Gandaki

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The administrative zone Gandaki is located in Central Nepal. Gandaki is composed of six districts: Manang, Gorkha, Lamjung, Kaski, Tanahu, and Syangja. Gandaki is part of the Western development region, which is mainly located on hills territories, except for the mountainous Manang district. Since the new constitution implemented in 2015, Nepal is a federal state divided into seven provinces. Gandaki zone is part of Province no. 4.

Demographics

1,549,857 people live in Gandaki. The most populated district is Kaski with 492,098 (236,385 men and 255,713 women) inhabitants. 323,288 (143,410 men and 179,878 women) people live in Tanahu; 289,148 (125,833 men and 163,315 women) people live in Syangja; 271,061 (121,041 men and 150,020 women) people live in Gorkha; 167,724 (75,913 men and 91,811 women) people live in Lamjung. Manang is the least populated district with 6,538 (3,661 men and 2,877 women) inhabitants.

Figures for the Gandaki administrative zone are not available, but the Central Bureau of Statistics of Nepal provides data for the widest Western development region of which Gandaki is part.

In 2015, in the Western development region, out of 4,926,765 people, 4,221,113 were Hindus, 402,411 were Buddhists, 219,971 were Muslims, and 53,747 were Christians (mainly living in Kaski district).

In 2010, the main ethnicities represented in the Western population were Chetree, Brahman and Magar with above 500,000 people from these descents respectively, and Tharu, Musalman, Kami and Gurung with above 200,000 people from these descents respectively.

The main languages spoken in 2010 were Nepali and Bhojpuri.

The literacy rate was 57.5 percent in 2008.  

 

Economics:

The Western development region, of which Gandaki is part, contributes a little to Nepal’s foreign trade. It accounts for 5.3 percent of Nepal’s exports and 14.84 percent of its imports.

In 2010, the mean income per household was 212,694 Nepalese Rupees and the mean income per capita was NRs 45,651.

The unemployment rate in 2010 was 2.2 percent.  

The poverty rate in 2008 was 22.25 percent.  

The Western development region is mainly agricultural. Out of 1,897,496 workers, 1,292,820 are employed in the agriculture sector, 88,882 in manufacturing, and 126,203 in wholesale and retail trade. 80.2 percent of households of the region were involved in agricultural activities in 2010. 70 percent of them cultivated paddy, 50.4 percent wheat and 73.2 percent maize.

In 2008, 45.1 percent of the population had migrated out of the region. This migration induced a large scope of remittances. In 2010, 66.6 percent of households received remittances. The share of remittances on their income was 32.4 percent.

Province no. 4, of which Gandaki is part, is rich in many natural resources. The glaciers are already exploited to provide electricity, but copper, iron, uranium and gold mines could also be a source of revenue for the province.

Gandaki will also know various infrastructures project which can enhance the economic results of the zone. Hydroelectric plants in Tanahu district are to be constructed and a new international airport is to be developed in Pokhara, in Kaski district.

 

Politics:

In the latest local elections, the Nepali Congress won a majority of seats in Province no. 4, with 44 seats compared to 34 for the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML). In the Gandaki zone, the CPN-UML won in Lamjung, Kaski, and Syangja districts, while the Nepali Congress won in Gorkha and Tanahu districts.

 

Further readings:

Mahendra Lawoti, Susan Hangen (2013) Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Nepal: Identities and Mobilization After 1990, Routledge

V. R. Raghavan (2013) Nepal as a Federal State: Lessons from Indian Experience, Vij Books India Pvt Ltd

John Whelpton (2005) A History of Nepal, Cambridge University Press