8 districts to be deprived of 15m dev grants

KATHMANDU: Altogether eight districts have failed to meet the minimum criteria set by the Ministry of Local Development (MoLD) for allocating the development grants. Consequently, each of these districts will be deprived of about Rs 15 million development budget this fiscal.

According to the MoLD, the””unluck”” districts include Siraha, Saptari, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Bara, Kapilvastu, Bardiya and Mugu.

However, the number of such districts has considerably decreased this year. Last year, 28 districts were deprived of the development grant. “Those districts will receive only the administrative expenses and minimum development budget,” said Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, spokesperson, MoLD.

According to him, the eight districts will receive about Rs 10 million for salaries and office expenses, and about Rs 2.5 million development budget as per the minimum grants based on the population and area. “However, it doesn’t apply to the budget allocated in education and health and grants from other ministries,” he clarified.

Dal Bikram Kandel, officer, local development assistance branch of the MoLD, said that the eight districts failed to meet the minimum criteria set under the Local Governance Act.

The minimum criteria, according to him, include holding district development council meeting in time, fixing ceiling of annual budget and programme, participatory allocation of the budget in the district, auditing and its publication, reviews of progress in every four months, delimitation of administrative expenses and details of internal resources.

Thapaliya said that Rs 2.65 billion has been allocated for the development grants in the 75 districts this year. “Rs 950 million has been allocated as administrative expenses for these districts,” he said. “The development grants for those districts failing to meet any of the criteria will be deducted accordingly.”

According to the MoLD, 20 per cent of the grants of the four districts —Bhojpur, Parsa, Rupandehi and Rolpa, which failed to achieve target on one of the minimum criteria — will also be reduced. Similarly, the budget for the three districts — Sindhuli, Okhaldhunga and Achham - will not be increased as the performance was below 50 per cent of the target despite meeting the minimum criteria.

A total of 18 districts, including Kathmandu and Lalitpur, will be provided with an additional 20 per cent of the entitled minimum budget. While, 29 other districts will receive additional 25 per cent of grants for their good performance. Likewise, 13 districts — Dhankuta, Terhathum, Morang, Sankhuwasabha, Udayapur, Khotang, Kavre, Dhading, Tanahun, Kaski, Syangja, Palpa and Gulmi will be rewarded with additional 30 per cent of grants for their better performance, according to the ministry.