News Digest: Federal Affairs (May 20-26, 2021)

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Budget and Development 

The government is preparing to bring its budget (policies and programs) through an ordinance. The upcoming federal government’s budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 has been affected due to politics. As per the provision, the federal governments have to present their policies and programs in the federal parliament by May end.

The Provincial Assembly of Bagmati Pradesh has summoned its budget session (8th session) for May 30. The government presents its policies and programs during the 8th session for the upcoming fiscal year 2021/22. As per the provision of the Intergovernmental Fiscal Management Act, “the provincial governments have to present their budget in the provincial assemblies by mid-June”. Moreover, Tourism-related bills and the Public Service Commission’s report are submitted in the session, the Provincial Speaker said. 

The government is preparing to increase allowances—senior citizens, helpless single women, and disability allowances via the Social Security Ordinance, 2021 (2078 BS) from the upcoming fiscal year 2021/22. According to the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the government has spent 13.5% (Rs147.32 billion) out of Rs 784.14 billion recurrent expenditure for the allowances, but the amount is increased in the upcoming fiscal year. The government is ready to increase the month-to-month senior citizen allowance from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 monthly. 

Karnali Pradesh is preparing to bring Rs 47 billion budget in the upcoming fiscal year 2021/22 for completing 12 pride projects including uplifting infrastructure development, living standards, and health-related sectors. Karnali has alleged due to low budget allocation, dozens of road projects are incomplete. Meanwhile, Karnlai demanded that the federal government allocate Rs 47 billion budget in the coming fiscal year for accelerating the projects of the province.

A vice-chairperson of the National Planning Commission, Dr. Pushpa Raj Kandel has decided to improve an ambitious project of developing 11 smart cities across the country. Previously, on April 12, 2021, the cabinet had decided to improve 12 smart cities but now, Bhaktpur was removed from the lists of smart cities.

Provincial Politics

Four opposing parties—Nepali Congress, NCP-MC (Maoist Center), Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal, and Rashtriya Janmorcha have demanded the documents such as lawmakers’ signatures which were submitted by Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel during his appointment. The opposition parties are claiming the CM Pokharel submitted/used the fake documents during his oppointment. The opposition parties are also claiming that CM Pokharel claimed as majority government despite being under-minority. 

CPN-UML (Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist) withdrawn its support to the CPN-MC (Maoist Center) led government in Sudurpaschim Pradesh. Despite CPN-UML’s decision, Khanal-Nepal’s faction is supporting the Sudurpaschim government.

COVID-19 response 

Karnali Pradesh has allocated Rs 983 million to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, the Ministry of Social Development has also allocated Rs 730 million under the ministry’s public health services and hospital. The government set up ICUs and ventilators in the district’s hospitals and also provides treatment training to nurses. Similarly, on May 25, a cabinet meeting of Karnali also decided to set up an oxygen plant in Surkhet and Kalikot.

The outpatient department (OPD) service of the Western Regional Hospital in Pokhara has been closed indefinitely following the Health Ministry’s decision to build COVID-19 hospital from May 25.

The Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) has decided to set up an oxygen plant in all seven provinces to combat the COVID-19. 

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