Poverty is widespread and persistent in Nepal and the latest (1995-96) data puts the figure at 42%. There is significant intra-regional variation in the poverty rate, with far higher proportion in areas inhabited by indigenous groups in this hierarchically stratified country. In the fertile Western Plains the Tharus, the original inhabitants of the malaria infested areas were edged out of their communally held land by the high caste migrants after DDT spreading ended the mosquito menace. The new owners needed cheap and tied labour and by lending to the dispossessed Tharus at unequal terms forced them into bonded labour relationship. After generations of servitude and inter-generational transmission of poverty, the government prohibited the system in 2000, and undertook measures for their rehabilitation. Discrimination and social exclusion are dysfunctional and constitutes
disinvestments for future poverty reduction. For the poverty reduction
measures to work such chronic poor and disenfranchised group requires
proactive inclusionary policies that emphasize education-social
mobilization, establishment and monitoring of equal opportunity,
non-discrimination and rights at work, more than mere emergency support.
To reconstruct a new livelihood in a hitherto new niche, education for
children-adults, awareness rising on national labour laws, standards and
human rights, strengthening the wageworkers rights can empower such poor
and marginalized groups to fight poverty on an empowered footing. New
economic opportunities through marketable skill training, small
enterprise development, micro-finance services and intensive and
efficient use of available resources can result in creating sustainable
livelihood options for such empowered groups bustling with \"Bridging\"
Fighting Chronic Poverty with Social Inclusion and Establishing Rights at Work: Reconstructing the Livelihood of the Kamaiya ex Bonded Labourers of Western Nepal, presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, i + 10 pp.
Fighting Chronic Poverty with Social Inclusion and Establishing Rights at Work: Reconstructing the Livelihood of the Kamaiya ex Bonded Labourers of Western Nepal.[Draft]