The Position of Marginalized Groups in the Elite Captured Local Level Planning Process in Nepal


  • Keshav Kumar Acharya Kathmandu Forestry College (KAFCOL), Tribhuvan University
  • Raj Kumar Dhungana Kathmandu University, School of Education
  • Hari Prasad Guragain Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, Nepal



Planning, local governments, municipalities, constitution, federalism


The participatory planning and budgeting process at the local level encourages citizens to participate in the selection, implementation, and management of development plans. Over the last few decades, the elite captured planning process in Nepal is criticized for being unfair to the marginalised groups. This paper, through a critical qualitative assessment of the local level planning process, explored the role of political actors and the marginalised communities in the local level decisions. It adapted the Weberian idea of power networks where elites can implement their will, even against the will of others. It revealed that the influence of traditional political elites - i.e., Panchas – has shifted to the newly elected or selected political elites, the neo-elites, represented by the local leaders including elected Mayors, with some exceptions. The neo-elite control in the local planning process is as strong as it was in the past despite there being progressive provisions in the constitution, laws and systems. The distribution of plans among influential leaders, bhagbanda, is widely practised at the local level. As a result of these progressive provisions and the follow-up of the seven-step planning process, the neo-elites started consulting with the representatives of the marginalised communities in planning-related decisions. It is recommended that the political parties re-orient the neo-elites to be pro-people. Neo-elites who are inclusive, and follow the progressive laws and the formal systems of the nation, are to be prioritized.

Author Biographies

Keshav Kumar Acharya, Kathmandu Forestry College (KAFCOL), Tribhuvan University

Keshav K. Acharya is Governance Advisor of Capacity Development Support to Governance Project of GIZ Nepal. His main interest areas are federalism, local governance, public policy, capacity development, regional/urban planning, service delivery, peacebuilding, and community development. He holds PhD from the University of New England, Australia, and an MSc from the Asian Institute of Technology of Thailand. As a development expert, Dr. Acharya worked in different multilateral and bilateral organisation positions for more than 20 years. Additionally, he has written some books, articles, and research papers published in peer-reviewed international journals and book chapters.

Raj Kumar Dhungana, Kathmandu University, School of Education

Raj Kumar Dhungana is a development professional with more than two decades of experience in bilateral, multilateral, government, and civil society organisations in good governance, education, peacebuilding, and gender. He holds a PhD from Kathmandu University. He is currently working in the Royal Norwegian Embassy and teaching development policy and planning as a visiting faculty member of Kathmandu University, School of Education.

Hari Prasad Guragain, Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, Nepal

Hari Prasad Guragain is a government official with more than a decade of experience in Nepalese civil service. He has served different local governments as an executive officer at the local level and has been involved in the service of MoFAGA in various divisions including the PLGSP/PCU. He holds master’s degrees from Tribhuvan University and the International University of Japan.


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How to Cite

Acharya, K. K., Dhungana, R. K., & Guragain, H. P. (2022). The Position of Marginalized Groups in the Elite Captured Local Level Planning Process in Nepal. Nepal Public Policy Review, 2, 1–26.



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