News Digest: Federal Affairs (June 17-23) 

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Provincial Politics

Chief Minister of Gandaki Province, Krishnachandra Nepali Pokharel, presenting a motion of confidence in the Gandaki Provincial Assembly. Photo: RSS

Chief Minister of Gandaki Pradesh Krishna Chandra Nepali Pokharel won a vote of confidence from the provincial assembly on June 18. CM Pokharel received 31 votes – 15 from Nepali Congress, 11 from Maoist Center, two votes each from Rashtriya Janamorcha and Janata Samajwadi Party, and one from independent. CM Pokharel belongs to Nepali Congress as a parliamentary party leader. 

Province 1 could not finalize the name of the province due to lack of consensus among the political parties. The issue of deciding the name of the province has come up again after CM Sherdhan Rai proposed to finalize it from the ongoing budget session from the Provincial Assembly. There has been controversy within the CPN-UML over the issue of naming the province. Though the CPN-UML’s Oli faction proposed to name the province as ‘Koshi or Sagarmatha,’ the CPN-UML’s Janajati and CPN-MC are ignoring the Oli faction’s proposal and emphasizing the provincial name to be based on the identity. 

Budget Related Issues

The seven provincial governments’ budgets have been criticized due to unproductive activities and political gain. Meanwhile, Province 1 has allocated Rs 10 million to make Statesman’s Park. Similarly, Province 2 has allocated 60 million to make statues and 10 million for a memorial park, and Bagmati Pradesh has also allocated several budgets targeted to develop Ayodhayapuri in Chitwan. Sudurpaschim Province has also allocated Rs 190 million for the painting of the provincial assembly building. Moreover, ruling parties’ lawmakers of Province 1 and Sudurpaschim have been dissatisfied due to the continual traditional method of budget implementation.

Karnali Pradesh has spent only 26.91 percent of its budget in 11 months in the current fiscal year 2020-21. Similarly, the government has spent 29.84 percent of the recurrent budget and 14.37 percent of the capital budget so far. Similarly, Province 2 has also spent only  31.47 percent of its budget in 11 months of the current fiscal year.

The local government has been passing the budget illegally for the last four years. It has been passing the budget within one day without discussion. However, it is mentioned in section 71 (3) of the Local Government Operation Act, 2074 that the local government should hold a pre-discussion, subject-wise, on the budget 10 to 15 days before its submission. However, the local government has completely ignored such lawful practice.   

Response in COVID-19 and Natural Disaster 

On June 17, the Gandaki Pradesh government decided to put Rs 50 million in the state-level disaster relief fund for rescue, relief, and management of flood and landslide victims. Previously, the Gandaki had already sent Rs 1 million each for nine districts and Rs 200 thousand each for Manag and Mustang districts. The government has also directed the Ministry of Physical and Infrastructure and Development to operate the roads blocked due to natural disasters

Health offices have received 30 types of medicines and health equipment from the Ministry of Social Development of Bagmati Pradesh.

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