Laws on anvil to mend Kathmandu-state ties

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Oct 29, 2018-

The federal government is preparing to enact necessary laws through ordinance soon in order to facilitate the works of provincial governments and to avert possible “confrontation” with them.

The seven provinces are in dire need of laws such as the Police Act, Public Service Commission Act, and Civil Servants Adjustment Act for smooth operation of their administration.

“The prime minister has directed the ministries to ensure all the laws necessary for provincial governments at the earliest,” said Binod Kunwar, spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office.

Due to the urgency of the matter, the Home Ministry sent the Federal Police Act draft to the Law Ministry more than a month ago for approval while the Public Service Commission Act and the Provincial Public Service Commission Act are ready to be presented to the Cabinet.

It is necessary for the federal law to come before the corresponding provincial law for the sake of consistency in their provisions. Citing that the federal ministries could take more time to finalise the Police Act, the Home Ministry registered an executive order at the PMO secretariat on Thursday. The order will allow the provinces to mobilise security and to transfer police officials up to the inspector level.

However, Friday’s Cabinet meeting was postponed due to the ill health of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. The Cabinet meeting on Saturday did not issue the order.

To ensure adjustment of civil servants at the provincial and local governments, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has drafted a Civil Service Adjustment Ordinance that would replace the Adjustment Act introduced last year.

According to Law Ministry officials, the Federal Police Act draft would be endorsed within a few days while the adjustment ordinance is under the Law Ministry’s consideration. “The adjustment ordinance draft awaits Law Ministry’s nod, after the Finance Ministry registered its minor reservations,” said Kedar Paneru, joint-secretary at the Federal Affairs Ministry.

“Most probably, the Law Ministry will finalise it on Monday. We’ll then present it to the PM’s Office so that it may be tabled at the next Cabinet meeting,” Paneru added. To attract government officials to the provinces and the local federal units, the adjustment ordinance proposes promotion and other benefits after most of them disagreed with the staff mobilisation model.

Provincial governments allege Kathmandu’s reluctance to devolve power to the provinces, in defiance of the spirit of federalism.After the PMO vowed to come up with the necessary legislation, the Provincial 2 Assembly on Friday decided to halt three bills for a month. Conflict between the federal and provincial governments escalated after Province 2 passed its Police Act on October 13 suspending the regulation.

Challenging the federal government that failed to provide necessary human resource, the Karnali province and Province 2 are preparing to hire staff on contract basis.

The last-hour postponement by Prime Minister Oli of the first Inter-State Council meeting in the second week of September hampered Kathmandu’s relations with the provinces. Leaders accused PM Oli of delaying the meeting as the federal government did not have the laws ready, leaving him without agenda for the meeting.

Oli has not met chief ministers since their conclave in Pokhara ahead of the scheduled inter-state council meeting. Province 1 Chief Minister Sherdhan Rai recently apprised the PM of how provincial governments were hit by the dearth of laws and resources.

Published: 29-10-2018 07:18

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