Govt to review existing public holidays

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 12, 2017-

Amid mounting pressure from several quarters to declare a public holiday on Poush 27 as national unity day, the government has decided to review the existing holidays and come up with a calendar accordingly.

The Cabinet on Wednesday directed the Home Ministry to review holidays and suggest the government on public holidays at the national and local levels within a month. The government move follows heated debates within the ruling parties on whether the birth anniversary of king Prithivi Narayan Shah should be marked with a public holiday. Two ministers from the Rastriya Prajatantra Party Deepak Bohara and Bikram Pandey and Nepali Congress’ Arjun Narasingh KC have been lobbying for a public holiday, while others mainly from the CPN (Maoist Centre) were against it. The tradition of observing Poush 27 as the national unity day ended since the second people’s movement in 2006.

“Public holidays will be streamlined after a revision,” Minister for Information and Communications Surendra Karki told the media after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Currently, there are 50 public holidays on various festivals or occasions, including four holidays specific to Kathmandu Valley and three for women. 

Nepal is among the countries in the world with the highest number of public holidays. Its southern neighbour India observes 21 public holidays, while China has even lower at 18. Similarly, Hong Kong has 17 public holidays in a calendar year, followed by Thailand (16) and Malaysia (15).

The number of holidays has surged in Nepal after the transition of 2006, creating difficulties for both the government and service seekers. With the government obliging to demands of various religious and ethnic communities, the number of public holidays for festive occasions has to such an extend that the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry last year had formally asked it to cut them down. The number of holidays during Dashain and Tihar, the two largest festivals of Hindus, has, however, gone down after the country became secular in 2007.

Published: 12-01-2017 07:31

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