Politics and Pandemic
In his next stint as head of the government, he has to show that a shrewd politician can be a competent economic manager, too so that people of this nation would stop thinking that politics practiced here has been as harmful an enemy of Nepalis as the pandemic.
By Dr. Tilak Rawal, a former governor of NRB.
May 9th, 2021, 6:09 p.m.
Prior to the origin in China and spread therefrom of Covid-19 to other countries more than a year ago, trade war between the two largest economies (US and China) had played a major role in complicating global economic situation, adversely affecting world economic output and trade. Although the negative effect of the trade battle did not remain confined to the two countries in question, its direct impact remained limited to the economic front and has not been blamed for any major mishaps (famine, starvation and loss of human lives) till date.Indeed, trade-related problems have remained relatively manageable and not at all like this pandemic, which has rendered even the most powerful countries in the world somewhat helpless as far as timely control of its spread and the resulting harm to human lives(3.2 million deaths globally) and economies all over the world is concerned.It seems the entire world is fighting a painful battle against this resurging enemy of mankind and billions of dollars poured into finding an effective cure have produced some commendable results but a lot is still to be done in finding an affordable, effective and less controversial method to effectively stop the recurrence of it in different forms such as African variant, UK variant, etc. Expectedly, with the global spreadof this killer disease, world economy shrank in 2020 and so did the world trade and no exception were the major economies, which experienced sharp shrinkage. Many countries (such as US) saw unemployment level soaring to levels worst since great depression. Some firms in some countries could have done well even during these difficult times but the undeniable fact is that all the major economies have suffered a setback and are still struggling despite huge amounts, mostly in the form of stimulus package, pumped into them. Amongst major countries, China probably was the first to restore domestic demand and bounce back to positive growth, after successfully keeping under control the devastating virus. It may be noted that China’s economic recovery quickened sharply in the first quarter of 2021 to register a growth of 18.3 percent from last year’s slump, which has been possible by stronger demand at home and abroad and continued government support mostly geared towards tens of thousands of smaller firms, which were hit the most in China as is the case elsewhere. Another Asian giant, India, was affected adversely, both in terms of loss of human lives and economic output, during the first round of pandemic but the losses remained manageableand it appeared, until recently, that this political power of global scale had put its somewhat derailed economy back on track to resume its acceleration towards becoming a major economic power of global scale. Unfortunately, however, the situation now has alarmingly changed, with this populous country registering the highest daily number of infection (more than 300, 000 daily for more than two weeks in a row) in the world, acute shortage of hospital beds, oxygen and other necessary facilities. People are seen waiting in long ques at different crematoriums to perform the last rites of their dear ones. Realizing the increasing number of deaths from this disease and the unprecedented pressure on the existing facilities, makeshift funeral pyres are created and efforts are made to increase production and supply of oxygen and pandemic-related generous assistance from countries currently in a position to do so is gratefully accepted.Despite these efforts, Indian health system is collapsing under the latest record breaking surge. Situation elsewhere is also very serious and people are in know of the devastation caused earlier by the pandemic elsewhere such as USA, UK, Brazil,EU and many other countries but Nepalis had not panicked this way as they have now, after seeing what has happened in India in the last couple of days. What is seen in India now is not only painful but scary, too. Let us pray problems of this magnitude do not befall this nation already precariously placed on both fronts-political and economic. We may also have been little bit selfish in praying that things in our neighborhood get back to normal soon because a prolonged period of crisis there could seriously hurt our economic interest as we have to depend on India to fulfil the demand for almost everything from food to fuel. Any disruption in Indian supply chain could generate shocks to pave way for high level of inflation at a time when most economies elsewhere are already in recession on account of slacking economic activities and depressed domestic demand for goods and services. Euro Zone is said to be suffering double-dip recession on account of continued impact of the pandemic. Beyond doubt, Nepal’s economy is not at all in a good shape.
Nepal’s external sector has been suffering unchecked deterioration since long, which is adequately manifested by our ever increasing trade imbalance with most of our trading partners, the highest being with India followed by China. In the nine months of this fiscal year, trade deficit has exceeded Rs 1000 billion. Compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year (2076\77), imports in the nine months of this fiscal year went up by Rs. 131.42 billion to hit Rs.1113 billion, while exports grew just by Rs.16 billion. Net service income has also remained negative by Rs. 39.69 billion in the eight months of this fiscal year, registering a sharp increase over the negative figure of Rs.4.22 billion during the same period last fiscal year. Travel income this year has taken a freefall (declining by 91 percent), while travel expenditure has declined by 54 percent. Available data show that Nepal is a loser on both fronts- service and merchandise trade. Deficit in current account has also increased over time, while balance of payment (BOP) has continued to remain positive and foreign exchange reserve looks sound when judged from its import-funding capacity. There is also a strong possibility of this government not meeting the revenue collection target as only 67.59 percent of the target (Rs.1011.75 billion) has been collected in the nine months of this fiscal year. This left government may create a record of not being able to collect the intended revenue for four consecutive years in a row.Likewise, foreign direct investment has sharply gone down in recent times and the pathetic picture of under spending of capital expenditure is likely to continue this time also as only about 29 percent of the allocated sum under the head has been spent in these nine months. In the midst of this dismal performance, however, multilateral agencies such as the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have thrown slightly positive information for the government to draw some solace from. Giving credit to continued steady flow of remittances, unlike an apprehended sharp drop, WB has revised upward its growth estimate to 2.7 percent from its earlier projection of 0.6 percent for this fiscal year.Likewise, ADB has stated that Nepal’s gdp will grow by 3.1 percent in the year 2021, a positive come back from a negative 1.9 percent registered a year earlier. Unlike Nepal government’s wished growth rate of 7 percent for this fiscal year, ADB’s projection is that Nepal will achieve 5.1 percent growth only in 2022(fiscal year 2079\80).WB also feels that Nepal will have to wait a few more years for growth to return to a satisfactory level. Nepal government, more specifically Prime Minister Oli, probably was not too wrong in assuming that after a contraction of gdp, a bounce back to positive growth (10 percent next year as publicly mentioned by him) is not unlikely but they seem to have ignored, while wishing growth levels, complications of various nature and magnitude faced by the nation they have been governing. They should have at least taken into account facts related to their slashing of budgetary outlay (especially capital expenditure), reduced FDI and continuous decline in government investment. In addition, situation is likely to worsen more due to the recent surge in virus(causing dozens of deaths everyday) as has been rightly mentioned by our central bankthat industries\businesses, already hit hard by the virus earlier, are likely to face problems in recovering because the second phase of pandemic could be more dangerous than the first phase when Nepal government took the much criticized phased decisions of keeping the country under lockdown for 120 days, bringing the economy to a grinding halt.Helplessly,it seems, the concerned have issued prohibitory orders again for 15 days and they are expected, learning from the earlier mistake, to do their utmost to keep the economy moving at least partially, if not fully. In addition to this pandemic, the political mess that the country is in since long has been a great retarding factor as far as development\growth of Nepal is concerned. Currently, efforts are on to dislodge not only the federal government but also provincial governments and Prime Minister Oli, it seems, is working day and night to foil attempts to remove him at the centre and his loyalists in different provinces.
Political instability has done serious harm to the nation\economy but has done no harm as far as continuation in power of a controversial but always confident- looking\sounding Oli is concerned. In fact, even the verdict of the Supreme Court (SC) that nullified his decision to dissolve the Parliament (lower house), did not shake him at all and he confidently continued to poke fun at his rivals (Parchanda\Madhav) that the celebratory mood the duo got into was meaningless. On the contrary, his rivals did not have even the slightest premonition of the misfortune that would soon befall them in the form of another verdict of SC (March 7) that threw buckets of ice-cold water on the celebrating duo and many others, invalidating the unification between CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre. Even the review petition filed against this verdict has been rejected by SC. Indeed, Oli has been tactfully outsmarting his political rivals in a planned way and no immediate threat is seen to his government, with not much unfriendly major opposition party(Nepali Congress), his friends-turned – foes with much weakened strength and a practically divided Janata Samajbadi Party(JSP) dozens of which leaders and cadres have recently been exonerated. Oli will probably have further weakened his political rivals before the parliamentary elections he intends to organize soon, irrespective of the outcome of the May 10 vote of confidence he has sought. Hope the two-third majority, which he expects to be returned with, is used in achieving the often-repeated prosperity of the nation and not wasted in gossip\scandal and political manoeuvre\manipulation as has been the case so far. In his next stint as head of the government, he has to show that a shrewd politician can be a competent economic manager, too so that people of this nation would stop thinking that politics practiced here has been as harmful an enemy of Nepalis as the pandemic.
India, fast emerging as a major economic power of global scale, looks engaged in a healthy competition on economic front with the second largest economy in the world and predictions are that it will be fast leapfrogging many other economies to be near China (likely to be the largest economy soon), which has become the first country to register positive economic growth of around 2 percent in 2020
By Dr. Tilak Rawal, a former governor of NRB.
Jan. 30, 2021
Surprising the entire nation, Prime Minister Oli on December 20 dissolved the House of Representatives (HOR), and called mid-term polls to be held in two phases, pushing the country into a state of serious chaos and instability. Oli had no problem at all in securing President Bhandari’s endorsement who wasted no time in formalizing Oli’s proposal related to the untimely demise of the House and holding of elections in two phases on April 30 and May 10. Understandably, this move of Oli came in the backdrop of the accentuated feud within the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the rival faction led by Prachanda\Nepal pressuring him to step down either as head of the government or party co-chair. Seemingly, he also ran the high risk of losing both jobs because he had fallen into minority in all the important bodies of the party and HOR where, it appeared, a no-confidence motion against him could be passed without much difficulty. A smart Oli, however,preemptied all these likely moves by the rival faction with the sincere cooperation of the President whose good office even refused to register a petition signed by 83 CPN lawmakers requesting her to summon a special session of the Parliament.
Legal experts are more or less unified in observing that Oli’s move was unconstitutional and President Bhandari should not have put her seal of approval on it in haste and without any consultation whatsoever. It is said that the present constitution, unlike the 1990 constitution, does not have a provision that allows a majority government to dissolve the House. The faction led by Prachanda|Nepal, which claims to have about two-thirds central committee members, has appointed Nepal as co-chair in place of Oli and Dahal has also been unanimously chosen as the parliamentary party leader, removing Oli from the post and ultimately expelling him from the general membership of the party as well. Similar punitive actions such as stripping Dahal of his executive powers have been taken against him by the faction led by Oli. In addition, the two rival factions of CPN are seen engaged in battles on several fronts and the rivals are busy trading accusations, most often making derogatory observations, and cracking jokes to the delight of listeners\viewers. Since the media coverage nowadays of their activities is so wide and effective that not only those who attend their programmes in person have the benefit of entertaining themselves but the viewers\listeners miles away from the point of jocular activities have also been lucky enough to have access to this recent source of cost-free entertainment. Although a very good orator himself, Prachanda appears no match for Oli as far as the question of making people laugh or entertaining them is concerned. In addition to the entertainment aspect, some of their revelations have given people information, some very serious, about their leaders and the party, which many people would not have known had it not been for this serious intra-party feud. Oli seems to be having a tough time sending back befitting replies to numerous attacks on him by the three heavyweights (Prachanda, Nepal and Khanal) of the rival faction who are also well known for their oratory power.
The battle between the two feuding factions is being fought on multiple fronts- Supreme Court, Election Commission and streets of Nepal, mainly Kathmandu, that receive almost every day protesters opposing the move and occasionally some appear even to defend Oli’s action as well. The apex court has already begun hearing on petitions challenging Oli’s move to dissolve the HOR, which many experts term as unconstitutional and some even finding it tantamount to a constitutional coup. While the petitioners and other experts have made it amply clear that the present constitution does not have a provision, unlike 1990 one, that allows a majority government to dissolve the House, some opine that the constitution does not prevent a prime minister from going to the people at a time when he feels seriously constrained to operate due to problems created by his own party colleagues. We have no choice but to wait for the verdict.
The Election Commission (EC) was also approached by the feuding factions doing everything possible such as Oli expanding the Central Committee basically to outnumber the signatures of majority members (290) submitted to EC by the rival faction. Despite these efforts of the two factions staking claim to the party flag and election symbol, EC very smartly decided not to take sides with any of the two feuding groups, concluding that NCP was still one party as it had not received any request from any quarter to split the party. Hope this decision, not very much liked by the anti-Oli faction, does not contribute towards further shaking the nation.
In addition to the two rival factions of NCP, several other political parties and non-political organizations have taken to the streets, strongly protesting this move as unconstitutional. Although refusing to launch joint agitation programmes with the NCP faction led by Prachanda\Nepal, NC has been regularly organizing activities against this move. Looking at the site\area selected for the phased agitation and balanced statements of Deuba, it is almost clear that there is a tacit understanding within NC to criticize this unpopular decision of Oli and also ensure electoral gains, taking advantage of the divided NCP, should the apex court decide in favour of elections. Ostensibly, NC senior leader Poudyal and many others in the party have been aggressively condemning the move without seeming to be tempted by the electoral windfall likely to emanate from early polls. Anti Oli faction organized a huge protest gathering in Kathmandu on January 22 and preparations are being made for a befitting reply soon. On the whole, these activities, irrespective of organizers, have engulfed this Himalayan country where the new variant of Corona has been recently traced and Nepalis are getting increasingly frustrated because the economy has been hard hit by the pandemic, making it difficult for many to meet their basic requirements.
The World Bank (WB) has painted a very bleak picture of the economy, stating that our economy would grow by only 0.6 percent while overall South Asian growth would be 3.5 percent. Looks like the concerned authorities finally have no problem in agreeing with the WB’s revelation that last fiscal year our economy grew just by 0.2 percent and the nation will have to wait until 2022 to have 2.5 percent growth. International agencies expected the economy of Nepal to remain weaker in three fiscal years. Due to lack of employment opportunities, people have no income, which has adversely affected domestic demand for goods and services. The decline in import of petroleum products by 11 percent this year could have contributed a bit towards reducing our ballooning trade deficit but this is definitely not something to be happy about because reduced consumption of these products in most cases is a distinct pointer to reduced economic activities and declining growth. As stated by outside agencies, situation economically is not good, which can be corroborated by some other current facts about the economy.
Despite reported decline in imports and some improvement in exports, data made available for the last six months of this fiscal year show that Nepal imported goods and services worth Rs. 650 billion while our exports remained limited to Rs. 60 billion. The overall decline in imports, including a significant decline in imports of petroleum products, is attributed to the pandemic, which has inflicted serious injury on the economy. Government agencies report that petroleum import, despite the decline, was Rs. 20 billion more than Nepal’s total export during the last six months. It is said that about 57 percent of industries\businesses have now become fully operational and need support from the state to sustain their current level of operation. It may also be interesting to note that despite record production of paddy this year (increasing by 71 thousand metric tons to reach 5.6 million ton) due mainly to favourable weather conditions, rice import in the last five months amounted to Rs. 18 billion. Likewise,in keeping with the performance of this government in the last couple of years, progress on the capital expenditure front has continued to remain disappointing (14.4 percent of the allocated Rs. 352.91 billion) and so is the case with revenue collection, which remained at 41.73 percent of the targeted Rs. 1011 billion. Foreign direct investment has also registered a sharp decline. It is sad that, despite the nation already about a year into the pandemic, industrialists\businesses are still seen urging the government and the concerned agencies for tangible support and quicker delivery of whatever has been promised. Indeed, it is high time that we gave a serious look at the meaningful efforts made elsewhere, specifically in our neighbourhood.
The Indian economy has been hard hit by the pandemic, which is shown by the shrinkage it experienced in the last two quarters. A number of schemes are in place to help the ailing industries\businesses and there are strong suggestions coming from different quarters, including the ruling BJP, that efforts be made in the next budget to put more money in the pockets of middle- income families because this way government of India would be incentivizing consumption by them, which would help domestic industries and businesses. It is also very likely that the next budget would cut the cost of raw material for small and medium-sized businesses, which is likely to be effected through a substantial reduction in import duty. The government of India also looks determined to further increase investment on projects for roads, pipelines and ports to revive businesses and generate jobs to put the much-needed money in the pockets of people, focusing mainly on the middle-class(300 million of India’s total population of 1.35 billion),which is feeling a lot of pinches. India, fast emerging as a major economic power of global scale, looks engaged in a healthy competition on the economic front with the second-largest economy in the world and predictions are that it will be fast leapfrogging many other economies to be near China (likely to be the largest economy soon), which has become the first country to register positive economic growth of around 2 percent in 2020. Another mention-worthy fact about India is that it has launched the world’s largest vaccination drive to cover 300 million Indians and this is likely to be followed by another 270 million people. One of the world’s biggest drugmakers, India, has gifted millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines to its South Asian neighbours, showing in very clear terms that it is with them in their struggle against the devastating pandemic. Hope the Nepal government does not take too much time to make good use of the one million doses of easy-to-store Oxford\AstraZeneca vaccine it has received. Indeed, we do not expect the Nepal government to perform miracles overnight or do something like US president Biden who has announced many measures, including the announcement of a 19 trillion dollar relief package days before his inauguration on January 20, but our authorities definitely have to learn to deliver on time, without attempting to veil the unstable situation and the problems arising there from.
Lockdown and Economies
By Dr. Tilak Rawal, a former governor of NRB.
Aug. 24, 2020, 10:54 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 14 No. 03, August 21, 2020 ( Bhadra 05, 2077) Publisher: Keshab Prasad Poudel, Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75
Months have passed since the Corona outbreak in China, which has now taken a pandemic shape, taking numerous human lives and inflicting serious injuries on the global economy. Alarmed by the spread of the virus, many countries hurriedly announced lockdown, bringing national economies to a grinding halt. This complete stoppage did not produce intended results in terms of significantly reducing the virus spread and it was realized over time that it would simply be not possible to continue with this kind of halt- a breeder of hunger, starvation and poverty. Decision-makers across nations were, therefore, left with no choice but to gradually ease restrictions. With the opening of workplaces\markets, some economic activities have commenced and Covid-19 has also spread its coverage both in terms of the number of people infected and deaths therefrom. Countries like the United States, Brazil and India are experiencing alarming situations but have not yet decided to announce the complete lockdown of the past, which was strongly resisted by people. Those driving the nations must have realized that across the board declaration of policies and attempts at forcible execution of such announcements often turn out to be counterproductive. Many countries, therefore, are adopting a pragmatic approach of easing restriction in some areas and reposing them in some places depending on the spread of the virus. Leaders do not look prepared to impose complete lockdown even in the face of a glaring reality that virus spread has moved much faster after the lifting\easing of restrictions. Even India, where the disease has assumed an alarming proportion of late, does not seem to be ready for a nation-wide lockdown that was tried before. It is now clear that countries are worried and doing their best to save human lives and at the same time those at the helm of affairs are keen to make sure that their decisions do not lead to a drastic cut in livelihoods. A delicate balance between saving human lives and livelihood has to be struck.
Following footsteps of other Corona-threatened countries, Nepal imposed a country-wide lockdown on March 24, 2077, at a time when it had seen only 2 Corona cases. The 120-days lockdown was lifted after mid-July with some restrictions in place. Expert opinions abound against both impositions of lockdown and its lifting. Some opine that the lockdown decision was a premature one taken in haste, which was also not utilized in making necessary arrangements related to medicine, quarantine facilities and testing. It seems the authorities took pride in the fact that not even a rat was seen on the road, probably unaware of the harm that the lockdown was doing to the economy. In meanwhile, experts, mostly from the medical field, feel that the lifting decision was taken without proper consultations as the Covid-19 threat is still high and in absence of precautionary measures, our country could see a massive surge in virus, burdening the already fragile and exhausted health care system. People do not want to argue against this opinion of experts as well as the widely held view that the Nepal government failed to make use of the 4-month lockdown period, which delivered a crippling blow to our economy.
Countries have suffered unprecedented losses in economic output on account of Covid-19. EU has suffered deepest contraction on record. While Spain suffers the highest drop in gdp (18.5 percent) amongst EU countries, the German economy is reported to be on the deepest decline on record. UK economy is reported to have been hit by worst contraction (20.4 percent) in 41 years. With major economies, including the US, suffering a contraction in output, the global economy is likely to shrink by 6 percent in 2020. In the midst of these disheartening estimates, governments, however, are trying their best to arrest the accelerating deterioration in their economies through the launching of various schemes such as financial stimulus packages. Almost all major economies, including some in Asia, have launched schemes worth billions of dollars. Governments are seen offering business loans and retaining jobs to help economies.EU organized an in-person Covid-19 budget summit in July, which after many days of wrangling approved a recovery plan (consisting of loans and grants) in the tune of 850 billion dollars. Democrats and Republicans in the US are finding it difficult to converge on one more stimulus package to help the ailing economy. China has succeeded in resurrecting domestic demand by harping on a strategy of investing in infrastructure projects, which was also successfully tried during the 2008\2009 recession. China appears to have eradicated the disease within its territory but economic downturns in other major markets have hurt Chinese exports. It may be noted that China’s astounding growth for four decades was basically on account of exports. India is also striving to get the economy moving even while struggling to contain the virus that has assumed an alarming proportion in a relatively short period of time. While many countries seem to be on the verge of producing a cure (vaccine), Russia has pleasantly surprised all of us by declaring on August 20, 2020, that it has become the first country in the world to produce Covid-19 vaccine available for use. Indeed, it is a beautiful piece of information at a time when world leaders are worried about the historical contraction taking place in their economies. Hope the concerned in Nepal are not completely unaware of the recent Corona-related positive development and the anxiety caused by the economic downturn.
The economy of Nepal has not been doing well since long with the skyrocketing trade deficit and economic growth largely depending upon the adequacy or otherwise of rain from the sky. This year we have been getting rains from the sky, which has led to an increase in paddy area by 3.24 percent, compared to the acreage under it last year. However, the unavailability of fertilizers, floods, landslides and inundation of cropped land may make it difficult to achieve the expected paddy output of 6.5 million tons this year. On the industrial\business front, citing the negative impact on industries of 120- days’ lockdown, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) states that all industries and businesses will collapse if the lockdown of this kind is re-imposed in the country. The survey conducted by NRB states that 96.7 percent of the industries\businesses reported an average decline of 73.8 percent in production\turnover compared to the normal period, which was also adequately manifested by a sharp decline (83.9 percent) in electricity consumption. Most of the industries\businesses that were forced into closure will need about 9 months to recover. We are lucky that we still have a relatively sound foreign exchange reserve to cover goods import for 13.3 months and goods and services import for 11.7 months. Further, our balance of payment has remained positive and the current account deficit has also decreased.
The annual budget of Nepal government has made some regular provisions related to tax cuts and subsidies but has remained way short of the expectation of people facing a major crisis. It is also equally doubtful whether whatever little has been stated in the budget document will be actualized. Many feel that a downsized budget with drastically reduced capital expenditure is definitely not what people expected at a time when governments elsewhere are doing so much to keep their economies moving. Listening to some observations of our finance minister, one can easily conclude that nothing substantial can be expected of the government during this period of crisis. One can simply pray that the current budget with reduced outlay does not face major hurdles in its execution. Some solace, however, can be drawn from the monetary policy of NRB, which has tried to rescue our economy by making public a bit expansionary policy. It has made efforts to enhance the quantum and coverage of refinance as well as reduce the cost of capital. NRB appears set to facilitate the injection of adequate liquidity into the market at a cheap rate. If the cheap capital to be made available is productively used, it will help arrest the decline in growth without fueling inflation, which runs the risk of hitting double-digit mark soon basically on account of supply shocks\constraints. During this difficult period, NRB has also made provision for issuance of agriculture bond by Agricultural Development Bank and energy bond by banks experienced in energy financing,to ensure the adequacy of funds in these areas. It is also gratifying to note that banks currently enjoy a liquidity surplus of more than Rs. 200 billion, which they have to disburse soon at reduced lending rates following simplified lending procedures because it would be simply unwise to sit on mounds of cost-bearing excess loanable funds for long. Hope what has been promised in the NRB annual document is actualized unlike what happens with government budgets each year. Only successful implementation of what is put in black and white can get the economy moving, which is facing the onslaught of Covid-19 likely to remain through 2021.
It is very disappointing that the concerned agencies have fallen far below the expectation of common people in terms of preparations even when they had plenty of time to do so. The government has failed in its resolve of arranging intensive care beds at 6 different hospitals located in the Valley. It is reported that half of what was allocated was used on equipment purchase and the remaining half got frozen. Equally disappointing is the performance regarding the installation of isolation beds, which is clearly shown by the fact that people who test positive for Covid-19 are now asked to isolate themselves at home. Likewise, handwashing stations that were installed across the city are now without water. A huge amount is said to have been spent to fight the disease but results are nowhere to be seen, which has left many of us perplexed. Many of us are also tempted to conclude that the initial period (120-days) of complete lockdown was a colossal waste of precious time during which meaningful homework could have been done to combat Corona. The only thing done during the period was to further injure the already unhealthy economy. This said, let us not forget that many countries have made mistakes while trying to contain the virus. Countries are facing and fighting new increases after easing restrictions, fully confident that a complete lockdown is not the solution because the disease is not likely to disappear soon and governments can ill afford to shut economies for a long time. As already stated, our experience in fighting the disease has been very unsatisfactory and people are seeing governments resorting to different location-specific measures to contain the virus. Governments in federal Nepal should take a pause to look back to learn from the past mistakes and move forward to secure an ultimate win, making earnest efforts to minimize losses on both fronts- human lives and livelihood. Such efforts launched to minimize losses on two fronts are not at all mutually exclusive and thus can be pushed simultaneously. Loss of human lives has to be minimized and the collapse of our fragile economy prevented, make no mistake.