The Government of Nepal has decided to provide capital grants to drug users' treatment and rehabilitation centres as encouragement with a view to guaranteeing the right to basic health services of each citizen.

An official at the Ministry of Home Affairs said a procedure was recently issued for implementation of the decision to provide grants to treatment and rehabilitation centres for drug users. According to the procedure, the MoHA may provide grant to the centres both in cash or kind as per the need.

"The upper limit of the capital grant to be provided to the registered centres shall be in line with the approved budget and programme of the MoHA," it says.

However, the centres not conducting annual general meeting, not holding elections of board of director and accounts committee, not carrying out annual audit as of the last fiscal and not submitting tax clearance certificate, shall not be entitled to the grant.

"Similarly, grant in kind shall be provided to eligible centres that are operating with the assistance of international non-government organisations and other institutions," it reads.

The MoHA shall invite applications from registered centres, by publishing a 15- day notice every year. Interested centres may submit application along with necessary documents to the concerned district administration office. "After receipt of the application, the DAO shall conduct an on-site monitoring of the centre before making recommendation to the ministry for grant," it says.

There shall be a six-member evaluation committee led by the chief of Drug Control Section at the MoHA to determine the amount to be provided to the centres. The evaluation shall be based on various facilities being provided by the centres to drug users undergoing treatment.

The centres, which are entitled to grants, are required to enter into an agreement with the ministry. The MoHA shall recover the grant amount provided to the centres as government dues along with legal action if the grant is found to have been misused or embezzled.

The procedure says that the grant amount is expected to ensure that drug users benefit from the service provided by centres registered with the MoHA under the prevailing law.

According to procedure, the centres should be established and operated in a place with clean and peaceful environment, close to a hospital or a health institution and have road transportation facilities. A centre should have at least one ropani land in Kathmandu valley and a minimum of three ropani in other parts of the country.

The centre is also required to operate inside a concrete building with accommodation capacity of at least 30 persons with a yoga room, a classroom, a workout room, a kitchen, a library, an office room, a treatment room and the required number of bathrooms and toilets.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 11, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.