst ranking’ for child literacy rates compared to 29 percent in hillsand mountain districts (Shah, 2006).The recent publication of Nepal HumanDevelopment Report 2009 reveal that the literacy rate of Dalit Madhesi is 27.32% , theeducation attainment is 0.209 and the mean year of schooling is just 1.21 years which isthe least amongst all castes and ethnicity. A discrepancy in educated manpower byethnicity/caste has led or the entrenchment of privileged groups in bureaucracy andauthority. The literacy level of the Madhesis in Terai (including inner Terai) is only 38.4per cent as compared to 65.6 per cent for the Pahadi (including Himali) groups . TheDalits are the most deprived group of population in Nepal, with only 38.02 per cent
  7. 7. literacy. There is, however, substantial difference in the literacy level between hill Dalits(45.50%) and Terai Dalits (27.32%) which indicates that Terai Dalits are on the lowestrung of socio-economic development ladder( NHDR, 2009).Table 2: Lowest Literacy Rate of Ten Ethnic/Caste Groups, 2001 census Ethnic/Caste Groups Literacy Rate in (%) Mushahar 7.28 Dom 9.39 Patharkata/Kushwadia 13.22 Binga/Binda 14.80 Kamar 15.15 Chamar/Harijan/Ram 19.24 Dushad/Pasi/Paswan 19.59 Dhuniya 21.86 Tatma 23.12 Nuniya 23.20Source: CBS, 2003All ten castes and ethnic groups which are extremely deprived of education attainmentbelongs to Madheshi community. The most underprivileged group among them areMushahar, followed by Dom both have literacy rate below 10 %. Rest of the castes e.gPatharkata/Kushwadia (Jananjati) and Bing/Binda (Hindu group, water acceptablecommunity of the Madhes), Chamar, Dhuniya , etc also have miserable educationalstatus. The disgraceful data on the educational attainment of the Madheshi Dalits inparticular, and/or Madheshis as a whole, echoes with discrimination and exclusion.Madhesi people particularly, Madheshi Dalits thus not only live in absolute poverty andilliteracy, but they are further ostracized from the society because of discrimination byother Dalits (e.g. the Pahadi Dalits discriminate against Madheshi Dalits), let alone thehigher class.ii. Exclusion in terms of Caste/EthnicityThe Muluki Ain (1854) formulated on the basis of Hindu orthodoxy was endorsed bystate counselors who were mostly Parbate high castes. The caste hierarchy and internalstatus ranking was influenced by political consideration. Madhesis were given no spacein the hierarchy of caste system. It seems quite disgusting that Madhesis who are livingin country since historical period had no place in Muluki Ain .The Tarai castes were notincluded in the states hierarchical list as they were politically peripheral. Thus, themodeling of caste status of the Muluki Ain was based on religious, political andgeographical considerations with hill high caste supremacy as the guiding principleTable 3: Caste Category of Muluki AinHierarchy Category Social GroupA Wearers of Holy Cord Parbate upper castes. Newar Brahman, Indian Brahman. Newar upper caste
  8. 8. B Non-enslavable Magar and Gurung (associated with (Alcohol Drinkers ) Gorkhali army) Sunuwar (Hinduised), Newar (non-Hindu)C Enslavable Bhote (Buddhist), chepang, Kumal and ( Alcohol Drinkers) Hayu (ethnic minorities) Tharu (Terai ethnic), Gharti (progency of freed slaves)D Impure but touchable Lower caste, Newar, Muslim, ChristianE Impure and untouchabe Parbate artisan, castes, Newar scavenger castesSource: [Muluki Ain 1854] Gurung, Harka, 2006The impact of such cast category has still adversely affected the life of Madhesis sincemany Parbate fail to identify the cast category of Madhesis people in Nepal. Thus,Madhesis are under privileged in terms of their caste/ ethnicity and language. Recentlyslight progree has been seen to address the caste category issue of Madhes by governmentbut that is still not up to the mark.iii. Exclusion in Language:‘Until 1958, Madhesis as well as Indians were forced to have a passport to enterKathmandu. Passports used to be checked at Chisapani Garhi on the route to Kathmandu.Before 1951, one’s nationality appears to have been determined primarily on linguisticbasis. Nepalese subjects were the “hill folks” who spoke Nepali or hill languages such asNewari, Magar and Gurung etc. For this reason passports were not required for peopletraveling to Kathmandu valley from the eastern or westerns hills.’ (Gaige: 88). Thus, inearly 1950s language was the major factor for separating as well as discriminatingMadheshi as outsider. This mindset continues until now. Many Madhesis are stilldiscriminated on the basis of their language in their working place, public places ,etc inMountain and Hilly areas. Non Madhesis look them with wicked eyes and behave as ifthey are not Nepali but are Indians. One of the major reasons for backwardness in allsocial aspects for Madhesi, is imposing Nepali language as compulsory and officiallanguage. Many students as well as others find difficult to express their potentialsbecause of language discriminationC. Strategies for combating ExclusionThe disproportionate statistics between the Madheshis/Terai Vs Pahadis/Hill andMountains needs to be addressed for the country’s holistic development, understandingthe human, social and economic costs associated with discrimination. The establishmentof a Social Exclusion Unit would be able to get the Madheshis as well as other excludedsegments of the society including women, Dalits and the indigenous people back to thenational mainstream by bringing about system level institutional reform and policychange. The Women Commission, Dalit Commission, and the National Foundation forthe development of Indigenous Nationalities which already exists, as well as a ‘MadheshiCommission’ (a similar institution that this paper proposes to establish, consisting of acore of experienced and dedicated Madheshi scholars and leaders that can work withintheir communities and with the government to bring about systemic reform) can be
  9. 9. brought under the umbrella of the Social Exclusion Unit with the aim of combatingexclusion in any form including labor, health, culture, justice, education and economicdevelopment.For a multi-pronged approach to inclusion, the government should not only encourageMadheshi involvement and participation in the mainstream society, but also maintaintheir cultural and social autonomy. The constitution could be an apple of eye if itemphasizes on articles that promote inclusion and respect for diversity. The policiesshould open gateway of new opportunities for Madheshis to express their identity andparticipation in the society through a coordinated and comprehensive approach thatwould address the burning issues of poverty, discrimination and inequality. It therebyfollows that the racial stereotyping of Madheshis in the media needs to be addressed inorder to consider them as an integral part of the society.Addressing exclusion however should not mean the explicit attention of the Madheshisalone. In stead, in order to overcome divisions between Madheshis and the non-Madheshis, the later should also get exposed to the history and culture of the Madheshis.The best way to do so is by way of revision of the current curriculum and making it aninclusive/ multicultural education by educating children about the history and culture ofMadheshis including other minorities.The government should mainstream ‘non-discrimination and equal opportunities forall’, as well as ensure effective legal protection against discrimination on grounds ofracial or ethnic origin, or for that matter, on any other ground. The legal policy should beso strong, favorable, and accessible that anybody who feels discriminated, directly orindirectly, could file a lawsuit in the court of law, hoping for a fair and just judgment.Further, in order to ensure the application of anti-discrimination legislation, it isnecessary to reach out to people and empower them (to access justice system) by raisingawareness, disseminating information, providing training etc.1. Economic ExclusionThe average per capita income Nepalese is 15,000. Madhesis people have comparativelylower per capita income than Pahadi people except for Madhesi Brahmin /chhetri whohave average per capita income of 23,900 which is the highest among all Nepalese. Butthe average per capita for Madhesi Dalits is 13,200 and Madhesi Middles caste is 11,300which is lower than other caste and ethnicity. (DFID and World Bank 2005)The composite index of human development, particularly low income and asset levelsand educational attainment illustrate that the indigenous people, along with Dalits,Madheshis and other minorities are among various cultural groups who fall far below thenational average. About 46% of Dalits, 41% of Muslims and 33% of indigenous Janjatipopulation are below the poverty line (World Bank, 2006). Together these three majorethnic groups have 52.6% of the total Madheshi population .Geographically, about 45percent of the 20 Terai districts have the worst poverty ranking, as compared to 29percent in hills and mountains (Shah, 2006). The above poverty data indicates that a largeproportion of Madheshi households are excluded from the mainstream development.Since poverty itself is the main factor of exclusion; the poor people can not afford basiceducation, primary health care, sanitation practices and decent housing. The data andinformation so far available (Per Capita Budget Allocation and Primary Sector
  10. 10. Development Index, Source: Sharma and Shah 2002- New ERA, ICIMOD 1997)indicates that the Terai districts having higher proportion of Madheshi population havemuch lower socio-economic index values compared to districts where hill people are indominance.Landlessness is also one of the forms of economic exclusion. The report of CBSindicates a grave situation particularly among Dalit, Janjati and Muslim ethniccommunities; about 37% of Dalits, and 32% of Janjati households do not ownagricultural land while 41% of Muslims are landless in Nepal. About 79% of Mushar, aDalit cast of Madhes, do not possess any piece of land. (CBS, 2001)Economic status of Madhesi Dalits is upsetting. The per capita income of Nepalese is US$ 240 (World Development Report 2005), but studies confirm the per capita income ofDalits to be as low as US $ 40. Likewise, the people below poverty line are 31 percent atthe national level as against 80 percent among the Dalit population. Mind-boggling still,only one percent of the total cultivable land in the Terai is owned by the local Dalits (Jha2005).From a predominantly economic perspective, the plight of the Madheshis can be adheredto low level of open employment, low wage employment or without employment, lack ofaccess to education and training, under-funding public services and poor per capitabudget allocation (50 percent of Terai districts have ‘worst’ per capita budget allocationindex compared to about 17 percent of the hill districts- cited in Shah 2006), noticeabledisparity in the lower primary sector development in Terai districts vis-à-vis hill districts,and lack of enough economic mobility in terms of access to economic opportunities in theTerai. Madheshis have faced widespread disadvantage in their socio-economicopportunities, resulting from direct or indirect discrimination, an important dimension ofpoverty that perpetuates other forms of economic and social and/or political exclusion.2. Strategies for combating Economic Exclusion.Some of the worse causes of economic exclusion, such as unemployment and childrengrowing up in workless and low-income households call for an urgent need to expandemployment participation. Broadly speaking, access to adequate income, employment,education, health, and participation in decision making, all have an important role to playin combating poverty and social exclusion. It is also important to break the poverty cycleand improve the life chances of the next generation by addressing it from early childhoodthrough significant investment in education and skill development that would help assurethe future of children as a time of opportunity, and not vulnerability.Specifically, one of the coherent and effective approach to the social and labor marketintegration is through macro economic and social policy planning that would stress onmoving away from the ‘one cap fits all approach’ to the one that accommodates culturaldiversity and promotes positive action measures. Social cohesion policy would thusensure equality of opportunity for all by creating an inclusive labor market as a pursuit ofeconomic growth.Besides, it is also necessary to develop a suite of integrative policies that can be adapted
  11. 11. to local circumstances and create an institutionalized system of consultation with andparticipation of Madheshis in order to take their specific situation, needs and demandsinto consideration. Economic integration is promoted by the labor market where peoplehave jobs and enjoy a valued economic function in the society. Hence, the economicinclusion of Madheshis should pave the way for sustainable development based on abalanced economic growth, competitive social market economy, full and fair employment(by way of scraping away irrational and discriminatory provisions such as Madheshis notrecruited in the Nepali Army) and social progress.Employment and occupation contribute strongly to the full participation of citizens ineconomic, cultural and social life and in realizing their potential. Consequently, thegovernment should develop employment related legislations that would help ensure thatthe workplace policies, both in public and private sectors, are such that stimulates,accommodates and values an intercultural workplace where Madheshis and Pahadis sharesimilar rights and protection against dismissal, collective representation, workingconditions and information and consultation of workers, to name a few.1. Political ExclusionNepal remains a deeply divided and stratified society with only the ‘elite’ group or thenon-Madheshis sharing in the nation’s prosperity. Caste your mind back to the historywhen the Muluki Ain (Nepalese Civil Code) of 1854 was devised. It was formulated bythe high caste Hindus of the hills, and the result is but obvious- High caste Hinduscontinue to dominate Nepalese society as they hold 91% of the prominent position inpolitics and bureaucracy with only limited representation of Terai high caste and ethnicgroups. Worse still, The Nepalese Dalits, who make up around 12% of Nepal’spopulation, have no representation at all (cited in ESP, IIDEA, and Sagun 2005).Researches and studies from around the globe support that ethnic, religious and linguisticminorities and indigenous people are more likely to have low income, poorer physicalliving conditions, less valuable assets, poorer access to education, health and other socialand support services, worst access to market for labor, goods and services, and weakerpolitical representation, many times leading to ‘institutionalized and/or legalizeddiscrimination.’ (Justino and Litchfield 2003). In order to institutionalize equality insteadof discrimination, it may be suggestive to stipulate affirmative action (positivediscrimination) and proportional representation and an enabling legal framework, so as toadvance the position of Madheshis to a level where they can participate and compete withthe rest of the society. Consequently, increase in social and political participation throughfinancial assistance such as preferential spending; scholarships and preferential admissionin schools and universities; job quotas; public administration reservations and electoralquotas etc will help reduce the monopoly of political power of the traditionally dominantgroups of Nepal, as it has done elsewhere. For instance, in India, affirmative action,distributive justice and quotas are used in favor of the lower castes to include them in allareas of the economy and political administration- members of schedule caste and tribesenjoy reserved seats in all central and state level government jobs, as well as in collegeand university admissions. In USA, affirmative action has been effective in redistributingincome to women and minority groups. In South Africa, affirmative action policies areused as a way of decreasing unemployment and poverty among black South Africans(ibid).
  12. 12. In continuation, the structural discrimination, manifested in low levels of politicalrepresentation, lack of access to education and employment opportunities, in gainingadmittance in military and the like (Only 11.2 percent of Madheshi people are in theintegrated index of governance with none in culture, academic and professionalleadership: cited in Shah 2006) can have solution only through systemic reform guidedby the principalities of equality, integration, representation and redistribution. Theexisting policies should be made more accessible to the Madheshis, while incorporatingothers that address the economic and social barriers in accessing rights and privileges. Analternative electoral system that helps reform party laws and party structure and result inbroader representation could serve plurality of interest in Nepal. There should beequitable and inclusive representation and participation of Madheshis in all sectors,including bureaucracy, governance, civil society, and national policy level.In identifying policy approaches, it could be useful to draw lessons from other countrieswith similar experiences, for the majority-minority relations share fundamentalsimilarities everywhere. This will give a clearer understanding of how Governmentpolicies have worked elsewhere to tackle social exclusion, and consequently will help inthe duplication or formulation of new ones to suit the context of Nepal.The government should embark upon systemic reform to enhance access and quality ofsocial services for the entire population. Reduction of social inequality and promotion ofsolidarity should be taken as a central theme to promote economic, social and territorialcohesion as well as cohesion between Madheshis and the Pahadis. Consequently, the newconstitution should be able to respond equitably to the demands of all individuals andallow for the fullest development of their capabilities in all spheres- regardless of theirsocial identity.D. Conclusion: The Inclusion AgendaSocial inclusion should be one of the key themes that should drive and shape the currentgovernment. In doing so, it should be recognized that there are some groups that areharder to reach and last to benefit from policies that aims at targeting social exclusion,such as women, janjatis and Dalits. It should thus be noted that only macro-level policieswill not be sufficient to address the issue of Madheshi inclusion in totality, but micro-level intervention is required as well to reach out to these sub-groups who can easily beoverlooked. A systemic reform needs to be accompanied by interventions designed toreach these sub-groups, provide incentives, come up with more flexible approaches, andtackle their unique problems of exclusion so that every person is able to participate fullyin public services.The government should heed the demand of Madheshis for an inclusive democracy byinterweaving inclusion into the mainstream program and recognizing Madheshi issue as acrosscutting issue. To make this happen, the government should ensure directrepresentation of Madheshis at various levels of governance; revise the regime of centralgovernment funding to ensure that local government and authorities get the money theyneed to promote inclusion; and consider the voluntary, community organizations andlocal groups that are actively involved in promoting inclusion as government’s naturalallies in a strategy for social inclusion.
  13. 13. The significant role transnational networks can play in combating exclusion can not beoverlooked. International agencies can help raise awareness on the issue of (Madheshi)exclusion and enrich debate nationally and internationally, they can exert pressure on thegovernment, finance important projects and provide technical assistance and expertise totackle the causes and consequences of exclusion. Above and beyond, the collectivecommitment of various stakeholders within the country, such as different associations,enterprises, financial bodies and trade unions, employers and public authorities in variousfields, cannot be overlooked. This calls for the government to launch a national strategyfor social inclusion, which emphasizes on all the sectors playing their part, including theprivate sector, the voluntary and community sectors, local government and wider publicsector. Furthermore, the most efficient way of putting balanced solutions into place canonly be achieved by Madheshis themselves being a tough cookie in their role in keepingthe exclusion issue hot and burning until hammered with a desirable solution.To end with, the constitutional reform will prove successful if it achieves those objectivesthat motivated its issuance, along with amending the contradictory and discriminatoryprovisions in the 1990 Constitution of Nepal. The government should be successful indelivering the policies to deal with social exclusion (of Madheshis) in its entirety(including Madheshi women, Madheshi Dalits and the Madheshi Janjatis), by abiding andinheriting the true spirits of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms ofDiscrimination Against Women (CEDAW 1979), International Convention on theElimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD 1965), International Covenanton Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR 1966), and International Covenant on Economic,Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR 1966), including all other relevant conventions anddeclarations which condemn discrimination and exclusion in all its forms and which callsfor the modification of social and cultural patterns of conduct in order to eliminateprejudice, customs and all other practices based on the idea of inferiority or superiority.
  14. 14. Reference: Bennett, L 2005. Gender, Caste and Ethnic Exclusion in Nepal: Following the Policy Process from Analysis to Action, working paper produced for the World Bank conference, ‘New Frontiers of Social Policy: Development in a Globalizing World’, December 12-15, 2005. CBS, 2003 "Population Monograph of Nepal", Kathmandu CBS, 2004, "Nepal National Living Standards Survey-11", (NLSS-11), Kathmandu David Gellner, “Caste, Ethnicity and Inequality in Nepal.” Economic and Political Weekly 19 May 2008). DFID and World Bank 2005 ESP, IIDEA, and Sagun (2005). National Dialogue on Affirmative Action and the Electoral System in Nepal: Experiences from South Asia. Enabling State Programme, Kathmandu. …………….. Harka gurung, 2006 ILO/Estivill 2003. Concepts and Strategies for Combating Social Exclusion. An Overview. Geneva, International Labor Office. International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, 2008 Jha 2005. Dalit Youths for Social Change. The Telegraph Weekly, Kathmandu, Nepal. December 7, 2005. Justino and Litchfield 2003. Economic Exclusion and Discrimination: The
  15. 15. Experiences of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples. Minority Rights Group International, UK. Nepal Human Development Report, 2009 Per Capita Budget Allocation and Primary Sector Development Index, Source: Sharma and Shah 2002- New ERA, ICIMOD 1997 Richardson and Grand 2002. Outsider and Insider Expertise: the response of residents of deprived neighbourhoods to an academic definition of social exclusion CASE paper 57, London: LSE. Ringold, Orenstein and Wilkens 2003. Roma in an Expanding Europe: Breaking the Poverty Cycle. A World Bank Study prepared for the conference “Roma in an Expanding Europe, Challenges for the Future” in Budapest, Hungary, June 31- July 1, 2003. Subas Ghai, 2003, ………………………. Shah 2006. Social Inclusion of Madheshi Community in Nation Building. Paper presented at the Civil Society Forum Workshop for Research Programme on Social Inclusion and Nation Building in Nepal. Organized by SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation on 13 February 2006, Kathmandu, Nepal. Shucksmith and Philip 2000. Social Exclusion in Rural Areas: A Literature Review and Conceptual Framework. The Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, Edinburgh.(The paper was presented in the ‘Nepal Tomorrow Forum’ at the ANA Convention (30th June- 4th July 2006) held in New Jersey, U.S.A.)Source:: Filed under: Reports
  16. 16. ‘The strong and the gifted have special responsibilities to thosewho are not so blessed, and we all have responsibilities to eachother, our country and planet. We believe in ourselves and in ourfuture. One man could make a difference and that every manmust try.’
  17. 17. - John F. Kennedy

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Status of Social Exclusion of Madheshi community in Nepal


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