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Title: The Rhetoric of Rural Development in Nepal: Evaluating the Policy of Compact Settlements
Authors: Karki, Asmod
Advisors: Hammer, Jeff
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: In 2013, the National Planning Commission of Nepal introduced the Compact Rural Settlements Policy (CRSP) with the objective of improving the quality of life of people in rural Nepal. It was not the first time that the Nepali government had introduced a policy that highlighted the need to address rural poverty and required substantial government involvement. In a country such as Nepal with weak government and ineffective bureaucracy, expanding the services of the government structures without necessarily strengthening the public institutions first brings its own set of issues. This thesis argues that the policy of compact settlements is conducive to improving the quality of life of people in Nepal. In order to demonstrate the argument, it first analyzes the one of the major arguments in the CRSP, i.e. if the access to services plays a crucial role in migration in rural Nepal. I found that the relationship between access to services and migration is not significant when controlled for factors such as socio-economic status, age, and sex. This finding goes against the claim in the CRS policy that people in rural Nepal migrate mostly in search of access to facilities. I also explore if the CRSP aligns with other major policy frameworks in Nepal. In general, the CRSP aligns with policies related to land-use, tourism, agriculture and environment. However, just because CRSP with other policies does not mean it is suitable in the context of Nepal. As the policy has not yet been implemented, I looked at the implementation of clustered settlements policy in Tanzania to draw policy lessons. The policy of ujamaa villagization was a disaster in Tanzania, with severe social and economic consequences. Just because the policy failed in Tanzania does not mean it is not suitable in the context of Nepal. Therefore I also analyze the contexts in which the ujamaa policy was implemented. My finding is that the context of policymaking in Nepal resembles that in the Tanzania when the policy of ujamaa villages were implemented. More precisely, the long history of elite policy making with the primary intention to serve the power center in Kathmandu along with the prevalence of patronage politics dominate the context in which the CRSP is formulated. Rural development in Nepal has been largely limited to rhetoric without substantial gains for the public. Thus, this thesis argues that it is not in the interest of Nepali public at large to implement the CRSP. Instead focusing on effective public service delivery and improving public participation in the public policy making might be more impactful in helping address rural poverty in the long run.
Extent: 96 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2017

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