Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, March 14:

The National Foundation for Development of Indigenous and Nationalities (NFDIN), a government body formed to uplift the indigenous and nationalities, has proposed a budget of around Rs 70 million for the next fiscal year. “We have proposed for Rs 70 million to the National Planning Commission,” said Tamla Ukyab, member-secretary of the NFDIN, adding that the foundation would focus on rights-based programmes to create awareness among the indigenous people about their rights. Last year, the NFDIN had demanded Rs 60 million but the government provided only Rs 21.7 million — Rs 8 million less than the previous year’s budget. According to Ukyab, the NFDIN has proposed various programmes to be conducted during the fiscal year on priority basis. This year, the NFDIN will mainly focus on awareness about the rights of the indigenous people, developing grammars and dictionaries on mother languages, conducting studies and research on the indigenous nationalities.

Similarly, income-generating programmes will be conducted for the indigenous communities which are on the verge of extinction and institutional development programmes for the sustainable development of the ethnic organisations. He said scholarship programmes will include school level scholarships for the groups about to extinct while all other groups will receive scholarships for higher studies only. “We are trying our best for the equal distribution of the opportunities on the priority basis according to the five categories defined by the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities,” he said. Ten indigenous groups are said to be on the verge extinction that includes Kusunda, Bankariya, Raute, Surel, Hayu, Rajee, Kisan, Lepche, Meche and Kushwadiya. The indigenous and nationalities were furious at the former finance minister Bharat Mohan Adhikary for cutting Rs 8 million last year.