In Nepal, social mores are changing – with federalisation bringing new opportunities for the political representation of the previously marginalised, especially women and Dalits, members of the lowest caste. Small and medium-sized towns can be a place for those facing discrimination in their home villages, particularly Dalits, to forge a new identity for themselves. They are also places in which the vulnerable can be easily exploited, or at least find it difficult to gain a livelihood. Those vulnerable in this case are often recent arrivals who lack social support networks, such as young women and men arriving from their villages with limited education and skills. Who is truly disadvantaged may in some cases be less a function of caste and ethnicity, and more a matter of sheer economic poverty, combined with gender. It can also be a simple matter of location, with those concerned being forced to live in the most recently established, least desirable parts of town.

 

Nepal: Federalism – a catalyst for urbanisation

At the heart of the federalisation process in Nepal is the devolution of political and administrative decision-making to State and local levels.