‘Govt not following inclusion policy’

Kathmandu, November 15

The government designated, albeit late, secretaries in six constitutional commissions on November 11, but all of them are of hill origin. Not a single Madhesi, Muslim or from Tarai Janajati communities was chosen.

The government is yet to appoint members and chairpersons of the six commissions — National Dalit Commission, National Inclusion Commission, Muslim Commission, Madhesi Commission, National Indigenous Nationalities Commission and Tharu Commission.

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration had, on November 11, deployed Purushottam Nepal as secretary of National Dalit Commission, Suresh Adhikari as secretary of National Inclusion Commission, Kedar Prasad Paneru as secretary of Muslim Commission, Bhupal Baral as secretary of Madhesi Commission, Rudra Singh Tamang as secretary of National Indigenous Nationalities Commission and Rup Narayan Bhattarai as secretary of  Tharu Commission.

Dalit rights activist Raksha Ram Harijan said five of the six government bureaucrats deployed as secretaries were from the Khas Arya community and one was from indigenous nationality.

“These secretaries played important role in framing policies for the empowerment of the communities concerned and since they are not from marginalised communities, they could not understand the problems of marginalised communities very well,” Harijan added.

He said the government should have appointed at least a Dalit bureaucrat as secretary of Dalit Commission, a Madhesi bureaucrat as secretary of Madhesi Commission and a woman as secretary of National Women’s Commission.

If the government did not have qualified candidates for Dalit, Madhesi and National Women’s Commission, it could have at least made the selection inclusive by picking candidates from different clusters and genders.“Inclusion policy is necessary for deployment of secretaries to ensure ownership of the targeted communities and gender,” Harijan added.

Another Dalit rights activist Bhola Paswan said non-inclusion in the deployment of secretaries in the six commissions was a by-product of the diluted inclusion policy adopted by the state after promulgation of the new constitution. “The government is trying to stop inclusion in the higher posts of civil service, which will prevent representation of marginalised communities particularly of Dalits in policy levels.

Senior Advocate Surendra Kumar Mahato said while the government had the authority to deploy employees in those commissions, the spirit of the constitution was to make all government offices inclusive. “Since these commissions will be formed to empower deprived communities, it is all the more important to make these commissions inclusive both in terms of office bearers and employees.” He also said inclusive commissions would enhance ownership of the commissions among the targeted communities and genders.

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota today said that the government would try to make the commissions inclusive when the office bearers of those commissions were named, but it would not always be appropriate to seek inclusion among deployed government employees.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration Suresh Adhikari said the deployment of six secretaries was only for setting up new offices of the commissions and he hoped the government would make the commissions inclusive when the full-fledged deployment of employees and office bearers got completed.

The government had, through the Constitutional Council,  begun the process of forming eight constitutional commissions — Natural Resources and Fiscal Commission, National Women’s Commission, Dalit Commission, National Inclusion Commission, Madhesi Commission, Tharu Commission and Muslim Commission, in the third week of April. The council secretariat had, on April 21, called for ‘expert’ candidates to submit their applications for the post of commissioner and members of the respective commissions.

Spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office Binod Kumar Kunwar said that the Constitutional Council Secretariat had collected the applications of candidates, but the council had not selected the names yet. He declined to give further details.