Nepal is one of the least industrialized countries in the world. This is due to low domestic demand, competition from the Indian market, weak infrastructure and lack of investment capital. A large part of the industry that exists is small-scale and is found in home environments. One third of the production consists of textiles, clothing and hand woven mats.
Other traditional products are cooking oils and jute products, such as baskets. Furthermore, bricks, cigarettes, soap and paper are produced.
In more modern industry, which accounts for around 40 per cent of the sector, iron and steel products are manufactured.
The clothing and carpet industry used to have an even more dominant role, but the carpet industry in particular has lost ground and many jobs have disappeared. This is partly due to increased competition from India and partly to reduced demand due to reports of child labor and environmentally hazardous dyes.
Tensions within the government
20th of November
Prime Minister Oli replaces nine of his ministers. According to critics, the changes are taking place to strengthen Oli’s grip on power. Oli’s authority is said to be questioned because of failing health. Prachanda, the former Maoist guerrilla leader, is reportedly pressured to gain more power.
Chinese aid to the army
China gives Nepal’s army $ 21 million in emergency aid over the next five years. It informs the Nepalese government. The aid annoys India, which sees Nepal as part of its sphere of interest.
China promises new money
China promises Nepal nearly half a billion dollars in financial aid between 2020 and 2022 to “raise the living standards of Nepalese”. This is stated by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to the country, the first by a Chinese head of state in 23 years. A railway and a tunnel will be built across the Sino-Nepalese border. Collaboration agreements on hydropower, security, trade and education are also signed. In 2017, Nepal joined China’s infrastructure investment BRI (Belt and Road Initiative, New Silk Road). According to the Washington-based group The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), at least 18 people were detained during the visit to prevent them from demonstrating for Tibet’s cause. In Nepal, around 20,000 exile Tibetans live.
The President resigns after allegations of rape
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Krishna Bahadur Mahara from the ruling Communist Party of ULM, is forced to resign after being accused of rape by an employee of Parliament. The abuse must have happened two days earlier in the President’s residence in Kathmandu. He denies the woman’s accusations and claims that she wants revenge for not getting a job she applied for. Krishna Bahadur Mahara retains his place in the lower house.
Oil pipeline to India is inaugurated
An oil pipeline that crosses the border between India and Nepal is inaugurated. It is the first oil pipeline in South Asia that crosses a national border. The leadership is to be seen as part of India’s and China’s struggle for influence over the countries of the region. Nepal has been a part of China’s infrastructure project BRI (Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the New Silk Road) since 2017.
Nepal is blamed for child labor
The UN Human Rights Committee calls on Nepal’s government to pay damages to a man who has been forced to work as a domestic worker in a family in Kathmandu since the age of nine. The man says he also suffered physical and mental abuse from the employer. After an escape attempt, the man ended up in police custody where he says he was tortured. Nepal is blamed by the UN Committee for the judiciary not having tried the case in court and for the boy not receiving the protection from the state that a child should have. Nepal is also called upon to remove all barriers to judicial review of cases of suspected child and forced labor and torture.
Four dead in explosion in Kathmandu
Four men are killed and seven people injured in three explosions in Kathmandu. No group is doing the deed, but police suspect that a banned militant outbreak group from the former Maoist guerrillas is behind it. Three of the victims are killed in an explosion in a shop where four people are also injured. A man is killed and a person injured in an explosion in a house near the store. Two men on a motorcycle are injured when their explosive charge explodes. The police harm several other explosive charges in Kathmandu and its surroundings. The attacks occur in the evening on the same day as the Maoist group conducted a strike in protest of the recent death of a party member in police custody.
Bureaucracy inhibits reconstruction
On the fourth anniversary of the Kathmandu Valley earthquake, half of the families who lost their homes in the disaster have been given new housing, the Agency for Reconstruction reports. Roughly every third family is still building a new home. The remainder still lacks their own housing. Affected households can apply for a $ 3,000 grant from the state to build a new home, but the $ 9 billion rebuilding effort has been severely hampered by political strife, bureaucracy and uncertainty over how those affected should apply for grants. In addition, an amount equivalent to $ 4 billion is missing which the authority cannot account for.
Crime investigation misses deadline
6th of February
Parliament extends for the third time the deadline for the two commissions that investigate suspicions of war crimes committed during the civil war. The commissions appointed in 2015 would have presented their report in 2017. Now they will have another year on them (see also Political system).