News Digest – Federal Affairs (May 6-12)

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Provincial politics

This is the second time, as many as 40 Provincial Assembly members from Nepali Congress (19), CPN (Maoist Center) (18), Janta Samajbadi Party Nepal (2) Rastriya Janamorcha (1) registered a no-confidence motion against Lumbini Chief Minister (CM) Shankar Pokharel. Previously, as many as 41 lawmakers registered a no-confidence motion against Pokharel on April 19. But, CM Pokharel was re-appointed as chief minister of Lumbini Pradesh within hours of his resignation.

CM of the Gandaki Pradesh Prithvi Subba Gurung resigned from his post on May 9. CM Gurung submitted his resignation to Provincial Chief Sita Kukamri Poudel one day before the voting, which was slated on May 10. A no-confidence motion against Gurung was tabled at the Provincial Assembly on April 26. Accepting the resignation of Chief Minister Gurung, Province Chief urged the political parties to form a new government within three days as per Article 169 (2) of the Constitution of Nepal. Meanwhile, the voting against the CM was conducted on May 12.

The Election Commission (EC) is scheduled to hold the National Assembly (NA) by-election in Bagmati Pradesh on May 17. On May 7 two candidates (Khim Lal Devkota and Ram Bahadur Thapa “Badal”) nominated their names at the provincial election office in Hetauda. Nepal congress, CPN (Maoist Center), Nepal-Khanal of the ruling UML have jointly forwarded Devkota’s name for election. Similarly, on May 2, a meeting of the Election Commission, scheduled to hold the National Assembly (NA) by-election in Lumbini Pradesh on May 31. The post was vacant after Chandra Bahadur Khadka, a lawmaker elected from the CPN (Maoist Center) joined the CPN-UML.

Lumbini Province lawmaker of CPN-UML, Amar Bahadur Dangi resigned from his position on May 05.

COVID-19 response

In Tilottama Municipality of Rupandehi, the vehicles used by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are being used as an ambulance. After the number of Coronavirus infection increased in the municipality, there is a lack of ambulances to carry the infected to the hospital for treatment.

On May 11, a meeting of the Provincial Crisis Management Center of Province 2 held on May 11 decided to immediately demand 4,000 oxygen cylinders from the federal government considering the possible shortage of oxygen in the province. On May 9 and 10, Chief Minister Lalbabu Raut had virtually discussed with the medical superintendents of Province 2. Moreover, the meeting also decided to purchase 50,000 viral transport media (VTM) and reagents to control the growing Coronavirus infection and increase the scope of testing.

Budget issues

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Planning, Bagmati Pradesh, has given priority to the budget formulation for the coming fiscal year 2021/21. The ministry has planned to not choose the fragmented and multi-year plans. The ministry shall give priority to plans which can be completed within one year. The focus of the budget will be on health, education, agriculture, development, and employment sectors.

The National Planning Commission is facing to manage the resources for the budget in the upcoming fiscal year 2021/22 while the government is unable to collect revenue, internal debt, and foreign aid. Reportedly, the commission is preparing a budget of Rs 1.7 trillion. However, the government has not been able to collect even Rs 1.5 trillion.

The National Natural Resources and Fiscal Commission has recommended to the Government of Nepal for the royalty distribution in the federal, provincial, and local levels. According to the commission, the government collected a total of Rs 5.412 billion from mountaineering, electricity, forest, mines, and minerals. As per the law, 50 percent of royalty goes to the federal government, 25 percent to the concerned province, and the rest to the local level.

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