KATHMANDU: The Special Committee (for supervision, integration and rehabilitation of combatants) today endorsed a seven-point deal, reinforcing hopes of smooth conclusion of integration of Maoist fighters into the Nepali Army.
The SC meeting, which followed a meeting of top guns of major political forces, at Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s official residence in Baluwatar, forged consensus on all outstanding integration-related issues: Composition of the selection committee, duration of training and bridging course and ranks for the to-be-integrated Maoist fighters, and the structure of the directorate general under the NA.
The SC has decided to set up two selection committees — one for selecting fighters as officer cadets and another for picking recruits. The chairperson of the Public Service Commission or a member assigned by him will head the committee that will select officer cadets. Its members include a major general from the NA, a joint-secretary from the Ministry of Defence and at least three experts.
For the committee to select recruits, a gazetted second-class officer from the NA will head the selection committee with at least two experts from the NA and one officer from PSC as members. The SC today also agreed to significantly reduce the training period for the to-be-integrated fighters. A recruit will be imparted seven months of training whereas those inducted as officer cadets will have to go through nine months of basic training. Besides, a three-month bridging course will be imparted to them. Currently, NA recruits and officer cadets have to take nine and 24 months of regular training, respectively.
The SC, however, agreed to not take a final call on the structure and leadership of the directorate now, saying it will be done once the selection process is over.
The SC has decided that the directorate general will be formed as per the Army Act-2007 through an executive decision by the government, unlike what the Maoist side had been demanding — through a special decree. “The decision reached today will come into force once the Cabinet meeting slated for tomorrow morning endorses the deal,” said Minister for Finance Barsha Man Pun, an SC member from the Maoist side.
Four different directorates — national development (30 per cent), industrial security (20 per cent), forest and ecological security (30 per cent), and disaster management (20 per cent) — will be set up. Regarding rank determination and norms, the deal has it that it will be strictly pursuant the November 1 seven-point deal and practice followed in the NA.
Though the parties had earlier interpreted that the provision ensured up to major level posts to fighters, a source claimed that the there was ‘a gentlemen’s understanding’ to give at least one colonel and two lieutenant colonel positions to the fighters.
Deal that was sealed
• Composition of selection committee: Two panels to be formed — one for selecting fighters as officer cadets and another for picking recruits
• Training period: Nine months for officer cadets, seven months for recruits
• Bridging course: Three months
• Directorates: Four to be set up — national development, industrial security, forest and ecological security, and disaster management
• Rank determination and norms: Pursuant to November 1 seven-point deal and practice followed in the NA