The highly anticipated Liberty Debates Championship ‘Mahasangram 2016’ kicked off on 2nd April, 2016 at King’s College, Babarmahal. A total of 34 teams are participating and competing in either English or Nepali categories. The orientation program for debaters and adjudicators were held before the tournament so as to further familiarize the participants with the technicalities of the British Parliamentary format, particularly those who weren’t a part of our Liberty Debates Engagement Series.
The first day of the championship included debates held in parallel sessions for English and Nepali categories. The motion of Round 1 was ‘This House Believes That academic researches should not be validated where participants’ consent has not been taken‘ and Round 2 saw participants debating on the motion that ‘This house would remove government monopoly in the energy market of Nepal’.
A total of 9 parallel sessions were conducted in both rounds where debaters put forward their arguments for and against the motion. The adjudicators and panelist marked the team performance with fair judgement.
Discussion on the first motion primarily revolved around the research participants’ Right to Privacy and Right to Information. Ideas of Copyright and its infringement were also touched upon. The government side gave hypothetical instances of academic malpractice should consent not be taken. Accountability of the researchers on matters of consent were also discussed.
The government side heavily questioned the authenticity of data where consent hadn’t been taken, citing examples of misuse and misinterpretation of data. Issues on security of the informants/informers were also put forward. It was agreed by the government that credibility of researchers increases when consent had been secured. The consent of the participants instills the validity of research and that it would aid the creation of an ethical, moral society.
The opposition side for the same motion believed that people are rational and the fact that people are answering already means that they have given consent.They believed that consent affected consciousness and that for innovation and discovery, consent is not to be a constraint. They also put forward the idea that non-consent aided medical science and gave relevant examples. Derivation of sensitive information for greater good cannot take place while validation is an issue. They also raised questions on if consent was to be taken, what was really the most practical way to go about it.
On the second motion, most sessions saw the government side argue that removing government monopoly would benefit all concerned stakeholders. Handing energy sector management to the private sector would prove to be a secure investment and also be profitable. Consumers would have more choices. The private sector will bring competition and innovation and prices will be set according to market. Development would follow mass energy production.They also gave examples of how the state would find it extremely difficult to handle an energy crisis. The government also opined that people were looking for safe profitable investments and the energy sector could prove to be a lucrative one.
The opposition on the other hand, opined that the government’s policy failed to acknowledge that the Government is the guardian. The private sector’s major purpose is profit maximization which will put people in peril.
The opposition reasoned that the poor would not be able to pay high prices for energy considering their general incomes. The removal of monopoly invites Foreign Direct Investment which will bring foreign intervention hampering the sovereignty of the country.
Ideas of how there would be difficulty in monitoring the private sector were also touched upon.
Team standings for English category so far based on team scores can be found below:
|20||Power Puff Girls||2||0|
|22||Sabik and Fans||0||1|
Team standings for Nepali category so far:
|2||The NaLC Starlete||3||2|
|4||Last bench lovers||1||3|
|5||Intellectual homo sapiens sapiens||1||2|
Round 3 and 4 of the debate shall continue this Saturday, April 9 at King’s College, Babarmahal beginning 11.30 a.m.
The motion for Round 3 is: This House Would abolish the policy of permanent tenure for civil servants and introduce ‘hire and fire’ policy in Nepal.
Stay tuned for updates!