The degradation of quality life of people economically, culturally, politically and socially without the right of living life with dignity in society can be stated as poverty.
As Nepal is the developing nation it is facing an immense problem of poverty. The poor people are forced into everlasting poverty by the systematic denial of their rights. The anti-poor political and social structures and values, the self-serving interests of powerful institutions and governments, and the weak democratic practices are accordingly responsible for the continuity of poverty. So it can be mentioned as the unequal power distribution in society, leading to disempowerment and exclusion of people on the weaker side of the power relations which results in the restrictness of people in basic productive resources and participation in decision making areas or sectors.
Causes of Poverty
The root causes of poverty in the context of Nepal are exclusion, patriarchy, ineffective governance, corporate globalization and emergencies and disasters. They play crucial roles in creating, aggravating and perpetuating poverty. This result in uneven distribution of resources and limited space for political participation, creating inequalities in society and further depriving people of their basic rights. It is also believed that Nepal's current violent conflict is rooted in these structural causes of poverty and injustice. Thus, sustainable peace can be restored in the country only if these causes are properly addressed.
In Nepal social and political inclusions are not viewed as the key factors in combating poverty through people's direct and active participation in country's decision making processes. Various population groups, which were discriminated against-primarily based on caste, ethnicity and gender- remained at the margins of development and political mainstream. Proper space for the participation in decision-making processes for these excluded groups was not created even through major political changes. Thus, a large section of Nepalese society, particularly the indigenous groups and women, was treated as passive recipients of development initiatives rather than active citizens who could determine their own future. This has resulted in uneven access of these groups to productive resources, compelling them to continue living in poverty.
A strong patriarchic feeling is ingrained in people's mind. So, here the society is male dominated. The deep rooted patriarchy underpins structural poverty, manifested in the form of gender inequality, discrimination against women in public and private sectors, and various forms of violence against women.
Male domination has manifested through political, social, and cultural discriminations against women, cerates a huge barrier for women to access productive resources and influence in decision making in the family and society. In the system of patriarchy men still largely control women's productive labor power, sexuality, reproduction, mobility and economic resources. All these factors make women the poorest among the poor and helps in continuing the poverty.
From the restoration of democracy in 1990 there was the progressive provisions made in constitution which guaranteed the fundamental human rights for al the citizens. However there was no provision for proportionate representation to ensure the political participation of excluded groups. Even after the introduction of multiparty democracy political system, the governance of Nepal was characterized by lack of accountability and transparency, rampant corruption and the politics of patronage. True people participation, although valued highly in the rhetoric, is in effect very low in terms of being able to shape the policies and programs of governments at different levels. Nepal's constitutional crisis and high levels of political uncertainty is causing the developmental activities to run on slow manner leading to make people bankrupt day by day.
There have been many reforms implemented in the economic sector from decades. Despite, poverty is still wide spread. The small amount of growth resulting from these reforms has remained urban-centric and mainly concentrated on the industrial sector. As majority of Nepalese population are rurally based and subsist through agricultural activities, large sections of society have not been benefited from these reforms.
Privatization of education and health facilities has limited the access of poor people to quality education and health services. The government has already begun privatizing the distribution of drinking water in the Kathmandu valley, and the private sector is also allowed to produce hydroelectricity. As there is no special protection for poor people within these initiatives, there is a danger that they will be deprived of even basic facilities like drinking water and electricity. Increasing private sector development in line with the broad based economic growth outlined in the PRSP can play an important role in complementing the state's development efforts, but lack o proper provisions in such privatization efforts may further alienate poor and excluded people from the benefits of development.
Emergency and Disaster
Nepal's geography, geology, topography, climate and lack of proper infrastructural planning make the country extremely vulnerable to various forms of disasters, in particular flood landslide, soil erosion, debris- flow, earthquake and glacial lake outburst. The terai region in particular is also vulnerable to in advertent fire. Poverty and associated lack of choices for alternative sources of income lead poor people to over-exploit environmental resources, such as forests, soil, wetlands and water sources, further increasing the risk of disasters. Conversely, repeated disasters leave poor people with less assets and fewer choices, pushing them into a vicious circle to desperate poverty.
An estimated 11,730 families of Nepal were directly affected by some kind of natural disaster, in which property worth 99 million rupees was destroyed. Many government and non-government agencies have been actively involved in disaster management programs across the country, but this has been mainly in the form of rescue and relief work, with very little action to promote proper disaster preparedness and rehabilitation.