Social Sciences and Humanity Studies Academic Blog

Nangi and Migration: Impact and Implications

Posted in My life by Shekhar on March 8, 2013

Ananda Raj Devkota

Basudev Poudel

Kamal Prasad Khanal

Shekhar KC


Trend of migration has been an inherent feature of Nangi village. While the families of persons employed in foreign military services widely migrated to urban areas in the past to meet their living standards, in recent times, engagement in foreign employment has been the prominent feature of migration. Most of the households have sent their members to work as wage laborers in countries of the Gulf and Malaysia.


Limited agricultural productivity and scarcity of employment opportunities in the village have prompted migration of people in search of foreign employment. In general, migration can be said to have beneficial impacts in the lives of the people at Nangi and have been found to secure food security, financial security, employment security, household security and education and health for the villagers. Had the migration been limited, most of the households would have faced insecurity of livelihoods.

Food Security


People’s migration has resulted in shortage of labor as well the amount of land is being barren in the village that has adverse impact on the productivity and increased dependency on the remittance income to buy other food items from the nearby market of Beni and Pokhara. Remitted income coming in the family has resulted in different consumption pattern among villagers. To give example Ex-British or ex-Indian army were found to be indulging in alcohol consumption and have less concern towards investment in local agricultural production while gulf-countries migrants were more spending in food and education. However the migration has both positive and negative impact on the people’s livelihood including food security aspect.

Education and health

Migration seems to have positive iImageImagempact on the education level of the villagers in many ways. First the contribution of ex-migrants for founding the base of education in the village and then secondly the villagers are spending the remitted income to educate their children either in village (greater in number) and or in nearby cities like Pokhara and Beni (very few). The absence of husbands or sons in the family tends to have effect on the performance and health of the children too.

The health of the migrants was not found to be good neither their family members in the village were having motivations to visit the health posts frequently. The process of migration has however encourage the households to consume nutritious food items and incase they face some big health emergencies, they were found to be able to cope with that only with the remitted income.

Financial security


Most of the migrants’ families had access to credit through informal sectors like local self-help groups, relatives and rich neighbors while few have access to banks (only ex-Gurkhas and ex-Indian army families). All Migrants were perceiving some degree of financial security but depending upon which countries they had gone. Ex-Indian or British Military officers were enjoying handsome income, savings and expanding their properties even outside Nangi village in nearby cities while migrants of gulf countries were more focused on income generating activities and were found to have relatively less income. In general, income level of migrants were responsible for access to banks and cooperatives

Employment Security


Besides agriculture, foreign employment has been serving as the major economic backbone of the village and remittance has played a significant role in securing basic needs of the villagers. It can be inferred that migration (foreign employment) is a crucial factor for providing employment as well as income opportunities for households of the village. Never-the-less many issues still concern foreign employment as a long term option for securing employment opportunities for the village population. Lack of education and skills is the major concern for those people perusing employment abroad. While most are working as unskilled wage laborers abroad, they earn less and have fewer opportunities for saving and investment as most of their income is spent on covering household expenses, repaying loans and education of children. Further, there are no opportunities to exercise their learned skills and implement them on local enterprises. Lack of entrepreneurial skills further drive them towards vicious circle of searching for employment abroad. Thus programs are needed to enhance skills of workers who opt for foreign employment. Similarly, conducive environment must be created to generate local jobs, impart entrepreneurial skills, and provision of credit facilities.

Household Security


Further, migration have helped secure household condition of the village primarily through improved financial status, access to health and education and increased participation of women in social activities. Never-the-less, prolonged absence of family members could result in family tensions and break up in the long run. However, heterogeneous community comprised of closely related kins and social relations has provided a safety net for family integrity and social cohesion.

(Note: The detail portion of this report can be asked from


The most memorable part of the 2 week rural internship was the painstaking hardship we faced during data collection throughout the day and the sharing of our experience in pleasant manner in the evening when we all used to gather in a camp-fire site and enjoy our achievements on the day. I personally felt the growth in my patience and the adaptation capacity to the changing environment. I realized how much important is it to know the basic environment and way of local life of the village or study area when a researcher or any student is visiting with academic purpose. This experience and opportunity has equipped me with skills and knowledge to conduct such internship for my coming generations. 

Shekhar KC, Migration and Financial security, Roll no: 9, MDEVS -2012 Batch

My internship stay in Nangi carried fully an academic purpose but I got to widen my horizon of understanding towards general people in many ways. During interviewing and focus group discussion, I was well informed about their high dependency on remittance and their desire to live a luxurious life in coming days. That made me realize how vulnerable the village people were in long term. I saw the sustainability of remittance economy as the potential sector to conduct research in coming days.

– Kamal Prasad Khanal, Migration and Health + Migration and Education, Roll no: 10, MDEVS -2012 Batch

Study for the internship at Nangi was a new experience for me and has provided me an opportunity to learn on qualitative research and on quick assessment of rural livelihoods. One of the achievements of this internship was that within short time and limited resource persons, we were able to collect all necessary data required for preparing this report.

Under the thematic topic of migration, I made special emphasis on general migration trend of the village, and impact of migration on employment and household security. Similar to the national migration pattern, Nangi village was also seeing migration of significant number of youths for foreign employment. Such migration has definitely helped ease the pressure on agriculture and increasing unemployment in the village and provided income opportunities to the households. Remitted income in the one hand has helped gain household security through increased access to food, education and health, and on the other hand been a cause for family dispute and straining of relations. Providing skills trainings and encouraging entrepreneurial activities in the village would provide better employment opportunities abroad and in the village.

Ananda Raj Devkota

General Migration Trend + Employment Security

+ Household Security

MDevS 2012

 Appendix 1: FGD Questions

FGD and Key informant questionnaire / checklist

  1. 1.      Migration information

1.1.   During certain times of the year, do any people in this community temporarily leave to look for work elsewhere?  

1.2.   At which time of the year do they normally migrate?

1.3.   Where do most of them go?

1.4.   What age group of the people who find seasonal work outside the community?

1.5.   What type of work do they look for during these times of the year?

1.6.   Since, 2006 have more people moved into your community, or have there been more people that moved away?

1.7.   What would be the trend of migration in future years?

1.8.   What do people do on return from abroad? Or is doing (if someone has already returned)? (This question may answer the skill transfer theory of migration)

1.9.   How has remittance affected food security and nutrition status of households?.

1.10.                    Why do you think people spend remitted amount in real estate or other unproductive assets?

1.11.                    Are additional laborers hired for agriculture purpose?

1.12.                    Why are they hired?

1.13.                    From where do the laborers come from?

1.14.                    What kind of agriculture are they hired for?

1.15.                    Has they brought any changes in pattern of agriculture?

  1. 2.      Migration and Food security

2.1.   How much money they invest for food?

2.2.   How has migration affected household and political, security?

2.3.   How far they have to go to buy food items?

2.4.   Storage facilities for food

2.5.   Subsidized food items through governmental or any other institutional arrangements? (e.g. Nepal food corporations)

2.6.   How much do you skip you mean per week?

2.7.    How much land do you have for cultivation?

2.8.   – Food sufficiency level before and after migration of family member

2.9.   – change in nutrition level (malnutrition, lower weight)

2.10.                    – Labor sufficiency in agricultural farm. Are the members of family are enough for agriculture

2.11.                    Do you hire? How do you fund extra labor? What is the problem that made hire additional labor? Is there any impact of hiring extra labor on productivity?

2.12.                     Has the fooding habit changed due to migration or increased remittance?

2.13.                     How far is the food market? Does market sufficiently supplies food market?

2.14.                     Have people left to work in field due to remittance?

  1. 3.      Migration and Financial Security

Family income and its major sources

3.1.   Expenditure patterns

3.1.1.      food

3.1.2.      Non-food expenses

  1. Income Sources

4.1.   Agricultural

4.2.   Non Agricultural

4.3.   Remittances

4.4.   What are the income sources

4.4.1.      Agriculture

4.4.2.      Non-agricultural sector

4.4.3.      Remittances

4.6 How much income do you earn from farming?

      Rice _______ Maize______ Wheat Vegetable _______ Fruit________

4.5.   Does the family have access to cooperatives or banks or any financial group or institutions?

4.6.   Do any of your family members have returns on savings or investments?

4.7.   Do any of your family members have life insurance?

4.8.   Do any of you family member receive pensions or any government payments? How much per year (Rs/year)

4.9.   Do you have debt? For how many year? How much?

4.9.1.      years——–

4.9.2.      amount———-

4.10.                    Have you experiences any financial crunch or shock in past five year? How many times?

4.11.                    Do you have remittances as a source of income ?

4.12.                    What is the status of remittance remitted by migrants?

4.13.                    What is remitted amount usually used for?

4.14.                    Has the food consumption habit changed before and after migration? Increased consumption of Nutritious food (Change in fooding habit/ what do they consume now and what they used to consume earlier?)

4.15.                    Do people invest remittance in agriculture improvement or businesses investment?

4.16.                    Do people save remitted income?        (If yes) On what type of business do people invested remitted income in?

  1. 5.      Education

5.1.   Effect of education in migration

5.1.1.      Has education played role in migration of people?

5.1.2.      Where do educated youths migrate most and for what reason?

5.1.3.      What kind of job they do abroad? Relate this with the education level of migrants.

5.2.   Effect of Migration in Education

5.2.1.      Is household income sufficient to fund education of children/member of the household? Has migration/remittance contributed as a source to fund education expenses? Increased access/financing education

5.2.2.      Have the performance of the students changed in the school (relate with the marks)?

5.2.3.      Has the school attendance changed in last five years? How? What about the attendance of the children from migrant’s family?

5.2.4.      Is there any role of migration in affecting the literacy rate of women? How?

5.2.5.      Has the attitude of male towards female in the family changed with the migration (relate with education)?

5.2.6.      Where do the migrant send their children for study? In village school or outside? Why?

5.2.7.      If children are sent to other places for study purpose (financed by the remittance), what are the chances of them settling there? What is the existing scenario?

5.2.8.      What is the impact of pursuing education outside on the village?

  1. 6.       Health

6.1.    What is the role of migration in improving the health of local people?

6.2.   Is household income sufficient to fund education of children/member of the household? Has migration/remittance contributed as a source to fund education expenses? Increased access/financing better health services

6.3.   Do the migrant provide financial support to local health post/centers (How has been those support utilized?)

6.4.   Has the child/ maternal mortality reduced in migrants’ family? Is there any role of migration? Have the birth weights of infants in migrant’s family improved? How?

6.5.   Increased sexually transmittable diseases (if migrant carrying from outside)

6.6.   Disseminating health related knowledge acquired from host country/place by the migrant

6.7.   Do you have latrine facilities? What type of latrine? When was it build? How did you fund?

6.8.   Has the frequency of diarrhea, fever, stomachache before and after the migration changed? If yes, what do you think are the reason? What do you do to treat that disease?

6.9.   What kind of other diseases have the family suffered from in past one year? What has been done to cure? How are those expenses funded?


  1. 7.      Employment security

7.1.   Do you think you have employment opportunities in the village?

7.2.   What are the various factors that you think is important to ensure you employment?

7.3.   Has migration resulted in lesser economic activity and ultimately affecting local employment opportunities?

7.4.   Have the migrants been engaged in long term employment opportunities or prefer seasonal migration for employment?

7.5.   Do people who return from abroad try to implement their skills and experiences in creation of employment and business??

7.6.   What could be done to encourage returnees to invest their skills locally?

7.7.   Would creation of local employment opportunities reverse the migration trend?

  1. 8.      Household security

8.1.   How has family structure been affected by migration?

8.2.   What are the affects of increased migration of male members to:
– women
– children
– elderly

8.3.   Has the increased migration of youth affected overall security of community?

8.4.   Do elderly feel insecure and dejected due to prolonged absence of their children?

8.5.   Has threats of theft increased with increasing remittance and migration?

8.6.   During the post-peace period since 2006 has the community life been normalized?

8.7.   How has migration affected social relationships and community bond?

Appendix 2: Research Participants

FGD 1:

Date: January 20, 2012

Location: Mandali, Nangi






Migrants relation


Type of work

Tiki Maya Tiluja





Korea since 8 month


Khim Maya Sherpanja





Saudi Arab since 2 years


Kesh Maya Gorbuja







Dil Maya Tiluza




Husband and son



Aimati Pun




2 sons

Honkong (since 4 years) and Saudi Arab (since 2 years)


Dil Bahadur Tiliza, Former ward Chairman, Ex-Indian army





Japan since 3 year

Student in self-financed


Date: January 20, 2013

Location: HSHS computer lab, Nangi

FGD Participants





Migrants relation


Type of work

Ram Maya Pun, community lodge committee members


36 years


Husband of under sic

Dubai since 2 years

Store keeper

Sukh Maya Pun, ban samiti, yak committee





Malaysia since 11 years


Amar Bahadur Pun, former ward chair, school management committee




4 sons, Indian army, France as a student visa study French language



Maya Purja




Husband since  years

Qatar, Malaysia, Dubai


Om Kumari Pun


Thirty two



Qatar since 2 years


Mr Kisan Pun, teacher




Brothers, sisters, mother




Date: January 24, 2013

Location: Ramche, Deurali lower Secondary School (DLSS), Myagdi

FGD Participants

1. Abir Pun, 31 years, Ramche-8, Kafaldada, (DLSS) English teacher since 2059 BS, Married: 9847702319

2. Neelam Purja, 21 years, Ramche-3, (DLSS) Teaching all subjects since last 2 years, Single: 9846381982

3. Devi Garbuja, 33 years, Ramche-3, (DLSS)Teaching all subjects since last 8 years, Single: 9847642462

4. Mr Umesh Garbuja, 23 years, Ramche-4, (DLSS) Teaching all kind of subjects since last 4 years, Single: 9847723663



1)      Mrs Ram Maya Pun, 36, Community health worker,

2)      Mrs Dilmaya Pun, Community Health Worker, Ramche (9847758193)

3)      Ms Ganga Purja, Home stay owner, Ramche

4)      Mr Vyas Khas Bahadur Gorbuja, Chairman of School running committee

5)      Laxman Pun, 37 years, Poultry Farm owner, Nangi ( taken on January 24, 2013)

6)      Budhimaya Khoraja, 45 yrs, Ramche-1, (taken on January 24, 2013)

7)      Mr Mati Bahadur Pun,  (Nursery Baaje)

8)      Mr Kisan Pun, 40, English teacher, HSHS, Nangi

9)      Mr Om Prasad Pun, 60, ex-Indian Army officer, Bhanda, Nangi

10)  Mr Raman Pun, Principal, HSHS, Nangi, (taken on January 19, 2013)

11)  Mr Kisan Pun, English Teacher at HSHS, Nangi,(taken on January 19, 2013

12)  Mr Jhaman Thapa, Nangi, (taken on January 19, 2013

Development of India and China: Why?

Posted in My life by Shekhar on February 28, 2013

“Whoever say whatever, I think India and China have attained the present development status due to the instinct of their visionary leaders to adapt to the changing world” – Shekhar KC, MDEVS

It is highly opined and hard to reject that India and China are emerging superpowers in the world. Within in few decades they are believed to be leading the world economy but it’s even more interesting to identify the factors that led to their current potential to grow into leading economy of the world after US.

My view regarding why India and China are developing so fast might be influenced by my being the citizen of the poor country Nepal which is sand-witched between these two leading economies. As being Nepali and my country not being able to grab the development speed even near to these countries and also the only two neighbors India and China, my analysis might smell frustration of being poor citizen and jealousy of the development speed of these countries. My analysis of why India and China developed might address by the answers of why Nepal didn’t develop?

I believe that the huge land, water, coal, mineral and human resources available in these two big countries are the major driving forces of development. The available huge resources were channelized into productive output and that could be sold everywhere in the world through strong trade relations. These cheaply available manpower could be mobilized to run the industries and produce product in mass number. And I think India and China somehow did the same and attained a considerable amount of economic growth. And not to forget, these both countries got sea ports through which trade anything to earn income for national and sustain livelihood of citizens. These all factors might have helped these two countries to expand their market, properly use available resources and raise income of the nation.

Along with the aforementioned factors, I think development of any country is also the outcome of the circumstances it passed through in past. Only the use of available resources and converting them into money is not sufficient to develop at the level China and India has shown to the world. Their historical hardships are to be considered seriously. China when it went through Cultural Revolution in 1965 had to sacrifice millions of lives. The national unity and motivations might have installed in Chinese people at the cost of those millions of lives. But that happened only under the leadership of visionary leaders and China was lucky to have that. The origin of that strong nationalism backed up by the huge potential human and natural resources in China led to the present China- the leading economy of the world.

India also shares a heart throbbing historical encounters against colonization of British Empire. Indian people through their fighting with British emperor got in contact with the technology and way to develop their cultural and economy. I think most of the infrastructures existing in India today were installed by Britain and it would be hard to imagine present India if the Britain hadn’t colonized India at that time. I think India learned majority of things to develop from Britain and has added less to what India has in current time.

So, development of India and China can be attributed to their existing political stability, leadership of visionary leaders, economic relations with the other nations and peace sustaining within their national boundaries. I think it’s the India and China’s pro-activeness to adapt to new development policies in line with changing context and that had enabled them to reap maximum benefits. And now they are emerging as the two super power economies of the world.

 (submitted as a assignment to Trailokya Aryal, MDEVS lecturer of International Relation)

Leasehold Forestry in Nepal and Inclusion of Dalit : A critical review

Posted in My life by Shekhar on December 17, 2012


Shekhar KC


The central argument of this paper is that leasehold forestry program in Nepal can be taken as an effective forestry strategy to include socially and economically marginalized section of the society including dalit community and address the limitation of community forestry program which has failed to enhance livelihood options of poor people. Starting with the conceptual note on leasehold forestry, this article puts light on various loopholes of community forestry management policies and practices through scholar’s analysis and case studies and explains how leasehold forestry has been acknowledged by scholars as the effective strategy to combat twin purpose of forestry regeneration and poverty alleviation of of poorer groups including dalit community.

Remaining within the discourse of natural resource management, this essay gives insight to different Inside the box(ITB) theories including Himalayan Degradation Theory of 1970s and theory of common property regime and their linkages to emergence of leasehold forestry in Nepal. Alongside, the scholarly attempt has been made to link leasehold forestry with the diverse ‘outside the box’ (OTB) developmental thinking in Nepal including top-down and bottom-up approach to development, changing role of state from developmentalist state to neoliberal agenda of development where role of state is minimized and the market is emphasized. through those OTB and ITB linkages to development and environment discourses, this essay attempts to locate and emphasize the contribution and need of leasehold forestry in the natural resource management sector of Nepal by addressing the poorer community including Dalit.

 Finally, this essay concludes that dalit inclusion in forestry management serve the twin purpose of sustainable natural resource management and simultaneously opens the livelihood options for poorer and marginalized communities by securing their legal access to the land and forestry resources.

Introduction to Leasehold Forestry in Nepal

Leasehold forestry is a community forestry management program which involves the set of policies, programs and laws that guides the management of forest by targeting poorer and socially excluded section of the society. The program intends to enhance the livelihood strength of the backward and underprivileged people though social inclusion and pro-poor projects and programs. Leasehold forestry legalizes the access of socially marginalized and poor people to the degraded land[1] and forestry resources and hence guarantees the exclusive property right to target poorest household.

Figure 1: Conceptual development from Community forestry to leasehold Forestry in Nepal


Failure of Community Forestry Programme

The initiation of Community Forestry Programme can be traced back to 1978 and has been acknowledged as a successful strategy in giving communities access to forest resources and improving forest management. However its over concerns for revenue collection through selling timber product has resulted in the ignorance to the protection and utilization of non-timber forest resources, especially forage and has not considered much about enhancing the access of poor and disadvantaged groups to such resources (Pande, 2009).

Community forestry programs though has got considerable positive comments however has been criticized on various grounds. Particularly its unfair criteria to facilitate access of rich and elite, landlords to the forestry product in one way and simultaneously block Poor, especially the landless dalit[2] to be included in the Community Forestry Unser Group member are such grounds.


And hence to cover the loopholes of CFP, Leasehold Forestry program was proposed in 1993 under forestry Act 1993 and subsequent regulation of 1993 with the objectives of stopping forest degrading and address the poorer section of the society, particularly those who don’t have private property around the forest. (Sharma, The Welfare Impacts of Leasehold Forestry in Nepal, 2011). LHF is a kind of contractual private property right on land intended for environmental regeneration with the final ownership to the state.

The LHF possesses twin characteristic: firstly, it is a land redistribution (land reform) programme that provides the poor with property right on land to work with and; two, it is a special environmental programme aimed at regenerating degraded and ecologically fragile lands (Sharma, A Proposal Submitted to SANDEE for Fall 2006 Research Competition, 2006).

The basic idea is to enhance non-timber forest regeneration while also making it possible for LHF land to meet basic livelihood needs of socially marginalized and landless groups of society. The program expects LHF households to enhance their income in a sustainable manner from both livestock, due to improved fodder availability, and timber and non-timber forest products (Sharma, 2011).


Dalit inclusion through leasehold forestry

About 20 percent of the total land in Nepal is suitable for cultivation with agriculture and forestry is the major economic activity engaging about 65 percent of the total population (Sharma, 2011).

Jayaswal and Oli (2003) claims that the poor and the disadvantaged are marginalized from the use rights they had been practicing since generations. Saxena (2002) has pointed out that the pro-poor property right regime in the management of the degraded land was missing in the community forest management policy and thus LHF programme was undertaken to fulfill the missing component (as cited in Sharma, 2011).


Similarly, Malla (2001) has explicitly underscored the crucial role of active participation of poor, women and disadvantaged groups in building their decision-making capacity. This is expected to bring effective management of the community forest and result in equitable benefit distribution among the users. Since Poorer households, especially those without land, cannot use fodder, leaf litter, and other agricultural inputs from Community Forest, LHF is expected to address the problem and end the decade-long monopoly of better-off households belong to elites and landlord over the use of forestry resources.

It is also to be pointed out that timber is mostly purchased and used by better-off households since the poor households do not have the need or ability to pay for timber. Since The poorest households do not benefit from the harvesting due to the lack of a legal provision to sell unused products, Community forestry receives wide criticisms for its lack of addressing the poorer households and landless citizens (as cited in Kanel & Kandel, 2004).


Baginski and Blaike (2007) have identified two major interest groups in community forestry sector. One is the powerful members of the CFUG who have hidden interest to control the management of the forest while other is the powerless poor people who have open interest to utilize forest for making their living (as cited in BK 2009, p. 6). Leasehold forestry can be seen as the outcome of the struggle of these two powers centers and solve the problem of inequitable resource distribution by securing the legal rights of poor people to utilize the forest for their living.


Origin of LHF in Nepal

Leasehold forestry came into existence under the Forest Act 1993 and subsequent regulation 1993. Its major objectives were to stop forest degradation and address poorer section of the society by enhancing livelihood options. It came into existence because partly as a supplementary policy for community forestry management where Community Forestry User Groups were being dominated by the elite and higher caste members of the society. Leasehold forestry programs more focuses on equity composition of the forestry user groups.

Kavre and Makawanapur which lies in the central middle hills of the Nepal were the first two districts where LHF program was implemented in 1993. The program spread to 26 districts in 2004. Data suggests that 1,775 LFUGs are already established involving 12,433 households. There is a provision for the land lease of 40 years (Bhattarai 2005, p. 20). Under a LHF programme, a poor household with less than 0.5 hectare land are eligible for holding the leaseland (Sharma, 2006).

The root of LHF can be traced back to the pilot project entitled the Hills Leasehold Forestry and Forage Development Project (HLFFDP) financed under loan by International Fund for Agriculture development (IFAD), but later on government undertook and merged it under the national forest programme. The LHF was designed for the poor specifically aimed at raising the incomes of the families below poverty line through sustainable harvesting of forest based products and to improve the ecological conditions of the hills.

The major agents of leasehold forestry including Department of Forest (DoF), Department of livestock services (DLS), Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) and Agricultural Development Bank were more focused on three major objectives.

a)                  organize LFUGs and transfer forest resource tenure (mainly degraded land) to resource poor households,

b)                  provide training on skill development to the members of LFUGs, and

c)                  Provide small-scale credits to income generation activities, mainly livestock.

International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD, 1990) clearly states provision for leasehold household and the land ownership. Only those families are given degraded land for the lease whose income fall below NRs 3,035 per capita income and own less than 0.5 hectre of land. While transferring the use right of a forest, community forestry has got higher priority over leasehold forestry. By law if there is no claim for community forest, then only leasehold forestry provisions are applicable (Bhattarai 2005, p. 20).

Gregorio (2004) has identified rural poor as the one with the weakest property rights and hence facilitating their access and rights to land, water, trees etc were essential to alleviate poverty. Parik (1998) and Angelson and Wunder (2003) reminds that legalizing the property rights and enhancing the collective actions in natural resource conservation as well as combating poverty issues has been widely followed during the past two decades. According to them, the poor are both the victims as well as the potential agents of resource degradation, sustainable environmental protection requires that the poor themselves are made to act as agents of environmental resource regeneration (as cited in Sharma, 2006).

One such paradigm with the poor as the main agent of forest regeneration was the “Leasehold Forestry” (LHF) that was institutionalized in Nepal in the 1990s (Ohler, 2000). The particular policy of leasehold forestry is said to be driven in part by the struggle between donors to get credit for addressing the issue of Himalayan degradation in Nepal.


Understanding Dalit exclusion in Forestry Management

It is interesting to note how Dalits are excluded from the Structure and process dimension of the forestry management sector.


BK (2009) has modeled the exclusion of Dalit in forestry through two different categories i.e. Structure (memberships) and Process (decision implications). Dalit inclusion in the forestry management has been underscored by scholars and the government not only for the poverty alleviation of the poor dalit, who often don’t have land and are deprived of property rights but also to enhance the sustainability of the forestry management committee and concerned institutions. This is expected to serve the twin purposes of addressing poverty and regenerating forests.

Figure 2: Framework of Dalit exclusion in natural resource management sector.

There are both optimistic and pessimistic scenarios of dalit participation in the forestry management institution.

One data shows that representation of Dalits in FUG committees has increased from 2% in 1996 to 7% in 2003. Similarly, another data set from training programs organized in Okhaldhunga district from 1996-2002, however, shows that out of 2,504 participants, only 20 were from Dalit castes. Dalits, who are already suffering from the untouchability issue from the higher caste people, are excluded from the forestry management and access to their vital livelihood options or forestry products.

Figure 3 Table showing that Dalits are highly excluded from the community resource management structure

Scholars have identified several reasons behind exclusion of Dalits in forestry management. BK (2009) claims that Dalits are excluded due to lack of information and investment (p. 4). He justifies the claim by giving the instances of a case study of a CFUG where they have tradition to select dalit women just to fulfill the criteria of both women and dalits representation in CFUGC. The hidden interest of ‘discursive power accumulation understood as an attempt to show that participation of women has increased but this helps them to create post for other. (BK, 2009, p. 5)

As CFUGs are major structure and forest is major source of livelihoods strategy in rural area, exclusion causes to bear huge cost for individual and society in rural areas particularly for the poorest and marginalized society (BK, 2009, p. 5). There is cost bearing to the household, community and sustainability of the institution (p. 6).

The case study shows how decision of committee marginalized forest dependent people who are actual beneficiaries of the timber (BK, 2009, p. 6).

Auction Vs Equitable distribution

A CFUG has huge mass of timber that can be used to improve the livelihoods strategy of the poor CFUG member. The poor CFUG members have aspiration to utilize the timber for making furniture for income generation activities while CFUGC want to increase its fund by selling it outside. (BK, 2009, p. 6) generation activities while CFUGC want to increase its fund by selling it outside. CFUGC favored auction system of timber sale while poor CFUG members favored equitable distribution system with price included in operational plan. Ultimately, in one case of that time, CFUGC decided to sale timber product by auction. They fixed minimum price 4000 NRs. BK, 2009, p. 6) and meeting of 24 CFUGs in the district in 2005. The evidence shows that women and dalits proposed very few agenda in decision‐making forum (BK, 2009, p. 7).

Exclusion from the Process of CFUG

Karna Bahadur Nepali, a member from dalit community cannot sit together with higher caste CFUGC member. He cannot submit proposal and oppose decision taken by the higher caste. If he opposes the decision, he has fear, he cannot get wage work.

Similarly the case study of Thamarjung CFUG of Tilhar VDC of Parbat district shows that the conflict between CFUG committee (often dominated by elites and powerful) and CFUG members (poorer groups) has resulted due to their conflict of interest. CFUG committee want to increase the fund of the committee by selling the timber outside while CFUG members who are poorer than others want to use forestry timber for making furniture and sell them to increase their livelihood option. The auction system of CFUG committee to sell the product has marginalized the access of poorer people who don’t have capacity to buy the product. The benefits are directed towards rich and elite while poorer are being restricted interms of making their living by using forestry product.


There are well established literatures suggesting that the Community forestry programme was conservation and protection oriented during its inception in the country. BK (2009) claims that this protection oriented strategy of the programme has marginalized the livelihoods of the more people who dependent upon the livestock management as there were prohibition of the grazing inside the community forest. As a result it has reduced the number of livestock of the rural people as it required stall feeding (p. 8).Similarly, of the total households, largest dalit populations are excluded from good and very good forest. All caste households are excluded from good forest condition (p. 8).


Leasehold forestry (Outside the box)


Figure 4: Picture showing theoretical location of Leasehold Forestry practices in references to different developmental thinking.

It is very important to understand the how the developmental discourse outside the environmental sector influence the policy and practices in the environmental sector. Bhattarai (2005) has elaborated the presence of various discourse and ideologies to locate the concept of leasehold forestry and its particular emergence in the context of Nepal (p. 18).

The emergence of Leasehold forestry in Nepal has been elaborated in narrative manner by Bhattarai. According to him, popularization of Himalayan Degradation theory in 1970s opened the way for western donor to implement massive afforestation project in Nepal through local capacity building strategy. Community Forestry became widely accepted management strategy during 1990s with particular interest on inclusion of marginalized and poorer sections of the society. According to Eckholm (1976), motive behind focusing on exclusion issues was to grasp credit among the competing donors in Nepal who were all working for common objective of forestry regeneration and among the same land area (as cited in Bhattarai 2005, p. 18).

According to Gibson (2000), Agrawal (2001) and Dolsak and Ostrom (2003) Leasehold forestry is influenced by ‘The theory of common property’ which assumes that only the resource user can best preserve and utilize the resources and enhance its sustainability. This theory basically argue if it is proper to hand over power to user groups to shape the rule regarding use of forest or intervene centrally through state mechanism or donor supported actions to manage the resource. Leasehold forestry was initiated under the assumption that only the state enforced policies through donor support can direct the forestry management in proper direction (as cited in Bhattarai 2005, p. 19).

Bhattarai has also linked the four stages of developmental thinking in Nepal and the role of state with the emergence of Leasehold forestry in Nepal. He states that during the period between post-war and 1970s, states were stronger and the main agency of development characterized by authoritarian and oppressive regime. This thinking had resulted in the widening gap between state and the poor citizens who were majority in number. Later during early 1980s, environmental sectors became potential area for western donor to invest and promote development. During mid-1980s, Nepal got caught by Neo-libral policies in forestry sector resulting in market oriented strategy of forestry institution and ignoring livelihood options of poorer section of the society. During 1990s, people started questioning over the methodologies, assumption and kitty-gritty aspects of forestry policies and gave emphasis on local issues and cultural identity. Bhattarai concludes that Leasehold forestry carries the diverse agenda of sustainable development and neo-liberal agenda.

Also, the need of Leasehold forestry can be understood from trend of development practices changing over the time in Nepal. When top-down approaches received wide criticism for not being able to enhance participation of all section of the society, participatory notion of development became widely accepted principle agenda of development. Chambers (1996) put forwarded the concept of ‘communicative rationality’ which emphasizes that citizens must be freed from the manipulative and deliberative process of policy making and simultaneously the public opinion formed through open debate and discussion in non-institutionalized setting of public sphere of citizens should be incorporated while drafting policies (as cited in Bhattarai 2005, p. 19).

Leasehold forestry (Inside the box)


Figure 5: Development of different stages of environmental thinking and its impact on forestry policy of Nepal

Ostrom (2000) and Gregorio (2004) has put forwarded the notion of “Property rights” as the most determining factor for optimal and sustainable management in the discourses of natural resource management (as cited in Sharma, 2006). According to Heltberg (2001) Property right is the claim over future income stream from an asset.

During 1970s and 1980s, property right regime saw a major turning point in its management strategy. Local people were considered the true and the only reliable agents of natural resource conservation at the policy level in the developing countries. According to Dasgupta (1997), the cost and the revenue incurred through the forest provide incentives to the concerned community and hence people were trusted source of protection and promotion of the forest (as cited in Sharma, 2006).

Scholars (Bhattarai et al, 2005) have underlined the theoretical understanding of leasehold forestry in Nepal. According to Bhattarai (2005) the access to forest has close correlation with the poverty alleviation impact because securing right to use forest means securing land right which safeguard the property right of the user. Without these legal rights to forest and land, landless people including poor Dalits are obliged to adopt survival strategies with high level of vulnerability and low resilience towards their daily life threats and basic needs. Hardin (1968) anticipates such scenario to result in frequent degradation of the forestry product and often burgeoning conflict among the resource owners and landless people

The policy of Leasehold forestry and community forestry indicates their common space of conflict while the programs are being implemented in daily life of the users. Since forest has been the major source of income and livelihood for many people living around the forest, conflict occurs regarding the ownership and consumption of the forestry product. Leasehold forestry has defined the criteria for the effective management and use of the forestry product by giving the use right to the general people living within certain boundary of the respective forest. But such provisions are often criticized for its lack of vision[3] to address the local problem of ownership.




It can be inferred that dalit inclusion in forestry management sector is significant not only from the environment protection and sustainable management perspective but also enhancing the livelihood options for poorest sections of the society. This shift in policy changes and thinking is not only the impact of policy at local level interms of different development indicators including poverty index but also their intricate linkages with the changing shift in the development practices and trend over the time.


Bhattarai, B., & Dhungana, S. P. (2005). How Can Forests Better Serve the Poor? A Review of Documented Knowledge on Leasehold and Community Forestry in Nepal. Kathmandu: ForestAction Nepal.

Bhattarai, B., Ojha, H., & Yadav, H. (2005). Is Leasehold Forestry Really a Pro-poor Innovation? Evidences From Kavre District Nepal. Journal of Forest and livelihood , 4 (2), 17-30.

BK, N. K., & Gywali, N. R. (2009). Ethno Political Ecology of Social Exclusion: A discourse in Community Forestry of Nepal. Policy recommendation report, DFID Dhankuta and NPC Kathmandu, Kathmandu.

Darnal, S. (2009). Securing Dalit Rights: The case of Affirmative Action in New Nepal. Kathmandu, Nepal.

Kanel, K. R., & Kandel, B. R. (2004). Community Forestry in Nepal: Achievements and Challenges. Journal of Forest and Livelihood , 4 (1), 55-63.

KC, R. (2007, August 31). How can forest be managed sustainably after Sanghiya Sasan in Nepal? p. 2.

Pande, R. S. (2009). Pro-poor community forage production programme in the Nepal Australia Community Resource Management and Livelihoods Project, Nepal.

Sharma, B. P. (2006). Poverty Alleviation through Forest Resource Management: An Analysis of Leasehold Forestry Practice in Nepal. 32. Nepal.

Sharma, B. P. (2011). The Welfare Impacts of Leasehold Forestry in Nepal. Patan Multiple Campus, Tribhuvan University. Kathmandu: SANDEE.

Singh, B., & Chapagain, D. (2005). Community and leasehold forestry for the poor: Nepal case study. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Uprety, B. R. (2000). Social transformation through community forestry: Experiences and lessons from Nepal. Kathmandu: Nepal Swiss Community Forest Project/SDC Nepal.


[1] Literature suggests that approximately 11 percent of the total land area of Nepal, which is often denoted as degraded one, is considered appropriate for conversion into LHF land.

[2] The arrangement is such that to be member of a CFUG, one has to be a resident of that locality. On this ground, Dalit, who don’t have land, are excluded from being a CFUG member. And hence it excludes dalit from multiple benefits including decision making to consumptions and livelihood (Kanel & Kandel, 2004).

[3] Joshi et al. (2000) have reported from the study of the LFUGs through the case study of Kavre that only the rich and elites are being benefitted and eligible for land ownership from Leaeshold forestry program. He has found out in his study that the average distance to the forest of excluded households is 0.35 km and average distance to the forest of the included households is 0.70 km from their settlements. That means the criteria set to include or exclude households from being the user of the leaseholds, not on the basis of who are needy and more local and poor, but on the basis of whose house is located within the area of that particular VDC where forest is located (as cited in Bhattarai 2005, p. 22).