News Digest – Federalism (March 11 – March 17, 2021)

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Administration issues: The Provincial Assembly meeting of Province 1 has been postponed until further notice citing special notice. On March 14, Provincial Assembly Speaker Pradeep Bhandari had called the assembly meeting for March 15 with the consent from Chief Minister Sherdhan Rai. 

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration stopped mobilizing local levels’ employees to the inter-local level assignment. The ministry realized the political and administrative pressure under the transfer in inter-local levels. The ministry has put forward four arguments to stop mobilization of employees; ongoing organizational and management survey of the local levels, lack of software for management, vacant post, and remaining to adjust the employees. 

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA) has appealed to all local levels to put self-assessment in the software prescribed by the ministry. Each local government is required to put in self-assessment by assessing their work procedures and achievements to make them competitive among governments. The ministry has already conducted training in all seven provinces to assist in self-assessment at local levels.

Economy and development: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli claimed that the development activities intensified over the country, but as per the Financial Comptroller General Office (FCGO), the government has spent only 22.58% of the development budget (capital budget) and 48.03% recurrent budget during eight months of the current fiscal year 2020/21. Overall, the government achieved only 38.72% of the total expenses allocated for the current FY. Reportedly, the government has spent an average of Rs 10 billion on the development budget. Similarly, the government has collected 56.46% revenue of the targeted revenue during eight months.

On March 14, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli inaugurated the ‘provincial and local roads construction-related program’ organized by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration. During the program, three tiers of government signed an agreement to construct and connect roads to the national road. Out of 283 municipality-rural municipalities, only 110 Palikas have started construction of blacktopped roads in the county.

The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Development, Sudurpashchim Pradesh has forwarded 85 new projects worth Rs 160 million. The government allocated a budget that has no-budgetary schemes. The maximum projects are related to irrigation. Previously, the provincial government had already allocated Rs 1.41 billion for the irrigation support, which project has been sluggish implementation so far. 

The National Natural Resource and Fiscal Commission (NNFRC) recommended the government of the fiscal equalization grant worth Rs 1.5 billion for the upcoming fiscal year 2021/22. As per the provision in the National Natural Resource Fiscal Commission Act, 2074, the commission should recommend the fiscal grant from February 15 to March 15. 

Political issues: A meeting of provincial parliamentarians of the CPN-UML Oli group has decided to claim the leadership of the parliamentary party in Province 2.

After the court’s decision about the splitting of the Nepal Communist Party, Chief Minister of Sudurpashchim Pradesh, Trilochan Bhatta’s post has been a threat. CM Bhatta belongs to the Maoist party. However, Nepal Communist Party has the majority in the Sudurpashchim Pradesh.    

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