Jailbirds to get Rs 60 daily allowance

Some 19,000 inmates are living in 74 prisons across the country

Kathmandu, May 30

The government has increased the daily livelihood allowance of prisoners to Rs 60 from existing Rs 45.

The budget for the fiscal 2018/19 presented by Minister for Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada in the Federal Parliament today said, “I have increased the daily livelihood allowance of prisoners to Rs 60 from existing Rs 45.” He also said cash being provided to children of prisoners for milk was increased to Rs 35 from the existing Rs 10.

Jailbirds had long been demanding that the government increase their daily livelihood allowance, stating that the daily 750 grams of rice and allowance provided by the government were too little to keep up with the cost of living, bearing in mind the inflation.

A recent annual report of the Office of the Auditor General had also stressed the need to increase their daily allowance.

“It seems to be necessary to review the allowance in line with the current market price. While reviewing the allowance, the government should fix the allowance for prisoners in the Tarai, mountain and hill separately, according to the cost of living in the particular geographical region,” the report had suggested.

Some 19,000 people are living in 74 prisons with capacity of around 11,000 persons. Many prisons lack space for jailbirds to sleep comfortably. Jailbirds have also been denied sports and entertainment material, skill training  and adequate textbooks for formal education.

The country has 74 prisons in 72 of 75 districts. Bhaktapur, Bara and Dhanusha do not have any prison, while Kathmandu and Dang have two prisons each. As part of prison reform, the government has acquired around 535 ropanis of land in Banke district for the construction of open prison with the capacity of over 5,000 persons.