April 2023 Analysis: Federalism


Posted by : Prapti Bhandari

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Date : 2023-04-30





The Nepali Congress party has appointed new chief ministers in the two provinces of Gandaki and Lumbini. This comes after the ruling coalition experienced a transition in preparation for the presidential elections. Concerns regarding taking budget decisions without the minister’s involvement were also expressed by the information officers of the Ministries of Social Development and Land Management, Agriculture, and Cooperatives. Koshi’s Controversial Naming The Koshi Revival Struggle Committee has given Baburam Bhattarai, the head of the Constituent Assembly, an ultimatum regarding the renaming of Koshi Province in the form of a declaration.

Timeline of Major Events in April

Date Events
2nd April The Koshi Province Assembly's new regulations no longer include a provision referring to the capital or renaming.
4th April  Resignation submitted by ministers from Madhes Pradesh belonging to CPN UML
4th April Four more ministries have been assigned to Province 2’s chief Minister, Saroj Kumar Yadav
5th April The naming controversy of Koshi: Koshi's controversial naming will be discussed with the prime minister by a committee that will be formed by the chief minister.
5th April In Karnali, Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) has demanded the status of the opposition party.
9th April In the Karnali Province, CPN UML has exited from the Government.
9th April Koshi Revival Committee has released a statement with a warning in it
9th April Gyanendra Bahadur Karki and Tirtha Khaniya, two members of the Nepali Congress party, have been designated as ministers in the government of the Bagmati Province.
 

New Chief Ministers Appointed for Gandaki and Lumbini Provinces in Nepal

As a result of the CPN-UML losing authority over the two provinces of Gandaki and Lumbini, the Nepali Congress party has appointed new chief ministers in those regions. Congress leaders Surendra Raj Pandey of Gandaki and Dilli Bahadur Chaudari of Lumbini are appointed as new Chief Ministers. This comes after the ruling coalition experienced a transition more than a month ago in preparation for the presidential elections. The process of forming a new government has not yet begun in Koshi, another province governed by the CPN UML.

The federal coalition partners Congress and the Maoist reportedly agreed to rotate the authority of the provinces, according to the leaders of the individual provinces. Pandey was supposed to become the chief minister in January but with the help of the CPN UML, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ultimately secured his position. Pandey was supposed to take over as the province's chief minister in January but, Dahal ended up taking over as prime minister. The UML-led provincial administrations started to fall apart after Dahal allied with Congress, and the Maoist Center withdrew its support.
 

Implementation of Pre-Budget Programs in Sudurpashchim Province Affected by Cabinet Expansion Delay

The Sudurpaschim government has begun meetings for pre-budget discussions with various departments at the request of the Ministry of Economic Affairs for the fiscal year 2080/2081. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has also begun putting focused projects into action as part of its budget. Local government is being asked for collaborative planning by the Ministry of Land Management for the budget planning.

Delayed cabined enlargement of the far-western has caused worries and resulting in consequences on Ministry operations. Concerns regarding taking budget decisions without the minister’s involvement were also expressed by the information officers of the Ministries of Social Development and Land Management, Agriculture, and Cooperatives. Being unable to quickly implement plans due to the lack of ministers and the delay in expanding the cabinet could have an impact on the nation's development. Careful planning and prioritization of government spendings are also required in order to achieve the desired results, regardless of how the budget size has decreased due to the status of the economy.
 

Karnali's Council formed, and committees' formation delayed.

The issue of power-sharing in Karnali became controversial. At the 9th meeting of the Karnali Province Assembly, Rajkumar Sharma received a vote of confidence from the Nepali Congress and other parties, including the CPN-UML but not from one of the Rastriya Janata Party member. Power-sharing arrangement in Karnali province seems to have substantial disparities. CPN-UML has left the Karnali Province administration which had created a political vacuum in the area. Ministers of Economic Affairs and Planning, Social Development, Industry, Forest, Tourism, and Environment of Karnali Province have all resigned from their positions. They mentioned that their resignation was due to the nation’s shifting political situation. Their decision was seen as a major setback in the government and raised concerns about the government’s stability.

However, the region has now completed its formation with four newly appointed ministers who took their oaths of office and secrecy. The Maoist party was given the chief ministers and four ministries by the ruling coalition, while the Nepali Congress was given three ministries. As a result of disputes and rivalries province between the parties, the province experienced political instability. We are yet to see if the formation of the government will collaborate well and address the pressing issues faced in the province.
 

Koshi’s Controversial Naming

The Koshi Revival Struggle Committee has given Baburam Bhattarai, the head of the Constituent Assembly, an ultimatum regarding the renaming of Koshi Province in the form of a declaration. They caution that renaming must happen right away or there will be protests if it doesn't. Furthermore, they claim that the elected officials of the Koshi Province are accountable for the success or failure of this campaign. With the support of 82 out of 93 members of the Provincial Assembly, the Koshi Province was renamed from Province 1 to Koshi Province in February 2020. The name has been opposed by identity-based organizations, and some of these rallies have gone violent and resulted in multiple fatalities. The Koshi Revival Struggle Committee's declaration demonstrates their commitment to the cause and their displeasure with the province's elected officials' lack of response. The ultimatum can be viewed as a bold attempt to pressure the administration into acting to resolve the province's renaming issue.

Overall, the debate over the province's renaming continues to be heated and divisive, with both sides having strong beliefs. The government must address this matter and come up with a resolution that pleases both proponents and opponents of the name without provoking further injury or violence.

Bagmati Province Overspent, Gandaki celebration unbudgeted

There have been financial irregularities in Bagmati province. The provincial government overspent on a number of initiatives i.e. including the purchase of vehicles for 30 million Nepali Rupees without sticking to proper financial regulations, allegations of corruption in advance payments for various services by 25 municipalities, delays in implementing programs and budgets announced by the state government, and insufficient progress in the establishment of a university and a healthcare institute are just a few of the problems. Overall, the audit report shows inefficiencies and a lack of development in the distribution and use of public funds. The subject of grant administration, centralization, and its effects on the allocation of funding to local organizations are also seen.

It is important to have sound financial management and transparency in the use of public funds by the government. In order to minimize financial irregularities and guarantee the efficient distribution of grants to the intended beneficiaries, there is a necessity for coordination and collaboration between various government institutions. These instances weaken public confidence in the government. Overall, these incidents undermine public trust in the government and highlight the need for collaboration and coordination across different government agencies to reduce financial irregularities and ensure the effective delivery of grants to the intended beneficiaries.