Print Edition - 2015-07-31  |  MONEY

Co-op Ministry moves to streamline operations

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jul 30, 2015-The Ministry of Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation has said that it will coordinate with other ministries and agencies to avoid duplication of effort on the poverty alleviation front.

According to the ministry, it has asked the 15 ministries of the government to provide details about the programmes they are currently running across the country.

Shreedhar Gautam, secretary of the Cooperative Ministry, said they had planned to work in a coordinated manner as there had been duplication of effort. “This could prevent possible duplication of projects and programmes in a particular area,” Gautam said, adding that the effort could also help drive new projects to needy areas. The ministries of Local Development, Urban Development, Women, Children and Social Welfare and Forest and Soil Conservation, among others, have been carrying out various programmes to improve livelihoods and eradicate poverty across the country.

Similarly, the Poverty Alleviation Fund and various NGOs and INGOs have also been running similar kinds of projects. “However, lack of coordination has raised questions about the effectiveness of the programmes,” said Gautam.

The need for a separate oversight agency to coordinate poverty alleviation programmes has been felt since long. In the absence of such an agency, the government has failed to launch coherent programmes to integrate the various projects related to agriculture, micro enterprises, infrastructure and human resource development which are essential to address Nepal’s multi-dimensional poverty.

The government had established the Ministry of Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation three years ago with the aim of making it a key player in the effort to alleviate poverty. However, lack of policy and a shortage of manpower and mechanism has prevented it from fulfilling that role.  

Meanwhile, the ministry has also started developing a new management information system to maintain records of all the cooperatives and programmes related with poverty alleviation. “We are almost at the final stage of developing the software   necessary for the purpose,” Gautam said.

According to him, the system will help provide information on the poor households that the ministry has recently identified in 25 districts. With the aim of distributing identity cards to the poor, the ministry has recently conducted surveys in Gorkha, Tanahun, Sindhuli, Ramechhap Achham, Bajhang, Bajura, Kailali, Jumla, Humla, Mugu, Dolpa, Kalikot, Jajarkot, Bardia, Rukum, Rolpa, Pyuthan, Arghakhanchi, Kapilvastu, Baglung, Rautahat, Siraha, Khotang and Bhojpur districts.

Of the 1.24 million households in these districts, the ministry has identified 356,000 as being under poverty line.

Besides providing information on poor people, the system is also expected to maintain details of the overall transactions and portfolios of the cooperatives in the country. “It could help track various anomalies that have appeared in the sector,” Gautam said.

Published: 31-07-2015 08:33

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