THT 10 years ago: Red letter day dawns today

Kathmandu, May 17, 2006

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is scheduled to present the much-awaited declaration clipping the wings of the King at a meeting of the House of Representatives tomorrow.

A cabinet meeting tomorrow morning will give the final touches to the declaration. Highlights of the declaration include doing away with the provision of Supreme Commander-In-Chief of the Royal Nepalese Army.

This shall put an end to the debate on whether the King should or should not head the national army. One of the most important sections of the declaration is the preamble which will set the pace for every imaginable constitutional issue which will be guided along as mentioned in the preamble.

The name of the army, too, will be changed to “Nepal National Army”. Next is dissolution of the Raj Parishad Standing Committee. Now on, parliament will take care of the job done by the Raj Parishad.

Also gone will be the controversial provision giving the monarch discretionary powers in certain cases. Now onward, the monarch will not have any authority to enact the law concerning royal succession, which will be done by the parliament.

This means the king will lose any executive authority which was vested in him. Another equally crucial change is replacing “His Majesty’s Government” with “Nepal Government”.

There is, however, uncertainty over the national anthem.

The monarch will no longer have the authority to convene a session of parliament since the declaration has suggested that the Speaker of the House of Representatives should convene the session on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

Donors ready to aid Nepal

Kathmandu, May 17, 2006

Donor community at an exclusive meet called by the finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat today disclosed that it is ready to support Nepal financially to rescue its flagging economy and ensure peace.

However, donors continue to be unsure about what will happen regarding the negotiations with the Maoists and to the prospects of sustained peace.

Security expenditure over the past four years, Dr Mahat pointed out to the donors, has exceeded 3.4 per cent of the total GDP. It is very high for a country like Nepal where annual revenues make up only about 13 per cent of GDP.

He said that in the current fiscal year, there will be an additional deficit of about Rs 5.1 billion. Most donor representatives expressed underlined the need to include the development agenda in the talks with the Maoists.

This is required to ensure both development and a lasting peace, they felt. Donor representatives also emphasised the need for security at the local level to keep development projects going.

Ken Ohashi, country director of the World Bank expressed serious concerns regarding the imminent expiry of Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF).