Nepal Today

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Kathmandu, 24 July: A constituency delineation commission has asked for 15 more days to prepare its report for delineating 240 electoral constituencies for the 19
November elections.
Chairman of the five-member commission retired supreme court justice Jariq Ali Ansari requested an extension Tuesday during a meeting with Chairman Khil Raj
The time was sought to finalize a report that is being drafted as a 30-day timeframe was inadequate to meet the deadline.
Kathmandu, 24 July: UML senior leader and former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal leaves for India Wednesday to discuss Nepal issues, including elections, with Prime Minister Manmohan Sngh, other leaders and officials.
Nepal is discussing Nepal issues I n New delhi after visits firt by Maoist Chief Prachanda and thenNC leader and former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba
Nepal is accompanied by General Secretary Ishwor POkhrel and foreign aide
Ram Bhattarau
Kathmandu, 24 July: SAima Bank earned a Rs. 304.950 net profit in the fiscal year 2013/14 ending 15 June.
Profit was up from Rs,121.770 million the previous year.
Kathmandu; Afghanistan and Bhutan play in another Group A match.
India and Bangladesh are already through to the semifinal.
Kathmandu, 24 July: The eight-member taskforce, formed by the High Level Political Committee to advise the Constituency Delimitation Commission, discussed the issues todaym Ram Kumar Kamat writes in The Himalayan Times..

Taskforce member Agni Kharel, who represents the CPN-UML, said differences among the political parties on constituency delimitation continued to persist. “But there has been a tentative understanding among the members that they should recommend the HLPC that it resolve the issue as per the Interim Constitution,” Kharel said. “The constitution does not allow the CDC to reduce 205 seats that existed in 1999, nor does it allow the body to increase the current 240 first-past-the-post seats. Therefore, we are of the view that the CDC should find a way out as per the constitution,” Kharel said. He said it was up to the CDC to decide whether it wanted to confine itself to working on the 35 constituencies that were added in 2008, or all the constituencies.

According to Kharel, all the taskforce members would express their views before the HLPC when they present their report. “If the constitution has to be amended to resolve the constituency delineation issue, only the HLPC can take a call. We are simply going to tell the HLPC that the solution has to be sought within the purview of the constitution,” he said. Taskforce member Ram Sharan Mahat echoed Kharel’ view.

Jitendra Narayan Dev, who represents United Democratic Madhesi Front in the taskforce, however, said he told the meeting that other provisions of the constitution contradicted Article 63 (3) of the constitution, therefore Madhes should have constituencies in proportion to the percentage growth of population in the region. “Constituency delineation issue should be resolved by invoking ‘the article to remove difficulties’,” he added.
CDC seeks time
The Constituency Delimitation Commission has sought 15 additional days to complete its task. Though formed on June 13, the CDC started its work on June 25 and is due to submit its report on July 25. “We have sought extra time as we need some more days to write the report,” said CDC Spokesperson Tek Prasad Dhungana. — HNS


Kathmandu, 24 July:  To prevent misuse of election expenditure, the Election Commission, in its code of conduct that took effect from yesterday, determined a ceiling for candidates.

Candidates contesting elections under the first-past-the-post system and proportional representation system can spend up to Rs 1 million and Rs 75,000 respectively, as per the code. Section 29 of Election Commission Act, 2063 mentions that a candidate or a political party is subjected to three types of actions if found to be violating the code of conduct — a fine equal to the expenditure that exceeded the ceiling, cancellation of candidacy in elections for up to six years if the audit report finds him/her guilty of making inappropriate expenditure and cancellation his/her election if he/she is elected exceeding the allowed expenditure. All candidates and political parties should submit their expenditure reports to the District Election Office within 35 days after elections are held, as per the law.

Despite these stringent legal provisions on expenditure during elections, there are three big questions — Will all candidates and parties limit their expenditure? How can transparency be maintained? and, Will the EC dare take action against those violating the ceiling? These are important questions as fairness and independence of the polls depend on how effective the EC will be. Political analyst Krishna Khanal says, “Though the ceiling provision is legally binding, it is an open secret that EC will not take action against powerful leaders who exceed the poll expenditure limit because commission members owe their appointment to these leaders.”

Things were different in 1991 elections. Party workers and leaders had the spirit of voluntarism, which has now disappeared as they only run after money So, it’s a game of money.

Transparency International Nepal’s President Bishnu Bahadur KC said the poll spending limit will not be effective until the EC monitors election campaigns and takes action against violators.

Former EC chief Bhoj Raj Pokharel said very few candidates had
submitted their expenditure reports after the 2008 polls and the EC could not take action against them due to two reasons — lack of resources and complex legal process to track those who did not submit their reports or violated the code.

“Past experience suggests that the EC should monitor election activities of some representatives and suspicious persons and take action against them for demonstrative effect,” Pokharel said.

Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav said the EC was preparing to mobilise micro-monitoring teams to oversee whether the ceiling is maintained and preparing bases to take action against those violating the expenditure limit.
Lekhnath Pandey adds: LEKHANATH PANDEY
KATHMANDU: The government has failed to name envoys in various Nepalese embassies and missions before the election code came into force yesterday.

Although it managed to appoint the Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Ambassador to Malaysia, it could not name the heads for other diplomatic outposts, including in India, Thailand, Egypt and Germany. It also could not select the next Secretary General for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), even though according to rotation basis, it is now Nepal’s turn to name the top representative to the regional body. The incumbent SAARC SG Ahmed Saleem’s tenure expires on February 28, 2014.

Sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and Office of the Prime Minister said the Cabinet could not pick envoys for all vacant missions due to differences among political parties on whom to send where and from whose quota. In so far as appointment of career diplomats is concerned, it is not a problem, but with political appointees it is more complex.

With the election code coming into force, the entire process of appointment, promotion or transfer has come to a halt.

Sources, however, said the government is planning to make appointments in various missions in the days to come with the consent from the Election Commission.

“Now, it is contingent upon the Election Commission,” said a top officer at MoFA.

Malaysia has displaced Qatar as the top recruiter of Nepali migrant workers. In the last fiscal year, departures to that Southeast Asian country jumped a whopping 60 percent as state-owned companies exhibited a preference for Nepali workers over others,
Roshan Sedhai writes ion The Kathmandu Post..
According to the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), 156,770 migrant workers left for Malaysia in 2012-13 against 98,367 in 2011-12. Malaysia absorbed 34.56 percent of the total number of Nepalis going abroad for employment. Even as departures to Malaysia surged, major labour destinations in the Middle East hired fewer Nepali workers. Overall departures of migrant workers in the last fiscal increased 17.90 percent.
Foreign employment agencies and government officials have attributed the increased hiring by Malaysia to multiple factors including a slowdown in recruitment of workers from other labour sending countries like Indonesia and Myanmar.
Moreover, the Malaysian government has stopped the employment of Bangladeshi workers. The two countries had agreed to send workers through government-to-government channel but it could not materialize due to pressure from the private sector in Bangladesh.
Officials of the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA) said there has been a rise in the number of women going for industrial jobs in Malaysia. Last year, 7,165 women went to Malaysia to work in the industrial and plantation sectors. “This is a new phenomenon. There will be greater demand for women in these sectors in the coming year,” said Kumud Khanal, former NAFEA second secretary, whose company sends workers to Malaysia. 
According to manpower agencies, there will be greater demand from Malaysia this fiscal too. “Malaysian state-operated plantations and factories are slowly shifting their attention to Nepali workers after they could not recruit workers from Bangladesh. There will be requests for thousands of workers from state-run agencies.”
State-run companies are comparatively safer and better places to work as they offer good wages and other facilities like overtime and insurance.
With Malaysian companies offering attractive pay packages, there has been a decline in departures of migrant workers to almost all the other leading labour destinations like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.
The NAFEA said Nepali workers prefer Malaysia over Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as wages are much lower in these countries. Manpower agencies said they are unable to fulfil demand from Saudi companies due to lack of interest among Nepali workers to work there. Other countries like Qatar and the UAE are reported to have given preference to Indonesian, Filipino and Myanmarese workers due to the incidence of Nepali workers going on strike.
“People are choosing Malaysia because wages are good and the Malaysian currency is becoming stronger every year,” said a manpower entrepreneur.
DoFE spokesperson Divas Acharya said people preferred Malaysia over Gulf countries due to wages, climatic conditions and worker friendly laws. “We have found that youths normally go to countries where the work is easier and the laws are worker-friendly,” said Acharya.
Meanwhile, the Nepal government has been making efforts to sign a labour agreement with Malaysia as it has emerged as the most preferred destination for migrant workers. Recently, a four-member Nepali delegation submitted the final copy of the proposed agreement to the director general of the Malaysian labour department. This is the third time in two years that Nepal has requested Malaysia to sign a labour pact.
In 2011, Malaysia’s labour minister had announced at a function marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries that it would sign a labour agreement.
But it never materialised due to disagreements over a number of points in the draft.
Country    FY 2012-13    FY 2011-12
Malaysia    156,770    98,367
Qatar    90,935    105,681
Saudi Arabia    86,276    80,455
UAE    52,295    54,482
Kuwait    14,401    24,575
Bahrain    3,390    5,865
Oman    3,114    3,163
Kathmandu, 24 July: In the wake of the police crackdown on an illegal telecom activity called the International Revenue Sharing Fraud (IRSF) last week, telecommunication companies here have foreseen an emerging threat to their relations with their international counterparts, Ankit Adhikari/,Ramesh Shrestha write in The Kathmandu Post...
IRSF, said to be one of the most critical telecommunication crimes, was tracked in Nepal for the first time, with two Pakistani nationals found using the gateway of Ncell to make calls from SIM cards issued with UK-based companies Vodafone and T-Mobile. The duo had been making telephone calls to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the countries with high telecommunication tariffs. In the past couple of weeks, they had made calls for over 13,333 minutes using the roaming service of T-Mobile alone.
In roaming service, the home network (T-Mobile or Vodafone in this case), has to pay a certain amount of revenue to the visited network (Ncell) based on the talk-time. The visited network then shares the revenue with the carrier service providers (CSP) to whom it passes the call. The CSP again passes the call to another such service providers to route the call to the destination country, according to telecom companies. The longer the talk-time, the higher the revenue that the CSPs and the destination network get.
Nepal Telecom officials said such crime is possible with the involvement of CSPs that route the calls and destination networks. Therefore, racketeers look forward to increase the talk-time from the home network by misusing various high-cost services, preferably roaming.
Last week’s crackdown has revealed that IRSF, the biggest telecom crime, is also taking place in Nepal, according to Sanju Koirala, corporate communication director of Ncell.
“The high revenue charge for the home network is just one side of the coin,” she said. “In the larger picture, such instances are very much likely to spoil the relations of trust between two international telecommunication companies.” If such instances keep happening, international telecom operators might stop their outbound roaming services to Nepal, experts say. Such a move will take a toll directly on the revenue generation of local telecom companies and indirectly on other related businesses like tourism, the say. Spokesperson for Nepal Telecom Guna Keshari Pradhan echoed Koirala, and called for efforts from all related quarters to avoid the illegal operation of such “telecommunication pirates”.
“IRSF is already the most feared telecommunication crime, which often goes unnoticed, as the sharing of revenue goes in the legal channel,” he said. The two-week-long coordinated search carried out by Ncell and the police, which ended on July 16 with the arrest of Nabid Ur Rahman and Mohammad Asif is both a major success and a new challenge for police units looking to curb telecommunication crimes. Such crimes were so far limited to call by-pass and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
Police seized a laptop, 26 UK SIM cards, 17 Spain SIM cards, a Pakistan SIM card, three Ncell SIM cards and 20 cell phone sets from the Pakistanis.
According to SSP Subodh Ghimire, Head of the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range, Hanumandhoka, the recent arrest is an encounter that has opened up ways for other similar investigations.
“The ones we arrested are just a part of the huge trans-national racket,” he said. “Investigations to get further clues and to trace the larger racket are under way.”


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