EDITORIAL: Important step

Some districts seem to be over or under-represented because of differences in population distribution

The five-member Constituency Delimitation Commission (CDC) submitted its report to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Wednesday distributing all 165 First-Past-the-Post (FPtP) seats for federal parliament and 330 FPtP seats for provincial assemblies among the seven provinces. The Kamal Narayan Das-led panel which was formed on July 26 and given 15 working-day mandate submitted its report within one month as it could not finish its task within the stipulated time. The decks have now been cleared for holding the parliamentary and provincial elections, the dates of which have been re-scheduled for November 26 and December 7 with the submission of the much-awaited report which will remain effective for 20 years to come and the report cannot be challenged in any court of law, as per the constitutional provision. This report is final and the Election Commission is required to make preparations for both types of the elections as per the report. The CDC report is consistent with the first amendment which accepted the principles of giving population the first priority and geography the second priority. The first amendment to the constitution was made on January 23, 2016 as the major political parties agreed to the principle of population and geography.

As per the CDC report, Province No-1 shall have 28 parliamentary seats and 56 provincial seats under the FPtP, Province No-2 shall have 32 parliamentary and 64 provincial seats, Province No-3 shall have 33 and 66 seats for parliamentary and provincial assembly, respectively. Likewise, Province No-4 shall have 18 and 36 seats for parliamentary and provincial seats, respectively, Province No-5 shall have 26 and 52 seats for parliamentary and provincial seats, respectively, Province No-6 shall have 12 and 24 seats for parliamentary and provincial seats and Province No-7 shall have 16 and 32 seats, respectively for parliamentary and provincial seats under FPtP.

The largest number of 10 seats has been allocated to Kathmandu district; 6 to Morang and 5 each to Jhapa, Rupandehi and Kailali. Thirty-one hilly and mountainous districts have been allocated one parliamentary seat each; 19 districts have been allocated two parliamentary seats each; seven districts have been allocated three seats each and nine Tarai districts have been allocated four parliamentary seats each. This allocation has been made in accordance with the distribution of population and geography. CDC chair and former Supreme Court justice Das said that 90 percent weightage has been given to the distribution of population while distributing parliamentary and provincial FPtP seats. It may also be remembered that the first amendment to the constitution has also accepted the fact that the existing districts shall get at least one parliamentary seat considering their remoteness and geographical conditions. Although CDC report can be termed as judicious while distributing the parliamentary and provincial assembly seats under the principle of population and geography, some districts seem to be over or under-represented because of the dense distribution of population in a small area and sparse distribution of population in a large area.

Going online

In order to procure a character verification report from the police, applicants have to approach the designated police stations. The demand for such reports is very high as it is required for all Nepalis wishing to go abroad, for visas, foreign employment and local and foreign jobs. The applicants can be seen lining up in serpentine queues to acquire them at the Ranipokhari-based Metropolitan Police Office, Maharajgunj police station and Lalitpur and Bhaktapur metropolitan police ranges. It takes about a week to acquire the certificate. The certificate verifies the applicants’ personal details and criminal history.

Therefore, that the police are planning to launch an online application portal for the character verification report is welcome. This would save hassles for the applicants, for these days acquiring such a certificate is a tedious process. This has been done so that there is institutional reform in the police. This would save valuable time and help provide more efficient service delivery. The police would electronically process the character verification report and forward them to the concerned local police office to do the needful. Nepalis residing abroad, foreign refugees and foreigners in Nepal would be able to get the report from the Nepal Police Headquarters, Naxal.