Budget ‘hints at ruling party hegemony’

Kathmandu, September 23:

The legislative session of the Constituent Assembly continued discussion on the budget today

as well.

During today’s debate, NC CA member Narahari Acharya said the budget gave priority to federal republican order in principle, but it was a unitary budget in practice as the allocation of resources had not been done in line with the federal spirit. He said the budget hinted at ruling party hegemony if not totalitarianism, as the Finance Minister had the jurisdiction to spend up to Rs 31 billion by ignoring other line ministries.

Acharya said the Maoists should follow their newly propounded theory of ‘a break to the tradition and the continuity of the break of traditions’ should apply in budget discussion and the government should incorporate useful suggestions expressed in the House.

Stating that there were huge challenges to implement the budget, the NC leader said the government should stop calling itself a national government as the major opposition, NC, was not a part of the government. He said the Maoists were giving an impression that they could build the nation without the NC but that was simply wrong.

Another NC member Nabindra Raj Joshi said the budget was unrealistic and warned the government not to destabilise the ‘stable economy.’ He said the government estimated to collect Rs 141 billion revenue but it was in position to collect Rs 125 billion only. He maintained that the government allocated Rs 12 billion for hydropower sector but that amount would be enough just to generate 120 MW of electricity. Joshi said the government should give priority to boost running industries than trying to revive the sick industries.

Another NC member Radheshyam Adhikari said if it was a self-reliant budget, then the government should plan to build Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast-track road on private-public partnership basis. He said the budget could prove its efficacy only when it facilitates the writing of a new constitution.

Maoist CA member Hitman Shakya termed the budget a people-, village- and relief-oriented document. He said it was for the first time that the nation’s budget allocated amount for the martyrs and provided relief to movement victims. He said the budget would not cause inflation as internal borrowing was within the limit.

UML CA member Mohammed Rijwan Ansari said the budget was relatively progressive but it could bring positive changes only when the government fully implemented it. He said corruption was the byproduct of feudalism

and therefore the government should seriously endeavour to control it. Another session of

the legislature is scheduled for 11 am tomorrow.

Earlier today, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bamdev Gautam apprised the House of the government’s effort to provide relief to victims of natural calamities across the nation.

He said the government had allocated Rs 15.5 million for disaster-hit far-western districts.

Gautam said the district-level natural calamity relief committees were evaluating the relief work and the government would channelise more assistance as per the need.