News Digest – Federalism (November 26 – December 2)

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COVID hospitals

Rashtriya Janamorcha Party organized protest rallies in several places across the country demanding abolition of federalism. The party argued that a country such as Nepal with a weak economy can not necessarily run on a federalism system. 

Administrative issues: The provincial Public Service Commission (PSC) of Bagmati Pradesh asked to send the details of staffers and vacant posts. After data collection, the commission will announce vacancies to fill the staff. In the absence of necessary staff, the regular function, budget expenditure system, and the office services are in a limbo.

Out of 753 local units, 184 have not submitted unemployed listed under the Prime Minister Employment Program so far. The Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Social Security has made arrangements to collect the unemployment data through the Employment Management Information System (EMIS) in the current fiscal year. The government will allocate the budget based on available data. According to the ministry, out of 688,969 unemployed listed in the PMEP, not even 1% were engaged in employment in the past five months.

Budget and development issues: After four years of establishment of the provincial government, Bagmati Pradesh improved its budget expenditure in the current FY 2020/21 compared to previous FYs. The Bagmati Pradesh was able to expend 8.11% in the first four months of the current FY, whereas, the Pradesh spent only 4% in the previous FY.

The government has planned to build administration offices at all local levels, but the construction has been stalled due to lack of private land. As per the rule, land should be in the name of the concerned body for building construction. The Department of Local Infrastructure (DOLI) under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General administration estimated that there is no central office building for 600 local units and 5,000 ward offices.

Health and education-related issues: Although the risk of Coronavirus infection is ongoing, some districts of Karnali Pradesh resumed schools. The schools restarted by maintaining social and physical distancing. The schools have also divided classes into several section. However, only 50% of students attending schools. The District Administration Office, however, claimed that the local governments are reopening the schools without their permission.

The government inaugurated the building construction to build 5-to-15-bed hospitals in 250 local units across the country. The government has also planned to set up hospitals in 396 local levels worth Rs 57.97 billion in the current FY, and the remaining local levels will start to build in the next FY.  Out of 753 local units, only 104 local have hospital facilities. The Ministry of Finance has allocated worth Rs 57.97 billion for the construction of the hospitals. 

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