GoN Institutional Mechanisms for GESI

News Digest May 1-7, 2019

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

Government and the Ruling Party

Employees Adjustment Process

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA) announced the completion of the civil servants’ adjustment process in all three tiers of the government. Nevertheless, about 10,000 civil servants in health and other sectors are not satisfied and have registered complaints.[1] Civil servants are reluctant to move to assigned locations and tiers citing family interest, health issues, and lack of interest in provincial and local level.[2]

Budget

The federal parliament has kick-started the budget session. NC Whip Pushpa Bhusal strongly criticized the government for not provisioning pre-budget discussion in the parliament. Similarly, RJP-N and FSFN party put forth their demands to amend the Constitution.[3]  

NCP

PM KP Oli has said that Sher Bahadur Deuba’s persistent criticism of the government is jaundiced.[4]

NCP Co-Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal-Prachanda has threatened to replace the Province 2 government if rampant corruption does not stop. Chief Attorney of Province 2, Dipendra Jha objected to Dahal’s statement as being against federalism. He reiterated that Dahal has no authority to make such a statement as the province has its own body to investigate the issues of corruption. Earlier, on October 23, 2018 Dahal urged Province 2 not to overtake the federal government.[5] Likewise, during an event organized to celebrate Marx’s 201st anniversary, Dahal remarked that he may return to the jungle if he received support.[6] 

Policy and Programmes

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari presented the Policy and Programme of the Government of Nepal for the Year 2076/77 on May 3, 2019. Opposition lawmakers criticized the policy and programmes saying the government had not done enough homework and had excluded development plans for their regions. The President’s referral to the government as “My Government” created an uproar, forcing the PM to defend it as “international practice.” The 218-point plans and programmes—there were 103 last year—has scattered projects. The government did not address questions about the progress of last year’s policies and programmes.[7]

Opposition Politics

Nepali Congress and RPP

Nepali Congress leaders discussed the party’s role as a strong opposition in the upcoming budget session of the federal parliament. In the earlier session, Nepali Congress raised issues of the Medical Education Bill which went unheard against the 2/3 majority; the same thing happened with the other issues: wide-body scam, Baluwatar land grab, and the recent encroachment of open space in Kathmandu.[8] Similarly, chairman of Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Kamal Thapa criticized the government for not working to fulfill the demands of the people and for not taking any action against those involved in Baluwatar land grab scam.[9]

Naya Shakti and Forum Merger

The erstwhile Prime Minister and coordinator of Naya Shakti Party Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and the Deputy Prime Minister of Oli-led government, Upendra Yadav have merged to form a new party. Leaders claim the merger is based on the agenda of inclusiveness, good governance, and prosperity.[10] In the new set up, Bhattarai is the head of federal council while Yadav will remain at the helm of the central committee. Ashok Rai, Rajendra Shrestha are the co-chairs of the party; there are 21 other party officials.[11] 

Biplab

Police has re-arrested CPN (M) Biplab cadre Bir Bahadur Ghalan after the district court of Makwanpur ordered his release. The police claimed the rearrest was for a separate case.[12]


 

Security and Strategic Affairs

Citizenship

The Jhapa district police issued warrants against nine people including two elected representatives who were allegedly helping Indian nationals obtain Nepali citizenship. Arrest warrants were also issued against five people who had testified to support their citizenship.[13]

Human Rights and Press Freedom

A report published by Reporters without Borders for Freedom of Information has ranked Nepal 106th in press freedom, a position that remains unchanged from last year.[14]   

The discussion on the NHRC Act 2012 amendment bill in a parliamentary committee created heated debates between Minister for Law and Justice Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and lawmakers of the main opposition. As the government seeks to amend the 2012 Act, the opposition lawmakers and National Human Rights Commission want the new bill to respect the Paris Principle and autonomy of the Commission.[15]

War victims and human rights defenders have blamed the government for trying to mislead them and track back from its earlier commitment by not amending the Transitional Justice Act 2014. Even as the government seeks to form the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the NHRC has threatened to withdraw its members from the committee formed to recommend commission members[16] if the government does not amend the Act.[17]

Social Security and Justice

Lack of health facilities and basic necessities such as clean drinking water, nutritious food and sanitation, people of Humla are suffering from easily curable diseases like flu, asthma, and diarrhea. Some of them have even lost their lives due to lack of health post nearby. People have to walk for nearly three days and spend thousands of rupees to reach the nearest health facility.[18]

All Nepal Security Workers Union (ANSWU) has demanded that the company who hire security workers should provide facilities as per the Labor Act, including social security and minimum wages.[19] The government has asked firms to register details of their companies and employees make regular deposits as required at the Social Security Scheme (SSS) or face legal actions.[20]  Ironically, a report indicated that the government has misused the 22.27 billion rupees deposited in the social security fund.[21]

    

Gender Based Violence, Discrimination, Social Inclusion

Witchcraft, Dowry, Rape, and Murder

A 53-year-old woman in Nilkantha Municipality-9, Dhading has filed a complaint against her neighbor of torturing and accusing her of witchcraft. The police have called both the parties for interrogation as part of the investigation.[22]

In the past four years, 27 women in Nepal have been burnt alive over dowry disputes. The violence in the name of dowry has been recurrent in Tarai districts among Madhesi communities.[23]

An Armed Police Force personnel has been charged with raping a woman in Sonapur. The security personnel committed the crime at the victim’s home. The victim has filed an FIR and the perpetrator has confessed to his crime.[24]

Child Marriage

Teenage girls have introduced awareness campaigns on child marriage, alcohol abuse, gambling, polygamy, and other gender-based violence in Achham district According to UNICEF, Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia.[25]

Equality

As per the Supreme Court order dated November 2, 2017, the new local government in Panauti Municipality has introduced a new law for equality in wages for both men and women, which used to be Rs 700 for men and Rs 400 for women until last year. However, discrimination is wages still exist in many parts of the country.[26]

Education versus Livelihood

For students and teachers in Bajhang, collecting herbs-Yarsa, is more important than their studies. During the Yarsa season, the schools remain closed due to absence of students as well as teachers in many gaun palikas and municipalities. [27]

Sexual and Reproductive Health

Despite the important role midwives play in facilitating a safe delivery in remote areas, the government has been indifferent in investing in students who are studying midwifery. Many students are studying on their on their own expenses different institutions.[28] Instead the government is providing free helicopter rescue for pregnant and nursing mothers[29].

Federal Affairs

Budget and Bills

The National Natural Resources and Fiscal Commission (NNRFC) has allocated around Rs 1.7 billion as performance-based incentive for local governments. A maximum purse of Rs 37 million and a minimum of Rs 4.5 million would be provided as incentive.[30] 

The bill related to management of ties among centre, provinces and local levels denies the provinces the right to prosecute criminal offences. The provincial governments have claimed that the federal government is trying to narrow down their rights and weaken the earlier Bills on Police and Peace Security.[31]

The conflict between Province 2 and the federal government was reflected in the province’s budget session. Opposition leaders have been obstructing the session saying that instead of consulting and coordinating with the center, the province was just opting for conflict.[32]

Conflict was also seen between the provinces and the local levels. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law said that the local governments are not acting as per the constitutional spirit of cooperation, coexistence, and coordination with the provincial government. Reportedly, some local governments have worked in coordination with Ministry of the Federal Affairs and General Administration to bypass the legislative process; they are neither informing the public nor coordinating with the province.[33]

Human Resource and Administration

Even after the completion of employee adjustment process, human resource is still in deficit. The local governments have submitted the demand to fulfill the vacant posts to the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA). The Ministry has sent the details to proceed with the recruitment process to Public Service Commission.[34]

More than 2,500 senior citizens in Bangad Kupinde Municipality of Salyan district have not received their social security allowance since the past six months due to absence of Chief Administrative Officer in the local government.[35]

Province 1 has announced to construct 63 bridges in the current fiscal year. The provincial government has urged the local government to take responsibilities, and assured that they will make payments in time to the construction company to accomplish the work on time.[36] 

Name and Capital

Province 1 speaker has directed registration of the proposal on finalizing its name in the provincial assembly as the constitution of Nepal has provided this right to the provincial assembly.[37] The cabinet meeting of Province 1 has decided to set liaison office for the Chief Minister in Dhankuta.[38]

Provincial Assembly of Province 2 has declared Janakpur as the capital city and Madhes as the name of the province.[39] Provincial Assembly of province 5 has not declared the name of the capital city yet. But Lumbini is likely to be finalized as the third assembly ended on May 5 and Dang could be endorsed as the capital city.[40] The Sudur Paschim Province has set up its liaison office in Dipayal.


 

International Relations

BRF Summit

The second BRF forum was only attended by Pakistan and Nepal from South Asia. China mainly highlighted CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), CMEC (China-Myanmar Economic Corridor), and Nepal-China Trans-Himalayan Multidimensional Connectivity Network, projects from South Asia. President Xi in response to the invitation from President Bhandari has committed to visit Nepal at a convenient time. Although Xi has already visited India, Pakistan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, he is yet to visit Nepal. Xi is expected to visit Nepal as the cross-country engagement is growing.[41]

President Bhandari arrived home a day before her schedule owing to sickness and also all formal engagements had been accomplished.[42]

Terrorism

On 1st of May, the Indian permanent representative to UN was informed that Masood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad has been blacklisted. China had put a technical hold on the decision of blacklisting Azhar on March 13 for six more months to which the US rejected to wait and decided to give a push towards the end of March.[43] Following the UN decision, Pakistan government officially declared to freeze asset, movement restriction and arm embargo on Azhar. Pakistan’s foreign minister said they are implementing Resolution 2368 (2017) against Azhar immediately.[44]

Foreign Visits

Prime Minister KP Oli is on a visit to Cambodia and Vietnam from May 9 to 15. Experts have expressed concerns saying that the visit is of no significance as we neither have diplomatic engagements nor significant interactions related to trade and investments with the two ASEAN Countries. PM Oli is expected to study developmental trends and activities taking place in Vietnam and also attend Vesak Day (Buddha Jayanti) in Vietnam and signing bilateral agreements in Cambodia during his visit.[45]

Cross-Border Railways

President Bhandari said the construction phase for Nepal’s first trans-border railway connecting India and China will start within two years with the planning to be done in the upcoming fiscal year. The project is expected to provide employment for 500,000 Nepalis.[46]

Natural Disasters

Thunderstorm in Dhanusha district on the morning of Sunday, 28 April, destroyed 148 houses in Janakpur sub metropolitan.  The disaster mostly affected Musahari Tole, Wakil Tole, Mill Area and Pulchowk and claimed two lives. Most of the damage could be seen in the houses which were basically made of mud and GI sheets.[47]


[1]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-04-28/civil-service-adjustmentcompleted-in-paper-not-in-practice.html

[2]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-04-28/civil-service-adjustmentcompleted-in-paper-not-in-practice.html

[3] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/budget-session-begins-today-policies-programmes-on-may-3/

[4]https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/prime-minister-kp-sharma-oli-slams-nepali-congress-president-sher-bahadur-deuba/

[5]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-01/dahals-warning-to-topple-province-2-government-draws-ire.html

[6] http://annapurnapost.com/news/126670

[7] Address of the Honourable President at the Federal Parliament on May 3, 2019

[8]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-02/a-broken-congress-under-pressure-to-perform-as-effective-opposition.html

[9] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/govt-failed-to-address-workers-aspiration-rpp-chair-thapa/

[10]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-03/in-quest-for-the-third-force-bhattarai-and-yadav-discuss-party-merger.html

[11]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-07/bhattarai-yadav-launch-samajbadi-party-nepal-in-bid-to-create-an-alternative-force.html

[12]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-04-30/cpn-district-in-charge-ghalanarrested-soon-after-his-release.html

[13]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-01/arrest-warrants-issued-against-nine-people-for-abetting-indian-nationals-bid-to-acquire-nepali-citizenship.html

[14]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-01/threats-to-press-freedom-have-only-increased-in-nepal-says-report.html

[15]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-04-30/opposition-lawmakers-rights-body-officials-object-to-bill-to-amend-human-rights-act.html

[16]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-02/conflict-victims-put-pressure-on-government-to-amend-transitional-justice-act.html

[17]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-03/human-rights-commission-might-withdraw-its-representative-from-recommendation-committee.html

[18] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-05/disease-hunger-and-chronic-poverty-kill-people-in-humla.html

[19] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/pradesh-1/2019/04/28/155642248695884260.html

[20] https://thehimalayantimes.com/business/firms-asked-to-register-details-by-this-fiscal-year/

[21] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/76110/

[22] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/woman-accused-of-witchery-files-complaint/

[23] https://ratopati.com/story/85802/2019/5/1/burning-case-

[24] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/apf-constable-arrested-on-charge-of-raping-a-woman/

[25]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-05/teenage-girls-in-achham-launch-campaign-against-child-marriage.html

[26] https://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-06/panauti-initiatesmeasures-to-address-gender-wage-gap.html

[27] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/schools-shut-in-bajhang-as-teachers-students-head-to-highlands/

[28] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/nepal-in-need-of-professional-midwives/

[29]https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/new-mother-suffering-from-postpartum-hemorrhage-rescued-by-helicopter-in-bhojpur/

[30] https://karobardaily.com/news/economy/18969

[31] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/news/2019/05/02/155676228593882666.html

[32] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/75558/

[33] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/news/2019/05/03/155684968520997214.html

[34] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/75616/

[35]https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/over-2-500-senior-citizens-of-salyan-village-awaiting-elderly-citizen-s-allowance/

[36] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/pradesh-1/2019/04/28/1556422397404396.html

[37] https://www.kantipurdaily.com/pradesh-1/2019/04/29/155651027581852687.html

[38] https://www.onlinekhabar.com/2019/04/762344

[39]http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-03/current-session-of-assembly-will-determine-name-and-capital-of-province-2-cm-raut.html

[40] https://www.onlinekhabar.com/2019/05/763687

[41] https://thehimalayantimes.com/temp/chinese-president-xi-jinping-to-visit-nepal-at-a-convenient-time/

[42] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/president-bidya-devi-bhandari-cuts-short-china-trip/

[43]https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/step-by-step-towards-a-diplomatic-leap-how-india-got-china-on-board-united-nation-masood-azhar-5705834/

[44]https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pakistan-issues-order-to-freeze-assets-of-masood-azhar-impose-travel-ban/article27020731.ece

[45]https://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-05-06/as-oli-prepares-to-visit-cambodia-and-vietnam-questions-are-being-asked-why.html

[46]https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/nepal-to-start-construction-of-railways-linking-kathmandu-with-india-china-119050301462_1.html

[47] http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-04-29/windstorm-destroys-148-houses-in-janakpur.html

Photo: Sushma Bhatta

Leave a Reply

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