HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The social security allowance enjoyed by 2.1 million beneficiaries across the country will be reduced this Dashian, officials said.
According to the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), Rs 8.5 billion was allocated to elderly citizens, widows, marginalised children, disappearing ethnic groups and disabled people last fiscal.
The government had distributed six months allowance during last year’s Dashain festival, MoFALD spokesperson Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya said. “However, we have only released four months allowance this year due to the one-third budget introduced by the government,” he said.
Owing to legal and political hindrances, the government presented only one-third of the full budged this year.
There are 75 districts, 3,915 VDCs and 58 municipalities across the country.
At least Rs 500 (and Rs 1,000 for some disappearing ethnic groups) is given as social security per month to each of the 2.1 million beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, rampant misuse of the social security fund has been reported in local bodies with funds allocated even in the names of dead people.
“Keeping this in mind, we have started distributing funds through bank accounts,” said Thapaliya. “We will manage the system within the current fiscal year,” he claimed.
MoFALD is planning to monitor the distribution of funds in 10 districts.
Monitoring will be extended to other districts gradually, ministry sources said.
According to a monitoring team from the ministry, more than Rs 300 million in social security funds was misused in Dhanusha district alone.
MoFALD sought clarification from 22 officials and suspended 18 of them.
It also forwarded files to the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority for further investigation. Every year, government allocates about Rs 45 billion to local bodies.
This budget, however, does not include the budget allocated for education and health.