NEPAL, March 15, 2024 (ORF, by Dr. Hari Bansch Jha): The latest census conducted in 2021 in Nepal shows that the average growth of the population in the country dropped perceptibly from 1.34 per cent in 2011 to 0.93 per cent in 2021. Factors such as the outmigration of the population, reduction in fertility rate, increase in literacy rate mainly among young women, rising costs of living, and greater engagement of couples in the workforce have led to this development. Because of the outmigration of the population, the country receives a substantial amount of remittances, which, however, is soon depleted as Nepal imports most goods—from needles to sophisticated machinery—from foreign countries. Youths are leaving the country in droves due to lack of dignified employment opportunities and income at home. In 1994-95, only 2,159 people left the country for foreign employment, which increased to 750,000 in 2022-23. Reports are that, each day, about 3,000 youths leave the country for foreign employment in the Gulf countries, Malaysia, Europe and other countries. No less than a million people out of Nepal’s total population of 30 million leave the country each year.

Many others in the country are gradually migrating from rural to urban areas in search of jobs and other basic opportunities like better education and health facilities. In most of the rural areas, the standard of education and the health facilities that are available to the people is far from satisfactory. As such, the villages are not only shrinking but also emptying fast. Settlers in the rural areas are vanishing and vast portions of the settlements are turning into ghost villages or forests. Virtually, Nepal seems to be producing cheap and unskilled labor not so much in the national interest but more so in the interest of the West and the Persian Gulf. As such, villages are emptying and causing socio-economic disorders of serious magnitude. This does not augur well for the future of the country. To reverse the process, what is needed most is to focus on the agrarian revolution, and develop quality education, health facilities, skills, tourism and energy to boost domestic production of goods and services, apart from generating gainful employment on a massive scale.

Much more at source.