The responsible leaders must attend all the meetings to make all the committees more functional and make the parliamentary system as a whole accountable
Some top leaders from various political parties, both from the ruling and opposition, have been found to be neglecting meetings of the parliamentary committees which also function as mini parliament. The thematic committees of the Legislature-Parliament have been provided with the mandate to make the government accountable by monitoring as well as evaluating its performance. They were created with the intention of providing suggestions and directives as per Rule 110 of the Legislature-Parliament Regulations. As such, the Good Governance and Monitoring Committee is seeking to draw the attention of all 21 members who have been absent from five consecutive gatherings without providing any information as to why they have been doing so. The members include senior leaders like Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali Congress, Pushpa Kamal Dahal of the (UCPN-M), Jhalanath Khanal of the CPN-UML and Upendra Yadav of the (Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal). The Good Governance and Monitoring Committee has been provided with the mandate to look into serious matters such as corruption and abuse of authority and also the performance of the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and also that of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority. The absence of such leaders has drawn much flak as the performance of the committee has been weakened by their absence.
These 21 leaders stand accused of flouting Rule 122 of the Legislature-Parliament Regulations that apply to the 47-member committee by not attending the committee’s five consecutive meetings. The committee can recommend the removal of the errant members of the panel but for now it has chosen to draw the attention of the concerned without seeking this action and it will also be writing to the chief whips of the respective parties and the Speaker in this regard. The absentees are setting a bad precedent for they should be acting with more responsibility by attending the committee meetings. As far as possible the issues at stake should be deliberated and settled within the committee meeting. In parliamentary system every committee meeting is important and any decision taken by any one of the panels is taken seriously by those concerned.
In a parliamentary democracy the opposition lawmakers should be expressing their views of dissent, if any, in the House for this is the only appropriate platform of airing valuable views and raising the issues that matter to the general people. Moreover, they owe it to the voters who elected them and the taxpayers whose money pay their salaries and perks. The absence of the lawmakers from the committee meeting also makes it difficult to hold the meetings due to lack of quorum. The panel meetings would gain more weight if they were attended by the top leaders. The Speaker could exercise the right to remove members of the committee on the recommendation of the panel Chairman if they remain absent for five consecutive meetings. But this kind of action has never been taken against anyone in Nepal as the leaders of such powerful parties always come clean with one or other excuses and the absentees cut across parties. The responsible leaders must attend all the meetings as far as possible to make all the committees more functional and make the parliamentary system as a whole accountable to the people.
The steering committee of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has prepared a guideline allowing non-governmental organizations to execute reconstruction and rehabilitation works in the earthquake affected districts. Earlier the NRA had barred I/NGOs from conducting any reconstruction and rehabilitation works after some I/NGOs were found to have engaged in other activities detrimental to social harmony. Once the guideline comes into operation the concerned I/NGOs will have to reach a tripartite agreement between the NRA, the concerned agency funding the programme and the implementing agency.
The I/NGOs must be monitored by a competent body to ensure that they do not violate the NRA guideline that strictly prohibits them from indulging any activities affecting religious and cultural sentiments as well as communal harmony in the areas where they work.