PM, chief ministers endorse plan to implement federalism
Ninety-nine per cent of tasks included in the action plan must be completed by mid-April — Chaitanya Mishra, chief of Policy Research Academy
Kathmandu, December 18
A meeting held today between the prime minister and chief ministers of seven provinces has endorsed a 29-point ‘federalism implementation facilitation action plan’, which contains deadlines on formulation of umbrella laws, filling vacant posts of civil servants in provinces and bringing the crucial fiscal commission into operation.
The provincial governments are satisfied with the outcome of the council meeting and say full implementation of the action plan would narrow down differences between federal and provincial governments.
The action plan, prepared by a five-member task force under home minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, contains 29 main items and numerous other sub-items. Ninety-nine per cent of tasks included in the action plan must be completed by mid-April, according to Chaitanya Mishra, chief of Policy Research Academy, who also attended today’s meeting.
“The initiative taken at this moment to resolve the problems between federal and provincial governments is positive,” Province 2 Chief Minister Lal Babu Raut said. “But more needs to be done to streamline functioning of provincial governments.”
The action plan states that the National Natural Resource and Fiscal Commission, which is crucial for sharing revenue and royalty between federal, provincial and local governments, will fully come into operation by mid-January. It adds that the number of ministries and other agencies under provinces will be revised by mid-April by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration and the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. The revision will be made after the MoFAGA completes the process of transferring federal government staff to provincial governments by mid-January.
The action plan also paves the way for provincial governments to hire technical staff on temporary contract if the federal government fails to deploy human resources by mid-February. Provincial governments can also do the hiring through the Federal Public Service Commission if vacant posts are not filled by the federal government by mid-February or until the establishment of provincial public service commissions. In case of need, provincial governments can also establish health and education coordination committees by coordinating with central-level ministries.
The action plan adds that physical assets that the federal government is yet to hand over to provincial governments must be transferred by mid-February and unnecessary regional offices under the federal government must be scrapped and their properties transferred to provincial governments by mid-March. It states that branches of the central bank must be established in every province by mid-April and representative offices of every bank and financial institution must be set up by mid-January.
The action plan underscores the need to review the Municipality Development Committee Act and scrap the Municipality Development Committee by March 5. It adds that roles of commissions, committees, boards, authorities, foundations and funds at provincial and local levels will be clarified by mid-March. Also, model laws on consumer rights, market monitoring and registration of private firms in provinces will be formulated by mid-April and model laws on inter-provincial trade and operation of cooperatives at provincial level will be prepared by mid-May.
The action plan states that government-run children and senior citizen homes and rescue and rehabilitation centres will be handed over to local governments. These institutions run by the private sector and other social institutions will be monitored by local governments.