Govt hints at giving Rs 5 million more

  • constituency development programme

Jul 11, 2015-

Amid intense pressure from lawmakers who have been demanding Rs50 million for each electoral constituency, the Finance Ministry has indicted that it could allocate up to Rs15 million under the Constituency Development Programme (CDP).

As per the demand, the government had introduced the CDP in the budget for the current fiscal year by allocating Rs10 million for infrastructure projects selected by lawmakers in their constituencies. The CDP was launched after cross-party lawmakers threatened to hold up the budget if their demands were not met.

Sources at the Finance Ministry told the Post that there have been talks about allocating up to Rs15 million under the programme. “A similar message has been conveyed to the lawmakers who’ve been asking to increase the amount for the CDP,” said a source at the ministry. If the government increases the amount from Rs10 million to Rs15 million, it has to allocate Rs3.6 billion for the purpose.

Economists have warned of inequality in development as remote districts having fewer electoral constituencies would get less money. As the constituencies have been delineated based on the population size, remote mountain and hill districts are likely to get less amount under the CDP despite greater need for development.

Top Finance Ministry officials said resources would be scattered for small projects if the lawmakers’ demand is met, which will not make any significant contribution to the economy. “The need of the hour is to focus resources on reconstruction and infrastructure development in the aftermath of the earthquake,” said a senior Finance Ministry official.

However, lawmakers particularly from the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML are not in mood to give up their demand for Rs50 million immediately. NC lawmaker Shankar Bhandari, one of those leading a signature campaign to press the demand, said the government should consider giving the asked amount as parliamentarians are the only representatives of the people now. MPs from the ruling NC, UML, Rastriya Prajantantra Party and a few fringe parties submitted signatures to the finance minister and the National Planning Commission a few days ago seeking increment in the CDP funds.

Lawmakers elected under the proportional representation system have also sought budget increase for the Parliamentarian Development Fund to Rs10 million from the existing Rs1.5 million. According to a Finance Ministry source, there have been no discussions on the matter so far. However, an official said it is impossible to allot money in the name of each lawmaker at a time when huge resources are required for post-earthquake reconstruction.

“Money given under the CDF is for development of certain areas. Giving money to every lawmaker does not make sense,” said an official involved in the budget preparations.

Published: 12-07-2015 07:56

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