Federalising, production pillars of annual policies

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu
Government announces to hold elections at the local bodies, after a gap of 14 years

May 9, 2016-President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Sunday presented the government’s polices and programmes for the upcoming fiscal year at the Legislature-Parliament with due focus on implementing the new constitution, carrying out post-earthquake reconstruction and holding the local elections.

The politico-economic document of the government has prioritised formulation of new laws and regulations in line with the new constitution, and restructuring of local bodies and administrative units under the seven provinces. Passing of 138 new laws, which is essential for enforcing the charter, has been given a top priority.

“The upcoming fiscal will be marked as the year of constitution implementation and of journey towards prosperity,” said President Bhandari while presenting the document. But in the absence of a deal with the Madhesi parties, which are opposed to several provisions of the new constitution, its implementation will be difficult, if not impossible.

While the document vowed to address “genuine demands” of the Madhesis, it laid out no roadmap. President’s address was boycotted by lawmakers affiliated with the Madhesi Morcha citing the government’s “lack of interest” in addressing the grievances of the Madhesi people.

The 32-page document describes the unprecedented economic loss the country faced due to the devastating earthquakes last year, which were followed by months of agitation in the plains and a blockade of the southern border at length. However, the paper is short on detailed plans for recovery.

Commencement of the distribution of the first instalment of grants for the reconstruction of people’s houses, formal beginning of the reconstruction of heritage sites and public property, the singing of historic trade and transit agreement with China, and amendment to 193 laws have been highlighted as major achievements of the government in the past seven months.

Plans have been floated to implement the agreements signed with India and China during the official visits of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, maintaining equidistant relations with both the neighbours based on the UN Charter and the five principles of peaceful co-existence.

The policy to be discussed in Parliament from Monday has set a timeline to complete the reconstruction of all the earthquake-damaged structures within five years. Private homes would be completed within two years, while the rebuilding of schools, hospitals and other public facilities would be over in three years. Reconstruction of heritage sites have also been planned to be completed in five years.

The government has announced to hold elections at the local bodies, which have been without elected representatives for the last 14 years, in November-December. The erstwhile government led by Sushil Koirala had also outlined in its polices and programmes last year to hold the local polls within a year.

For each of the seven provinces, the government has announced development plans including one hydropower, one stadium, petroleum storage facilities for 90 days and one civil service hospital. The government also announced compulsory and free education, to be realised gradually up to the twelfth grade.

The policies incorporate ambitious plans such as One House, One Employment; production of 10,000 megawatt of hydropower by 2025; development of Special Economic Zones; smart cities; and numerous road and irrigation projects. Construction of the much talked about Kathmandu-Nijgadh Fast Track is said to commence from the new fiscal year even as the sources of funding have not been specified.

Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, ministers, heads of constitutional bodies and diplomats were among the dignitaries present during the President’s address in Parliament.

Govt to brief int’l community

KATHMANDU: Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa will appr-aise the diplomatic community in Kathmandu on Wednesday on the latest political situation and fiscal programmes, a Foreign Ministry official said.

Ambitious plans: NC

KATHMANDU: The Nepali Congress has described the policies and programmes of the government as unrealistic and ambitious.

Commenting on the document read out by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari in Parliament, the main opposition said the government cannot implement long-term agendas as its tenure is “short-lived”.

“After the agreement between the CPN-UML and the UCPN (Maoist), it is clear that this government will have a short run. So it is meaningless to come up with long-term plans,” NC leader and former finance minister Mahesh Acharya told media persons. UML and Maoist leaders have claimed to have reached a “gentleman’s agreement” to change the government after the budget is endorsed.

Published: 09-05-2016 07:56

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