Nepal Today

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

MAY DAY GREETINGS Kathmandu, 1 May: Chairman of Interim Election Council Khil Raj Regmi has assured the laborers that the government would work for their welfare in the Future, RSS reports.. In a message on the occasion of the May Day 2013, Regmi said that remarkable efforts were underway for equality, justice, social security, independence and economic prosperity coupled with laborers' demand for respect to labor. Regmi said that political stability was needed to ensure laborers' rights though expected success was not achieved to that end so far. He also urged all laborers to actively participate in the upcoming elections to the Constituent Assembly (CA). Meanwhile, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala has also pledged to work for the welfare and rights promotion of the laborers. nnnn DISPLACED STUDENTS FIND NEW SCHOOL Kathmandu, 1 May: The displaced students of Lumle-based Balmandir Secondary School (BSS) today departed for Janata Higher Secondary School (JHSS) based in Tansen, Palpa, The Himalayan Times reports. The students had fled from their school on March 4 alleging the school principal, teacher and hostel authorities of misbehaving with them and torturing them physically and mentally. Since then, their guardians had been demanding that their children be transferred to another school where the environment is child-friendly. On April 17, the children had submitted a memorandum to the education minister urging him to settle the issue by transferring the kids to a different school. They began a sit-in protest in front of the Department of Education (DoE) from April 26 after the minister failed to address their demands. The children were accompanied with few guardians and a teacher today. Earlier, due to the protest, Grade V, VI and VII students could not sit for their final board exams. Tek Narayan Panday, DoE director, said they had managed the school as per the students’ wish. He said, “Understanding the students’ psychology, we decided to transfer them to a new school,” adding, “JHSS had no objection regarding the admission of new students and the students were also happy, therefore, we decided to send them to the Palpa-based school.” Regarding action against the BSS authorities, he said two persons, including the school principal, were suspended and further investigation was on. Nirajan Bhusal, a seventh-grader, who is going to be promoted to Grade VIII this year, said he was very happy to get transferred to another school. “We were not able to concentrate on our studies due to the torture from teachers, but now we can study in a peaceful and friendly environment in a new school,” he added. The Ministry of Education changed its earlier stance of sending them to the same school after 11 student unions aligned to various political parties expressed solidarity with the students and backed their demand. Out of 68 students, 56 students were selected on scholarship quota. Lekhnath Pokharel, central member of the Nepali Congress-aligned Nepal Students Union today said it was a great victory of students. He said, “JHSS is also a reputed school in Palpa. It seems the students will have great future.” Megh Raj Puri, a guardian, also welcomed the government’s decision. He said, “We are sure now that our kids will be able to study in a healthy environment.” Nnnn NO PLAN HOLIDAY Kathmandu, 1 May: Finance minister Shankar Koirala said there will be no plan holiday, assuaging the serious concerns of development partners, Kuvera Chalise writes in The Himalayan Times... Trying to satisfy development partners — during the Local Donor Meeting here today — regarding their concern on a ‘plan holiday’ due to the vacant National Planning Commission (NPC) at a crucial time when the third Three Year Interim Plan (2013-16) needs to be finalised, he said the government will appoint planning commission members including the vice chair soon. The planning commission that remains vacant after vice chair Deependra Bahadur Kshetry and three members resigned on April 22, has not been able to call the meeting of National Development Council that will finalise the draft of the third Three Year Interim Plan. Koirala, however, asked the development partners — who are waiting for the finalised draft of the plan — to align their respective country strategy papers in line with the government’s development map. Asking the development partners to also follow the Development Cooperation Report 2013, which has concluded that foreign aid has been widely fragmented and not aligned to the government’s ongoing second Three Year Interim Plan (2010-13), he blamed untimely and low disbursement, lack of effective oversight and low absorptive capacity as the key impediments to effective mobilisation of foreign aid. “Aid effectiveness is key with accountability,” he said, adding effectiveness of foreign aid is also a concern of development partners that have been helping Nepal for the last six decades. The development partners, however, asking the government to focus on four key areas as stop-gap measures to continue mutual accountability, transparency and aid effectiveness, asked for an update on the preparation status of the next three-year interim plan. “The plan will provide the framework for long-term partnership and commitment of development partners, especially in the context of their next country partnership strategies,” said World Bank country manager for Nepal Tahseen Sayed, speaking on behalf of the development partners. She also asked the government to focus on budget and portfolio management for maximum development results; economic planning and programming; accountability and governance; and Foreign Aid Policy and aid effectiveness. “By adopting the MfDR approach in the plan, with associated results framework, greater harmonisation and alignment will take place,” said Sayed, adding that more rapid progress in establishing a medium-term expenditure framework, with stronger linkages to budget allocation and outputs would bring more discipline and better oversight in managing the expenditure programme. “We have recently seen unprecedented consensus among top political leaders on hydropower development and the government can use the opportunity to take administrative, legislative, and institutional measures to support hydropower development, including mechanisms for meaningful consultations with the local population,” she added. Hailing the release of the Auditor General’s report on time, the development partners also asked the government to form an extraordinary committee — as an interim measure — to play the role of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) consisting of qualified personnel to scrutinise accounts and take necessary actions until a regular PAC is established. On the occasion, they also welcomed and hailed the sharing of contours of the draft Foreign Aid Policy. “We understand that finalising the policy, in consultation with development partners, is a key priority of the government to bring more clarity with regard to foreign aid management,” Sayed said nnnn


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