PM makes tall promises as he addresses Parliament

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Thursday shared priorities of the government as he addressed the House for the first time after his election to the top executive position.

In his address, the Prime Minister pronounced some ambitious plans about providing various services to members of the public and reforming the governance system.

Constitution implementation on priority list

He said the government was moving ahead in order to address all grievances over the Constitution thereby implementing it. Likewise, the government was committed to holding local, provincial and federal elections by January 2018 as stipulated by the Constitution promulgated last year, Dahal announced.

"It is my clear value that nationality cannot be strong without strengthening internal national unity," he said adding that the government would address concerns of all communities and political groups, "Solutions to problems should be sought by ourselves within the perimeter of larger national interests."

Relationship with neighbours

Meanwhile, Dahal said his government bettered the relationship with both neighbours including India and China as it sent special envoys right after formation of the government.

Accusing the erstwhile KP Sharma Oli-led government of aggravating ties with India by recalling the Nepali Ambassador in New Delhi, Deep Kumar Upadhyay, and cancelling the visit of President Bidya Devi Bhandari, the Maoist leader claimed his government wanted to develop trilateral cooperation among Nepal, India and China and was moving ahead accordingly.

Increase in reconstruction grant

Dahal also claimed that his government had prioritised post-earthquake reconstruction. Consequently, he reiterated that Rs 100,000 would be added to the reconstruction grant that the households, whose houses were lost to the earthquake, would get. The current scale of the reconstruction grant is Rs 200,000.

Likewise, Rs 200,000 would be provided to the earthquake-surviving families as a subsidised loan, he added. An addition of Rs 300,000 loan would be provided to the survivors on collective applications, without applying any interest, the PM announced.

If the PM's promises would be implemented, the quake-hit families would get Rs 800,000 from the government in total, including Rs 300,000 grant and Rs 500,000 loan.

"Step by step, short-term and mid-term free vocational skill development training will be provided to at least 500,000 people of earth-quake affected districts," he added.

Other promises

Meanwhile, in his first address to the legislative body after his election last month, the Prime Minister also announced some pro-public plans and programmes to ease daily life of people. The plans included smooth supply of essentials in the market, strict market monitoring, among others.

Dahal claimed that he was serious about recent fatal road accidents and promised to take immediate measures to improve condition of public transport system in the Valley.

He said the government would fight against poverty and announced that various programmes would be carried out under the 'Government for the Poor' campaign.

Dahal spent more than half an hour in listing out and explaining about the government's plans and programmes. Most of the plans and programmes, however, were not new and already announced by the incumbent or other previous governments.

The Prime Minister, who had criticised his predecessor Oli for tall promises, however, seemed no shorter than Oli in terms of publicising ambitious plans for the national development.

"It is not the time to move back," he concluded his nearly one-hour long written speech, "Nepal cannot stay backward in this 21st century. A progressed Nepal is possible in our lifetime; but we need to devote ourselves from today, from now."