KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel on Saturday afternoon presented the annual budget for the next fiscal year 2016/17.
Beginning his announcement at the Parliament, the Minister said he prepared the budget in consultation with political parties, former finance ministers and various stakeholders among others.
He said the earthquake in 2015 incurred a great loss to the nation and it also affected the fiscal budget including capacity to spend development funds.
He said import and export both decreased in the current fiscal year. However, the stock market has been dynamic and the internal capital market has been strengthened, he claimed.
Objectives and priorities
The principal objectives of the next fiscal’s budget are to implement the Constitution, to reduce poverty and to expedite development works, according to him.
He also announced that the post-earthquake reconstruction, hydropower, forestry and good governance are among priorities of the next budget.
Likewise, the government also reiterated its desire to hold the local elections in November-December this year.
meanwhile, as a part of the implementation of the Constitution, the government would honour members of the Constitution-writing Constituent Assembly with the Constitution Making Medal, according to Paudel.
He also announced to pay Rs 200,000 to each of the disqualified Maoist combatants, who were yet to receive the compensation; form a committee to fix criteria of martyrs as a part of the peace process.
He said Rs 140 billion has been allocated for the post-earthquake reconstruction.
The government also announced the ambitious plan to end load shedding within two years and generate 10,000 megawatt hydropower within 10 years.
For this end, the government would expedite constructions of ongoing and planned hydro projects in various parts of the nation.
Programmes would be held to attract domestic and foreign investment in the hydro projects.
The government said all capitals of seven provinces would be connected via road networks. Roads connecting iconic places in various parts of the nation have been prioritised.
Rs 4.2 billion has been allocated for the Postal Highway.
Rs 10 billion has been allocated for Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast track.
Mid-Hill Highway also received a high priority in the fiscal announcement.
The government also allocated necessary budget for Humla-Simikot road in Karnali.
Roads connected to the East-West Highway in Tarai would be expanded to four-lane and Rs 2 million has been allocated for it.
Various sections of various highways would be expanded to four-lane.
All roads of the nation would be categorised as federal, provincial and local roads.
Likewise, the government said it would carry out feasibility studies to introduce railways in various parts of the nation.
Each district headquarters would get Rs 500 million for urban development.
Studies would be carried out to establish additional two satellites cities in Kathmandu Valley. Three metropolitan cities would be established outside the Valley.
The government also introduced the concept of ‘One City: One Identity’. Likewise, it would develop Bhaktapur as the Cultural City.
The government said provisions would be made to bar buildings violating building codes from basic facilities including drinking water and drainage.
Paudel said the government would establish a Bagmati Museum in Kathmandu.
The government would implement the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project. Rs 5.78 billion has been allocated for the project.
The project would aim to make the nation independent in various crops.
The government would provide subsidies for fertilisers and seeds for farmers.
The government would provide services to test fertility of soils and seeds.
Grants would also be made available for insurance of cattle.
Farmers could get loans by keeping their agricultural produces as collateral.
The government said it would promote commercial agriculture. Different crops have been selected for different districts.
Rs 8.46 billion has been allocated for livestock development.
Forestry and wildlife
Rs 630 million has been allocated for conservation of forestry.
Rs 1.88 billion has been allocated for the Chure conservation.
Rs 380 million has been allocated for development of community forests.
‘One Province: One Zoo’ programme would be introduced while a national zoo would be established in Suryabinayak of Bhaktapur.
Rs 2.30 billion has been allocated for irrigation projects in Tarai districts.
Likewise, the remaining tasks of big under-construction irrigation projects would be completed within three years and Rs 5.35 billion has been allocated for them.
The government said fisheries would be established in irrigation canals.
The government said the arable land could not be left uncultivated and owners of such uncultivated lands would be fined.
Lands would be categorised into various categories in terms of their use.
The government would run programmes to rehabilitate Haruwa-charuwas.
The government would establish a Challenge Fund of Rs 1 billion to promote entrepreneurship among youth from the private sectors.
Sufficient electricity for industries would be generated within two years.
The government would hold an Investors Summit within two years.
Women entrepreneurs would be promoted by providing loans without collateral.
Rs 7.05 million has been allocated for development of industries.
International trade and supply system
International trade would be expanded with trade agreements with various nations.
Likewise, a trade information portal would be established.
Feasibility studies would be carried out to establish dry ports in Dodhara and Chandani.
To build three petroleum reserves, the government would acquire lands in Kavrepalanchok, Tanahun and Nuwakot districts.
Primary education would be made compulsory and free while secondary education would be gradually made compulsory and free.
Rs 26.5 billion has been allocated for the School Sector Development Programme.
Special programmes would be introduced to bring dropout children back.
The government would adopt a strategy to prepare human resources needed for the national development within the nation.
Religious educational institutions would be promoted into mainstream.
More teachers would be appointed for Science, English and Mathematics subjects at community schools.
The community schools would gradually adopt English medium education.
Meanwhile, Masters level students would be mobilised for volunteerism for six months in their final year of the study.
Youth and sports
Cricket stadiums would be established in Mulpani of Kathmandu, Bhairahawa of Rupandehi and Dhangadhi of Kailali within three years.
Each province would boast a stadium.
Rs 200 million has been allocated for the seventh National Sports Programme.
Youth self-employment programme would be expanded.
High-altitude sports academies would be established in Mustang and Solukhumbu districts.
A modern medical lab would be established in Bhaktapur.
The Golden Thousand Days programme would be made more effective for maternal and infant health.
Women’s maternity allowance would be increased upto Rs 1,500.
Dialysis for kidney patients would be made free.
‘One Village: One Doctor’ programme would be introduced.
Everyone would have access to drinking water within three years.
Rs 5.98 billion would be allocated for the Melamchi Drinking Water Project.
‘Clean River: Civilised City’ programme would be given a continuity.
Tarai Madhes Drinking Water Reform Progamme would be introduced.
Private organisations providing drinking water in Kathmandu Valley would be brought under the legal scrutiny.
Aviation and tourism
Rs 5 billion and Rs 1.5 billion would be allocated to constitute international airports in Pokhara and Nijgadh respectively.
A National Cultural Museum would be established in Kirtipur of Kathmandu.
Two wide body aircraft would be purchased within next two years.
Madan-Aashrit Memorical Parks would be established in Dasdhunga and Gunjanagar of Chitwan districts.
The year 2073 Bikram Samvat would be celebrated as the Domestic Tourism Year while preparations would be made to celebrate the Nepal Tourism Year in 2018.
Organisations established in the name of deceased leaders would be provided a grant of 500 million.
Journalists would be given 50 per cent discount in treatment at government health facilities.
Optical fibres will be established in 72 districts.
Local developments and social welfare
Grands to VDCs would be doubled and Rs 15.55 billion would be allocated for it.
Total 32.64 billion has been allocated for local development.
Social security allowance for single women, elderly among others would be doubled. Rs 32.70 billion has been allocated.
Likewise, the size of Constituency Development Programme has also increased. But, development projects under such Programme would be carried out by District Development Committees.
Rs 500 million has been allocated to connect all VDCs to the road networks.
Temporary rehabilitation centres would be established to shelter victims of domestic violence.
Likewise, the President Women Upgrading Programme would be introduced.
Civil service and miscellaneous
Online application system for passports and e-passports would be introduced.
The citizenship issuance system would also be made computerised.
Nepalis working abroad would be allowed to vote in local, provincial and national elections.
People living under the poverty line would be provided with identity cards.
Training for new staff joining the government service would be made mandatory.
The pension system would be made contribution-based.
Meanwhile, the salary of civil servants has been hiked by 25 per cent.
Protests and bandhs at development projects would be barred. If such obstructions were carried out, the organisers would be fined.
The government also upped the slab of income tax.