KATHMANDU; The National Population Committee, which is headed by Prime Minister, held its meeting last Sunday after a gap of 11

long years.

The High-level HIV/AIDS Council also met recently after eight years. Take the case of the National Vigilance Centre (NVC), which was established around eight years ago under the direct control and monitoring of the Prime Minister. Neither, the successive Prime Ministers visited the NVC office, nor did they give any attention to its activities.

While, the meeting of Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) was held after around 10 months on

Monday. “We raised the issue of political commitment at the meeting. There is a dire need for such regular interaction since the body isn’t being able to accomplish its task properly,” said Dr Bal Gopal Baidya after the meeting. He said that the Prime Minister had promised to hold a PAK meeting every month.

But, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal is clearly overburdened with responsibilities.

He heads more than 40

committees and bodies, all of which come under the Office of Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. A few of them

have constitutional provisions. But, a majority is governed by Acts. These panels are housed in various ministries.

The Prime Minister is expected to chair the meetings of these committees as per the legal

provisions. But, many of these panels have not met for years due to a slew of factors. Either, the Prime Minister of the day was simply unaware of their existence or he simply could not take time off his busy schedule.

Another common criticism levelled against the successive Prime Ministers is that they gave least priority to these panels. No wonder, a majority had not held meetings for a decade or so.

Records revealed that a huge sum of money was spent for the upkeep of these defunct panels.

Despite the profligacy, all the Prime Ministers have been recalcitrant to take up the panels’ cause. The primary objective of making the Prime Minister a patron of the committees is to make them efficient and accountable. Alas! That has not been the case since the Prime Minister tends

to be busy with attendant

political pursuits.

What is the objective of these committees?

They are expected to draft law, form policies and directives and, instruct various bodies for effective governance. The panels are also supposed to coordinate the functioning of various organisations, managing economic resources, conducting research and surveys, organising training and implementing the government’s commitments made at national and international levels. All these exercises are aimed at developing the skill set of manpower. The Prime Minister has taken upon himself to activate such committees. “He demanded the list of these committees recently and instructed officials. He also chaired meetings of a few committees in the past few days,” said Bishnu Rijal, press advisor to the Prime Minister. Rijal maintained that the performances of these committees were found to be erratic when the Prime Minister started a stock-taking exercise. “Ninety per cent of these bodies are defunct since successive Prime Ministers have been unable to give proper attention to them,” said a senior bureaucrat at the Prime Minister’s Office.

To make matters worse, there is no mechanism to ensure regular follow up and monitoring from the Prime Minister’s Office to keep these panels under checks and balances.

A section of bureaucrats suggested that experts should be entrusted with the responsibility to run these bodies. While, the Prime Minister can keep a tab on them from time to time.

Madhav Kumar Nepal has his hands full

1. Council of Ministers

2. Constitutional Council

3. National Security Council (Defunct)

4. Nepal Academy of Science and Technology

5. Nepal Academy (yet to take complete shape)

6. Nepal Academy of Music and Performing Arts (yet to take complete shape)

7. Nepal Academy of Fine Arts (Main patron)

8. Tribhuvan University

9. Nepal Sanskrit University (Vice-Chancellor)

10. Kathmandu University (Vice-Chancellor)

11. Purbanchal University (Vice-Chancellor)

12. Pokhara University (Vice-Chancellor)

13. Lumbini Buddha University (Vice-Chancellor)

14. Pashupati Area Development Trust

(Main patron)

15. Committee for Decentralisation,

Implementation and Monitoring

16. National Foundation of Development of

Indigenous Nationality (Chairman)

17. National Sports Council (Patron)

18. National Academy of Medical Science

(Vice-Chancellor)

19. Poverty Alleviation Fund (Chairman)

20. Nepal Scout (Patron)

21. National Trust for Nature Conservation

(Patron)

22. Lumbini Development Trust (Patron)

23. Administration Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee

24. Investment Promotion High Level Direction Committee

25. High-level Policy Direction Committee for

Organised Agencies (Corporations)

26. National Council for Development of Water Resources

27. Tourism Council

28. Environment Protection Council

29. National Population Committee

30. National Development Council (Chairman)

31. National Planning Commission (Chairman)

32. High-level Commission for Information

Technology

33. BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences

34. High-level HIV/Aids Council

35. Kathmandu Valley Development Council

36. High-level Peace Committee

37. Committee to Solve the Problems of National Development

38. National Commission for Sustainable

Development

39. Vibhushana Committee