Nepal | May 25, 2020

EDITORIAL: Envoys sans criteria

The Himalayan Times
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Though delayed for very long the naming of the envoys is expected to enhance the image of Nepal abroad

After a long delay the government has succeeded in nominating ambassadors to 21 countries where there were vacancies for the post. With these new appointments the vacancies will remain only for an envoy to Oman. These new appointees will be heading Nepal’s diplomatic missions abroad. The delay in making the appointments were largely due to the wrangling amidst the various political parties, mainly the major ones, for having their people appointed. There were 13 nominees from the political parties and eight joint secretaries from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, in the absence of a parliamentary hearing committee in the Parliament these appointments will not come into force immediately. As is the usual practice the nominees to the post of the ambassadors will have to undergo a parliamentary hearing. Only if this hearing approves the appointments the Minister of Foreign Affairs will send their names to the countries to which they have been assigned to for an agreemo. As soon as the agreemo arrives the President will make the appointments. There were a total of 13 political appointees on the basis of their respective strength of the ruling political parties. Six of the appointees have been proposed by the CPN-UML, four by UCPN (Maoist) and three by Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N). It is learnt that the government would recommend an envoy for Oman representing the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) if it has its way.

It is a matter of regret that it took so long to make the appointments. Several ambassadors are already near retirement so more posts would remain unmanned once they retire. As only to be expected these appointments have drawn flak from various quarters. It appears that the government has nominated the envoys without setting out any criteria. The government’s move is expected to be very unpopular   as the decision process was not in accordance with the spirit of a Supreme Court order. The court had instructed the government to set out the criteria and basis for nominating ambassadors. These appointments for the ambassadorial positions should have been in par with international standards which has been clearly flouted. Thus, the Nepalese should take the decision made by the council of ministers with a pinch of salt. The failure to form a parliamentary hearing committee which has been long overdue is one of the major reasons for the delay in the appointments to the coveted posts.

It would have been more palatable if more nominees to the post of ambassador were career diplomats who would be able to serve the country better as they are professionals and know what they should do and are doing to represent Nepal in the host countries. Therefore, we have only ourselves to blame for not being able to make the timely appointments. The delay has cost the country dear. The absence of Nepalese envoys in the Gulf countries where many youths are migrating from the country has made life difficult for them as they do not possess adequate representation and no one to look after their welfare when in trouble. Though delayed for very long the naming of the envoys is expected to enhance the image of Nepal abroad.

Give incentive

Students of the far-flung remote districts in the far western region have been deprived of government text-books as the Janak Education Material Centre (JEMC) has not been able to supply them even after the new academic session has already begun. The far-flung districts such as Doti, Bajura, Bajhang, Darchula, Accham and Baitadi have yet to receive the text-books. Only a few students in Kailali, Kanchanpur and Dadeldhura districts have received the books. As per the schedule, all the students across the country were supposed to receive the books before the start of new academic session.

It is said that the government books have not reached these districts as the JEMC offers only nine percent as commission to booksellers.This is the reason that they have not cooperated with JEMC. Teachers in remote districts fear that the text-books will not reach the students till the first terminal examinations. As the books are to be ferried on mules in most hilly parts the government should give some kind of incentives to the booksellers so that the students can get the books on time. The government cannot be negligent when it comes to supplying-books on time.

 


A version of this article appears in print on April 21, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.


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