Work in tandem

  • Kathmandu and provinces must work together rather than against each other

Oct 26, 2018-

In recent months, the rift between the federal government and the provincial government has been widening. The central government has been delaying the drafting of necessary federal laws, running the risk of putting it against provincial governments. Amid complaints of the lack of required human resources, some of the provincial governments have started introducing provincial laws on their own, much to the chagrin of the federal government. The Provincial Police Bill is the latest example. The Province 2 Provincial Assembly endorsed the Provincial Police Act a few weeks ago by suspending a provincial assembly regulation. The federal government had said that the Police Act of Province 2 cannot be implemented without Federal Police Act.

Defying objections from the central government, Province 2 government is now gearing up to introduce additional laws related to administration, civil service, and public service commission. Although the centre’s delay in formulating federal laws rightly raises concerns about whether it is reluctant to devolve power, it also does not seem prudent of the provincial government to try and get ahead of the centre and craft laws on their own.

At its core, federalism is about sharing of power wherein powers are assigned to different tiers of government by a provision of a constitution. Should the centre fail to devolve power, federalism will remain only for the namesake. The government, on its part, is yet to determine the number of laws that are inconsistent with the new constitution for mandatory amendment within the next five months. Acts passed before promulgation of the charter in 2015 need to be revised to comply with the spirit of the new constitution that institutionalised federalism in the country for the first time. There are 339 acts that need to be reviewed to see if they are in line with the constitution. Although there is still time since the deadline to do so is March 4 next year, this dilly-dallying will take away all the precious time that could have been utilised for deliberation with respective stakeholders.

That said, it would bode well for the Province 2 government to not take matters into their own hand and act unilaterally. Federalism allows provincial governments to exercise autonomy and use their own discretionary powers while taking decisions, but even for the laws to be implemented, some federal laws must be in place first.

Should the laws not be made in a step by step manner, it will invite conflict of interest in the long-run. Hence, the central and provincial governments should solve their differences at the earliest. While the central government needs to change its ways and expedite the federal lawmaking process, Province 2 should cooperate, too. The central and provincial governments should complement, and not compete with each other.

Published: 26-10-2018 08:15

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