News digest – Federal Affairs (June 10-16, 2021)

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Provincial budget issues

On June 15, all seven provincial governments have presented a total of Rs 261 billion budget for the next fiscal year 2021/22. As per the provision the provincial government should present the next fiscal year’s budget by mid-June. Meanwhile, Bagmati Pradesh has presented the largest budget of Rs 57.72 billion while the lowest budget of Rs 33.03 billion of Gandaki Pradesh. Similarly, Rs Rs 40.95 billion, Rs 36.54 billion, Rs 35.61 billion, Rs 32.47 billion, and Rs 30.33 billion has been presented by Lumbini Pradesh, Karnali Pradesh Province 2, Province 1, and Sudurpaschim Pradesh respectively. Earlier, all provinces had introduced their policies and programs where all provinces focused on the control of COVID-19 and infrastructure development.   

Province 2 is going to run a free health insurance program for Dalit, marginalized, and deprived families in the next fiscal year 2021/22. On June 10, Chief of Province 2, Ahilraj Jha presented their policies and programs. Similarly, the government has also mentioned that will provide scholarships to marginalize, Dalit, Muslim families, and families for martyrs and injured of Madhesh Movement as well. 

Chief Minister Prithvi Suvva Gurung expressing his views at a meeting of the Gandaki Provincial Assembly held in Pokhara. In the meeting, Chief Minister Gurung is scheduled to take a vote of confidence. Photo: RSS

Provincial government 

On June 9, the Chief Minister of Province 2 expanded the Council of Ministers by adding three ministers from Nepali Congress (NC). The newly-appointed ministers are Ram Saroj Yadav Minister for Physical Infrastructure Development, Om Prakash Sharma Minister for Drinking Water and Energy Development, and Birendra Prasad Shah Minister for Women, Children, Youth and Sports.  

Gandaki Pradesh Chief Minister (CM) lost the vote of confidence in the Provincial Assembly on June 10. After two days of the voting, on June 12, Province Chief Sita Kumari Paudel appointed the parliamentary party leader of the NC Krishan Chandra Pokharel ‘Nepali’ as CM of Gandaki Pradesh. As per Article 168 (60) of the constitution, CM Pokharel is required to obtain a vote of confidence from the provincial assembly no later than 30 days after the date of his appointment. 

Law practitioners and law students have filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court against Sudurpaschim Pradesh. In the writ it has been mentioned that the CM has appointed more than 20 percent in his government’s formation. While Article 168 (9) in the Constitution has a provision that the CM can form a provincial government not exceeding 20 percent of the total number of MPs. The opposition has claimed that CM can appoint only 10 ministers among 53-MPs in the provincial assembly. Now, there are 11 members of the cabinet in Suduepaschim Pradesh.

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