EDITORIAL: Fewer the better

Too small local units would make it difficult to make them sustainable, effective and efficient in their assigned responsibilities

Despite the obstruction of work of the Local Bodies’ Reconstructing Commission (LBRC) in eight districts of Pradesh No. 2, the Commission is likely to prepare its final report in about three weeks.

Incidentally, this has been delayed, and it was supposed to submit the report two days ago. If the delay in submitting the report persists then it will not be able to hold the local election within the stipulated time.

The Commission has been assigned with the task of including the number, names, boundaries, service centres, areas and maps of the local bodies throughout the country as per the provision of the new Constitution. So far only 31 districts have submitted their reports.

The Commission has set the new deadline of two weeks for submitting the report. After compilation of the necessary data it will be submitting the final report even if some of the districts fail to submit their reports.

Reports would not be entertained if they are found to have submitted two of them or if they are not adhering to the criteria set for the purpose through the necessary consultations with the technical committees and experts in these matters.

The Madesh-based parties say they would agree to the restructuring of the local bodies only after the issue of the boundaries of the provinces has been settled. They have so far been demanding two provinces in the Tarai after the Constituent Assembly promulgated a new Constitution on September 20, 2015.

The Commission’s teams have been warned that they would not be permitted in the eight districts of the Tarai. To permit these teams to do their job they want the issue of federal boundaries to be settled first by the Centre.

It is being mooted that the problems could be sorted out in Province No 2 through consensus by holding deliberations by the members of the local technical committees and local leaders or it could be forged by consensus at the central level.

But looking at the present situation it is unlikely that such a consensus will be achieved within the short time available.

The Commission envisages 507 to 744 local bodies that would include Village Councils and municipalities. The Commission has been authorized to determine the number, boundaries and the economic potential of the Village Councils and municipalities as well as special, autonomous and protected areas taking into account the provisions of the new Constitution.

The Commission set up on March 14 has a term of one year to complete its tasks to present its first report. The second report would then be presented on the issues at hand by March 13, 2017. The bone of contention on the restructuring process of the local bodies should be resolved amicably.

But even failing that, the Commission should complete its job. As for the number of the local bodies, within the range given, the fewer they are the better it would be from a number of angles, including that the local bodies are the grassroots level of governance with their own executive, legislative and judicial organs with their functions clearly specified in the new Constitution itself.

Too small local units would make it difficult to make them sustainable, effective and efficient in their assigned responsibilities.

Cloud system

The Ministry of Science and Technology has reached a contract with Department of Information Technology (DoIT) to make the government’s cloud system more effective, systematic and transparent.

As per the agreement, the DoIT will expand the cloud system up to the local level by the end of 2018.

The DoIT will provide 10 information technology systems of the government through the cloud computing system which will be useful to providing public services in an efficient manner.

Under this system server, storage and application are provided to the computer system of a government body through internet. Once it comes into operation government services are easily available even at the local level and all government information for public consumption will be easily available.

The ministry has also planned to expand this service in 15 districts as e-Village by 2018. For this to materialise, the government will have to train its employees about how to operate the cloud system for public benefit.

It will enhance the service delivery capacity of the civil servants. Under this system, if well-implemented, people can easily get government services through internet.