The government has finally unveiled, through an ordinance, a special budget the size of a third of the estimated current fiscal year expenditures for the next four months, for the regular expenses of the government. This has come about particularly as a downsized one against the reiterated Maoist-led government’s rhetoric of bringing a full-fledged regular budget for the next fiscal year. The special budget has come because of what Article 96 (A) of the Interim Constitution has provisioned for, and going for a full budget would have been a means for the prime minister’s confrontation with the President, and with the political parties outside the caretaker government. Anyway, a full budget would have been most appropriate through an all-party consensus but that could not materialise, so the special budget was presented by Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun through an ordinance. This has to be welcomed as the regular works of government and the projects of ‘national pride’ will not come to a stop.
The special budget is not an end in itself, as this is for the stipulated time only. The hopes rest on either the election to be held or that an all-party consensus is somehow thrashed out. The highlight of the budget presentation was that it was short and to the point unlike the long drawn out speech of a regular budget. However, the thrusts remain in the right direction. The only difference in this special budget is that the Constituent Assembly (CA) election that is scheduled for November 22 has been taken into account with Rs. 3 billion allocated for it, out of a total layout of Rs. 161.24 billion. Another important task related to the installment to be paid to the ex-Maoist fighters who have opted for voluntary retirement receives Rs. 3.6 billion. Moreover, Rs. 3 billion has been set aside for taking the peace process to its logical end. These are the only extras in the otherwise a normal one-third of the current estimated expenditure of the fiscal year 2011-12 that has ended now. It is also important to realise that the caretaker government had to remain within the limitations prescribed by the Interim Constitution, and it is good that they did.
With the budgetary allocation for the CA election expenses being made, the question is whether the said election will be held according to schedule when the government has not gone for making the necessary amendments in the Interim Constitution and other election laws, which has to be done according to the Election Commission by July 22. There is still uncertainty as regards the holding of the CA election on the scheduled date. Now, the allocation made for the voluntary-retirement seeking former Maoist combatants was a necessity and could not have been delayed or the government itself would be in dire straits. Whatever it may be, the trimmed-down budget has been announced right on the eve of the new fiscal year 2012-13 and will be helpful in doing away with the uncertainties that had prevailed so far about it. However, if there had been consensus among the political parties, a full-fledged budget could have resulted in injecting new vigour to the national economy and encouraging the private sector.
The frequency with which the medical professionals affiliated to various hospitals go on strike has gone up in recent days. Herein, the respect that is due to the medical professionals is lacking and there are people who tend to humiliate them on the slightest pretext. It is true that they can also make mistakes, which is not unusual. The thing we must remember is that the patients out here have the habit of deferring their visit to the hospital or the nursing home till the last minute, when it becomes difficult for the doctors to treat them successfully. And, that is the reason why there are many such last-minute patients who succumb and their relatives’ ire falls on the doctors, who again resort to stopping all medical services.
This in no way helps the smooth delivery of medical services. The doctors have to be responsible and bound by the Hippocratic Oath, and at the same time the people too have to understand the subtleties of the treatment procedure. The government must offer the necessary security to the medical professionals. If this is not the case then health service delivery particularly by the private hospitals will be affected.