Nepal Today

Thursday, April 4, 2013

CPN MAOIST INVITED FOR TALKS ON CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY ELECTION Kathmandu, 5 April CPN Maoist led by Mohan Baidhaya has been invited for talks Friday by the high-level four-party to discuss second constituent assemble elections opposed by 33 parties. The four parties behind the government have decided to hold talks with other parties to join the election fray, icluding MJFN of Upendra Yadav. Maoist Chairman was authorized Thursday by the Big Four to hold talks with the parties opposed to an election. Home Minister Madhav Prasad Ghimere heads the government team for a dialogue with te opposition. Nnnn CAPTIALS MORNING TEMPERATURE 14 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 5 April: Capital’s morning temperature at seven Friday was 14 degrees Celsius. Mercuy is expected to rise to 32 degrees Celsius in the afternoon. nnnn ICT INFO. TRADE EXPO FROM 9 APRIL Kathmandu, 5 April: The sixth edition of ‘ICT Info Trade: Branding Expo 2013’, is being conducted by Information Communication Technology (UCT) Association of Nepal in Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu, 9 to 13 April. The expo is promoting information, communication and technology in the country will be providing special discounts to students who have appeared at this year’s SLC examination. nnnn PRESIDENT DEFENDS ACTION TO UNOCK DEADLOCK Kathmandu, 5 April: The Office of the President today defended the March 13 presidential order, saying the order was meant to remove constitutional difficulties and make way for the formation of Interim Election Council of Ministers under Khil Raj Regmi, the sitting chief justicem The Himalayan Times writes.. Stating that the order is based on “certain fixed principles of reason”, it asked the apex court to quash a petition that has challenged the order. In its written explanation furnished in response to a writ petition that advocates Chandra Kanta Gyawali and Om Prakash Aryal had filed, the office claimed that the order of President Ram Baran Yadav is based on a political understanding to end the prevailing political and constitutional deadlock. Stating that the order has grossly violated the Interim Constitution, the petitioners have sought an apex court order to nullify the same and revoke the appointment of Chief Justice Regmi as chairman of the Interim Election Council. The written reply reads that there’s no need now to review the order issued as per Article 158 of the Interim Constitution. “Since the order is intended to end the political deadlock and make way for elections to the Constituent Assembly that will draft the new constitution, the petition is unwarranted,” the written explanation states. nnnn REMITTANCES INCREASES TO RS.240 BILLION Kathmandu, 5 April: The country’s trade deficit is growing as the relatively easy income from remittance has contributed in growing consumption among Nepalis, Dikshya Singh writes in The Himalayan Times.. Nepal received Rs 360 billion as remittance income in the first seven months of the current fiscal year. In the review period, trade deficit also widened by Rs 271.2 billion. Data of the first seven months show that the amount of remittance income and amount of trade deficit is almost perfectly correlated. The positive correlation shows that both trade deficit and remittance income are moving in near perfect sync. “Remittance has increased the income of households which is mostly spent in consumption, increasing the demand for commodities, and since Nepal’s manufacturing capacity is pretty limited, demand for imported goods has soared,” said senior economist Dr Chiranjibi Nepal. “Higher consumption can be good for developed countries but is not beneficial to a country that has to import even the basic necessities,” he added. Of the total households, 55 per cent receive remittance from members abroad, according to the preliminary report of Nepal Living Standard Survey -III released by the Central Bureau of Statistics. Of the total remittance received, 79 per cent is consumed by families and only three per cent goes to capital formation, with the rest being spent on repaying debts and on education, according to the National Migration Survey. “Nepal is suffering from the Dutch disease brought in by remittance, as it has contributed in the expansion of consumption without actually boosting national productivity,” added Dr Nepal. Dutch disease refers to the situation in which an economy actually suffers due to increase in income, mostly arising from a large inflow of foreign exchange. The concept is related to an increase in exploitation of natural resources and consequent decline in manufacturing sector. However, in many developing countries like Nepal, increase in labour export for remittance is showing a detrimental effect in the overall development in the long run. In the last fiscal year, Nepal received remittance worth Rs 360 billion, while its export earnings stood at Rs 72 billion and it imported goods worth Rs 462 billion. Likewise, the manufacturing sector contributed a mere Rs 95 billion in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) worth. The industrial sector — that is considered a mass employment generator — witnessed a growth of 1.69 per cent, while remittance income surged by 41 per cent. “Since the country’s balance of payments situation is in surplus and foreign reserves are also swelling thanks to remittance, policy makers are complacent as there is not much pressure to create a conducive and productive environment to create jobs,” said Dr Nepal. “The more the income through exported labour, the more the government will encourage Nepalis to go abroad for work, while the home turf becomes barren and without able manpower,” he added. According to the Department of Foreign Employment, a little over 155,000 Nepalis have left for foreign employment by the first half of this fiscal year, which is a 20.4 per cent increment in comparison to that of the previous year. At present, 52.8 per cent of the total households have at least one absentee member. Increasing unemployment has not only fuelled the migrant outflow but also helped widen the trade deficit as the the remittance they have been sending is widely spent on consumption rather than on capital formation. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, only four per cent of the remittance is only used in capital formation, which needs to be increased to strengthen the economy. Nnnn HANUMAN DHOKA TREASURES DUG OUT Kathmandu, 5 April: A treasure house inside Hanuman Dhoka, the royal palace of the Malla and the Shah dynasties, is found to have contained a vast amount of priceless antiques, Om Asstha Rai writes in Republica. . As government authorities, in the presence of local representatives of major political parties, unlocked the treasure house, which remained locked for almost one century, archeologically important artifacts and other antique objects was made public on Thursday. According to Bhesh Narayan Dahal, Director General of Department of Archeology (DoA), the treasure house also contains 15 boxes, seven safes, and 90 brick-shaped silver bars apart from countless artifacts, idols and other objects. "The boxes and safes might contain more valuable items like gold jewelries and coins," said Dahal. "But, we are yet to look into them. Some of the boxes and safes were not locked. But, we did not open them, either." According to Dahal, who led a team of 23 government authorities from various concerned ministries, none of the items inside the treasure house was touched upon or moved. "We just watched and counted them," said he. The Dahal-led team will now make an inventory of all the items found in the treasure house after identifying each item. "We will try to complete the inventory as early as possible," said Dahal. "But, it is a very time consuming process and we may require even several months to complete it." Although one of the two rooms in the treasure house turned out to be a repository of valuable objects, the other room was empty. The courtyard of the treasure house was covered with nettle plants. It took almost one hour for army men from Shardul Jung Gulma of Nepal Army (NA) to clear the courtyard. Before the main gate of the treasure house was unlocked, a ritual called Chhyama Puja (apology prayer) was performed by priests of Basantapur Durbar complex, of which Hanuman Dhoka is a part. "As we were stepping into a house sacredly locked for years, we felt it was necessary to apologize with the god," said Dahal. Government authorities, members of Hanuman Dhoka Development Committee and representatives of political parties had flocked to the treasure house by 10:30 Thursday morning. It took them nearly five hours to enter the treasure house and examine all the objects. Anticipating some poisonous gas or other harmful things inside the treasure house, a team of Red Cross volunteers was also stand by for first aid treatment. But, no untoward incident occurred. "The interior of the treasure house was covered with cobwebs and all the items were full of dust," said Dahal. "But, there was no bad stench." Until Thursday, it was believed that Hanuman Dhoka treasure house dates back to the Malla dynasty, which ruled Kantipur, today´s Kathmandu, before Prithvi Narayan Shah invaded the valley. But, with Thursday´s unlocking, archeologists now believe that Hanuman Dhoka treasure house was built by the Rana Prime Minister Chandra Shamsher nearly a century ago. "We found an engraving which proves that Hanuman Dhoka treasure house was built by Chandra Shamsher in 1970 B.S," said Bishnu Raj Karki, former DG of DoA. "It seems like most of the antique objects found in the treasure house were gifted to Chandra Shamsher by the British East India Company. There is a possibility that some other antique items might belong to the Malla dynasty." Archeologists say Thursday´s revelation would help understand economic system of the Malla era as well as the early modern Nepal. nnnn MAOISTS FOR, NC, UML AGAINST ONE PERCENT THRESHOLD FOR SMALL PARTIES FOR PROPORTIONAL PRESESENTATION Kathmandu, 5 April: Political parties are sharply divided over the proposed eligibility threshold for seats under the proportional representation electoral system, GaniAnsari writes isn Republica.. During an all-party meeting called by Chairman of Interim Election Council Khil Raj Regmi on Thursday at Singh Durbar, Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML stood for the proposed threshold, while UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based political parties, among other parties, rejected it. The Election Commission (EC), in the draft ordinance on amending the Election of Members of the Constituent Assembly Act, 2013, has proposed that a political party must secure one percent of the total valid votes cast in the election to be eligible for proportional seats in Constituent Assembly (CA). Earlier, the constitutional body had proposed a threshold of 1.5 percent. CPN-UML leader and advocate Agni Kharel stressed the need for threshold arguing that such practices are found in many democratic countries across the world. “If we follow other democratic norms and values, we should also follow the practice,” he stated. Kharel maintained that the threshold provision can encourage various fringe political parties to unify for the polls. NC central working committee member Minendra Rijal argued that the threshold provision would make the representation more inclusive. UCPN (Maoist) leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara argued that the threshold provision is not necessary as CA polls are not like general elections, which are held on a regular basis. “All political parties must get a chance to be represented in CA as polls for CA is conducted once or twice in history,” he argued. Mahara also rejected the proposal that allows persons convicted of criminal offenses or other offences involving moral turpitude, to file candidacy for CA election only six years after completing their sentences handed down by courts or other judicial authority. “Such a provision should be scrapped as our country has just emerged from conflict,” he maintained. According to the EC proposal, a person convicted of any crime including murder, theft, robbery, misappropriation of foreign currency, kidnap, rape, corruption, human trafficking, money laundering, banking irregularities, passport misuse, drug smuggling, jail break or abetting jail break by others, smuggling of protected wildlife or vegetation or objects of archeological importance, illegal trade and spying, among other illegal activities, or has shown moral turpitude, cannot be a member of any political party if he or she has not completed the sentence handed down by a court or any other legal authority. Vice-chairman of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP) Hridayesh Tripathi said the threshold provision would not be acceptable to his party. “Threshold provision should be for other elections but not for CA polls,” he stated. Chairman of Rastriya Janashakti Party and former Prime Minister Surya Bahadur also opposed the threshold terming it unnecessary. Leaders of other fringe parties stated that the proposed eligibility threshold for seats under the proportional representation electoral system will end the existence of fringe parties. Addressing the meeting attended by 26 political parties, Regmi stated that the cabinet will approve the election related ordinances keeping with the view the suggestions of the political parties. The Interim Election Council held the all-party meeting after the EC forwarded three ordinances -- ordinance on amending Election of Members of the Constituent Assembly Act, 2013, ordinance on amending Electoral Rolls Act, 2013 and ordinance on amending Election Commission Act, 2013 -- to the government.. nnnn


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