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Nepal 2018 Highlights: Path of Progress Began!
Learning from the gaps in 2017, Nepal rose to more heights in 2018, locally and globally
Interesting Facts of Nepal
Learning from the past, improving in the present and excelling in the future is the cycle of growth!
This statement perfectly suits Nepal more than any country, considering the transition stages that the country has seen over the decades.
Although a landlocked nation sharing borders with two Asian giants, a land with rich history and heritage, a country with very-rich biodiversity profile and abundant natural resources, the Himalayan nation has seen all forms of sufferings: intense political struggle, lack of proper governance, sudden shifts in ruling, lack of support & infrastructure, among others.
Fighting out the odds, the country has started making some positive strides in recent years. 2017 was one in the process that was a game-changer for the country!
Learning from the gaps in 2017, Nepal rose to more heights in 2018, locally and globally.
Look at how Nepal performed in 2018 across various fields:
While 2017 ended with the start of long-awaited Nepal’s legislature and parliamentary elections, 2018 marked the beginning of the new era in the country’s political history, welcoming KP Sharma Oli back to power.
Oli Government, by forming the new government, gave a new ray of hope for Nepalis. Balancing the act between the new Asian giants, Oli Government managed to show a new direction to Nepal beyond borders. Resultant is the new bilateral ties that the Oli Government has signed with new nations.
Here are some interesting major initiatives pertaining to the Nepal Government at a glance:
Federal Budget FY 2018-19: In a first-of-its-kind move, Nepal saw its first-ever Federal Budget on May 29, 2018, for the FY 2018-19 period. The budget made a strong pitch for the socio-economic development of the country, with empowerment of provinces and all local bodies. Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada presented the country’s Rs 1.31 trillion (Rs 81, 750 crores) budget.
4th BIMSTEC Summit: 4th BIMSTEC Summit is another major milestone that Nepal crossed in the year 2018. Held in August 30-31, 2018, the Summit was held as a strategic development in South Asia and the world nations eagerly watched Nepal throughout the Summit.
Asia-Pacific Summit: Held in Kathmandu during November 30-December 03, 2018, the APAC Summit 2018 saw the participation of the Heads of States and governments, eminent personalities, subject matter experts, businessmen and leaders of civil society belonging to various nations.
Air Service Agreement with Cambodia: Nepal signed four new agreements with Cambodia that would enhance economic, diplomatic and economic ties between the two countries. The list also includes the air service agreement.
Fresh round of talks with India: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a four-day visit to Nepal in Sep 2018, which marked Modi’s fourth visit to the Himalayan nation. The meeting was looked as significant in strengthening Indo-Nepal ties.
US-Nepal Consultative Mechanism: After a 17-year-long journey, US and Nepal met on December 19, 2018 for a new bilateral consultative meeting to enhance diplomatic and bilateral ties. The two sides agreed to take their bilateral ties to the next level with this meet.
Let’s take a look at some of the updates that kept Nepali audience glued to YouTube and other social media on account of their popularity:
Nepal’s Box Office: In an important step for Nepal Movies, the government introduced the box office system in Kathmandu Valley! Minister for Communication and Technology launched the program at an event hosted by Film Development Board (FDB). The new development was initiated to give the Nepali film industry a boost and bring in more transparency in the investment made in the industry.
Nepal Film Industry 2018 Success: Movies such as Chakka Panja 1 and 2, Kohinoor, Loot and Satru Gate made a revenue of over NPR 100 million at the box office! This was enough to take the Nepali movie industry to newer heights. Some of the influential factors for this trend included a new breed of storytellers, modern technology, attractive sets and veteran actors.
The Voice, Nepal: 2018 was the year Nepal hosted the its maiden edition of The Voice, an international singing talent show. After Nepal Idol, the international television show was a big hit among Nepal audience. Pokhara’s Bijaya Adhikari became the ‘Voice of Nepal 2018’.
Nepali Oscar Film: Winning an Oscar is a matter of pride, but more than that even being nominated for an Oscar is matter of international respect. Among the many international movies that made it to the Oscars, we can say with pride that Nepali film Panchayat was nominated for the 2019 Academy Awards Foreign Language-Oscars. Besides Panchayat, Samten Bhutia’s Tandro and My Love Promise for Kathmandu were also contending for a nomination to the Oscars.
Song Of the Year: Prasad movie’s Lai Lai went viral on YouTube and other social media, garnering 351,750 views within days of its release. Even though the movie hadn’t released, people could relate well with the story of a loving couple and their journey through life, only through the music and the beautiful lyrics of Lai Lai. The movie released in December, 2018 and won appreciation for the movie’s Director Dinesh Raut’s talent.
Nepal did some extensive tourism promotion activities in 2018 and made remarkable achievements at the tourism front.
Here are a few of them:
1 Million Tourists: In its journey to secure 2 million tourists by 2020, Nepal made a milestone mark when it touched 1 million tourists mark at the end of 2018. The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) registered a tourist arrival record of 1,001, 930 million arrivals between January-November 2018, accounting for a 17 percent y-o-y increase. Besides this, the Nepal Government decided to identify and promote 100 new tourism destinations as part of the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign. As part of its promotional activities, it plans to conduct several tourism activities in the shortlisted destinations.
Kathmandu Among Lonely Planet Top 5: The world’s leading tourist guide Lonely Planet featured Nepal’s Kathmandu among Top-5 cities, globally. Kathmandu was fifth in Lonely Planet’s list of Top 10 Cities ideal to captivate traveler’s imagination in 2018. The leading tourism guide praised Kathmandu’s comeback after the 2015 earthquake.
Lumbini ‘Best in Asia 2018’: Lonely Planet also featured Lumbini in its list of ‘Best in Asia’ Top 10 list of Tourism destinations in 2018. Lumbini was ‘seventh’ in the list. The tourism watch-guard added that the destination is missing its full potential despite a rich historical background.
Ban on Indian Currency Notes: In a recent decision, the Nepal Government decided to ban India’s high value-currency as a result of India’s demonetization effect. The ban is poised to threaten Indian tourist arrivals in Nepal, besides effecting Nepali laborers remuneration’.
Sports can be termed as one of the favorite aspects of Nepal, considering the country’s growing status in the relevant category, locally and globally in various tournaments of different sports. Cricket, Volleyball, Football, Badminton, Golf, among others are some to name a few, where Nepal has been excelling over the years. 2018 has been a special year for year in taking ahead its sports to the global level and draw additional traction of global audience.
Let’s have a glance at Nepal’s key sports highlights in 2018:
ODI Status: March 2018 was a special month for Nepal in its cricket history. The country finally secured its ODI status on March 15, 2018, joining the elite group of ODI-playing nations. A comprehensive win over Papua New Guinea in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers on March 16, 2018 gave the country this rare honor.
World Cricket 2019 Qualifiers: In an exciting news for cricket fans, Nepal made it to the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier series. In a breath-taking ICC World Cricket League Division-2 match with Canada in Windhoek (Namibia) on February 14, 2018, the Nepali cricket team registered one of the greatest victories in the country’s cricket history, confirming its position in the 2019 qualifiers series.
Sandeep Lamichhane: This young spin-sensation of Nepal national cricket team took the country’s prestige to the next level in the world cricket. With his amazing performances at world’s famous cricket leagues such as #IPL2018, #APL2018, #CPL2018, #BBL2018 and #PL2018, among various other famous tournaments, Sandeep Lamichhane changed the way the world looks at Nepali cricket.
Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour: The Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy made its maiden visit to Nepal as part of its 20-nation tour, globally. The event saw around 2500 Nepalis taking part in ‘huge rugby festival’ for the first time in the country’s history. This tour marks the Webb Ellis Cup’s first-ever visit to Nepal! This event is part of the ‘World Rugby’s ‘Asia 1 Million’ Impact Beyond’ legacy program.
Most Valuable Player 2018: Nepal national football player Rohit Chand won the ‘Most Valuable Player’ title and created history at the Go-Jek Liga 1 football league held in Jakarta on December 10, 2018. Rohit helped his team Persija Jakarta record a smashing victory against team Mitra Kukar at 2-1 to become champion of the season.
Gauchan’s Good Bye: Nepal’s cricket legend Shakti Gauchan said a complete good bye to his cricket career in 2018. Gauchan, who got retired from the international cricket in July 2018, took the #EPL2018 stage to say goodbye to his domestic cricket career as well.
Everest Premier League 2018: Tribhuvan University grounds hosted Nepal’s biggest-budget T20 cricket trophy, the Everest Premier League 2018 trophy. The 15-day tournament that was held from December 08-22, 2018 saw Lalitpur Patriots winning the title at the finals.
Nepal has seen major developments in its health sector in 2018. The country took many initiatives towards assuring a better healthcare system to its citizens.
Let’s take a look at some of such health-related updates pertaining to Nepal in 2018:
Delhi Declaration: In a move ensuring safe and effective medicinal products to its citizens, Nepal signed the Delhi Declaration to facilitate the supply of medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and medical devices to people within the region and beyond.
WHO Report 2018-22: Nepal-WHO Country Strategy (CCS) 2018-2022 report has appraised Nepal of its development status in the health category. WHO reported decline in maternal and child deaths, rise of life expectancy and fall in HIV patients, among other developments in Nepal.
Rubella-free Nation: WHO listed Nepal as one of the six countries that fought back Rubella disease completely. Surprisingly, the country achieved this milestone two years ahead of the 2020 target.
Fully-Vaccinated: Pokhara’s Kaski Municipality joined the list of fully-vaccinated regions of Nepal on July 11, 2018. The region got this recognition after a successful immunization campaign held across different wards of Pokhara metropolis.
Progress in Maternal Health: Nepal has made a remarkable progress in improving health care access to its citizens, with drastic progress in child and maternal health. Nepal Health Minister Upendra Yadav said this in a briefing in December stating that the government is reaching UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Nepal has always been active in adopting new methods in its process of development. One such trend today most prevalent in Nepal is the Technology trend. The country’s majority youth population is the major driving factor for this trend.
Let’s see how the country performed in this particular area in 2018:
Welcoming Sophia: Nepal hosted a UNDP Tech Conference in March 2018 that saw the world’s first humanoid robot named ‘Sophia’. Sophia was the keynote speaker at this conference on ‘Technology for Public Services/Development’.
For Safe Air: Yes! Nepal has successfully implemented technology for safe environment in the form of a mobile application called ‘Safa Hawa’. This Nepal-focused app, developed jointly by the US Embassy in Kathmandu and a private firm, monitors air quality and notifies the users about air quality in their surroundings.
For Effective Transport: Nepal Transportation Department has come up with an effective idea of implementing GPS in local transportation services. Through GPS-based vehicle tracking system, the government announced its plans to achieve effective regulation and management of the country’s transportation sector.
For Technical Education: To promote usage of technology and importance of it in the modern day, the Government of Nepal decided to inculcate technical education in its secondary school education structure from the next academic year. Government announced this on the occasion of Dashain festival on October 16, 2018.
Ban on Pornography: In a major decision curbing malpractices over the internet, the government has taken a serious crackdown on pornography banning around 21,000 porn sites in the first week of October 2018. The government called for a strict ban on displaying porn content across the country.
Immigration is one area that matters the most to Nepal because of the country’s high migrant population. Lack of opportunities or any other challenge, be it for any reason, Nepalis have been giving their best at every nation they work in as migrants.
Let’s take a look Nepal’s important updates pertaining to immigration sector in 2018:
Rise in Remittances: As every year, Nepalis in foreign destinations were at their best in sending back earnings to their home. Remittance flows into the country continued to rise despite decline in number of its migrant workers, said Nepal Rastra Bank in its report on November 25, 2018. According to the report, remittance inflows have grown by a record 37.3 percent to Rs 242.17 billion in the first three months of FY 2018-19.
Foreign Employment Act: In a move addressing migrant workers’ concerns across global destinations, the Government of Nepal has decided to review the existing Foreign Employment Act 2007. “We have started homework for a strong, reliable and labor-friendly act,” said the Labor Ministry. Interestingly, the amended act exempts migrant workers from offering any additional payments to any manpower agencies or the government to travel abroad for jobs.
Colombo Process: Nepal hosted the 5th Senior Officials Meeting of the Colombo Process in Kathmandu in November 2018. The 12-member minister-level meeting endorsed the Kathmandu Declaration on Labor Migration.
Nepal-UAE Deal: Nepal and UAE agreed to revise the existing Nepal-UAE labor agreement with an aim to provide more employment opportunities to Nepali migrants in UAE. In a meeting on September 26, 2018, the two sides decided to undertake groundwork for the process.
New Integrated System: In a row following Nepal’s migrant crisis, Nepal Government has declared its plans of integrating all systems and statistics related to foreign employment services. The new integrated system involves a software that can be accessed by all concerned bodies including Department of Immigration, Department of Consular Services, government agencies, international Nepal embassies, diplomatic missions and manpower companies.
8) Nepali Mahila
Nepal is known for its diverse communities speaking many languages and following multiple traditions. And, women have a special role and respect in the Nepali society.
Nepali Women, locally called Nepali Mahila, have their significant role in every part of the country’s development, be it politics, industry, entrepreneurship, among others. While they are many remarkable success stories around Nepali Mahila over the years.
Let’s take a glance at some of the significant ones in 2018:
BBC 100 Women 2018: BBC featured Nepali woman politician Uma Devi Badi in its ‘BBC 100 Women 2018’ list released on November 19, 2018. Uma Devi, currently the Provincial Assembly Member of Sudur Paschim Province of Nepal, has been recognized for her relentless works for women empowerment in Nepal.
Rise in Women Civil Servants: Nepal recorded a rise in number of women civil servants in FY 2017-18. As per the government records, FY 2017-18 saw around 20,334 women serving in various government office positions, accounting to 23 percent of civil service jobs in the country. The amendment to Civil Service Act-1993 in 2007 has reportedly contributed to this rise in number of women opting for civil service.
#MeToo Campaign: The #MeToo campaign that traveled across the world also gained serious traction in Nepal highlighting the concerns faced by Nepali women. With the #MeTooNepal taking off, women from different walks of life started sharing their views and agony on social media sites, pitching for serious measures to ensure women safety in the country.
First Woman’s 9th Visit to Everest: After setting a global record of climbing the Mt. Everest for eight times in the past, the Guinness Book record holder Lhakpa Sherpa made her ninth summit to the peak in May 2018. Sherpa says that ninth one was the toughest of all. In recognition of her efforts, the tourism community of Nepal honored her with a certification lauding her contribution to the mountaineering community.
First Woman CEO in Banking: In an exciting update for the Nepali businesswomen community, Anupama Khunjeli became the first woman CEO of a commercial private bank in the country. Anupama replaced former CEO Anil Shah as the CEO of Mega Bank Nepal.
Known for its rich cultural practices and traditional values, Nepal took celebrations and festivities to a newer high in 2018 with some unique celebrations and preparations.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
NPR 110 Mn Worth Flower Imports: As the season of Tihar made way in Nepal, the nation was abuzz with preparations for one of its festival of lights. In one such preparation, it imported NPR 110 million worth flowers from India. Nepal uses marigold and makhamali flowers during the season, which called for a huge import of 300,000 garlands!
3 Mn Leave Valley During Dashain: According to reports, nearly 1 million left the Kathmandu Valley for Dashain celebrations with their loved ones. It was observed that on an average, nearly 2.5 million people were leaving the Valley daily during the festive season.
Bibaha Panchami Celebrations: This year Nepal celebrated Bibaha Panchami in a very special way. The Himalayan Nation welcomed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to be a part of the celebrations of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita’s wedding anniversary.
Krishna Janmashtami Celebrations: Krishna Janmashtami celebrations doubled this year with the reopening of the iconic Krishna Mandir. The historical temple was fully restored on September 2, 2018 after the 2015 earthquake had destroyed parts of the temple. Devotees were extremely happy to resume their temple visits and worship to their most-loved deity.
39th World Tourism Day: On the occasion of the international day, Nepal decided to organize a Cultural Street Festival 2018 in Kathmandu’s Thamel Chowk. The cultural festival included events such as cultural shows & processions, dance party and food festivals and the participation of various dignitaries including Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation Minister Rabindra Adhikari and a few VIPs.
Nepal has always been active in hosting events of any type, be it politics, technology, sports, entertainment, etc. Continuing with its encouraging spirit of hosting events, Nepal organized many important events in 2018, some of them including:
Legendary Tabla Player Arrives: Nepal hosted a special musical concert of the internationally-acclaimed tabla player Indian-origin Zakir Hussain in November 2018. Held at Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, the concert also saw Zakir accompanied by Mridangam player Anantha Krishnan, Sarangi player Sabir Khan and Dholak player Ustad Zakir.
Israeli Film Festival 2018: Bringing the Israeli art and culture to Nepali audience, 12th edition of the three-day Israeli Film Festival was held in Thamel, Kathmandu on November 01, 2018. Organized by the Israeli Embassy in Kathmandu, this film festival marked the six decades of the establishment of Nepal-Israel diplomatic relations and ways to take it further through cultural ties.
Start-Trend Take Off: In an encouraging aspect for Nepali youth, the country saw the rising trend of start-ups and entrepreneurship culture all across. As a result, major cities of the country saw start-up events to promote innovation and draw relevant investments. The trend still has a long way to go in Nepal!
NRNA Think-tank: In a move addressing governance gaps in the country, the Government of Nepal welcomed the long-awaited think-tank by the Non-Resident Nepal Association (NRNA). The government agreed to work with Nepal Policy Institute (NPI) as its development partner.
11) Nepal Interesting Facts
Nepal made headlines for some of the craziest and unbelievable world records it smashed. While some of them were loved, some received mixed reactions.
Let’s take a look:
Dead Sea of Plastic Bags: Nepal decided to make a world record for a good cause with ‘dead sea of plastic bags’. Dozens of volunteers from Nepal came together to make the world’s largest sculpture of 10,000 plastic bags, the Dead Sea, on an open ground in Kathmandu. Volunteers prepared a map of the Dead Sea to raise awareness on ‘how plastic waste is polluting world oceans.
Only Person to Lick Forehead: Nepal’s 35-year-old Yagya Bahadur became the first and only man in the world to create a record of touching his forehead with his tongue. He now wants to enter the Guinness World Records.
Dance Guinness World Record: Nepal’s 17-year-old Bandana Nepal created a world record by dancing continuously for a long span of 126 hours! She secured a record in the ‘Longest Dancing Marathon by an individual’ category for her non-stop performance between November 23-28, 2018.
365 Nepali Vocalists: A group of 365 vocalists created a world record when they sang to Nepali Lyricist & Music Director Nipesh Dhaka tune. The song was based on an environmental theme and sold more than 10,500 copies.
One Finger Spin: Nepal’s Narayan Bhattarai shattered a world record by spinning a basketball on one finger for 11 minutes and 22 seconds. This record beat previous world record holder’s spin time of 10 mins and 33 seconds!
12) Special Stories
‘Love for Nepal’ is the unique aspect of Nepali Sansar. This love moved NS Bureau bring out the best-of-the-best stories pertaining to Nepal and Nepalese over the years, irrespective of fields. Resultant, we feel glad to have created an extensive library of special stories around sports, entertainment, tourism, among other key areas of Nepal. We did not miss to pick up the stories of influencing Nepalis and their inspiring stories that stand out as real motivation for all.
Nepali Sansar has been active all through the year covering every important aspect of Nepal in 2018. As part of the 2018 journey, Nepali Sansar Bureau took one extra step to meet some eminent personalities of Nepal in the form of interviews. The list includes general CEOs, social workers, student leaders, motivational speakers and many others from different walks of life.