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

This report 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 of Nepal.

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. 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.

Related publications

This is the third report in our series on federalism in Nepal produced as part of the Sundar Santa Nepal project. Find the full list of reports below.

  1. Democracy and peace in federal Nepal
  2. A sense of hope: Understanding post-federal dynamics among marginalised communities in Nepal’s Tarai region
  3. Deepening federalism: Post-federal analysis on marginalised communities in Nepal’s Tarai region
  4. Status and process of law-making in local governments: Reflections from two provinces
  5. “I can speak”: Navigating masculine spaces in federal Nepal
  6. Fiscal Federalism: An analysis of its initial implementation in Nepal