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A comparison: E-service in Estonia and Nepal


Introduction to Estonia:

                                                                                        Estonia (Credits: Mr. Joshep El Khoury)

Estonia is a very appropriate example of an information society. More interesting is the fact that, it bypassed the industrial phase to reach here. We are in a point of time where preservation of what is remaining of the natural resources we have is a must. Industrial phase was more like a trend to pass through to have a developed society but then the trade-off is the natural resources. Estonia managed to have a highly technological architecture without trading off its resources and hence, setting a trend of its own. Almost all the basic services that citizens and the government bodies use are made online. One of the main reason for this is the architecture of the database system that Estonia followed. Instead of having a centralized database repository , it opted to a decentralized system of components with there own databases and services, all linked together. Modification and advancement of this kind of flexible system was relatively easier, which accelerated the development process for Estonia.

The components of digital society of Estonia:

As mentioned earlier all the basic services used by government bodies and citizens are in the clouds. It has completely changed the way and the perception of doing things and getting things done for both parties. The aspects that have major benefits from the concept of digital society are listed below:

  1. BUSINESS : Gone are those days when Estonians had to run around with legal papers to register a new company. The online business registration service allows Estonians and even Europeans from Belgium, Portugal, Lithuania and Finland with a valid cross-border digital signature. They claim to have a potential user-base of up to 20 millions! As the numbers suggest, the ease of business registration is attracting a lot of entrepreneurs. This case study is one of the many success stories relevant to this domain. Furthermore , taxes can be paid and the information related to taxes can be accessed within minutes using the e-Tax service. These services bring a strong sense of confidence in investors and facilitates running business for entrepreneurs in Estonia.
  2. QUALITY OF LIFE: Health services , security , welfare-benefits, taxation , voting , education  services are all online. Imagine the number of social interactions that are all done online now, by the citizens. If we only calculate the amount of energy saved just from transportation, we can easily infer how advantageous it is for our time.
  3.  GOVERNANCE : “You cannot bribe a computer”, says the President of Estonia, Mr.Toomas Hendrik Ilves. E-governance, online voting and online taxation system removes the human element from the equation;the human element that can be bribed, that is greedy and mean. This has lead to a very transparent system of governance and also a very efficient one as well. And the coolest of all, the e-cabinet system. Ministers interact and communicate with each others using this platform. An agenda to discussed upon is put forward in which the ministers can either agree, object or want to talk about. If no one objects, the agenda is passed unanimously. No more long talks no more unnecessary discussions needed.
  4. ENERGY: Smart-Grid system developed by the entrepreneurs and the software industry people provides services like real-time energy consumption measurement ,metering, comparing various energy packages available. The best of the services provided is the option to choose the amount of energy that one will receive from renewable resources. This by default increases the responsibility of citizen towards energy conservation.

About Nepal:

Nepal was open to the outer world only after 1950’s. That being said, the country was totally unaware / untouched / unaffected by the industrial revolution. Majority of the population still resides in villages. Due to geographical complexities, all the 75 districts of Nepal were within the reach of internet only after the introduction of ADSL. The government had not realized or may be was not stable enough to realize the importance of e-services until recently. The following are the online services available in Nepal:

  1. Company Registration: The service was started from the year 2012. As the name suggests,it allows users to register a new company. The limitation of this service is that  the registration process is active only during office hours and only on work days. This has at least cut short all the hassle an entrepreneur or a business person had to go through, had it not been there. The platform informs that data from all the paper based registrations are still being added. It seems to be in a immature phase and will take some time to grow into full potential (that is if the government body maintains it effectively).
  2. Online Driving License: The online driving license service is a recent initiative from the government. The platform is under construction (and no one is sure how long it will be having that status). As per the marketing, through this platform the users can apply for driving license, book a trail day and and view the taxation amount. Payment is not possible since online payment systems in Nepal is still in a very early phase.
  3. Public service commission: This is the body of the government which is responsible for the intake of civil servants (excluding army). The online platform provides users the benefits of being updated with the current news from every corner of the country (excluding those that are not in the reach of computers or internet or both). It also provides downloadable forms for the application of service in the government.


Apart from these, most of the government organization have a website for themselves which is not so well maintained and not so inviting. Comparing the online services to Estonia would not be possible in any way as Nepal is still far far away in terms of technological advancement. The government is trying to emphasize more into the intake of more IT employees and also the trend of setting low budget for IT is changing (but in a snail-pace). The country can learn a lot from Estonia since it still has not reached in its industrial phase yet. Estonia’s success story could do some badly needed magic trick to make the country technologically advanced.



Pokali Waterfall, Okhaldhunga, Nepal

Mero Desh Mero Jimmiwari( Part 1 Rumpel Sti


Nothing amuses more a child than nature.All of us,once in a while, after it rained (mostly) have seen a semi-circular collection of colors and screamed with joy,resolving the display of nature into what the childish conscience wants to make of it.Its just wonderful to see a rainbow, isn’t it?What if I tell you I have touched it! Yup, you heard me right and no I am not drunk.This can happen if you are in Nepal and ,would not mind traveling a couple of hours by road from the capital city to Okhaldhunga.

Okhaldhunga has hills in its courtyard and mountains at its roof.One of the seven components of Saptakoshi,which is the largest river of Nepal,Likhu river falls in the same district.Pokali,which is claimed to be the second highest waterfall of Nepal lies near the border of Okhaldhunga and Raamechap.To reach Pokali isn’t very difficult if you do not have any problem travelling by bus for some hours.

When I was planning to travel to Okhaldhunga,  I knew near to nothing about how to reach there. I just had a tiny piece of information that Pokali lies in Okhaldhunga and then one can see a rainbow in the waterfall. I went to the old buspark (KTM) and then enquired about the waterfall and the best route. No one seemed to have much information about it;not even the locals!! Finally someone informed me that the route from Ramechap is the shortest to reach the waterfall, of which the informant was “not so sure”.

If you’re planning to go to Pokali, this part is for you. We (me and 4 of my travel mates) took the long route by taking a bus to Sanghutaar (Raamechap). The fare was Rs 450 and the time of departure was 8:00 A.M. sharp in the morning.It took us nearly 7-8 hours to reach Sanghutaar. We stayed in the local lodge there which was very cheap. (50 Rs a bed and 80 Rs per meal which was rice and the likes that Nepalese prefer). The owner of the place was Mr. Ganesh Shrestha a.k.a. Ghadiwala (The Watch Man). He used to be a photographer of his time.We were fortunate to have a chance to see a vintage Yashika Camera which was 25 years old! The next morning, we had to hike for around 3 hours along the banks of Likhu river to reach Sirishe. I’ve heard that now-a-days one can get direct bus to Sirishe.We had our morning meal here at a local hotel owned by Sunuwar kaka(I dont remember his name but I cant forget his hospitality.). Still we are in Raamechap. From here, we could see the waterfall in the hills already. So close, yet so far. We crossed the river Likhu  and then from here started, Okhaldhunga. We hiked for around 3 hours through the farms and villages, rivers and brooks.Finally after 2.5 to 3 hours of hike, we could hear the waterfall roaring 500 meters before the actual location. It was just amazing!!

Being honest, I don’t have much words to describe the actual feeling.I mean, this entire journey’s experience is not-so-expressable with words. There is a committee which looks after the waterfall which was led by Mr. Om Subedi then. The committee’s work is praiseworthy, I shall say. There are stairs so that you can see the entire view of the waterfall. When at the foot of the waterfall, we could not hear our words well due to the roar of the waterfall.But, when we climbed the stairs to have a more closer look, we were just spellbound. Once there, you will find yourself looking at an angle of 75 degrees, trying to see the origin/head of waterfall. Visit there during rainy seasons Shrawan  (July / August) and you can see the waterfall at its best. Plan accordingly so  that its sunny when you get there. And then, at the other end of this perfect plan, you can touch a rainbow formed by the rays of sun striking the droplets from the waterfall. Again, a small information here. You can get a direct bus from KTM to Dhade (Okhaldhunga). This way you don’t have to put much effort to reach the waterfall exactly.

Lastly, I had assured Mr. Om Subedi that we will advertise about this place through facebook and internet which at that time I was unable to. This blog post is an attempt to put some light to one of the most beautiful, yet shadowed places in Nepal. To everyone, who reads this (specially to those Nepali feet craving for newness) Pokali hits the must-reach list. Its near to ktm, easily reachable, cheap and top of all mesmerizing. This article might have some flaws and places where I can correct myself. Write me at manishlamichhane@gmail.com if you need more information or have some feedbacks. So long readers!