Parties to ensure more facilities for lawmakers

Kathmandu, Nov 15

A joint meeting of chief whips of eight major parties including Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre held today in Singha Durbar today began working on a proposal to amend the bill related to perks and facilities for lawmakers that was tabled in the Parliament by the government recently.

They will seek more facilities than were proposed in the bill, according to sources.

The bill has proposed nearly Rs 80,000 a month towards perks and benefits, including salary, rent of lawmaker’s residential room and his/her communication expenses and meeting allowance. “Although a committee of chief whips had earlier proposed to make their house rent Rs 23,000, the bill has proposed only Rs 18,000.

For all communication expenses, including purchasing newspapers, the bill has proposed

only Rs 3,000. So we are dwelling on increasing the proposed rent and communication facilities in our amendment proposal,” said chief whip of a political party on condition to anonymity.

“Since perks and basic facilities of lawmakers have not been reviewed for the last 21 years, we have begun discussion to make timely changes.

The issues are under discussion but parties are yet to arrive at a conclusion. We are working to bring a joint amendment proposal by Thursday and the issues raised by lawmakers in the House meeting are now still under consideration,” said CPN-UML Chief Whip Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal.

Chief Whip of CPN-Marxist Leninist Aindra Sundar Nembang said preparations to review proposed contents of the bill are under way taking into account demands of lawmakers made in the Parliament during preliminary discussion on the bill a few days ago.

Some lawmakers had sought residential quarters for lawmakers or an increase in amount proposed for rent. Others had demanded that Rs 15,000 proposed as furniture expense to newly elected lawmaker should be increased.

“Since even a simple bed cannot be purchased in Rs 15,000, how can a lawmaker manage basic furniture in that amount? We are considering to propose an increase in the proposed money for furniture,” Nembang said.

The meeting also dwelt on facilities that should be provided to parliamentary party leaders, chief whips and whips of ruling parties, main opposition and other parties, said Nembang. “Since facilities for them have not been mentioned in the bill in a precise manner, we are discussing how to ensure that is done.

We want that lawmaker should get facilities more or less on the basis of the strength of their parent party,” he said. Facilities may include vehicle, driver, fuel and communication facilities to office bearers of parliamentary parties, he added.