UML MPs want govt to continue doling out constituency budget

- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

May 10, 2018-

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is under pressure from the MPs from the ruling parties to continue and even increase the budget of the Infrastructure Special Programme (CISP) and the Constituency Development Programme (CDP) that would give them access to millions of rupees to fund projects of their choice.

The MPs from the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) have been lobbying to release the budget for the two programmes for the current fiscal year and increase the amount three-fold for the next fiscal. As the pre-budget discussion started in the Federal Parliament on Wednesday, a group of UML MPs met PM Oli and urged him to immediately release the budget that is pending as the current fiscal year ends in two months. They also demanded that the CISP budget be increased to Rs100 million from existing Rs30 million.

The two programmes have been controversial after huge sums of money from the state coffers were found to have been spent on non-productive sectors. Currently, a parliamentarian can spend Rs5 million under the CDP, while

Rs 30 million is allocated under the CISP. Those elected under the first-past-the-post system can use both the CISP and CDP funds, while those from the Upper House and elected under the proportional representation can only use the CDP fund.

A total of Rs10 billion was allocated under the two programmes in the current fiscal year, though most of it remains unspent due to intervention from the Election Commission first and then the Supreme Court, citing the elections.

UML MP Mahesh Basnet said they have asked PM Oli to release the pending budget through a Cabinet decision. The UML MPs also demanded that the budget be increased to the tune of Rs 100 million.

“Personally, I am against the CISP and CDP so are the intellectuals. But as you [MPs], who are the people’s representatives, demand it I would look what could be done,” Basnet quoted PM Oli as saying. Following the lobbying from the MPs, the PM has tasked UML leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal and Subas Nembang to deal with the issue. “As we have assured the people in our constituencies of development works during our tenure, we can’t go empty handed before the public,” Basnet said.Echoing Basnet’s sentiments, other UML lawmakers expressed hope that the CISP and CDP programmes would be continued, but they harbour doubts if the budget would be increased as per their demands.

Published: 10-05-2018 06:56

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