The economy of Nepal sustained heavy knocks in two quick successions, initially by the earthquake and then by the border blockade. In an attempt to trace the blockade’s ramifications and provide a fresh pair of lenses to the discourse we have jointly come out with a study conducted through visits and interactions with people across the Terai-Madhes belt, and aimed at comprehending the depth and breadth of the impact on different key sectors of the economy.

This dissemination event is jointly organized by the Alliance for Social Dialogue and the Nepal Economic Forum and there will be a moderated panel discussion surrounding the theme of the study, bringing together insights from professionals residing in Terai-Madhes who witnessed upheaval unfold at ground zero, policy architects and legislatorial heads.

1. Mr. Chandra Kishore, Journalist and Politicial Commentator
2. Dr. Mallika Shakya, NEF advisory board member, and Faculty at South Asian University
3. Mr. Rabindra Adhikari, Chairperson, Parliamentary Development Committee
4. Dr. Surendra Labh, Social Researcher and Political Economist


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Learning from the Economic Crisis: Impact and Lessons

The Nepali economy has been in a precarious situation following the earthquake in April 2015. Political parties who were seen as indifferent during this critical time were therefore forced to work towards promulgating the constitution.

However, disagreements on certain aspects of the constitution has led to protests by certain communities in various parts of the country, via a blockade of Indo-Nepal border points since August 2015. Given that Nepal is heavily dependent on India for supplies, the blockade has strongly impacted life across the country resulting in a soon to be humanitarian crisis.

This talk aims at bringing together regional voices to understand the real situation on the ground and determine the actual impact of the blockade on all sections of the society across the country, with commentary from experienced practitioners.

Purushottam Ojha, Former Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Supplies
Dr. Shankar Sharma, Former Vice Chairperson, Nepal Planning Commission

Voices from the Ground
Prof. Surendra Labh
Ajay Bahadur Pradhanang
Bhola Paswan

Proceeding Report

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Freedom of the Press and its Constraints in Emerging Democracies

Rajeev Dhavan is a Senior Counsel practicing in the Supreme Court of India and currently Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). He is an Honorary Professor of the Indian Law Institute and the Director of the Public Interest Legal Support and Research Centre (PILSARC).

Dr. Dhavan has been involved in many major cases including the closure of mines in the Sariska Tiger Reserve, the Rathong Chu and Tehri Dam cases; the Babri Masjid cases; various cases concerning sanctuaries including the Nagarhole, Narayan Sarovar and Penet sanctuaries; the Mandal cases and most of the reservation cases that followed. He has been amicus to the court in many matters including currently in the NOIDA Land case, the AIIMS strike case and the criminal fallout of the Gujjar demonstration.

He was educated at Allahabad, Cambridge and London Universities. As a former academic, he taught at Queen’s University (Belfast, Ireland), the University of West London, with visiting and other assignments at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Delhi.  He is the author of many books and articles on constitutional law, policy and public affairs and called to the Bar in India and England.

Eastern Himalaya: The Cradle of Ethnogenesis

The eastern half of the 3600 km Himalayan range, from the Kali Gandaki River all the way to Yunnan and Sichuan, is a region of pivotal importance in population prehistory. As a cradle of ethnogenesis, this region served both as staging area and principal thoroughfare in the populating of much of Asia following the emergence of anatomically modern humans in Africa. New scientific insights from different disciplines enable us to reconstruct the dispersal of a number of major language families in Asia and Oceania. These insights help dispel two antiquated scholarly themes, one of which still lives on in the popular imagination and another which survives in some slow-moving quarters of the linguistic community.

The new scholarship explains the origin of the ‘Mongoloid’ myth and exposes the fallacy of the Mongoloid, Caucasoid and other races. It debunks the unsupported theory of a Sino-Tibetan (or Indo-Chinese) family tree model. In place of these old scholarly fables, an exciting new scientific account of our past is unfolding, based on historical-linguistic evidence, the findings of population genetics and archaeo-botany. Four of the great language families of Eastern Eurasia and Oceania are seen to have their original homeland in the hills of the Eastern Himalaya. This fascinating scholarship illuminates several distinct episodes in our prehistoric past, and then there is even more to the story.

George van Driem occupies the Chair for Historical Linguistics at the University of Berne, Switzerland. He is a long-time researcher of the endangered languages and grammars of the Himalaya, including Nepal, Bhutan and India. He is associated with the Himalayan Languages Project, which has since 1983 been documenting languages of the region. Professor van Driem’s multidisciplinary interests range from historical linguistics to archaeology, palaeobotany, palaeoclimatology, anthropology and genetics. He uses Pokhara as a base for much of his work in Asia.

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The MARKET RULES: Changing Structure of Media and its Ethics in India

The talk will focus on how Indian media has essentially become monochromatic, leaving very little space for dissenting views and for news about marginalized sections of society. It will trace these changes to the impact of market forces as well as a growing ideological consensus amongst the Indian elite.
Although efforts by political and corporate entities to get their messages into news coverage are nothing new, what is different now is their scale. News organizations seem less equipped to question what is coming to them or to investigate stories themselves. Increasingly the line between advertising and news is getting blurred and often it is difficult to distinguish between editors and ad-sales managers

These changes have been brought about by the restructuring of the ownership pattern and the growing corporate influence on the media; a rapidly expanding market for newspaper readership and television viewing; the changing role of the Editor; a growing ideological consensus between the State, the corporate world and the media; and the search for additional sources of revenue in an extremely competitive media market. They have transformed the nature of newspapers and TV news channels as well as journalistic practices and ethics in news rooms.

Bharat Bhushan is currently Senior Academic Consultant to the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR). He has been a journalist for over 25 years and was the founding Editor of Mail Today. Earlier, he was the Executive Editor of the Hindustan Times, Editor of The Telegraph in Delhi, Editor of the Express News Service, Washington Correspondent of the Indian Express and an Assistant Editor with The Times of India.

He was educated at Imperial College, London; Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani. He was also a Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University and a member, Executive Council, Indian Institute of Mass Communications, New Delhi. He was invited to be a part of the South Asian Editors Mission to Sri Lanka (2006) and of the International Editors Mission to Pakistan in 2007 to examine issues of Press Freedom in these countries.

He writes regular columns for Asian Age and Business Standard newspapers and Outlook magazine besides hosting a weekly programme on foreign affairs – India’s World – for the official television channel of Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha TV.

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