Deepening federalism

Post-federal analysis on marginalised communities in Nepal's Tarai region – Federalism in Nepal Vol. 3

This report uses the experiences of the Madhesi Dalit, Muslim and Tharu communities in Nepal's Tarai region to analyse the dynamics of marginalisation and opportunities post-federalism.

It looks at the evolving dynamics of marginalisation and opportunities in the post-federal contexts by focusing on the experiences of Madhesi Dalit, Muslim and Tharu communities in the Tarai region.

The findings of this explorative study suggest that federalism has resulted in progress in devolution of administrative and political power and inclusion of marginalised and under-represented groups opening up new political spaces and opportunities for women and marginalised groups.

However, at times these representations have been limited to box-ticking exercises resulting in non-dominant inclusion of women, Madhesi Dalits, Muslims and Tharus in the decision-making mechanisms, including provincial and local government bodies. As a result, despite their presence, there is a real risk of these groups being used merely as a ‘showcasing model’ and instead facing further marginalisation of their voices and concerns in these spheres of governance.

Currently, there is a critical need to provide support to enable those elected representatives from the minority groups to have stronger bargaining power in the decision-making of the local government bodies. Such support needs to be a long-term process and should also involve the civic and customary social organisations from the minority communities, because these institutions, if mobilised appropriately, could play a positive catalyst role to unite and mobilise communities for increased participation and positive engagement with the federal structures and reap the benefits.

This is the second of two reports based on a study conducted by the Sundar Santa Nepal project. The first is entitled, ‘A sense of hope: Understanding post-federal dynamics among marginalised communities in Nepal's Tarai region’.