Deuba’s Cabinet largest ever

  • PM inducts 15 state ministers, 12 from his Nepali Congress party, to Council of Ministers
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Aug 23, 2017-Back in 1996, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had set a record by forming a 48-member Cabinet. Two decades later, he broke all records by installing a 50-strong Council of Ministers, the largest ever in Nepal’s history.

Expanding his team for the fourth time in two months, Deuba on Tuesday inducted 15 state ministers including 12 from his own party Nepali Congress. 

Since Article 76 of the constitution prohibits a Cabinet larger than 25-member after election to the federal parliament, the parties seem to be competing to satisfy the desire of a maximum number of lawmakers by appointing them ministers.

The KP Sharma Oli-led government formed immediately after promulgation of the constitution in 2015 had a 40-member Cabinet including six deputy prime ministers. Oli’s successor Pushpa Kamal Dahal further increased the governing body with 46 members. Deuba’s new record beats that created by Baburam Bhattarai in 2011—49 ministers. Since four ministries—Industry, Peace and Reconstruction, Forest, and Science and Technology—are still being held by Deuba, the Cabinet is sure to expand further.

“The constitution doesn’t stop the Cabinet from growing as big as the PM wants. However, this is definitely not the spirit of the constitution. The parties should have tried to limit the Cabinet size to 25,” said Administrative Court Chairman Kashi Raj Dahal. The Administrative Reform Recommendation Committee led by Dahal had suggested, in April 2014, reducing the number of ministries to 18. 

However, while promulgating the statute a year later, the parties agreed on 25 as the maximum number.

Dahal’s committee also recommended 12 ministries in provincial governments. He said competition among the parties will have negative impact on good governance.

Leaders close to Deuba claim that the expansion does not violate the spirit of the constitution as it permits any number of ministers before the federal structure is set up. Article 298 (5), under the transitional provision, says there can be any number of DPMs and ministers based on the need. 

Congress leader Prakash Sharan Mahat said more Cabinet ministers were appointed after lawmakers “wished to have some experience” in running the administration. 

“This is a coalition government. The PM has to manage all the parties,” he reasoned.

Published: 23-08-2017 07:35

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