06/14/2012, 00.00
NEPAL

Nepal, government employees tax themselves to stop suicides among poor

Kalpit Parajuli
The government's initiative comes after several cases of suicides and murders due to the economic crisis. From January suicides and homicides have increased by 13%. Wealthy students help to poorer classmates to pay canteen and school books.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - All government employees have been asked to help the poor and unemployed. It is the initiative launched in recent days by the Nepalese authorities in an attempt to address the dire economic and political crisis that is leading the country toward the brink of collapse. According to police since January cases of murder and suicide for reasons related to the economy increased by 13%.

The project created by the state government asks employees to pay a small portion of their salary in a mutual fund, the minimum amount is a Nepalese rupee. The amount will cover the most severe cases of poverty and support those who want to open a business

Mahenda Poudel, chief of staff to Prime Minister, said that decision was made after numerous cases of violence against or made by people who had lost their jobs. "The initiative - he said - it's just a small gesture and we are aware that other types of strategies are needed to address the crisis." The situation of widespread poverty has driven many wealthy families to help the needy. In many public schools the richest students have collected cash and assets to reduce the costs of meals and books for others.

In recent months, the population was shocked by two cases of murder-suicide that have opened a lively debate on the serious consequences of the crisis and the political inertia. On March 30, Ramia Chaudhari, a young woman of 25 years of Bara district (southern Nepal), killed herself and her children because she was not able to feed them and pay their school fees. In May Radhika Neupane, 37 years of Dhangadhi (western Nepal) poisoned her children and tried to kill herself. To date she has not revealed the reasons for the attempted suicide, but police said she had fallen into depression after losing her job. Dhanadhi is one of several cities where many companies have closed due to political instability in the country, which increased after the failure of the launch of the new constitution on May 28th. The internal crisis is also affected by the global recession which has caused a significant reduction in the remittances of more than 4 million migrant workers who represent about 20% of GDP.

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