News Digest – Federalism (March 18-24, 2021)

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Economy and Development: The Natural Resource and Fiscal Commission is now preparing a fiscal equalization grant for the provincial and local levels for the upcoming fiscal year 2078/79 BS. Similarly, the commission is also preparing structure and boundaries for distribution of royalty to the government. The commission has gotten the responsibility to make a structure of financial equalization and conditional grants. Similarly, the planning commission has gotten the responsibility to prepare the remaining two grants—complementary and special.

Province 2 does not get any royalty as it does not have any natural resources. Province 2 does not have natural resources such as mountains, electricity, mines, and minerals.

Throughout the country, the government has opened 414 mountains for ascension but only 82 mountains have collected mountaineering royalty.

On March 18, the Provincial Planning Commission of Karnali Pradesh publicized the first 5-year plan from 2076/77 to 080/81 BS. The 5-year plan aims to increase the economic growth rate to 18.8% from 5.7% in the next five years and is expected to reach US$ 1,117 per capita, giving priority to infrastructure development, health, and educational sectors. The government also made 20 different long term goals through the plan. Similarly, the government has forwarded 12 goals for ‘Prosperous Karnali, Happy Karnali’ through the plan, with five goals related to prosperity and the remaining seven goals related to happiness.

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has informed that 283 local levels, out of 753, have no blacktopped roads. Even the existing roads are not of good quality. The roads are used only in the winter season and closed during the rainy season. Currently, the government started construction of roads connecting the municipalities with the center in all seven provinces.

Gandaki Pradesh has expended only 24.98% budget during the eight months of the current fiscal year 2020/21. Reportedly the provincial government has expended only 5.66 billion (27.78%) capital expenditure and 2.96 billion (20.95%) of the current expenditure so far. Similarly, the Office of the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers has expended only 1.44% during eight months.  

On March 17, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and Tata Project Limited signed a contract worth around Rs four billion for the improvement of the power transmission line over eight districts of Province 2. The contract targets to complete the work within three years.   

Educational development: Bandipur rural municipality of Tanahu district of Gandaki Pradesh is preparing local curriculum development. The rural municipality has targeted to implement the local curriculum in the coming academic session. The municipality is preparing the curriculum based on domestic economy, social, ethnic, cultural, religious, tourism, historical, agriculture, and other areas.

Government Administration: Lots of works have been stranded due to the absence of the assembly meeting in Province 2. As per the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure Development, the important work has been halted due to the carelessness of the provincial government.

On March 16, the meeting of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Minister (OPMCM) directed all ministries to seek prior approval for any foreign assistance.

Humanitarian: UNDP, Nepal Red Cross Society, and the provincial government is setting up ‘Emergency Operations Centers’ in all districts over Karnali Pradesh.   

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