Nepal Today

Friday, May 31, 2013

REPUBLIC DAY NOW A NATIONAL DAY Kathmandu, 1 June: Foreign ministry has informed foreign governments, through foreign missions of a cabinet decision, to observe national day 28 May coinciding with republic day. Republic Day was observed for he first time as a national day inside the country Wednesday following the decision of the government of retired senior civil servants headed by Khil Raj Regmi who continues to as chief justice even after his appointment as government chief tasked with responsibility to conduct second constituent assembly elections. National days previously were observed on 7 Falgun and birthdays of the king. nnnn 33 PARTIES SHUN REGISTRATION FOR ELECTION PARTICIPATION Kathmandu, 1 June: The major parties in the 33-member alliance led by Mohan Baidya´s CPN-Maoist and a majority of the other parties in the alliance have not registered at the Election Commission (EC) and have vowed to further institutionalize their alliance, Republica reports.. CPN-Maoist, which was formed after a split in the UCPN (Maoist), Matrika Yadav-led CPN (Maoist), Pari Thapa´s CPN (Ekikrit), Mani Thapa´s Revolutionary Communist Party of Nepal, Kumar Lingden´s Limbuwan State Council, Kishwor Bishwas-led front and CPN Unified Marxist are some of the major constituent members of the alliance that didn´t register in the EC even as the deadline for party registration expired Thursday. "Only a few members of our alliance registered their parties in the EC. They are still committed to the alliance´s programs and policies because they had registered prior to the alliance officially decided to boycott the process," Mani Thapa told Republica. "The major and majority parties of our group haven´t registered at the EC and we are for further intensifying our agitation against the present government." Mani Thapa said the alliance´s member parties have been encouraged as the government and other major political parties including UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and United Madhesi Democratic Front (UDMF) "failed to create division among the member parties despite their attempts for that." Even former CA member Pari Thapa, who had already practiced parliamentary politics for years, didn´t register his party. Pari Thapa said they have decided to further institutionalize the alliance by giving it a formal name. So far the grouping is known just as 33-party alliance led by Mohan Baidya. "But now we will give it a proper name. We will draft a common manifesto and a code of conduct so as to institutionalize the grouping and to further strengthen the unity and the movement," said Pari Thapa. According to him, they are likely to come up with further programs from an interaction among the member parties scheduled for Saturday. He informed that they are already decided to launch resistance protest "if the government unilaterally announced the poll date despite their objection." As the one month deadline expired Thursday, altogether 139 political parties filed applications for registration at the EC for ensuring their participation in the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections. Out of the 139 parties, 110 are new while the remaining 29 political parties were represented in the dissolved CA. Altogether 75 political parties had registered for the 2008 CA elections. Altogether 54 parties had contested the polls while 25 were elected and the number of political parties in the House reached 33 by the time of its dissolution due to splits in several parties. Nnnn CPN MAOIST WORKERS DEMAND MINIMUM RS.15,000 WAGE Kathmandu, 1 June:: The All Nepal Trade Union Federation-Revolutionary (ANTUF-R) affiliated to the CPN-Maoist has threatened to shut down all industrial establishments across the country for indefinite period if minimum monthly remuneration and daily wage of workers are not raised to Rs 15,000 and Rs 700, respectively, within five days from Friday, Republica reports.. The warning comes four days after the government raised minimum monthly remuneration of workers to Rs 8,000 --including basic salary of Rs 5,100 and dearness allowance of Rs 2,900 -- from Rs 6,200. The daily wage of workers was also raised to Rs 318 from Rs 231. “We had to issue this ultimatum as the new deal reached between the government, employers and trade unions is not in the interest of workers,” says an ANTUF-R statement issued on Friday. The ANTUF-R claims a delegation led by the trade union had met with Chairman of the Interim Election Council Khil Raj Regmi in March and handed over a 25-point memorandum seeking radical changes to minimum remuneration and daily wage structures. After the trade union´s calls were not heard, it issued a seven-day ultimatum on May 15 and announced a series of protests. “But instead of listening to our genuine concerns the government reached a deal with trade unions that had deviated from our movement,” says the ANTUF-R statement, adding, “The newly reached agreement on minimum remuneration and daily wage is not acceptable to us.” The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), the largest umbrella body of the private sector, has called the demands and ultimatum of the ANTUF-R as “unfortunate”. “Such demands would only discourage private and foreign investment. This would ultimately affect job creation process and force more youths to leave the country,” Manish Agarwal, vice chairman of FNCCI´s Employers´ Council, told Republica. He also said it would not be appropriate to initiate any discussion on wage revision at the moment as “we had just raised minimum remuneration and daily wage of workers in a significant manner”. A high-ranking official of the Ministry of Labor and Employment said, “At a time inflationary pressure is creating hole in the pocket of ordinary citizens, the demands of the trade union sound genuine. But we also have to take the condition of industrial establishments into account as many are not operating in full capacity due to various problems ranging from power outage and labor-related problems to lagging economic growth rate.” Asked why the ANTUF-R was not included in the wage negotiations between the government, employers and trade unions, the official, on condition of anonymity, said the government sends its invitation to the Joint Trade Union Coordination Committee, a group of leading trade unions operating in the country. “It is up to the committee to send representatives to participate in the wage-related negotiations,” the official further said. Nnnn CIVIL SERVANTS LIKELY TO GET SALARY HIKE AFTER THREE YEARS Kathmandu, 1 June: The government is projecting a growth of six per cent in the budget for the next fiscal year 2013-14, The Himalayan Times reports.. Addressing a pre-budget interaction organised by Management Association of Nepal (MAN) here, today, finance minister Shankar Koirala said that the budget will focus on higher economic growth and inclusive development. “The budget will also try to protect the private sector’s investment,” he said, adding that the government and private sector are the key players, though the private sector could be further bifurcated to cooperatives or other sectors. “Through the budget the government will help create an investment friendly environment to encourage the private sector to invest.” However, the private sector has limitations and the budget will concentrate on five priority sectors, the finance minister said. “Energy, infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, and import substitution and export promotion will be key focus areas in the fiscal policy that will have non-controversial and non-political programmes,” the former bureaucrat turned minister said, elaborating that generation of energy — with government incentives — and construction of transmission lines will get first priority in the budget. “Likewise, infrastructure that is a key bottleneck for economic development that has never been a national priority agenda in the country, will get second priority and commercialisation of agriculture along with a focus on livestock and fertiliser production that will increase the contribution of the agriculture sector to the gross domestic product will get third priority, whereas import substitution and export promotion will help industrialisation,” he added. Unlike earlier ones, next fiscal year’s budget will not be distributive, said finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi. “The budget will focus on capital formation and sectors like infrastructure that will give returns in the long run,” he said, adding the government’s recurrent expenditure has been increasing in such a way that revenue might not be able to meet administrative and regular salary expenses, though revenue mobilisation has been encouraging as it increased by more than 23 per cent — without changing tax rates — compared to last fiscal year. President of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Suraj Vaidya suggested the government to bring a productive budget that can create employment in the country. “Youths should be involved in the construction of stadiums and airports in Nepal rather than in Qatar and Hong Kong,” he said, adding that the budget should reverse the trend of increasing unemployment. However, senior economist Tula Raj Basyal suggested the government to enhance the capacity of the public sector for effective management of the fiscal policy. Presenting a paper on the private sector’s expectations from the budget, managing director of Jyoti Group Saurabh Jyoti asked the government to involve the private sector in infrastructure projects under Public Private Partnership model or Build-Own-Operate-and Transfer. “The budget should provide incentives to the private sector to generate hydropower, help land acquisition, promote ‘One district one product’ programme, reform tax laws to encourage industrialisation, simplify customs and increase skills of foreign job aspirants in association with the private sector,” he said, adding that the budget should be private sector friendly as it is the backbone for economic growth. On the occasion, the finance minister also gave away the Manager of the Year Award to chief executive of Music Nepal Santosh Sharma and chief executive of Shtrii-Shakti Indira Maiya Shrestha. Salary hike! The government has given an assurance to increase the salary of civil servants. During an interaction with civil servant associations at the Finance Ministry, on Friday, finance minister Shankar Koirala said that the government will increase the salary of civil servants in the budget. He, however, said that the salary will be revised, according to the capacity of the budget. But the civil servants have asked for a 100 per cent hike in salary based on household survey of the central bank because there has been no increase in salary in the last three years. nnnn


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