Provinces seek guidelines on concurrent list

We need laws to clearly define chain of command

Kathmandu, February 19

Confusion persists in provinces due to lack of key laws and mechanisms related to day-to-day administration and development projects.

Principal Secretary of Province 1 Yadavraj Koirala told THT over phone from Biratnagar that provinces lacked clear guidelines on the roles of different tiers of governments on matters of development projects.

“We need laws to clearly define the chain of command in the provinces,” Koirala said. “As far as concurrent lists of rights are concerned, the federal government must enact laws so that provincial and local levels know what issues are under their jurisdiction. Under concurrent rights, all three tiers of government can tax people, but there is no clarity how much,” Koirala said.

In federalism, normally structures, such as the National Planning Commission and the Finance Commission, are established in provinces as well, but in this initial phase, all the provinces may not need to have such mechanisms. The federal government can issue guidelines on such things as it recently did on pay and perks of provincial office bearers, including chief ministers and provincial ministers, Koirala argued.

Provinces, he added, can replicate all the federal structures when they have enough resources.

Koirala said the current laws stated that the federal government could partner with provincial and local governments on development projects, but there was no clarity as to which government — federal, provincial or local — would build which project and what would be the upper limit of their contributions. He said there was no clarity on who would monitor which project.

“The federal government fixed the limit on the number of ministries that provinces could have. This has helped provinces a lot. They expect the federal government to fix similar guidelines on other issues of governance,” he added.

Principal Secretary of Province 2 Rajeshwar Man Singh told THT that there was lack of linkage between the federal government and provincial governments on matters of law and order and security.

“There are no regional administrators in provinces 2 and 5. In our province, it is not clear who will lead the provincial security committee and what will be the chain of command,” he said.

Chief District Officer of Dhanusha, Dilip Chapagain told THT over phone that all government employees belonged to the provincial government, but there was no clear linkage between provincial and federal governments on security matters. “Questions are being raised about the chain of command. Provincial governments want to implement their vision on several issues but there is no appropriate provincial mechanism for them to implement the same,” he said.

Chief Attorney of Province 2 Dipendra Jha said provinces needed to enact some basic laws through fast track process to run their administrations effectively. Among the basic laws that the province needed immediately were laws relating to police, local administration, fiscal procedure and taxation laws, he added.