Children play and pose for photograph.

News Digest (July 22-28, 2019)

CESIF Nepal Blog / Article, Blog / Article, Blog / Article, Blog / Article, Blog / Article, Democracy and Federalism, Gender and Inclusion, Good Governance, International Relations, Security and Strategic Affairs, Thematic Areas Leave a Comment

  • The Ruling Party
  • Opposition Politics
  • Security and Strategic Affairs
  • International Relations
  • Gender and Social Inclusion
  • Provincial Affairs
  • Economic Development and Governance

The Ruling Party

NCP        

The ruling party announced the district in-charge and sub-in-charge. The party’s topmost leaders, however, misused power and appointed their closet ones and not included many youth leaders.[1]

Further, a tussle in the ruling party as to who will take on the school department stalled the process. Both former UML and Maoist Center leaders claimed the school department leadership.[2]

Ghanshyam Bhusal, a permanent central committee member also claimed the leadership and expressed that he can effectively handle the department.  Bhusal is Marxism expert and trainer in the party.[3]

Jhalanath Khanal expressed his interest if the senior leaders unanimously support him. Likewise, leader Dr. Beduram Bhusal made his claim as well. Narayan Kaji Shrestha, spokesman of the party, demanded leadership of the school department.[4] So far, five leaders vied leadership of the department. [5]

Parliamentary Affairs and Bills

The government remains undecided on external voting system. The election commission steering committee carried out a feasibility of online voting. On receiving report from the commission, the government will enact a new bill. So far 115 countries worldwide exercise the online voting system.[6]

The seven constitutional bodies are yet to have office-bearers or presidents. The government showed no interest in making them effective. Women, Dalit, and Adhibasi/Janajati commission have spent their four-year without work.[7]

The parliament development committee directed the government to clear about clean feed policy. Experts and stakeholders who attended the development committee meeting said some provision of the bill should be rewritten while some should be removed.[8]

Opposition Politics

Nepali Congress

The NC disciplinary committee expelled 23 leaders from the party.  The leaders from Solukhumbu, Rautahat, and Dailekh districts were expelled for working against the party during the elections.[9] NC also removed 151 party members as dissident candidates of last year federal election.[10]

NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba stated that his party will start a protest against the government for being authoritarian in its day to day dealings pointing at the controversial Media Council bill, NHRC Act, and Telecommunication Act.[11]

A new regulation that was introduced by the NC was criticized by its own party leaders. Most of the leaders said that new regulation restricts the freedom of expression. The party leaders believe the new regulation is against party ideology, principle, and democracy.[12] Leaders condemned the party regulation claiming that the mass-based party will turn into cadre-based party in the future if the provisions on the levy remains unchanged.[13]

RJP-N and SP-N

As per the agreed practice of reshuffle every two month, RJP-N has Raj Kishor Yadav as the new party president. [14] Further, unification with SP-N is ongoing in a positive way. Both parties have finalized most of the issues and discussed the unresolved ones. They agreed a sharing basis for secretariat members, members of the central committee, and district leadership.[15]

Samajbadi Party Nepal formed Province 2 regional adjustment of Madhes provincial committee. The party also declared 70 members of the provincial committee under the leadership of Bijay Yadav. Nineteen leaders from the Dr. Baburam Bhattarai led former Naya Shakti took responsibility in the provincial committee.[16]

Others

RJP-N and NC criticized the provision of clean feed policy in the new bill for advertisement regulation 2075. Still, the government didn’t drop the advertisement regulation bill. Gokul Baskota, Minister of Communication and Information Technology said the clean feed policy is in the interest of the nation and reiterated the government will not withdraw the bill.[17]

Security and Strategic Affairs

In the last five months after the ban on the Biplab-led Maoist faction, police arrested 606 cadres and at least nine cadres have been killed including six who were killed in bomb explosions of their own.[18]

Police arrested the outlawed CPN Biplab cadre Maila Lama. Lama is the Kathmandu district in-charge of the Biplab party.[19] Myagdi police arrested Chand-led CPN district in-charge Kaman Singh Nakal (Bikiran) and Secretary Babu Lal Shakya. Two others were also arrested from Tanahun district. Police also arrested Karnali bureau in-charge Bakhat Bahadur Bista, Jumla district secretary Birakha Bhahdur Shahi,[20] and Dhankuta-Morang Secretary Dipak Rai.[21]

Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa stated that the outlawed CPN was hazardous to peace and security of the country. He claimed that informal talks were underway to bring the outlawed party in the mainstream.[22]

International Relations

Visit Nepal 2020

The secretariat of Visit Nepal 2020 announced that Nepal will be hosting Tourism Investment Summit in 2020 to promote tourism. National program coordinator, Visit Nepal 2020, Suraj Vaidya said that the event will also see investors signing agreements to invest in different sectors. Entrepreneurs from India, China, Europe, and the Middle East will be participating in the event.[23]

India’s Lunar Mission

On July 22, India launched a rocket to moon to allow Indian researchers to explore water mass in the moon.  The USD 146 million project is first of its kind and no other nation has yet been successful to explore the water mass at the moon’s South Pole.  The space craft is expected to land on the moon in 50 days.[24]

Labour Agreement with Japan

After the labour agreement with Japan, the date for language and skill tests have been fixed for this October and November respectively. Due to shortage of workforce, Japan decided to take around 350,145 foreign workers from nine countries in 14 sectors. Although, Nepal is among the nine selected countries, Japan will only hire Nepali workers in nursing care sector.  Nepal being the only South Asian country that Japan approached, the number of workers that will be hired will be decided by the Japanese employer.[25] 

Nepal-India

Minister for Commerce, Matrika Yadav and India’s Ambassador to Nepal jointly inspected the cross border petroleum pipeline. The Minister said that the pipeline would save costs and ensure safety, prevent adulteration, and theft of the petroleum during transportation via tankers.[26]

Samant Goel, the chief of Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) came to Nepal for a 5-day visit. He led a delegation of five people and planned to hold high level political meetings.[27] However, Goel returned to India after three days, shortening his trip. He met NCP Co-Chair Prachanda. A reception was held by the Indian Embassy on July 22, which some leaders ignored, saying that they were not told about the agenda of the reception.[28] 

A discussion program was held in Delhi on the topic ‘An assessment on Nepal-China Relations’. The program discussed how China is increasing its footprint in Nepal. Former Indian envoy to Nepal, Ranjit Rae said Nepal-China relations are increasing, but it is not enough to harm Nepal-India relations. According to S.D. Muni, China’s security motives in Nepal is mainly the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the Dalai Lama. The other topics discussed were China’s engagements in FDI, infrastructure, public diplomacy, and connectivity.[29] 

Nepal-China

The Tibetan government in exile rejected the suggestion of choosing the next Dalai Lama with the consent and involvement of China. The Central Tibetan Administration said that Lamas are born and raised in freedom, and China’s repressive way of involvement is unacceptable. This came in response for the statement made by the Chinese official saying China will not accept the reincarnated Dalai Lama born in exile, India, or elsewhere.  The secretary of CTA also added that not just the Tibetans, but all Buddhists from Nepal, India, Mongolia, and even China will reject China-picked Dalai Lama.[30]

Rasuwa immigration office issued more than 10000 cards to enter Kerung from Rasuwagadhi transit. The card will let the travelers go till Kerung without any intervention. 10000 tourists entered China through the border in past four years, and 14000 entered Nepal in the past fiscal year.[31]

Nepal’s central bank provided a license to a Chinese company-UnionPay to operate its payment system in Nepal. The Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yanqi, congratulated UnionPay and said, “We expect and encourage more Chinese companies to come to Nepal to conduct business under the premise of compliance”, on her Twitter account.[32]

Air Linkage

A team from Ministry and Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation went to China on July 23 to revise the Air Service Agreement signed on 2014. During the meeting with the Chinese officials on July 25-26, the Nepali team discussed the issues of additional flights from China and allow Nepali carriers to fly directly to China.[33] After the revision, 21 flights among the total added flights will be operating from the under-construction Gautam Buddha International Airport and Pokhara Regional International Airport. Nepali carriers will now be allowed to fly 8 other destinations in China from the current 7 cities.[34]

Xi’s Nepal Visit

Government sources have confirmed that China’s President Xi Jinping is visiting Nepal soon. Xi will be staying in Nepal for eight hours and leaving for India. After Chinese foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Nepal regarding Xi’s arrival, an official announcement will be made.[35] 

Nepal-US

A 5-day program from July 22-26 was held in Chandragiri, Kathmmadu between the US Army and 18 APF members. The program is a joint medical first responder knowledge exchange, the second exercise held of its kind. Nathan Greene, one of the participants from the US Army said the program will increase medical capabilities of both Nepal and the US when both the forces combine efforts.[36]

Gender and Social Inclusion

Reproductive Health

The obscuring act certified by the parliament for reproductive health has been a major problem for women, as they are not getting beneficial reproductive health services and their rights have been disrupted. The act has not clearly mentioned about the new abortion law, neither outlined the family planning services through health institutions.[37]

Disaster Relief

The ruling and opposition parties have criticized and accused each other in the parliament of failing to provide relief and rescue in the flood-affected areas. NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba proposed a diplomatic solution with India on the issue of Koshi barrage.

Rajendra Mahato expressed the need of banning excessive extraction of Chure range to prevent Madhesh from natural disaster. He suggested Government of India and Nepal to find a joint solution and accused government’s negligence for the flood havoc.[38]

Chhaupadi

UN Women kicked off a campaign with objectives to eliminate social malpractices and taboos including Chhaupadi, child marriage, and female feticide.[39]

Violence and Discrimination

A report presented that 121 cases of gender based violence were reported across the country in a month. The report included 57 cases of domestic violence, 27 rape cases, 14 social violence, 10 murder, six sexual harassment, three rape attempts, two trafficking, a cyber-crime, and an attempt to suicide cases. In 30% of the cases, the husbands were the perpetrators, while 15% were neighbors, and 14% were family members.[40]

A 63-year-old Australian national Berryman Thomas Alfred was detained on the charge of sexually abusing two teenage boys aged 14 and 15 in his rented room in Pokhara. Alfred is a paraglider with a private paragliding company in Pokhara.[41]

A report released by the National Human Rights Commission states that caste based discrimination deprived citizen from enjoying human rights. The commission recommended all three tiers of the government to end discrimination and ensure rights of every citizen. The human rights body also urged political parties, civil society, and non-governmental organizations to take initiatives towards eliminating discrimination.[42] However, at Narayan Municipality of Dailekh district, a Dalit woman was beaten and then attacked with a knife by a so-called upper caste woman for touching her water container at a public tap.[43]

Nirmala Panta Rape and Murder Case

Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa during a press meet to mark a year for ministry’s report stated that Nirmala Pant rape case is not a new phenomenon in the country and that such cases were happening and will continue to happen in the future. He made light of the grave issue, at a time when the country was marking a year for Nirmala’s gruesome death after rape. However, there has been no progress in finding the real perpetrator.[44]

Migration

Three Nepali women who reached Malawi, Southeast African country for domestic work through a network of human trafficking, have not been rescued since the past seven months. Rescue operation became complicated because Nepal has no diplomatic relations with Malawi. South Africa-based Nepali Commissioner hasn’t paid much concern to their pleas. A Nepali based in Malawi informed that the women didn’t have necessary documents and visa and have escaped from a safe house.[45] Further updates are awaited on this news.

Ministry of Education reports that nearly 64,000 students received no objection certificates for study abroad with 60% choosing Australia. A total of Rs 40 billion was remitted out while the inward remittance including contribution from the students was approximately Rs 800 billion in the past fiscal year.[46]

Disaster Response and Relief

The National Emergency Operation Centre reported that 111 people across the country were killed during the recent flood triggered by monsoon. Till date, 40 are still missing and 67 injured. A total of 128 incident of flood and 208 event of landslide have been recorded this monsoon.[47]

Lawmakers from both ruling and opposition party asked government to carry relief, rescue, and rehabilitation work in flood affected areas timely and effectively. Similarly, lawmakers also requested government to seek preventive solutions. Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara said all HoR members to contribute their one day’s salary to the government’s relief fund.[48]

European Union announced Euro 8.5 million in South and South-East Asian countries affected by flood and landslide. It is stated that Euro 1.5 million will be provided to the victims of ongoing monsoon in India and Bangladesh as humanitarian funding package and rest to Nepal and the Philippines.[49]

There has been a rise in the number of children deaths due to drowning in Province 2 since the flooding began. In the last nine days, 25 children lost their lives. The cause of this has been linked to numerous construction projects that have been abandoned without completion. Children have drowned in trenches that filled up with rain water.[50]

Education

Dropout rate of girl students decreased after the sanitary pads distribution campaign was introduced in public schools of Kailali. Due to this initiative, girls who were absent in the class for four-five days in a month, are attending classes regularly. This helped in improving their results. Tikapur municipality allocated a budget of Rs 100,000 for sanitary pads distribution in community schools.[51]

PSC Employee Selection

Political parties announced a national protest against the recent PSC employee selection process. The RJP-N and six other ethnic parties stated that PSC curtailed the constitutional rights of reservation for the marginalized. RJP-N leader Rajendra Mahato said that they would form a strong alliance to demand amendment in the constitution.[52]

Provincial Affairs

In the FY 2018-19, the provincial governments spent only 54% of the budget. Province 5 spent the highest among all and as much as 61% of the budget, while Karnali had a meagre expenditure of 35% only. The province governments claimed that the low expenditure was due to lack of employees.[53]

Gandaki Province emphasized long term project of up to 25 years in oad construction sector. The province set a target of constructing 3500 km within 5 years, 6950 km within 10 years, and 12037 km within 25 years.[54]

Karnali Province Chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi demanded 500 more employees in the province for smooth delivery of services. Shahi said that at least 3500 employees would be required to deliver the government services in the Province.[55]

Economic Development and Governance

Charge d’affaires of German Embassy Claudia Hiepe suggested social protection as a tool for economic development and poverty alleviation in Nepal. Lessons from India, Pakistan and Malawi was also shared at the event.[56]

Nepal is missing an opportunity to take the demographic advantage as 40% of the population are in the active age of 16-40. Nepal failing to mobilize their manpower and skills in the country cost the country of effective hands. The lack of opportunities at home forced the working population to migrate in search for work.[57]

The government is preparing to take actions against contractors who have failed to deliver the projects on time. The home minister claimed that the government will take action on the defaulters based on the evidences gathered by the CIAA.[58]

The works of Melamchi Water Project, that stalled after the Italian contractor quit, resumed again. The government, on the other hand, has been giving petty contracts to the Maoist-affiliated contractors. The cabinet had earlier decided to allow contracts of as much as Rs 43 crores to contractors without any competitive bidding process to anyone. The cabinet also agreed a cost of Rs 263 crores for the remaining 3% of the project work, which was estimated at Rs 150 crores earlier.[59]

A report proposed a modality for the construction of 1200-MW Budhi Gandaki Reservoir Project. The Ministry of Energy came up with the option of implementing the project on its own as there was no headway on the discussion with the Chinese Company, CTGC on the modality.[60]

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) announced[61] it was close to completing its probe on the Baluwatar land scam which implicated politicians and former prime ministers. The probe body interviewed high profile individuals including Rukma Shumsher Rana and former CIAA chief Dip Basnyat. The media, meanwhile, reported that the district court of Kathmandu tried to protect individuals and institutions involved in the scam by refusing to look into the relevant documents and evidences.[62]

The Supreme Court ordered action against three judges of Pokhara high court who violated their jurisdiction to help Gorkha Brewery avoid taxes.[63] Similarly, the CIAA asked the Judicial Council to look into two district judges who helped individuals steal public land.[64] The judiciary came under increased controversy after five judges engaged in corruption while hearing Nepal’s biggest smuggling case[65] led to a failure of Nepal’s legal institutions to deliver justice.[66]

The CIAA has been more active than before based on the number of cases it filed in court and the number of high profile cases it is pursuing.[67] Among others, the CIAA is investigating Raj Narayan Pathak,[68] former CIAA commissioner; while the Department of Money Laundering Investigation (DMLI) resumed the probe of Ajeya Sumargi,[69] a businessperson with close links to Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.

Despite last year’s policy fiasco, dealers and sugar mills started lobbying against restricting sugar imports saying there is enough stock in the Nepali market. Last year, PM Oli said he had been duped by the dealers when sugar prices rocketed during the festive season and the parliament assessed that policy makers had received kickbacks amounting to Rs 1.7 billion.[70] Meanwhile, sugar mills in the Tarai are yet to pay Rs 7 billion to the sugarcane farmers.[71]

Photo: Pratik Gurung


[1] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/aspiring-candidates-left-high-and-dry/

[2] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2019/07/23/ruling-party-s-latest-headache-a-kerfuffle-over-who-should-lead-the-school-department

[3] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/news/2019/07/24/15639324262736363.html

[4] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/83466/

[5] https://nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/20799/2019-07-25

[6] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/debate-on-external-voting-rages-on/

[7]https://www.kantipurdaily.com/news/2019/07/24/156393313299166198.html

[8] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/83471/

[9] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/nc-takes-disciplinary-action-against-rebel-candidates-their-supporters/

[10] http://annapurnapost.com/news/132848

[11] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/83359/

[12] https://kathmandupost.com/politics/2019/07/22/congress-the-party-that-stood-for-democracy-attempts-to-control-its-own-member

[13] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/83572/

[14] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/83369/

[15] https://nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/20564/2019-07-23

[16] http://annapurnapost.com/news/132957

[17] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/govt-will-not-withdraw-clean-feed-policy-minister-baskota/

[18] https://nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/20800/2019-07-25

[19] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/chand-outfit-s-kathmandu-in-charge-aide-arrested/

[20] https://www.karobardaily.com/news/politics/22168

[21] http://annapurnapost.com/news/132981

[22] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/netra-bikram-chand-led-communist-party-of-nepal-will-be-brought-to-political-mainstream/

[23] https://www.nepal24hours.com/nepal-tourism-investment-summit-to-be-held-in-february-2020/

[24] https://thehimalayantimes.com/news-archives/latest/indias-moon-mission-lifts-off-hopes-to-probe-lunar-south-pole/

[25] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2019/07/23/language-tests-for-nepalis-wanting-to-work-in-japan-to-take-place-later-this-year

[26] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/business/2019/07/24/156393763587918644.html

[27] https://english.khabarhub.com/2019/22/33552/

[28] https://setopati.net/political/149747

[29] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/china-majorly-increasing-footprint-in-nepal-experts/articleshow/70362471.cms

[30] https://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/230719/china-cant-pick-the-new-dalai-lama-say-tibetans.html

[31] https://www.nepal24hours.com/rasuwa-immigration-office-issues-over-10000-cards-to-enter-kerung/

[32] http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-07/24/c_138251848.html

[33] https://thehimalayantimes.com/business/moctca-team-departs-to-china-for-revision-of-asa/

[34] https://thehimalayantimes.com/business/nepal-china-revise-air-services-pact/

[35] https://shikharnews.com/2019/07/24/113190

[36] The Himalayan Times, July 24, 2019

[37] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/women-unable-to-enjoy-reproductive-health-rights-due-to-lack-of-regulations/

[38] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/83374/

[39] http://therisingnepal.org.np/news/33235

[40] https://baahrakhari.com/news-details/206663/2019-07-23

[41] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/australian-national-arrested-on-charge-of-pedophilia/

[42] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/national-human-rights-commission-urges-government-to-end-caste-based-discrimination/

[43] https://www.bardiyatiger.com/2019/07/2025/

[44]https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/minister-of-home-affairs-ram-bahadur-thapa-makes-light-of-nirmalas-rape/

[45] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/news/2019/07/26/156410509519329945.html

[46] https://nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/20567/2019-07-23

[47] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/83730/

[48] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/government-told-to-carry-out-rescue-relief-work/

[49] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/eu-mobilizes-8-5m-euros-for-flood-hit-countries-including-nepal/

[50] https://kathmandupost.com/province-no-2/2019/07/23/25-children-killed-by-floods-and-careless-construction-in-province-2-over-nine-days

[51] https://baahrakhari.com/news-details/206893/2019-07-25

[52] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/rjpn-working-on-madhesi-janajati-protest-alliance/

[53] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/news/2019/07/23/156384545916217948.html

[54] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/83485/

[55] https://www.karobardaily.com/news/politics/22254

[56] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/chargee-daffaires-german-embassy-claudia-hiepe-stresses-social-protection-for-economic-development/

[57] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/news/2019/07/23/156384662390749727.html

[58] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/home-minister-threatens-non-performing-contractors-with-action/

[59] http://annapurnapost.com/news/132842

[60] https://www.karobardaily.com/news/development/22287

[61] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/lalita-niwas-land-scam-probe-now-at-final-stage-ciaa/

[62] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/news/2019/07/21/15636724315352104.html

[63] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/news/2019/07/26/156410417306182600.html

[64] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/news/2019/07/22/156375910909026492.html

[65] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2019/01/18/high-court-judges-face-action-in33-kg-gold-case

[66] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2019/07/25/nearly-a-year-later-no-new-developments-on-nepal-s-biggest-gold-smuggling-case

[67] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2019/07/20/two-former-ministers-and-a-sitting-lawmaker-among-351-individuals-charged-with-corruption-in-the-past-year-alone

[68] https://kathmandupost.com/valley/2019/07/18/disgraced-anti-graft-official-pathak-under-investigation-for-money-laundering

[69] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com.np/news/2019-07-02/anti-money-laundering-agency-resumes-probe-into-sumargis-transactions.html

[70] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/business/2019/07/22/15637645418564474.html

[71] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com.np/news/2019-07-02/sugar-mills-in-central-tarai-owe-rs7-billion-to-cane-farmers.html

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