News Digest – Federal Affairs (June 24-30, 2021)

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Provincial politics 

On June 28 CPN-Maoist Center’s lawmakers disrupted the Provincial Assembly meeting and demanded that the Minister for Physical Infrastructure of Province 1, Ambir Babu Gurung should ask for an apology from the assembly due to his misbehavior. On June 27, Minister Gurung provoked Mohan Khadka by saying, “I understand that you have no vision at all.” Maoist Center’s lawmakers have warned the house would not be allowed to function unless minister Gurung apologizes. Moreover, Maoist Center’s lawmakers have demanded that the record should be also removed from the assembly.   

After the provincial budget presentation on June 16, the opposition party CPN-UML of Karnali Pradesh has disrupted the budget discussion program. The opposition disrupted the parliament meeting a third time on June 27, saying that the reinstated lawmakers from the opposition did not join the opposition’s government. While four opposition party lawmakers joined the ruling party’s government.

On June 29, the Speaker of Province 2 postponed the assembly meeting for May 7. The meeting was called for discussion on the budget for the next fiscal year. While, the opposition lawmakers—Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Center are repeatedly blocking the assembly meeting for demanding to hike the amount of the Parliamentary Development Fund. The oppositions are demanding that each directly elected lawmaker should get 50 million and 25 million for each of proportional representatives.

Budget issues 

According to the National Association of Rural Municipality in Nepal (NARMIN), 70 local governments have been unable to bring the budget in time for the next fiscal year 2021-22. According to the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration’s data, 458 local governments including Lalitpur Metropolitan City have been unable to present the budget. As per the provision of the Intergovernmental Fiscal Arrangement Act, 2017, the local government should submit the budget within 10 Asadh (24 July). Reportedly, most local governments face issues in budget presentation because of internal political feuds and natural disasters such as heavy rainfall and landslides (several local units’ offices were disturb due to flooding/landslides). 

Development 

Gandaki Pradesh has raised objections against the Kaligandaki-Tinau Multipurpose Project. Gandaki Pradesh claimed that ten local units in Palpa of Lumbini Pradesh, and Syanja and Tanahu of Gandaki Pradesh will be affected by the multipurpose project. Gandaki CM Krishan Chandra Nepali also claimed that the federal government wants to construct the multipurpose project without coordinating with the provincial government. The locals are preparing for a joint movement against the project. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel inaugurated a multipurpose project office in Butwal on June 26,

Province 2 has launched a ‘green campaign’ with tree plantation in all eight districts from June 28. As Province 2 has targeted to plant 1.4 million trees in the province.

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Miscellaneous

Karnali Pradesh has reported a 91 percent recovery rate from COVID-19 infection. According to the Health Service Directorate Office of Karnali, out of a total of 27,753 infected, 25,129 have recovered from the virus so far.

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