HoR thematic panels discuss crucial bills

Kathmandu, August 6

Meetings of all the thematic committees of the Parliament began today, paving the way for clause-wise discussion of crucial bills, including those related to the implementation of fundamental rights ensured by the constitution.

The delay in formation of committees has put the Parliament and government under pressure to endorse bills related to fundamental rights, which should be endorsed by September 18 as per the constitutional provision. Federal Parliament Assistant Spokesperson Keshav Aryal said the panels would start clause-wise discussion of the bills forwarded by the Parliament from the next meeting.

“Besides, the panel will also discuss issues of public concern such as floods and landslides, skyrocketing prices and infrastructure development,” Aryal told THT. “With these mini-parliaments functioning, the Parliament has now come into operation in full swing.”

The panels, however, could not convene their meetings on time today for various reasons such as lawmakers failing to find venues for the meetings, lack of quorum (51 percent members must be present in the meeting), and lawmakers arriving late.

Nepali Congress Lawmaker Sita Devi Yadav even complained about the lack of communication regarding the meeting, but the Parliament Secretariat found that she had changed her mobile phone number.

Today’s meetings were chaired by senior-most members as chairpersons are yet to be elected. Most of the committees are likely to be chaired by lawmakers representing the ruling Nepal Communist Party, given their strength in the Parliament and the panels, while the opposition NC will most probably get the leadership of the Public Accounts Committee, which has traditionally been led by the opposition.

There are altogether 16 parliamentary committees —10 are of the House of Representatives, four are of the National Assembly and two are joint panels.

The HoR committees include Public Accounts Committee; Finance Committee; International Relations Committee; Industry, Commerce, Labour and Consumer Interest Committee; Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee; Agriculture Cooperatives and Natural Resources Committee; Women and Social Committee; State Affairs and Good Governance Committee; Development and Technology Committee; and Education and Health Committee.

The NA committees are Legislation Management Committee; Sustainable Development and Good Governance Committee; Committee on Delegated Legislation and Government Assurances; and National Concern and Coordination Committee. Of the two joint committees, only one — the Parliamentary Hearing Committee — has so far been formed, while the Constitution Implementation and Monitoring Committee has yet to be formed.

Putting an end to one-and-a-half month stalemate, the Federal Parliament had on August 2 formed these thematic committees.