Nepal Today

Thursday, November 29, 2012

INDIAN TROUBLESHOOTER DR.KARN SINGH ARRIVES FRIDAY Kathmandu, 30 Nov.: India’s trouble shooter Dr. Karan Singh who looks after foreign affairs in the Congress-I leading the federal government, arrives for political consultations Friday. He’s close to Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Dr. Singh will hold consultations with political party leaders immediately after arrival. The former Kashmir chief minister, was India’s troubleshooter in talks between the palace and parties six years ago when a dissolved parliament was restored by embattled King Gyanendra who was asked by parties and foreign governments, to take an illegal’ political decision’ leading to the current political situation. Dr. Singh arrives at a time when there’s no consensus on a government to to lead a team to conduct constituent ssembly (CA) elections sometime in April/May. Nnnn BLIND CRICKETERS LEAVE FOR INDIA TO PARTICIPATE IN T20 WORLD CUP Kathmandu, 30 Nov.: Blind cricketers are flying for Bangalore, India, Friday to participate in the T20 World Cup The matches are being played from 2 to 13 December Nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE :The president is the symbol of republic, Only the president symbolizes the republic. If he (Bhattarai) really wants to resign, he must do so immediately. I resigned from the prime ministerial post without asking anybody." (UML leader Madha Kumar Nepal Republic, 30 Nov.) Nnnn TOP CPN MAOIST LEDER CHAND IN CHINA FOLLOWING LEADERSHIP CHANGE Kathmandu, 30 Nov : As political parties are engaged in parleys for the formation of a new government in Kathmandu, CPN-Maoist leader Netra Bikram Chand ´Biplab´ is once again on a China visit,, Purna Basnet writes in Republica from Hong Kong. . This is Chand´s third China visit in the last seven months. According to sources, Chand, accompanied by CPN-Maoist politburo member Hitman Shakya and former vice commander of the now-dissolved People´s Liberation Army (PLA) Bibek, on November 23 left for China and is scheduled to return to Kathmandu on December 1. The latest China visit by Chand, who proposed CPN-Maoist General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa as the prime ministerial candidate, has been kept a secret. Chand is believed to have met Chinese political leaders while in Beijing. Chand´s visit, arranged shortly after the Communist Party of China (CPC)´s national congress that picked Xi Jinping as China´s next president, is being viewed as a move to garner support for Thapa´s candidacy. Chand´s China visit is meaningful also because he was on the forefront of CPN-Maoist´s anti-India agitation last month, in which vehicles bearing Indian number plates had been prevented from entering Nepal and Hindi movies were banned. Within CPN-Maoist, Chand is known as a leader who strongly advocates for another armed struggle against the state. CPN-Maoist sources also inform that plans are afoot to militarize CPN-Maoist´s youth wing led by Chand. Chand had played a key role in forming CPN-Maoist by splitting away from the UCPN (Maoist) some time ago. Chanda had labelled the Baburam Bhattarai-led government as anti-nationalist while forming the new party. Four months ago, Chand had made an abrupt China visit when his party´s central committee meeting was underway in Kathmandu. Before that, just weeks before CPN-Maoist was formed, Chand had reached Beijing. Prof Wang Hong-wei, of the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, whom Chand had met during his first China visit, says that Chinese political leaders and thinkers give suggestions to Nepali politicians but they never intend to be involved in Nepali affairs. “As a friend and good neighbor, we would urge Nepali politicians to be united and maintain political stability,” said Prof Wang. “I had also given some suggestions to him (Chand). But, the results were not as expected.” Nnnn ________________________________________ GOVT. PAYMENTS GRIND TO HALT Kathmandu, 30 Nov.: Disbursements by government offices across the country have come to a halt since last week as the announcement of the budget without following long-standing practices has left the Ministry of Finance (MoF) unable to issue due authority to the ministries to spend the budgets allotted to them, Milan Mani Sharma .writes in Republica. The problem surfaced mainly because the government, in course of its struggles over the new budget, announced the budget amount without working out the spending programs for all the ministries. Rather, it allotted a lump-sum budget for each ministry and asked them to identify their programs and allocate the spendings themselves. “Ministries have not yet forwarded their programs and spending plans. So, we are still unaware how much they (ministries) are spending and for which purposes. In such a situation, how can we authorize the financial comptrollers to issue checks for payments?” said a source at MoF. Till last year, the government used to make public its Estimates of Expenditure, also termed the Red Book, simultaneously with the budget announcement. As this document contains all the details of allocations for each and every program that the government is implementing, the ministries and agencies under them would easily know how much budget has been allocated for which program, what the priority of a given program is, from where the budget is being sourced and how much has been allocated for recurrent and development expenditures, among other things. “But owing to the unique situation this time, we could not carry out these steps, and allotted a lump sum budget for each ministry,” said Lok Darshan Regmi, chief of Budget Division at MoF. He said MoF has already written to the ministries to work out how much they are to spend for their respective programs and forward the expenditure breakdowns (under heads such as salary, procurement of stationery, fuel and other daily requirements) as soon as possible. Unless the ministries completed this task speedily, officials said government offices might not be able to carry out regulation functions and pay salaries to staff. “The earlier the ministries forward their programs and spending breakdowns the earlier will the impediment end. Everything rests on how fast they complete this task,” Joint Financial Comptroller Suresh Pradhan told Republica. However, officials said the ministries are in a mess because they are not used to such work and have trouble performing it. Moreover, the mess has been compounded because the government, regardless of what it said while announcing the budget, has not even allotted to the ministries amounts equal to what they actually spent last year. “The budget allotted to the ministries is less than last year´s actual spending by 12 to 28 percent. This has created difficulties for us in continuing even the programs iniated last year,” said a senior accountant at a ministry, requesting anonymity. Regmi denies such a situation, but sources involved in budget-making confirmed what the senior accountant said. Citing an example, they said the government has allocated Rs 30 billion to the Ministry of Local Development for 2012/13, whereas it had received Rs 45 billion in 2011/12 and actually spent Rs 34 billion. “Such cuts have happened for all the ministries because we had to set aside Rs 3 billion for fresh elections and another 3 billion for army integration, among other things,” said the source. “A bulky amount has also been set aside for implementation of the load-shedding reduction program,” the source elaborated. Worse still, such a situation has created a lacuna whereby ministries can now reshuffle priorities and make imprudent allocations. “This is certain to hit genuine development projects,” said the MoF source. Nnnn


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