EDITORIAL: Perks for VIPs
No doubt, the expenditure granted to former VIPs in Nepal is highly inflated and not keeping up with the poor economy of the country
Former president Ram Baran Yadav has been issued with a public notice that he should vacate the rented house in Bagdol of Lalitpur within 15 days for failing to pay the house rent. The house had been rented to the Office of President from October 29, 2015 after his retirement from office. The contract to rent the house had expired on July 16, and has yet to be renewed. The former president has been occupying the rented house without paying the rent and utility bills since July 16. On June 20, 2016 too, the landlord had filed a case against the Office of the President seeking to remove the former president from his house. However, the landlord withdrew the case over the non-payment of the rent after he was paid by the Office of the President. The house was rented to the former president for Rs.130,000 per month, but the government has yet to pay the house rent despite the landlord repeatedly reminding it to pay the amount due.
There are different rules in different countries for former presidents. In Yadav’s case, the Office of President had written a letter to him as to whether he or his family members owned a house in Kathmandu, but so far there has been no response to this query from him. The decision was taken on February 2, 2017 to provide house rents amounting to Rs.100,000 to former presidents as house repair allowance if his/her family member owned a house in Kathmandu. In case the former president does not have a house in Kathmandu s/he would receive an allowance of Rs. 200,000 per month. Yadav had given his house built in Kathmandu to his daughter and his son is living in a rented house in Kathmandu. He wants the President’s Office to keep on paying the house rent as agreed upon till the bill regarding pay and perks to former VIPs is passed by Parliament.
The pay and perks being provided to former VIPs is increasing over the year which the country cannot afford. The bills are seen to be passed by the Parliament if it benefits them especially by way of pay and perks. A ceiling has to be set on these unnecessary expenditures and the former VIPs should be provided with reasonable stipends, may be on a lump sum basis. But these VIPs are entitled to personal security. It is indeed very absurd that the personnel deployed for the former president’s security are living in tents in the compound of the rented house. There should be clear cut provisions in law about the privileges including financial which the former VIPs are given. With the increasing number of VIPs the security forces are facing difficulties to provide security to them. Security should be provided only to those who are entitled to it or if they are being threatened. Nepal should learn from other countries too about the facilities being provided to their former heads of state or government, particularly in the neighboring countries. No doubt, the expenditure granted to former VIPs in Nepal is highly inflated and not keeping up with the poor economy of the country. There should be no ambiguities regarding the pay and perks to them as their number would be on the rise over the years. It would be indeed very unfair to the common people who have to pay the taxes to pay the former VIPs more than they deserve.
The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has started distribution of embossed number plates for all types of vehicles on the basis of provincial structure. Earlier, the department had decided to issue the embossed number plates on the basis of zonal structure. The department had to switch to the provincial structure after the then parliamentary Development Committee directed it to follow the federal structure, saying that a zonal structure no longer existed in the federal system.
Publishing a public notice on Monday the DoTM said it was accepting online application for the embossed number plates.This will be one of the series of government initiatives to provide its services to the people on the basis of federal structure. Under the new provision the embossed number plates will be issued to the vehicles based on the province they are registered with. The embossed plates will also have a tracking system based on which the traffic police and law enforcement agency can easily monitor movement of a vehicle within the country. The system will help curb vehicular theft and control criminal activities that may be carried out by using a vehicle.