Development Dialogue

Development Dialogue is a language of contemporary discourses on human development which aims to stimulate each entity of the society for a new history of humanity. It stands for communicating the problems that people face and hence is more value-based than other units of human life. Envisioned with better quality of human life it admires the imagination of ordinary citizens, their daily concerns and necessities and circulate these elements in policy articulation.

7:41 AM

Economies of scale !

Imagine wealth in liquid form. The poor have droplets of it, while the rich have lakes !
However, just as all the water goes to the ocean; all the wealth goes into the world's wealth-ocean.

Those who stay by its shores and tap it, get richer ! Afterall, one's financial position depends upon his relative performance with respect to others.

Smart people realize this earlier and literally make hay while the sun shines.  Did you know that an average rural Money lender collects 115% interest per annum ? Why ? Because the poor cannot outperform him !
They lack access to credit facilities and never bothered to prove their credit-worthiness. They have resigned themselves to a life of high debt.

Do you know why it costs the kirana shop keeper 15 rupees to purchase bread, while it costs 9 to the wholesaler ? Because, he has a wider network to tap into. His performance relative to the kirana owner is better, thanks to his sources. Whom you know is important, afterall.

Why all this talk ? To drive into the minds of the Nepalese youth that they need to get up and take charge of things and not wait for some miracle to deliver them a hen that lays golden eggs every day !
What the poor can do is to form associations and borrow money. This will work because there is strength in numbers.  This principle may be applied by young entrepreneurs as well. Registering an association under the NGO act to facilitate credit flow will create miracles.
The Nepalese youth must not ponder about what they lack but must capitalize upon what they have- Internet, beautiful country side and camera. He must take pride in the fact that Nepal is home to 8 of the world's ten tallest peaks and the legendary sherpas are his countrymen.

He must also note that the size of the mountaineering industry is about 11000 crores and is growing. More and more people want to scale mountains. Increased access, better equipments, training facilities and advancement in medical science (emergency services instill confidence, you see !) have made it possible for many to aspire to flutter their national flags atop mountains. Can't we attract a sizable chunk of these adventurers ?
You see, to develop an economy, you need money to flow in. Do you know what the people of a sleepy fishing village in  India do to attract funds into their village ?

They created awareness about tourism all over. Volunteers went door-to-door to educate the country folk about the benefits these visitors would offer them, they requested people to tap into the financial ocean by gearing up for the tourist inflow- Some converted their houses into "Home-stays" while others set up restaurants. A few opened handicrafts and rural artifacts showrooms.  The elders realized that high moral values will be their best marketing mantra and took steps to abolish alcoholism, gambling and other evils that plagued the youth. They encouraged them to ply vehicles to supplement their incomes as well as ferry tourists to and fro.

In a span of 40 years, the village which was once a poverty capital grew into prominence as a commercial headquarters of that state - Without any government support !  200 Crores worth of goods are brought and sold everyday there.
Drawing parallels, I don't see any reason why we cannot gear up to give foreigners a chance to experience a "high life" ! Not many want the luxury of a water closet on a holiday. We must form associations which promote our regions as holiday/recreation/fitness/ leisure/ practice/ nature living/alternate lifestyle destinations.

The path to this is covered with challenging tasks like imparting Elementary English skills to the community (One needs to be understood to do business with others), extensive micro-blogging and social media marketing about one's community to attract tourists and ensuring that their stay is memorable- A satisfied customer is a businessman's best marketer.

The youth need not bother about the 32% of those tourists who want to enjoy comforts  but must focus on the remaining 68% who spend upwards of Rs 1880 crores globally to experience the joy of watching the sun rise over hills, enjoying a cup of tea. There are many people who are suffering from diabetes and Blood pressure. A change in lifestyle will cure their ailments.  We must package ourselves as lifestyle change providers to grab their attention. This will need related medical infrastructure only if acutely sick patients drop by. By limiting ourselves to serve those who are on the borderline of fitness levels, we can work our way !

Companies in India spend about 210 crores on holiday trips for their teams. By combining trekking with nature stay, cool climes and their CSR (Helping the poor initiatives) we can tap into this wealth.

It cannot be done by one person. Needs a concerted effort from the community. To this end, the change initiator must work as a mediator and a moderator.

The proceeds of the association formed and the revenue generated must be carefully spent and re-invested into infrastructure related works, which include Camera, Internet, English speaking courses for people in the community. 

My counsel to the Nepalese youth is to draw up an ambitious Vision 2030 for their communities, share it with their elders, get laughed upon ( be careful not to let yourselves flow in the river of emotions. The entire purpose of the exercise would be to collect feedback from well-wishers on the risk elements to this project)
Once done, we must sit down and address their concerns to build a fool proof plan and present it for appraisal.

Sincere efforts never go waste. A time will come when the critical mass develops around this vision and your ideas see the light of the day !

Good luck. Let's make tourism contribute upwards of 40% to Nepal's GDP. Ambitious, but possible !


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