Thani seeks more teeth for ministry

  • poverty alleviation
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 17, 2016-The Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation has demanded Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) and other flagship programmes of the government meant for poverty alleviation be brought under it.

In order to eradicate poverty form the country, the government recently set up a separate ministry that is looking after some fringe programmes. 

The ministry now is seeking some big programmes.

“We have formed a separate office under our ministry to identify poor household in 25 districts. So far we have identified over 356,000 households that are below the poverty line out of 1.2 million households,” said Minister Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Hryidya Ram Thani. “But a lot of poverty-related programmes including PAF are separately run by other ministries. This is bizarre. In such situation, how can my ministry function? That’s why we want PAF under our ministry.”

“PAF’s performance so far has been dismal and it has been further weakened by politicisation,” he added.  

PAF was set up in 2003 with an aim to work on poverty alleviation. It falls under the ambit of the prime minister. But none of the prime ministers has even tried to monitor its activities, according to Thani. 

“In the new budget, the government had launched a new programme called ‘government with poor’; but I am wondering about the status of the programme,” said Thani, adding that he is just trying to set up a system. 

The Prime Minister’s Office has largely failed to monitor PAF’s activities, its progress and other flagship projects and programmes aimed at eradicating poverty. 

 “If we have created a separate ministry, it should be allowed to function. Either strengthen the ministry or scrap it,” said Thani.  

When the ministry was created in 2012, it was tasked with monitoring, overseeing and regulating organisations that are working for poverty alleviation. 

As per the mandate, the ministry is monitoring, overseeing and regulating cooperatives but not those organisations which run programmes related to poverty alleviation. 

Recently, the Finance Committee of Parliament had also directed the government to strengthen the ministry by allowing monitoring, overseeing and regulating rights to the ministry. 

“I have spoken with the prime minister several times in this respect. He is positive about it, but I do not know who is working to block the ministry from bringing programmes under it,” he added.

Published: 17-12-2016 08:48

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