Former secretary and noted economist Dr Bholanath Chalise passed away today morning at the age of 65 due to chronic diabetes and kidney problem.
Dr Chalise breathed his last while at Nepal Medical College, Attarkhel. He is survived by a wife and four sons. His last rites were performed at Pashupati Aryaghat today afternoon. Chief secretary Lilamani Poudel, Auditor General Bhanu Prasad Acharya, former vice chair of National Planning Commission (NPC) Dr Jagdish Chandra Pokharel, former secretaries including Rameshwor Khanal, Shankar Koirala, and Bimal Wagle paid tribute to Chalise at Pashupati Aryaghat.
Born in Bouddha Simaltar in 2008 BS, he had discharged several responsibilities in the National Planning Commission, Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Local Development in different positions before retiring as trade secretary.
Unlike conventional bureaucrats, who are considered anti-reform, he was private sector-friendly and did more reforms in industrial sector during his tenure in Industry Ministry.
The proponent of free market economy, Chalise was one of the key government officials during the economic liberalisation of the 1990s.
Finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat remembers Chalise as a proficient administrator. Recalling his contributions during the first phase of economic reform, Mahata lauded his role in bringing the private sector-friendly Acts including Industrial Enterprise Act 1992, Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act and Company Act 1997. “These Acts provided vision for economic liberalisation in Nepal ending the licence regime of earstwhile Panchayat era,” he added.
Apart from being a libertarion, he was also an avid reformist, Mahat said, adding that Chalise worked hard for decentralisation of power, when he was secretary in Ministry of Local Development. Decentralisation of power to the local bodies was done during his tenure as local development secretary. Chalise played a leading role in introducing the Local Self-Governance Act 1999.
“He was also a person with high morale and integrity and had professed clear view with action that the private sector should be given impetus for economic prosperity,” Mahat remembered. Chalise also believed in the strength of market forces in economic development and empower the local bodies.
Chalise, who had retired from government service about one-and-a-half decades ago, also served at Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) as executive director and Nepal Banijya Bank (RBB) as the chairman. He started reforms in the state power utility and still considered to be the most successful chief of the NEA so far for executing the reforms agendas.
The champion of liberal economy, Chalise always opined that the government should not run business itself but act as a facilitator to the private sector. He viewed that except security agencies like Army and Police, the government should not operate any agencies but leave them all to the private sector.
Chalise, who holds PhD from University of Vienna, Austria in ‘Liberal Economy’, was an free market economy throughout his life. He was felicitated as the Freedom Champion at the Asia Liberty Forum 2015 held in Kathmandu on January 10.
Lately, he was not happy with the current state of reform as it has been slowed down. He always wanted the political leaders to take bold steps for reform rather than depending on bureaucrats.

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