News Digest June 1-7, 2019

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

Domestic Politics

NCP Merger

Factional politics is on the rise in NCP party. Nine senior leaders are protecting their group interests in the party. PM Oli leads a group with committed members and has home minister Ram Bahadur Thapa as the new comer.[1]

NCP discussed the name of in-charge and co-in charge of the district committee. The party formed central, provincial, and relation coordination committee, sister wings of Madhes Committee and also formed international coordination committee.[2]

The party is yet to finalize the head of the party organization department. Both co-chairs want their person as head of the department. Leader Bamdev Gautam is the top contender for the post.[3] 

Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal claimed that he will be the next prime minister on the basis of 5-point agreement in between him and PM Oli.[4] Both Chairs met to discuss the power-sharing issue after the agreement surfaced on social media.[5]

Senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, claiming ignorance of the agreement, urged that the government should operate for five years. [6]

A meeting of the central secretariat of NCP on June 4 ended inconclusively. The meeting held to finalize the work division of central committee members, chose the head of various party departments as well as full-size and division of politburo members.[7] The issue of contention was one leader one responsibility rule or otherwise.[8]   

District committees are gradually taking full shape. Morang formed its district committee with 185 members led by Rishikesh Pokharel (former UML) and secretary Ganesh Upreti (Sushil) from erstwhile Maoist Center.[9]

Opposition Politics

Nepali Congress 

Nepali Congress seems to be weakening further with politics of faction, sub-factions, and groups as seen in the ongoing nationwide awareness programme.[10]

NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba claimed that NC will start a movement to uproot the Communist it did while uprooting the the Rana, the Panchayat, and the Monarchy.[11]

NC registered a public importance proposal at the federal parliament over labour agreement with Malaysia and the subsequent withholding of employment migration.[12]

Biplab

NCP (Biplab) spokesman Khadak Bahadur Bishowkarma (Prakanda) informed through a press release that Padam Rai of his party joined the ruling NCP. [13]

Kathmandu district in-charge Maela Lama absconded after bomb blasts in Kathmandu that killed 4 Biplab cadres and injured 7 other. Nepal police is on his hunt and arrested Motidhan Rai (Khotang), Bhupendra Gharti (Rolpa), Bindu Kumari Kuekela (Morang), and Sandhya Devi Pun (Rolpa).[14]

Reports claimed that Netra Bikram Chand (Biplab) party operated sudden and suspicious activities in Solukhumbu district. Security agencies claimed that 20-25 Biplab cadres attacked and tried to take control of the police post of Chheskam village of Mahakulung Rural Municipality-3.[15] [16]

Samajbadi Party Nepal

Samajbadi Party Nepal co-chairs Baburam Bhattarai and Upendra Yadav charged the government of seriously not considering amendment in the constitution as per their demands. The party indicated at withdrawal from the government and going for street protests against the government.[17]

The party also criticized the Public Service Commission on its recent recruitment announcement. The party urged immediate withdrawal as the vacancy was against the spirit of the inclusion enshrined in the Constitution. On May 29, the commission announced vacancies for the post of 9,161 civil servants for 515 local levels. The main oppositions, NC and RJP-N have also criticized the vacancy announcement. [18]

RJP-N

RJP-N expressed dissatisfaction on the government budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The party charged the government of discriminating Madhesis.[19] RJP-N lawmakers again demanded the government to make the Lal Commission report public.[20] 

RPP

Chairman of Rastriya Prajatantra Party-United, Pashupati Sumsher JBR Rana said that they will start a street movement for restoration of Hindu state. He claimed that as 81% Nepalis are Hindu and 94% belong to Omkar family, the restoration is possible without foreign support.[21]

Similarly, Kamal Thapa of Rastriya Prajatantra Party announced the start of second Rashtriya Swabhiman Abhiyan from Mustang tomorrow. Thapa also called for roundtable conference accommodating the former king and Biplab for ensuring peace and political stability. [22]

Others

A few months ago, two parties, Naya Shakti Party and Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN), united to form Samajbadi Party Nepal. On February 2, two parties RPP (Democratic) led by Pashupati Shumsher JBR and Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani-led Unified RPP (Nationalist) party united to form RPP (Samuykta). Likewise, fringe communist parties, especially one led by Mohan Baidya (Kiran) started the unification process with others.  Likewise, CP Mainali-led CPN (ML) also sent a letter of unification to Mohan Baidya-led CPN (Revolutionary), Gopal Kirati-led CPN (MC), and Rishi Katel-led CPN. [23]    

Press Freedom/Human Rights/Judiciary/Transitional Justice

Press Freedom

Nepal Press Union will invite international media mission to Nepal in a bid to pressure the government to withdraw the contested Media Council Bill. Union Badri Sigdel remarked that he would present the paper on the current position of Nepal’s press freedom and its operating challenges in the 3oth IFJ Congress to be held in Tunis, Tunisia on June 11 to 14.[24]   

Nepali Congress Central Working Committee leader Dr. Shekhar Koirala stated that the government is curtailing the press freedom by drafting draconian media law. CWC member Koirala claimed that the proposed Media Council Bill is against the spirit of the Constitution and the National Media Policy-2016.[25]

Transitional Justice

Review petition filed by the government against 2015 Supreme Court ruling on transitional justice was postponed for the 22nd time. This year, the bench postponed the review petition for the sixth time. Ananda Mohan Bhattarai led the full bench of this hearing while Judge Hari Prasad Phuyal left the bench because he had already defended the case on behalf of conflict victims four years ago.[26]

Conflict victim’s common platform (CVCP) warned the government to amend the Transitional Justice Act. The victims also met law minister Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and three congress leaders – Ram Chandra Poudel, Ramesh Lekhak, and Purna Bahadur Khadka to draw attention on their demands.[27]

Australian Ambassador to Nepal Peter Budd commented on the uncertain transitional justice process of Nepal. Envoy Budd warned Nepali leaders could be arrested in foreign countries. He also reiterated that his country could arrest those leaders who were directly or indirectly involved in serious human right violation.[28]   

Reports suggest that women and girls who suffered sexual violence from members of security agencies and the combatants during the Maoist conflict are yet to get justice while some cases remain unidentified. As many as 322 women and girls lodged complaints at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, claiming to have been raped during the conflict. Although such violence occurred in 62 districts, many victims are unwilling to come forward due to fear of stigma.[29]

Human Rights

A survey report indicated that Nepal’s Human Rights situation is under threat.  New Zealand based Human Rights Measurement Initiatives explored that Nepal is not enjoying their civil liberties and political freedom as the country is on 3.9 on a scale of 10.[30]

Parliament and Judiciary

Judicial Council filed case at the Special Court against Tanahu district court judge Om Kumar Upadhaya. Upadhaya on charges of corruption.[31]

Advocate Paras Mani Bhattarai registered writ petition against the revocation of Budget Appropriation Bill stating it to be against the Constitution of Nepal articles 1, 4, 56, and 57. [32]

Advocate Dinesh Raj Subedi also filed a writ petition against allocation of budget to lawmakers claiming it to be against the spirit of federalism. [33]

Finance Minister Yubraj Khatiwada presented the Appropriation Bill, 2076 in the federal

Further, the government came up with a policy to mobilize all kinds of foreign aid through the national budget system. Previously, the budget was mobilized through the Development Partners for Nepal. Amount as close as 25 % of National budget is spent out of the system and around 40 % of the budget is spent without coming into the treasury.[34]

Lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties demanded withdrawal of Public Service Commission recruitment notice for local governments. The parties have been opposing and complaining the notice does not adhere to the principle of inclusion and spirit of constitution.[35]

Province 2 registered a file against the Public Service Commission and prepared to undertake the recruit of the employees on its own.[36]

Federal Affairs

Policy, Programme and Budget

Karnali Pradesh presented its policies and programmes for the fiscal year 2019-20 prioritizing ‘Karnali Air Service’ in collaboration with the private sector.[37]  In the ongoing fiscal year, the province was not able to make satisfactory expenses in development works.[38] However, for the upcoming fiscal, the province considered allocating to projects costing a minimum of Rs. 1 billion and is also setting up project banks.[39]

Province 2 presented its policies and programmes for upcoming fiscal with a priority on agriculture, tourism, industry, health, and education. Province government emphasized short term, midterm, and long term programmes with a continuity to ‘Educate Girls, Save Girls (Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao)’ campaign as well.[40] 

Sudurpaschim Pradesh announced its policies and programmes with a priority on infrastructure development and announced a new programme ‘one local level, one industrial production’.[41]

National Planning Commission of Province 3 determined seventeen goals for sustainable development. In the discussion policies and programmes, the government emphasized on poverty reduction, food security, health and sanitation, education, gender equality and women empowerment, and peace and security. Similarly, the government targeted to eradicate malnutrition and reduce poverty by 5 % within 2030.[42]

Federal government allocated Rs. 99.844 billion as fiscal equalization grant for the provinces for the upcoming fiscal year. Karnali received the maximum of Rs. 13.44 billion while Province 2 received the lowest of Rs. 4.427 billion grant. The budget to provinces increased by 4.59 % for the upcoming fiscal year.[43]

An elected representative of Province 1 demanded the province should allocate the budget with the approval from the elected representative and the Gaunpalika council. Both of provincial and local government decided the province will invest in the mid-size plan while the local government will invest in small-size plan.[44]

The main opposition party Nepali Congress opposed the assembly of Gandaki Pradesh. The opposition party raised questions on government activities and on appropriation bill. The ruling party has not answered the question of the opposition yet.[45]

Audit Objection

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA) is organizing seven seminars at all the provinces to manage audit objection. According to Office of the Auditor General, an amount of Rs 20.62 billion is reported as audit objections across the country.[46]

Economic Issues

According to the annual economic survey report of Central Bureau Statistics (CBS), Province 5 contributed higher economic output than other provinces in the ongoing fiscal year. On the growth rate, Karnali Pradesh has 5.68 %, Gandaki and Province 2 both has 7.06 % while provinces 1, 2 and Sudurpashchim attained 6.49 %, 6.53 %, and 6.25 % respectively.[47]

Karnali Pradesh organized mobile health camps to provide health facilities during the Yarsa collection as many lost lives during the herb collection tour in the higher lands due to cold and lack of proper treatment and medicine.[48] In Dolpa alone, eight persons died due to extreme cold and high altitude sickness.[49]

Gender and Social Inclusion

Education

Shahid Smriti Residential Secondary School at Bankatti in Tulsipur Sub-Metropolitan started campaign ‘Smart Chhori’ to educate students on child rights, sexual health, sexual abuse, self-defense, and financial literacy. Victims of the armed conflicts from 16 districts are receiving residential education.[50]

Child Marriage

All local governments of Sindhuli District implemented new program ‘Sindhuli Bhari Halla chha, 20 Barsa Pachhi Bihe Garne Sallaha Chha’ to end child marriage. The local government directed to mention age of bride and groom in the marriage invitation card.[51]

The practice of child marriage is still widely prevalent in Rukum, most of which are ending in divorces. Many young girls are opting for divorce after years of abuse and violence at the hands of their husbands and in-laws. Registrar at the district court informed that out of total of 40 divorce cases filed, the women are below 26 years.[52]

Sexual Violence

Ram Narayan Yadav, principal of Furkedanda Primary School, Lalitpur was arrested for abusing a third grader. A case has been filed at Chapagaun police station station on June 2.[53]

District Court Makawanpur sentenced 19 years imprisonment to a 37-year-old man of Hetauda Sub-Metropolitan for raping his 13-year-old daughter.[54]

Trafficking

Tek Raj Puri, 29 of Bhairawi Municipality-4, was sentenced to 38 years of jail and a fine of Rs 330,000 after he was convicted of selling his wife and son in Bangaluru, India. The victims were rescued from Bangaluru and taken to Kathmandu on August 19 last year where they received relief from Shakti Nepal.[55]

Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency is on the rise in Rupandehi. Offcially, 85 cases have been registered in the last 10 months compared to 16 in the past. All of the alleged perpetators are male, charged under crimes such as drug abuse, trafficking, robbery, rape, murder, abduction, manhandling and forgery of official stamps.[56]

Third Gender

Trans-gender Social activist Bhumika Shrestha is listed in 100 Most Influential People in Global Policy 2019, alongside Hollywood actor Emma Watson and former first lady of United States Michelle Obama. The Apolitical’s Top 100 were selected from 9000 nominations, including faces from politics, civil service, academics, and activists.[57]

International Relations

Nepal, the US, and Regional Order

In the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report published on June 1, the US recently added Nepal and Sri Lanka in State Partnership Program in the Indo-Pacific program. The US seeks to expand its defense relationship with Nepal, focusing on ‘humanitarian assistance and disaster response, peacekeeping operations, defense professionalization, ground force capacity, and counter-terrorism’. Foreign Minister of Nepal, Pradeep Gyawali understood it otherwise; he said, Nepal being a part of US targeted ‘region’ is different to Nepal being a part of a ‘strategy’, and still claims that Nepal isn’t a part of IPS.[58]

On the Indo-Pacific Strategy, leaders of Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal have urged the government clarify Nepal’s role and position.[59] 

Despite several hindrances for reviving SAARC, Minister Gyawali restated that Nepal will take all steps possible to restore the old regional organization.[60]

NCP Leader Bhim Rawal lambasted the government for not up-keeping the diplomatic norms and values.  He maintained that the US Ambassador’s ‘Rajaduta Sanga Guffgaff’ is against the diplomatic norms and is a violation of the Vienna Convention.[61]

India is likely to announce $1 billion Line of Credit to Maldives as Modi’s first foreign pursuit after being reelected. According to Ibrahim Shareef, a sitting MP of ruling Maldivian political party, India promised at least $1.4 billion through various monetary instruments including loans, import credit, and outright grants for budget support.[62]

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that there will not be any impact in the Nepal-India relation as PM Narendra Modi appointed Subrahmanyam Jaishankar foreign minister. PM Oli also hinted at revival the SAARC. [63]

Earlier NC president Deuba faced widespread criticism for sending congratulatory message to Subrahmanyam Jaishankar against the protocol.[64]

India and the US

The US terminated generalized system of preferences program on June 5, as the 60-day notice period ended on June 3. The GPS program was designed to allow beneficiary developing country a duty-free export to the US.  According to the US representative, the program was terminated as the country failed to assure equitable market access by imposing trade barriers affecting US commerce.[65]

Chairman of the Trade Promotion Council of India Mohit Singla said that India may retaliate against US decision regarding GSP by imposing tariff on 29 items shipped from the US. The move will burden $290 million on US exports to India. Singla also added that GSP program has been helping US by keeping their market competitive through Indian inputs.[66]

Nepal-China

According to the information released in the red book on June 4, China will be providing a grant amounting $2 billion for either cross-border railway or two internal railway links (Kathmandu-Pokhara and Pokhara-Lumbini). It is not yet clear on which project the grant will be spent.[67]

Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to authorities of China for easy access of Humla residents to Taklakot in China. Nepali authorities requested China to ensure a suitable working environment for them. However, Nepal has not mentioned anything about the incident regarding a Nepali man who was arrested for murdering a Chinese women, following which, China prohibited Nepalis to enter the region. As many as 1500-2000 Nepalese travel to Taklakot each year, earning about Rs 5000 per day.[68]


[1] http://annapurnapost.com/news/128647

[2] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/ncp-to-appoint-heads-of-district-committees/

[3] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-06-04/as-ncp-heads-into-key-meeting-fog-thickens-over-who-will-lead-organisation-department.html

[4] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/dahal-says-he-will-be-pm-after-a-year/

[5] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/cpn-chairs-oli-dahal-meet/

[6] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/78650/

[7] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-06-05/over-a-year-since-unification-ideological-differences-appear-in-ruling-communist-party.html

[8] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-06-07/row-lingers-in-ruling-party-over-one-leader-one-responsibility-issue.html

[9] http://annapurnapost.com/news/129090

[10] http://annapurnapost.com/news/128689

[11] http://annapurnapost.com/news/128711

[12] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/78894/

[13] http://annapurnapost.com/news/128749

[14] http://annapurnapost.com/news/128772

[15] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-06-03/police-send-reinforcements-to-solukhumbu-village-after-chand-partys-suspicious-activities.html

[16] https://english.onlinekhabar.com/solukhumbu-police-flee-as-biplav-cadres-try-to-occupy-station.html

[17] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/15783/2019-06-02

[18] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/samajbadi-party-nepal-asks-federal-public-service-commission-to-withdraw-notice/

[19] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/15878/2019-06-03

[20] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/78679/

[21] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/78900/

[22] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/rpp-chief-thapa-bats-for-roundtable-conference/

[23] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/16046/2019-06-05

[24] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/npu-to-seek-ifjs-support-to-pressure-govt/

[25] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/nc-leader-koirala-accuses-govt-of-trying-to-curtail-press-freedom-by-drafting-draconian-media-laws/

[26] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-06-07/court-postpones-hearing-on-petition-against-2015-ruling-on-transitional-justice-for-22nd-time.html

[27] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-06-06/conflict-victims-mount-pressure-on-leaders-to-amend-transitional-justice-act.html

[28] https://www.nayapage.com/archives/136053

[29]https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/conflict-era-sexual-violence-victims-yet-to-be-identified/

[30] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-06-07/people-in-nepal-are-not-enjoying-their-civil-rights-and-political-freedoms-new-human-rights-report-says.html

[31] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/78635/

[32] https://setopati.net/political/147540

[33] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/budget-allocation-to-lawmakers-challenged-in-supreme-court/

[34] https://www.karobardaily.com/news/development/20099

[35] https://www.karobardaily.com/news/society/20134

[36] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/78902/

[37] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/business/2019/06/06/15597878526732100.html

[38] https://www.karobardaily.com/news/development/20291

[39] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/78938/

[40] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/15929/2019-06-03

[41] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/15924/2019-06-03

[42] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/15966/2019-06-04

[43] https://www.karobardaily.com/news/economy/20206

[44] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/pradesh-1/2019/06/02/155944899283734495.html

[45] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/15930/2019-06-03

[46] http://annapurnapost.com/news/129015

[47] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/pradesh-1/2019/06/03/155953351399463217.html

[48] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/karnali-province-organizes-mobile-health-camps-in-dolpa-for-yarsa-collectors/

[49] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/eight-yarsa-pickers-have-died-in-dolpa-this-season-so-far/

[50] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-06-02/smart-chhori-to-prepare-daughters-of-martyrs-of-armed-conflict-for-a-better-tomorrow.html

[51] http://annapurnapost.com/news/128775

[52] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/child-marriages-ending-up-in-divorces-in-rukum/

[53] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/principal-arrested-for-child-harassment/

[54] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/pradesh-3/2019/06/06/155981438014481051.html

[55] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/man-sentenced-to-over-38-years-in-jail-for-selling-wife-son/

[56] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-06-04/juvenile-cases-on-the-rise-in-rupandehi.html

[57] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/mycity/news/activist-bhumika-shrestha-features-in-100-most-influential-people

[58] https://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-06-03/contrary-to-government-claims-latest-indo-pacific-strategy-report-includes-nepal-in-its-state-partnership-program.html

[59] https://english.onlinekhabar.com/rjpn-demands-govt-response-on-us-indo-pacific-strategy.html

[60] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/nepal-committed-to-reviving-saarc-finance-minister-pradeep-kumar-gyawali/

[61] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/15943/2019-06-03

[62] http://southasianmonitor.com/2019/06/03/modi-likely-to-announce-us-1-billion-line-of-credit-to-maldives/

[63] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-06-01/work-division-in-new-delhi-wont-affect-nepal-india-ties-oli.html

[64] https://setopati.net/political/147549

[65] https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/trump-terminates-preferential-trade-status-for-india-under-gsp/article27398318.ece

[66] https://www.rt.com/business/461031-india-respond-us-trade-benefits/

[67] https://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-06-07/china-pledges-rs-2-billion-in-grant-for-railways-but-where-will-it-go.html

[68] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/china-urged-to-let-nepalis-work-in-taklakot/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *