Empowering local units major focus of budget

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu
The government has also authorised the local bodies to manage all the expenditure and operations of the health centres, health posts and sub-health posts

May 30, 2017-The new budget tabled by the government has given a due focus on empowering the newly-formed local bodies, allocating a whopping 17.6 percent of the total budget of Rs 1,279 billion for 744 units. The budget has effectively adopted a policy of fiscal transfer to the local bodies as per the spirit of the Constitution of Nepal.  

The local bodies—which will be getting an elected government at the start of the new fiscal year—have been allocated Rs 225.03 billion, with an additional Rs 7.14 billion earmarked for the seven provinces which are yet to get their full shape. The local units which will enjoy executive, legislative and judiciary powers will be allocated with a budget based on their population size, geography and status of the development. 

The budget has proposed a minimum funding of Rs 100 million up to Rs 390 million for the village councils, while the municipalities will receive between Rs 150 million and Rs 430 million. Sub-metropolitan cities will have a budget ranging between Rs400 million and Rs 630 million. Each of the four metropolitan cities in the country has been promised a tidy sum, ranging from Rs 560 million up to Rs 1.24 billion.

It has allocated a cumulative budget Rs 5.88 billion for the metropolises, Rs 9.41 billion for sub-metropolises, 

Rs 92.75 billion for municipalities and Rs116.99 billion for the village councils.

“The government complying with the spirit of the statute has enriched local bodies with resources,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Krishna Bahadur Mahara, while presenting the fiscal budget for 2017-18 in the Legislature-Parliament on Monday. 

“Strengthening federalism is the main basis of this budget. The government has brought a policy to handover the projects with the budget ranging between Rs 5 million and Rs 20 million, being carried out by different ministries, to the local units,” said Finance Minister Mahara.

As per the new constitution, beginning the new fiscal year the local bodies will enjoy all financial and operational authorities to manage the schools and pay salaries to  teachers of Grade 1 to 10. 

Similarly, providing free-textbooks, scholarships for the needy and deprived children will also come under their ambit. 

Through the budget, the government has also authorised the local bodies to manage all the expenditure and operations of the health centres, health posts and sub-health posts. 

Free medicine, vaccination, nutrition programme, family planning and telemedicine will now be administered by the local bodies and the government has allocated the budget accordingly.

For the speedy reconstruction of earthquake ravaged properties, the government through the budget has adopted a policy to involve respective local governments in the rebuilding process. 

The country has carved out 744 local units across the country as per the new federal set-up.

Elections for 283 units were held in 34 districts in Provinces 3, 4 and 6 in the first phase on May 14.


Fiscal equalisation grant for local bodies

Village Council    Rs 100 million to Rs 390 million 

Municipality    Rs 150 million to Rs 430 million 

Sub-metropolitan city    Rs 400 million to Rs 630 million

Metropolitan city    Rs 560 million to Rs 1.2 billion


Conditional grant for local bodies

Village Council    Rs 12 million to Rs 172.2 million 

Municipality    Rs 39.5 million to Rs 312.7 million

Sub-metropolitan city    Rs 148 million to Rs 310 million

Metropolitan city    Rs 281.2 million to Rs 783.9 million

Published: 30-05-2017 08:09

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