Two Third Majority

News Digest (September 7-13, 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

The Ruling Party: On September 6, Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli returned home from his two-week-long medical treatment in Singapore.[1] As there was a heated debate in between senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and PM Oli ahead of his departure to Singapore,  Leaders expect a clear demarcation and work division among leaders on the basis of ‘one leader, one responsibility’ to run the party smoothly.[2]

NCP leader Ghanshyam Bhusal questioned chairman Dahal if Nepal was on its way to socialism or it will remain at the hands of capitalists[3] 

Leader Madhav Kumar Nepal expressed that there was no role of India in the 12-point understanding agreement in between the Maoist and the government then.[4]

Amidst increasing public frustration on the performance of majority government, the ruling party has been preparing for a mass campaign but none of the top leaders have spoken publicly in details yet.[5]  

Nepal-Malaysia Labour agreement signed off re-opening Malaysia as a destination for Nepali workers.[6]

Despite Dahal’s statement during his meeting with the Chinese foreign minister, Government Spokesperson and Minister for Information Gokul Baskota confirmed that Nepal’s position remains unchanged on both the BRI and Indo-Pacific Strategy.[7] 

OPPOSITION POLITICS

Nepali Congress: Nepali Congress President Deuba warned that action will be taken against party betrayers in the upcoming by-elections.[8] NC urged the government to bring the dengue outbreak under control.[9] The party also finalized the representatives for the second phase of the nationwide campaign.[10] During the party campaign in Banke district, NCP cadres allegedly attacked NC leaders.[11] NC has decided to register amendment in the constitution on the Constitution Day on September 20. NC remains determined on the fact that the demands of marginalized groups – the Madhesi and Indigenous Communities –could only be addressed through constitution amendment.[12]    

Biplab: Security forces have been struggling to bring the activities of the outlawed party under control as the ongoing arrest and crackdown of the party structure failed to curb the patty’s donation drive.[13] The outlawed party is restoring its strength by focusing on Province 5 and Karnali Province.[14] 

Samajbadi Party-Nepal: Despite being a coalition partner, SP-N declared that the party will not celebrate Constitution Day. The party still awaits a response on its demands of constitution amendment.[15] 

Parliamentary Affairs: The government tabled the Public Service Commission Bill 2075 in the HoR,[16] reaffirmed the Film Act,[17] and withdrew the controversial National Security Council Bill.[18] Likewise, the NA House endorsed the Environment Protection Bill 2075 BS and the Forests Bill 2075 BS.[19] The International Relations Committee of HoR demanded the government replace the current management team of ailing NAC and with a new one.[20]  The National carrier continues to see failures and not fly long-haul flight even after procuring new aircraft in its fleet.

Transitional Justice: War victims warned the government not to appoint former commissioners and persons affiliated with the political parties in the TJ bodies. Former commissioners, including Madhabi Bhatta and Shree Krishna Subedi, have been lobbying for re-appointment.[21] As both Nepali Congress and Nepal Communist Party have been lobbying to appoint their party candidates, a fair appointment becomes questionable. According to the committee, 52 out of 57 candidates who applied are eligible for the post of members in the TJ bodies.[22]    

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Wang Yi’s visit to Nepal: The Chinese delegation led by the country’s foreign minister Wang Yi arrived in Kathmandu on September 8.[23] It is speculated that Yi’s arrival is a precursor to president Xi’s probable visit to Nepal in the near future. President Bidya Bhandari and Prime Minister KP Oli spoke to Wang about Nepal’s expectations for Xi’s visit. The Nepali leaders said the country was looking forward to hosting Xi, as the president’s visit to Nepal shall be a milestone for Nepal-China relations. Wang said that Xi will be visiting Nepal at an appropriate time.[24]

On September 9, Wang and Nepal’s FM Pradeep Gyawali held a delegation-level talk on expediting projects under BRI. The two discussed choosing suitable projects for BRI through mutual consultation. Nepal also requested China to fully fund the feasibility study of Kathmandu-Kerung railway. Gyawali also requested Wang for more Chinese FDI in Nepal.[25] The duo signed letters of exchange regarding China providing Nepal with 5000 emergency shelter tents and Hospital Recovery Project in Manang.

In his meeting with Deuba, Wang mentioned that the role of NC was important to make the upcoming visit of Xi successful. [26]

Wang also met NCP co-chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. According to Dahal, they discussed strengthening Nepal-China relations by China’s economic assistance for the development of Nepal. He also added that China was very positive about Xi’s visit.[27] Dahal allegedly went as far as making a statement condoning the Hong Kong protests, dubbing the recent upheaval as “terrorism in the name of human rights.”[28] Inciting further controversy, a statement by Dahal pointedly said that Nepal, while following a policy of non-alignment, “disagrees with the so-called Indo-Pacific Strategy.”[29] This sparked controversy in Nepal and questions from the US Embassy in Nepal, which is now demanding an explanation for such a statement from Dahal.[30]

Nepal-India cross-border Petroleum Pipeline: Leaders of Nepal and India inaugurated South Asia’s first cross-border pipeline through video conference on September 10. Nepal’s PM KP Oli, from Singha Durbar, and India’s PM Narendra Modi, from his office in Delhi, inaugurated the event by pressing switches simultaneously from their offices.[31]

During the video conference, Modi said that Nepal visit is on his agenda and added that Nepal and India are bound by common society, culture, and people-to-people relations. He also appreciated the joint efforts in completing the pipeline project ahead of time.[32] 

GENDER AND SOCIAL INCLUSION

Acid Attack: After a teenage girl was burned with acid in Birgunj on September 6, [33] lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties asked for death penalties for the acid attackers. [34] As cases of such attacks have been reported across the country in the past as well, reactive strategies have been suggested. However, lawyers said that the death penalty would be a challenge for Nepal as it is a signatory to international human rights instrument which abolishes the death penalty. Senior Advocate Satish Krishna Kharel said that there are a few fundamental features in the constitution which cannot be amended. Related laws should be amended for the amendment process to even start.[35]

Sexual Harassment: Following incidents of sexual harassment, Tribhuwan University formed a committee to build a mechanism to deal with these issues. The Gender Studies Department organized an event in May to develop measures to handle sexual harassment cases at the University and submitted a memo to the high ranking officials of the University.[36]

Social Inclusion: Haldibari Rural Municipality took an initiative to preserve the native language of Meche people. The municipality, in coordination with the government school and a Meche language expert, prepared the language curriculum to teach students at Deependra Basic School from the current academic year. The school has 55 students from Meche community.[37]  

Trafficking: For decades, China’s one-child policy caused a skewed sex ratio in China and this has now led to the bride buying there. Many marriageable youths have to buy brides to get married because of less number of women and the brides are bought from neighboring countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar, and India. Ishwar Babu Karki, Senior Superintendent of Nepal Police Anti-Trafficking Bureau, said that Chinese men pay around Rs 1.5 million to marry a Nepali woman. On August 31, ten persons were arrested from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on suspicion of trafficking Nepali women to China on the pretext of marrying Chinese men.[38]

Suicide: Nepal Police reported that 5,785 suicide cases were registered in the last fiscal year. On average, there are 15 suicides a day in the country. Suicide in Nepal is mostly associated with mental illness, unemployment, financial problems, extramarital affairs, and family disputes.[39] A recent study of Nepal Health Research Council indicated that 13% of the population suffer from some form of mental illnesses.[40]

FEDERAL AFFAIRS

Bills: Provincial Assembly of Province 3 passed a provincial Public Service Commission (PSC) Bill. After the endorsement of the Bill, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law can now move ahead with the recruitment of staff for civil service, local government service, provincial police, provincial investigation bureau, and others.[41]

Province 3 passed 45 laws from the provincial assembly. Among them, 37 have been authenticated while the rest are in the process of getting authenticated. Seven more bills await endorsement from the assembly.[42]

Human Resources: Province 5 chief minister claimed that employees are interested to work either at the center or at the federal, causing lack of employees in the other two tiers of governments.[43] Out of 37 employees posted in Jajarkot, only two are present. The public service delivery has been very weak due to lack of employees, and service delivery in seven local governments in the district have come to a halt due to lack of staff.[44]

However, the federal Public Service Commission is preparing to start the recruitment process for 5000 new employees. The recruitment process was halted for two years because of the employees’ adjustment. The federal PSC and provincial PSC will continue the recruitment of employees for three-tiers of governments.[45]

Budget Issues: East Rukum of Province 5 has to construct 32 roads in three rural municipalities in the current fiscal year. The aim of the road construction is to connect to all roads within the municipality, district, and provincial. This fiscal year, the Province is fully into road construction.[46]

Inter-Government Conflicts: Province 2 government filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court against the bills submitted by the federal government. Province 2 claimed that the federal government brought some bill which controls the rights of the province which is against the spirit of the constitution.[47] Further, a dispute on the ownership of land emerged between Province 1 and 2. Both Province 1 and 2 claimed ownership of a plot of land in Udayapur district which borders Udayapurgadhi Rural Municipality and Katari Municipality. The matter is under discussion in the provincial assembly of Province 2.[48]

Ministers of six provinces except Province 2 highlighted possible areas of investments at the second Nepal-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum 2019 organized jointly by Embassy of Nepal in China and the Economic Joint Committee of China Commercial Stock Enterprises. The chief ministers mainly highlighted projects related to agriculture, tourism, industry, and hydropower projects.[49]

Two staff from Biratnagar Metropolitan City went to participate in the Disaster Management Program in Japan without the approval from the cabinet. Similarly, despite the rejection of the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor and Deputy Mayor went to Finland.[50]

Medicine Shortage: Medicines shortages hit health posts in Parsa district. The increasing number of flu patients and other water-borne diseases are being deprived of basic medicines from health posts. Although the government provides 39 essential medicines free of cost, health posts in Parsa are out of stock of those necessities.[51]


[1] https://kathmandupost.com/politics/2019/09/08/in-the-ruling-party-leaders-wait-and-anticipate-oli-s-next-steps

[2] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/ncp-leaders-seek-clear-work-division-between-two-party-chiefs/

[3] http://annapurnapost.com/news/136530

[4] http://annapurnapost.com/news/136585

[5] https://kathmandupost.com/politics/2019/09/13/ruling-party-prepares-for-mass-gatherings-but-party-leaders-say-they-have-nothing-to-tell-the-people

[6] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2019/09/12/nepal-signs-deal-to-pave-the-way-for-the-resumption-of-labour-migration-to-malaysia

[7] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/no-change-on-govt-s-stance-on-bri-indo-pacific-strategy-baskota/ https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/no-deviation-in-nepals-policy-gokul-prasad-baskota/

[8] http://annapurnapost.com/news/136432

[9] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/nc-lawmakers-urge-government-on-preparing-action-plan-to-control-dengue-outbreak/ https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/24769/2019-09-09

[10] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/nc-finalizes-central-representatives-for-second-phase-awareness-campaign/ http://annapurnapost.com/news/136564

[11] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/ncp-cadres-attack-nc-members-during-awareness-campaign/

[12] https://kathmandupost.com/politics/2019/09/09/with-the-anniversary-of-constitution-promulgation-approaching-congress-proposes-amendments

[13] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/outlawed-party-on-extortion-spree-amid-clampdown/

[14] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/24744/2019-09-09

[15] https://kathmandupost.com/politics/2019/09/09/samajbadi-party-a-partner-in-the-oli-government-says-it-won-t-observe-constitution-day

[16] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/public-service-commission-bill-2075-presented/

[17] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/film-act-to-be-introduced-soon-minister-banskota-1/

[18] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/govt-set-to-withdraw-security-council-bill/

[19] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/national-assembly-passes-two-bills/

[20] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/house-committee-directs-govt-to-reshuffle-nac-management/

[21] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/conflict-victims-may-snub-tj-process-over-commissioner-appointments/

[22] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2019/09/13/committee-formed-to-select-transitional-justice-officials-decides-to-step-up-efforts

[23] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/chinese-foreign-minister-arrives-in-kathmandu-on-three-day-visit-with-photos/

[24] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2019/09/10/from-bri-projects-to-investments-nepal-presents-a-wishlist-to-china

[25] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2019/09/10/from-bri-projects-to-investments-nepal-presents-a-wishlist-to-china

[26] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/chinese-fm-wang-seeks-nc-s-role-in-making-chinese-president-xi-s-visit-a-success/

[27] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/91089/

[28]https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/ce/cenp/eng/zgwj/t1697106.htm

[29]https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1696656.shtml

[30]https://asianews.network/2019/09/12/us-embassy-seeks-clarification-after-beijing-says-nepal-disapproves-of-indo-pacific-strategy/

[31] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/pm-oli-modi-inaugurate-motihari-amlekhgunj-oil-pipeline/

[32] https://nagariknews.nagariknetwork.com/news/91117/

[33] https://merotribune.com/2019/09/08/36789/

[34] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/lawmakers-demand-death-penalty-for-acid-attackers-lawyers-oppose/

[35] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/lawmakers-demand-death-penalty-for-acid-attackers-lawyers-oppose/

[36] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2019/09/08/will-tribhuvan-university-be-the-first-educational-institution-to-have-a-sexual-harassment-policy-in-nepal

[37] https://kathmandupost.com/province-no-1/2019/09/11/haldibari-rural-municipality-takes-initiatives-to-preserve-meche-language

[38] https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1162563/nepali-women-are-being-trafficked-to-china-and-sold-as-wives

[39] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/suicide-cases-rising-in-country-police/

[40] https://kathmandupost.com/health/2019/09/09/as-suicide-rate-rises-experts-stress-need-to-prioritise-mental-health-issues

[41] http://annapurnapost.com/news/136733

[42] https://ekantipur.com/pradesh-3/2019/09/13/156833975420916133.html

[43] http://annapurnapost.com/news/136764

[44]https://ekantipur.com/news/2019/09/10/156812589485682158.html

[45] https://ekantipur.com/news/2019/09/10/156813194280334944.html

[46] https://ekantipur.com/pradesh-5/2019/09/10/156808917861856978.html

[47] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/25125/2019-09-13

[48] https://kathmandupost.com/province-no-1/2019/09/13/lawmaker-demands-to-resolve-border-dispute-between-province-1-and-2

[49]https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/cms-of-six-provinces-pitch-for-chinese-investments/

[50] https://ekantipur.com/news/2019/09/10/156807990589093075.html

[51] https://kathmandupost.com/province-no-2/2019/09/10/shortage-of-essential-medicines-in-parsa-health-posts-affects-services

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