Poverty in Nepal has always been one of the topics of discussion. Whenever we talk about a country, its economic condition comes enjoined with it. And, we cannot stay away from the fact that Nepal is a poor country economically though we have plenty of rich natural beauty to boast about. When we talk about poverty in Nepal, we are talking about the economic condition in the country that does not seem to be improving. Even though there is a slight improvement while comparing the yearly statistics, the result is not that effective. It shows that there are still a lot of people who are not able to meet the basic needs in the daily basis.
Poverty in Nepal has been a common phenomenon. The extent of commonness is such that whenever you browse the internet for information on our country, you will always come up with the line that says, “Nepal is a poor country”. Though this is bitter information for us, it is supported by the statistics also. Definition of poverty is highly variable. Different countries have their own ways of interpreting poverty in their country through use of different dimensions. In Nepal, earning less than 1 US dollar per day is considered as being poor. This is the poverty threshold or poverty line or poverty limit for Nepal. While talking about poverty, the poverty may refer to absolute or relative poverty. But, in Nepal, the relative poverty is not realised at all. The poverty line in Nepal refers to absolute poverty which indicates the inability to maintain the minimum resources for physical health and efficiency.
Nepal was an isolated and agrarian society until the mid 20th century. Since 1950s, the country has been going towards the path of economic development. However, agriculture still remains the main occupation of the people even now. According to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) fact book, we can see that the country has been going through some economic development since 1995. According to its statistics, the percentage of people falling below the poverty line in Nepal in 1995, 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011 are 42, 31, 30.9, 24.7 and 25.2 respectively. These figures show that the country has been able to alleviate some of the problems of poverty in Nepal.
Poverty in Nepal and GDP
According to the latest data by Asian Development Bank 2019, 25.2% of the people live below the national poverty line and the proportion of employed population below $1.90 purchasing power parity a day is 12.5%. The situation has worsened after the earthquake in 2015. The devastating earthquake has made the prospect of economic growth in Nepal bleaker. The post disaster need assessment report showed that there has been lowering of GDP and income distress among the people. Also, the Indian embargo after the earthquake caused reduction in the import and export as well.
Economy of Nepal is Agriculture and Remittances
Currently, the economy of Nepal is highly dependent in agriculture. Remittances have also been a great part of the country’s GDP. However, various kinds of industries should also flourish for the economic development and sustainability of the country. Poverty in Nepal has been brought about by various causes. One of the most prominent problems is high rate of population growth but low economic progress. Unemployment is the next problem due to which the trend of brain drain has become rampant. Corruption is rampant as well which has created a halt in the economic growth of the country and thus, leaving the countrymen under the poverty line.
Alleviation of poverty in the country should be done in a systematic way. Poverty should be taken as a political issue and measures should be taken to alleviate it. Several alleviation approaches have been taken but with the unstable and murky political situation in Nepal, the approaches have not become effective.
To alleviate the poverty is not a simple task. It takes staggering efforts from all the levels. Thus, the government, with its transparent leadership should take active measures to reduce the population below poverty line in Nepal. The top political leaders of Nepal must pay attention on it.