Cabinet decides to have 17 ministries

Kathmandu, February 23

The government today decided to have only 17 ministries in the federal Cabinet.

As per an agreement between the left alliance leaders, the CPN-UML will have 11 ministries and the CPN-Maoist Centre seven.

There are 31 ministries, including the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, at present. The constitution says that there cannot be more than 25 members in the Cabinet. The Administrative Reform Commission chaired by Kashiraj Dahal had recommended that the federal government should have 15 ministries.

As per the agreement, the UML will  hold the portfolio of  the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers; finance and planning; foreign affairs; defence; physical Infrastructure and transport; federal affairs and general administration; information, communications and science and technology; law, justice, and parliamentary affairs; education, sports and culture; health and population and tourism.

As per the agreement, the CPN-MC will have the portfolios of home affairs; energy (hydropower and renewables), industry, commerce and supply; urban development; settlement, water and sanitation; agriculture, irrigation, food security, cooperative and land reform; forest, environment and climate change; labour and employment; and women, children, senior citizen and social welfare.

Minister for Women Children and Social Welfare Tham Maya Thapa Magar told The Himalayan Times that the meeting also decided to appoint Bishnu Rimal as the chief adviser to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. UML’ politburo member Rimal is also a trade union leader.

Rimal was also a Political Adviser to KP Oli when he was the prime minister last year. Talking to THT Rimal said the Cabinet decided to reduce the number of ministries as per the recommendation of Administrative Reform Commission and CPN UML’s party line to have a lean Cabinet. He also said that though the sharing of ministries had been decided between the UML and CPN-MC, the portfolios will be fixed only after the reduction of ministries.

The Cabinet also accepted the resignations of three members of National Planning Commission — Krishna Sindhu Prasad, Govinda Raj Bhatta and Arbind Kumar Mishra.