New bill clearly lays out functions, duties of NSC

Kathmandu, November 2

The National Security Council Bill, which is awaiting passage from the House of Representatives, allows the government to mobilise the Nepali Army in development activities, disaster management and overall security of the country.

The bill was drafted and registered in the Parliament Secretariat in accordance with Article 266 of the constitution which stipulates a provision of a seven-member National Security Council headed by the prime minister. Other members include minister of defence, minister of home affairs, minister of foreign affairs, minister of finance, chief secretary and chief of army staff. It has been tasked with the responsibility of recommending to the Council of Ministers for formulation of a policy on overall national interest, security and defence of Nepal, and for mobilisation and control of the NA.

As per Section 6 (2) of the bill, the president shall declare mobilisation of NA according to the decision of the Council of Ministers on the recommendation of the council if deemed necessary due to external invasion and armed rebellion in the country. “Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 6 (2); if serious national crisis arises or the meeting of the council cannot be held immediately for making recommendation to the council, the chairperson (prime minister) may recommend to the government mobilisation of the NA,” Section 6 (3) reads. The government shall submit such recommendation to the president for final approval.

There shall be a secretariat of the council in Kathmandu valley. The bill requires the government to provide necessary employees and budget to the secretariat. The council shall liaise with the government through the MoD. The bill has also defined the functions, responsibilities and powers of the council. They include formulation of policies related to national security and defence; mobilisation of the NA in development activities, disaster management, overall national security, national priority projects and heritages; obtaining information from relevant security agencies for formulation of national security policy, and formulation of short-term, mid-term and long-term national security strategy and action plan.

Similarly, the council shall suggest that the government use defence diplomacy for safeguarding national interest and strengthening the security of Nepal, develop action plan for modernisation of NA, formulate policy related to weapons and logistics required for security agencies, and conduct study and research on national security and defence.

The bill makes it mandatory for provincial and local governments and all government and public bodies to cooperate with the NA to make its mobilisation more effective. The bill also empowers the council to form committees as per necessity.