News Digest – Federalism (March 4 – March 10, 2021)

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Budget and development: Karnali Pradesh has spent 8% budget during seven months of the current fiscal year 2020/21. Earlier, Chief Minister of Karnali Province, Mahendra Bahadur Shahi, had discussed with the ministers and secretaries to increase the budget expenditure and its implementation, but expenditure was disappointing. As reported, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law has spent only 0.69% capital budget which is the lowest expenditure among ministries.

The Province 2 government is going to emphasize Rapti Dudhaura Diversion Project in Bara district in coordination with the federal government to provide drinking water, irrigation, and energy-related facilities. The provincial government had announced to operate such an ambitious project in the policy and program of the fiscal year 2020/21. The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Province 2, has started a study of the river and coordination with the stakeholders. The Province has allocated Rs 2.5 million for the initial phase of the project. 

31 months after the decision of the cabinet of Province 1, Nepal Water Supply Corporation, Dharan branch, got institutional ownership in the property. After getting the ownership, the Branch has been supplying adequate water to locals with a reduced tariff.

Six local governments in Morang have forwarded the concept of a common plan to emphasize garbage management centers and energy-related projects at the local levels. 

Administration issues: The Supreme Court decided in the favor of Rishiram Kattel, which took the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to its pre-merger state. This decision caused ripples in all provinces except Province 2, as two chief ministers (Sudurpaschim and Karnali Province) belonged to Dahal (Maoist) faction, while the rest four to Oli (NCP-UML) group.

58 health workers on contractual basis at the Surkhet-based Karnali Provincial Hospital have protested demanding salary. The workers warned that the health services will be stopped if the government did pay them the salary. The director of the hospital has requested the Provincial Ministry of Social Development to release the payment.

On March 6, Karnali Pradesh Chief Govinda Prasad Kalauni and Province 2 Chief Dr Rajesh Jha met and discussed official activities. Chief Jha plans to visit and meet with all provincial chiefs to query about their official activities. 

The National Natural Resource and Fiscal Commission is monitoring the work evaluation performance of the local governments. The commission evaluates the performance by making seven indicators. According to the commission, the local governments have improved their budget report submission in a timely manner. 

Provincial support: On the occasion of International Women’s Day, under the ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ campaign, Chief Minister of Province 2, Lalbabu Raut, distributed bicycles to 1520 students of class eight. Previously, under the campaign, CM Raut had distributed 14,000 bicycles in the fiscal year 2075/76 BS. The government is also preparing to distribute more than 20,000 bicycles to students. 

The Province 1 government announced to provide relief packages for Tapalejung fire-victims. On March 4, the Chief Minister of Province 1 visited the settlement and announced the relief package.  

In Gandaki Pradesh, more than 4,000 people have applied for the interest-free loan scheme. The Gandaki government has launched scheme for businessmen, especially who were affected by COVID-19 pandemic. The Gandaki Pradesh set up Business Life Saving Fund worth Rs one billion for the businessmen. 

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