Debate on govt’s policies and programmes begins

Kathmandu, May 23

The House of Representatives today started discussions on the government’s policies and programmes for fiscal 2018-19.

In the inaugural speech, Nepali Congress President and Parliamentary Party leader Sher Bahadur Deuba said successful holding of the three phases of elections — local, provincial and parliamentary — under the leadership of the NC ensured political stability and implementation of the constitution. He also said that the liberal economic policy implemented by the NC-led government post-1990 yielded positive results.

Commenting on the government’s policies and programmes, former prime minister Deuba said the document lacked a clear roadmap for implementation although it announced a host of plans.

Stating that the policies and programmes did not include any plan for attracting investment and taking along the private sector in the development process, he criticised the government for failing to come up with a clear idea for mobilising its legal and administrative mechanisms.

Hinting that the government intended to undermine the achievements of political movements, Deuba said the NC would never agree to any ill-intention to make provincial and local levels dysfunctional.

Stating that President Bidhya Bhandari, presenting the programmes and policies, did not address the HoR speaker and NA chairperson as ‘honourable’, NC lawmaker Minendra Rijal hoped that such lapses would not repeat in future.  Rijal also said that although the government announced a host of schemes in the policies and programmes, it lacked priorities for their implementation. He also said the policies and programmes were not based on the ground realities and sought to sell dreams, disrespecting the voters. He suggested to the government to bring the budget based on ground reality.

Commenting on the government’s plan to build 1,200 km Madan Bhandari Highway along the Chure and inner Tarai regions, Rijal said the government should listen to the voices from Tarai-Madhes regarding the proposed highway.

Former speaker and lawmaker of the ruling Nepal Communist Party Onsari Gharti said the policies and programmes were announced in line with the spirit of the constitution which envisioned socialism-oriented society.

Stating that the government was committed to doubling the per capita income in the next five years as announced in the policies and programmes, she lauded the inclusion of plan to end all forms of syndicates and monopolies in the country. She also stressed the need for taking the country’s geo-political situation as an opportunity rather than a challenge, and added that more deliberations were needed to attain maximum benefit from Nepal’s proximity to two giant economies of India and China.

Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal lawmakers Pradip Yadav, Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav, Surendra Kumar Yadav and Renuka Gurung regretted the non-inclusion of the issue of constitution amendment in the policies and programmes.

Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Anil Kumar Jha termed the policies and programmes ‘discriminatory’, and added that all the martyrs deserve equal treatment and respect. He also stressed that peace and stability could not be ensured without addressing the concerns of Madhesis and minorities through constitution amendment.

CPN lawmaker Bishnu Poudel expressed hope that the government’s policies and programmes would ensure successful implementation of the constitution and fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

Independent lawmaker Hridayesh Tripathi suggested to the government to include issues related to freed labourers and kamlaris and landless squatters in the policies and programmes. He also stressed the need for constitution amendment.

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari had presented the government’s policies and programmes in a joint session of the HoR and the National Assembly on Monday. The Federal Parliament comprising the HoR and the NA will discuss the government’s policies and programmes for the three days beginning today.

Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada will present the budget for the next fiscal on May 29, based on the policies and programmes.