Govt ignoring parliamentary panels’ directives

Kathmandu, November 16

The government has failed to abide by directives issued by parliamentary committees, flouting democratic norms.

The panels, also known as mini parliaments, have issued a number of directives to the government on crucial issues over the past few months, but most of them have been ignored.

The directives include the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee’s order to the government to limit the price of sugar at Rs 63 per kg and take steps to ensure that sugar mills clear their dues to sugarcane farmers before Dashain. However, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply ignored the PAC directive.

“We issued the directive after holding necessary consultations with the government authority concerned and as per the study of a sub-committee,” PAC Chairman Bharat Kumar Shah told THT. “We’ll discuss the issue again after a few days.”

Similarly, the Industry, Commerce, Labour and Consumer Interest Committee had directed the government to control price hike and effectively monitor markets, while the Development and Technology Committee had directed the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to ensure smooth operation of public vehicles during Dashain, Tihar and Chhath. Some three months ago, the Development and Technology Committee had directed the government to plug potholes on Kathmandu roads within 15 days.

However, none of the directives was followed.

“In a parliamentary system, the government should obey the directives issued by parliamentary committees,” said Parliament Secretariat Spokesperson Rojnath Pandey.

The constitution has provisioned that the Parliament can issue directives to the government on matters of public concern and the government must abide by them.

“In European countries and countries like Australia and Canada, the government obeys nearly all directives of the parliament and its committees,” said parliamentary expert and former secretary of the parliament Som Bahadur Thapa. “But it’s opposite in Nepal.”

Thapa added that ministers and ministries ignored the committees’ directives as if they meant nothing. “If the government continues to flout the directives, it will only lead to anarchy.”

He said the parliamentary committees in Nepal also seemed to be only answerable to the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and not to the people. “Panel chiefs are scared of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, so they do not follow up on the directives they issued previously,” said Thapa. “Chairpersons of the panels should be informed about their roles and responsibilities,” he added.