Budget to focus on quake recovery

  • Budget 2015-16
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
Budget to focus on quake recovery

Jul 13, 2015-

Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat will present the budget for the next fiscal year on Tuesday with special focus on reconstruction and infrastructure development.

In the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake, the government is allocating huge resources for rebuilding as well as for major infrastructure projects. Multiple sources said around Rs100 billion will be allocated for reconstruction works to be mobilised through the National Reconstruction Authority. There will also be significant budget for the purpose under the regular programme.

Senior officials at the Finance Ministry said the budget size would be around Rs821 billion. The National Planning Commission (NPC) had set Rs841 billion as its ceiling.

Highly-placed government sources said the budget will basically focus on the implementation of ongoing programmes rather than introducing new ones. Since a huge workforce is required for reconstruction, the government is set to announce a major programme to train 50,000 people on plumbing, electrical skills and carpentry.

Amid increased demand for budget for roads and smaller projects from lawmakers, the government is allocating small funds for their survey and design, according to the Finance Ministry.

However, the ministry has been forced to increase funds for the Constituency Development Programme (CDP). Following intense pressure from Constituent Assembly members, the government will increase the amount to Rs15 million for each constituency, up from the current Rs10 million.

On social security, the budget will bring cheers to the elderly and other beneficiaries of state allowances. Sources said the social security allowance for the elderly people will be doubled, which is Rs500 per month currently. The allowance for other beneficiaries such as differently-abled will also rise. “There is also the possibility of salary increment of government employees,” said the source.

With the government announcing to hold local elections within the next fiscal, a significant amount of money will have to be set aside. In order to develop backward border areas in Tarai, the government is launching a special programme.

As far as the agriculture sector goes, the government is set to increase subsidies in seeds. “There is a plan for providing up to 10,000 tonnes of subsided seeds of cereal products including rice and wheat,” a source said.

On infrastructure development, the government will start the construction of the Thankot-Naubise Tunnel Road. The Japan government has pledged its assistance for the project. The feasibility of other possible tunnel highways will also be studied. Another new initiative is expanding some sections of the East-West Highway into four lanes.

The Narayangadh-Mugling stretch, which has mostly remained in poor shape, will have two lanes. Works on the proposed East-West Electric Railway and the Kathmandu-Pokhara Electric Railway would be carried out with priority.

In order to speed up development projects, the government will lay special emphasis on budget implementation. Now on, large priority projects need no approval from the NPC for implementation while their project chiefs will serve full term for efficiency.

Schemes to watch

  • Around Rs100 billion for reconstruction works under National Reconstruction Authority

  • Significant budget for rebuilding under regular programme as well

  • Budget size around Rs830 billion

  • Training 50,000 people on plumbing, electrical skills and carpentry

  • Rs15 million for each constituency under CDP

  • Monthly elderly allowance to grow from Rs500 to Rs1,000

  • Special programme for border area development in Tarai

  • East-West Highway expansion

Published: 14-07-2015 07:31

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