Eighth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns - Washington, DC USA 2000

Nepal Country Report

Organization:

Forum for Solidarity, Equality, Environment and Development (FOSEED)

Contact Person/ Report Presenter: Kanhaiya Prasad Joshi, Chairman

Mailing address: Kha -1- 75, Bhim-Mukteshwar, Kalimati, Kathmandu-13 Nepal. Telephone: 272193.

Email: ranjani@who.org.np or wvtt@ccsl.com.np

Country Background

Nepal is a small landlocked country sandwiched by China in the north-and India in the south, east and west. Nepal is basically a mountainous country having few kilometers of flat land strip in the south. It is one of the least developed countries. Literacy rate is too low, per capita income is also too low. Main occupation is farming. Here exist few industries and trading centers. Cottage industries are main industries.

On account of low literacy rate, there are millions of people who do not understand that they are paying taxes directly and indirectly. They don't see the taxes they pay indirectly and the government is being run by their paid tax out of their labour.

Besides, leaders misuse the people's right by buying votes either with the nominal money and get elected or / and offering the free lunch or dinner. The innocent people do not understand how they are going to be exploited by the leaders for the power, for the money and for the name and fame.

On the other hand, corruption is at climax. They are done chiefly by political leaders and civil servant. In every step the bribery smells. The leaders and civil servants crave for the power not for to provide service to the people but to earn money and luxury lives. So, whatever the systems' name given, the governance is completely bad.

Kingdom and Army

The present territory of state of Nepal was formed by the forefather of present day King of Nepal before around 230 years. Since then the Shah dynasty has been ruling in the Present Modern Nepal. Before that there were hundreds of principalities ruled by several dynasties. That's why, most of the people pay due respect to king except by most of the communist factions.

The religion factor also has been playing significant role to pay due respect towards King. In Hindu culture and beliefs, King has been taken as the ‘incarnation of Lord Vishnu.’

Undoubtedly, the states were formed and due to the existed standing army from the beginning of human history till date. But unlike to the past history, on one hand due to the day to day developing science and technology and the interactions of the all parts of the world the world has become narrowed resulting love and affections between them have been consolidated than in the past decades and the past centuries. But contrarily on the other hand, the race of building inventing and storing arms and ammunitions are increasingly growing fast.

Nepal in spite of being one of the poorest countries, as a usual practice, possess the standing army. Huge amount of finance are being allocated in every annual national budget. People here are always threatened by Indian hegemonism. That is why also, the presence of army is felt necessary. But the defense ministers defense authorities and the related authorities and in Nepal prime minister generally holds the defense ministry grab millions of rupees every year while buying the weapons in the name of updating the arms and equipping the army with the modern technologies.

Since 1990 democratic system has been restored, although executive power of the government has been transferred to the Premiership and ministership defense sector is still under king indirectly. In fact King is the supreme authority of the whole army. It is because the chiefs of the army are more or less related to royal family. Only the royal families related are given opportunity to be chieftains.

Gurkha soldiers

Nepal is a country famous for not only of the natural beauty and lofty mountains having the eight highest peaks in the world including Mt. Everest but also of the bravest soldiers' country all over the world by the name of Gurkhas. There are hundreds of thousands of people being recruited in the Indian army and the British army since almost a little over one hundred and fifty years. Besides the Royal Nepalese army have been involved in the UNIFIL as the peace force in the Middle East.

Taxation System

I don't think the taxes are being accrued by the governments from the citizens for the war and military directly except in some of the special situations, by any governments. The taxes are taken and paid for the basic facility and developmental works and to run the government and for the peace and social amenities.

But the occupancy of the expenses to the army sector in the yearly national annual budget is extremely high despising the other utmost important basic needs and services.

Nepalese government has recently initiated to introduce value added tax VAT and along the process of process of put into practice.

Present Political Scenario

Since last four years, one of the communist parties called Maoist has been launching civil war in the name of People's war especially in the mid and far western parts of Nepal. Hundreds of Maoist activists, government police and civilians have been killed so far during the fighting between Maoist activists and the police.

The government authorities in the name of peace and security have been misusing money rampantly of the nation. Governments have been trying to use the army for the suppression but they have not been able to use them. The reasons behind are, on one hand Governments have not been accepting Maoist activities as the civil war, if they use army that means, it would be an acceptance it as the civil war. Besides, if the army would be given door open to suppress, the political situation of the country could be different.

The government authorities, political leaders, business houses themselves are the one of the best sources to shoot off this kind of Maoist activities. For they themselves are the number one corrupted. Now the government has recently formed a striking force of police trained and equipped with arms fully as if the army.

Here the parliamentary budget session is going on and the new budget for this fiscal year has been announced recently. And as usual, the defense and now the army-like police have got maximum budget portion in the name of peace and security In the present budget, as army is not being allowed to suppress the Maoist Movement, the police got the highest allocation preceding even the army for the first time in the Budget History of Nepal. Thus, security occupies about 60% of the total budget; which is alarming for such a poor country.

So far in the districts where the Maoist activities are going on very actively, the police themselves have crossed their limitations and in the name of suppressing Maoists they themselves are creating insecurity to the civilians.

Hence, what we can do in Nepal is to launch campaign against the government's heavy budget allocation to the striking police force. The amount being allocated has not been used only on the suppression of Maoist activities but more than that, the top officials have been making money for themselves in the name of peace and security.

Peace activities going on in Nepal by other organisations religious and non-religious: Seminars, workshops, symposium, talk programmes, peace March (rarely), work camps, rallies, have been doing by the non-governmental organisations. By the religious organisations, religious and cultural rituals have been performed and being organised for the Peace have been held.

About FOSEED:

Forum for Solidarity Equality Environment and Development is being newly setup organisation. But the activists including myself have been involved in the social work and the Peace making activities since last Decade or two. The name of the organisation itself implies its aims and objectives.

Actions to be laid down in Nepal to be taken for the year 2000/2001 by FOSEED:

Emphasis will be given for the awareness programme. For that, printing of posters, leaflets, stickers. handbills, hoardings will be published. Publishing of articles in the newspaper will be done. Preparatory work will be started for the drafting of the booklet of the Peace tax and war tax resistance

At the beginning, the small size (perhaps even in the small halls or rooms either in the city or in the villages ) will be started. Inter-school various competitions will be organised. Press conference will be organised to get more publicity. But before that certain level of works should have been accomplished.

Actions to be taken for the peace tax campaign at the global level:

  1. Governments should be forced to reduce budget as much as possible. For instance 5%.
  2. Governments should be given pressure to put separate tax heading for military and they are to be restricted strictly not to allow for reconciliation from other tax headings to the war head tax.
  3. Make governments to abolish compulsory army recruitment.
  4. In European countries, students while graduation they are to choose either undergoing the militia training or social work. This kind of training going should be stopped. Students are to send only on social work.
  5. In some countries, compulsory militia training exists and it should be stopped.
  6. The clutch of CTBT should be enforced effectively without bias upon all the countries including USA, currently super boss of the world.
  7. Go against the US holding authority to inspect the arms and nuclear storage of other countries. Or, allow other countries to inspect US nuclear storage.
  8. Make governments put a separate taxation heading called ‘Peace Tax’
  9. In the context of non-existence of Warsaw Pact, NATO Alliance should be dissolved.
  10. Other works for pressing the governments and international organisations are to be formulated.

Conclusion

As we too are the Peace Activists, for the concept of Peace Tax and the way you have been marching ahead for its endorsement in the national taxation system and ultimately on the global level, we fully support and would like to assure you all that we too would go in this way by neck to neck from now onwards. I think, Peace Tax will bring a widening gap between rulers and the civilians and ultimately political leaders would likely to be whipped by the peoples' power. It could exposed how the so-called peoples' governments and the peoples' leaders have been deceiving to the people in the name of giving services to the people, for the people and by the people.