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Current Affairs

Protests in Nepal

Date: 01 March 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A decision on accepting a US grant has started protests in the Himalayan country of Nepal. A Parliament vote would be carried out soon.

 

Background

The vote could potentially break the alliance led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. All coalition partners are not on the same page.

 

Details

  • The grant will be provided by Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an aid agency. It will be worth $500 million.

  • The grant was announced in 2017 to fund 300-km (187-mile) electricity transmission line and a road improvement project in Nepal.

  • It is a part of international agreement, which will be governed by international laws. Additional $130 million will be contributed by Nepal.

 

Management

  • The project will be managed by the Millennium Challenge Account Nepal Development Board (MCA- Nepal).

  • The chairperson and members will be nominees of Nepal. The government has to ensure that its decisions are not influenced or modified.

 

Uses of the grant

The grant will be used to maintain roads across the country and also lay down high-voltage electricity transmission line to provide cheap power to domestic consumers.


Associated benefits

The project will ensure that Nepal can trade electricity from neighbouring India. It will also help realize hydroelectric potential of the country.

 

Opposition for the grants

  • The main opposition is from communist parties of the country. Some of these leftist parties are in coalition with the centrist ruling party.

  • These communist parties are advocating stronger ties with China. They say the agreement will undermine Nepal’s sovereignty.

  • There is also an allegation that the project is part of USA’s Indo-Pacific plan and has hidden military objectives.

  • The protestors, mostly belonging to youth wing of communist parties, have engaged in stone throwing at the police. They were responded with tear gas and water cannons.