Print Edition - 2015-07-09  |  Main News

Prez unveils govt’s policy, programme

  • Lays emphasis on short to long-term work plans for rehab, reconstruction
- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu
Prez unveils govt’s policy, programme

Jul 8, 2015-President Ram Baran Yadav on Wednesday presented government’s annual policy and programme in the Legislature-Parliament with a major focus on reconstruction and local election.

The policy document that sets the basis for the budget of the next fiscal year envisions developing short-, medium- and long-term work plans for rehabilitation and reconstruction post earthquake, and their implementation upon assessing the damage caused by the April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks.

The government has stated that all the reconstruction and repair works of the properties destroyed in the disaster would be completed within five years by mobilising public and private investment.

Acknowledging that Nepal falls in a high risk seismic zone, the government has pledged to implement policy and programme nationwide in coming days to mitigate the impact of such disasters. The document has also set a vision of integrated settlement in the quake-affected areas along with a provision to provide concessional loans for the quake victims.

Considering the post-earthquake needs and with a view to supporting the safe and sustainable settlement and urban development, the government plans to introduce Risk Sensitive Land-Use Plan and implement it across the country.

Also included in the programme is the review of National Building Code 2003 and its implementation in all municipalities.

“The concepts of public-private partnership and cooperative and community-based people’s participation will be implemented to reactivate the economy slowed down by the earthquake,” reads the policy.

Presenting the policy, President Yadav lauded the role of parties in creating environment for early promulgation of the new constitution. “The government is working to accomplish the constitution drafting process in close coordination with all the political parties,” he said.

“The new constitution will end the long transition and set the path towards prosperity and lasting peace.”

Vice President Paramananda Jha, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, ministers, heads of constitutional bodies and diplomats were among the dignitaries present during President’s address in Parliament.

Continuing its earlier plan to graduate Nepal to the status of developing country by 2022, the government has also envisioned making Nepal a middle-income state by 2030. “While reviewing the policies and programmes with the goal of graduating Nepal from the status of a least developed country to that of a developing country by 2022, Vision 2030 will be formulated and implemented to bring Nepal to the standard of a middle income state by 2030,” reads the document.

The government has also reiterated to hold the local elections by the end of next fiscal year after failing to accomplish it this fiscal. The coalition government had made similar pledge through the policy and programme last year.

Assessing that the current VDCs are not viable units for formulating development programme, the government has announced incentives for those VDCs that opt for a merger plan.

Adopting zero tolerance against corruption and enhancing capacity of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority and National Vigilance Centre thereby establishing a welfare state with social justice are other priorities of the Nepali Congress-led coalition government.

The government has stated that it would control unproductive expenditure in reconstruction and rehabilitation to ensure transparency and financial accountability. “For this purpose, effective arrangements will be made for project approval, budget release, book-keeping, expenditure report, monitoring and evaluation and auditing,” the document says.

The next budget, according to the government, will mainly focus on reconstruction of the structures damaged by earthquake, energy, development of infrastructure, commercialisation of agriculture, industrial development, tourism promotion, employment generation and social development.

Integration of existing election laws and creating environment to ensure voting rights to the Nepali citizens living abroad too has been emphasised in the policy document. Maintaining transparency in income and expenditure of political parties is another highlight of the document.

The programme and policy has not, however, given much emphasis to strengthening the federal structures except for developing government machinery in the new setup. “This has paved the way for taking the country towards prosperity by rebuilding the country devastated by the twin earthquakes,” Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat told reporters coming out of Parliament.

The main opposition UCPN (Maoist), unlike the previous year, has given mixed response to the government’s policy. “This has not fully addressed the present need of the country. It could have been better,” said Maoist leader and Former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.

The leaders from other opposition parties however, have termed it as a ‘ritual’ document claiming it has not addressed failed to meet the public expectation. “There is nothing new. This can never take Nepal in the path of prosperity,” said Upendra Yadav chairman of Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal.

The discussion on the policy and programme will begin in the House on Thursday. As the lawmakers are scheduled to visit their constituencies to solicit people’s opinion on the draft constitution next week, the discussion will be shortened to a couple of days.

salient features

- Repair and reconstruction of quake damaged structures

- Local elections by next fiscal year

- Create environment for NRNs to use their expertise and money for development

- Maintain transparency in the political parties

- Merger option for VDCs

- Promote Nepal to a middle-income state by 2030

- Next budget to focus on reconstruction, energy, development of infrastructure, commercialization of agriculture, tourism promotion, employment generation and social development

- Model city development programme in 12 places

- Initiate integrated urban infrastructure development programme in Dhangadi, Attariya, Bhimdatta and Jhalari municipalities in the Far West

- Formulate Smart City Master plan for Kathmandu Valley, Lumbini, Nijgadh and other quake affected districts

- Start building quake-resistant green cities in Damak (East) and Kohalpur (Mid-West)

Published: 09-07-2015 07:42

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