Nepal Today

Sunday, July 14, 2013



Kathmandu, 15 July: Nepali Sunday was ousted from the South Asian Volleyball Championship.
Hosts lost to Maldives in three straight sets after losing to Sri Lanka which was the first of four teams to to qualify for the final.
Nepal won its inaugural fixture against Afghanistan.


Kathmandu, 15 July: Monday morning temperature on a cloudy morning in the
 capital was 21 degrees Celsius.
Mercury is expected to rise to 31 degrees Celsius in the afternoon.

Kathmandu, 15 July:: Focusing on the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) elections and hydropower sector, among others, the election government on Sunday announced a full budget of Rs 517.24 billion for fiscal year 2013/14m Prabhakar Ghimere writes in Republica..

The government has allocated Rs 353.42 billion or 68 percent of the budget for recurrent expenditure, Rs 85.10 billion or 16.45 percent for capital expenditure and Rs 78.72 billion or 15.22 percent for financial management. The budget plans to mobilize Rs 354.5 billion through revenues, Rs 69.54 billion through foreign assistance and the deficit through domestic borrowings.

The new budget announced by Finance Minister Shankar Koirala gives continuity to most of the programs included in the previous fiscal year´s budget. Allocations for the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections and double-digit hike in the salary of civil servants have significantly jacked up recurrent expenditures.
“The government´s main priority is to successfully conduct the CA elections and the government has allocated Rs 16 billion for it,” said Koirala, adding that allocations have also been made for hydropower development, construction of roads and railways, irrigation, drinking water and tourism.

The budget has also included Pashupati Area Development Trust, Lumbini Development Trust, President Chure Bhawar Conservation Project and Bheri-Babai Multipurpose Diversion project among national pride projects. The budget has made an allocation of Rs 30 billion for hydropower development and construction of transmission lines.

For promotion of solar energy, Rs 1.11 billion has been allocated under the solar energy promotion program that will benefit 125,000 households through generation of 4MW electricity.

The government has also allocated Rs 1.81 billion for road expansion works in the capital and Rs 3.58 billion for construction of strategic roads and local bridges.
In a bid to boost the morale of government employees, the government has also hiked their salary by 18 percent. They will also be provided Rs 1,000 in monthly allowance.

Similarly, the government has allocated a total Rs 21.40 billion, up by around 81 percent of the current fiscal year´s revised allocation for the agricultural sector.
Likewise, Rs 6.07 billion has been allocated for subsidizing fertilizers, seeds, technology and mechanization and Rs 1.75 billion for agriculture research.
Amid bleak performance by community schools, the budget also plans to provide Rs 500,000 each to two best performing community schools and introduce performance contract system for head teachers of such schools. Education sector budget has reached Rs 80.85 billion, up by Rs 60.13 billion of current fiscal year´s revised allocation.

The government has also made arrangements for free treatment to heart patients above 75 years and below 15 years of age. As at least 400,000 youth enter the labor market annually, the government plans to spend Rs 160 million to provide skill development, entrepreneurship and self employment training to 22,000 youths and vocational trainings to another 50,000 youths.

Amid deteriorating industrial environment in the country, the budget attempts to restore private sector confidence by providing them incentives. The budget also envisions development of Special Economic Zones in additional four places -- Nawalparasi, Kailali, Dang and Surkhet, smooth electricity supply to industrial estates and establishment of international standard exhibition center in the capital. “The government considers the private sector as a key vehicle for economic growth,” Koirala said.

Amid ballooning trade deficit, the budget has come up with export incentive programs. The budget has also introduced fast track service for exporters and doubled the amount allocated for promotion of products included in Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS).


Kathmandu, 15: Chief of the Commission for Delineation of
Electoral Constituencies Tahir Ali Ansari briefed top leaders of major political parties about the hindrances the commission members have faced while fixing the number of constituencies, Republica reports..

Ansari apprised the leaders of the hindrances at a meeting of the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) on Sunday.

"Although the constitution has stated that the number of electoral constituencies shall be increased on the basis of latest population census, the number of constituencies have already been fixed in the constitution and this is a contradiction," Ansari told reporters after the meeting. "The leaders said that they would hold inter-party discussions and seek a political solution for addressing the issue."

The government formed the commission in accordance with the constitutional provision that envisioned formation of the commission and delineation of electoral constituencies based on latest population.

The number of constituencies needs to be increased as the latest census showed that the population has increased in all the districts across the country except for Kavrelanchowk.

After listening to Ansari, the leaders said that they would hold inter-party discussions and suggest a solution. "We can´t offer any solution right now. We will discuss and come up with a solution," Nepali Congress Vice President Ram Chandra Paudel told reporters.

The recent amendment to the interim constitution has fixed the total number of seats for the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA). The constitution has stated that of the total 491 members of the CA, 240 will be elected directly from the constituencies, 240 others will be nominated under seats allocations under proportional representation system and 11 others will be nominated by the government.

The major political parties had earlier reached a political agreement to downsize the Constituent Assembly from the previous 601 to 491 but they decided to keep intact the number of the seats allocations under first-past-the-post system to 240.

In 2008, the number of constituencies was increased to 240 from 205.

According to a leader, the commission´s office bearers have sought support from the top leaders for resolving the matter through amendment to the constitution. "But it would not be wise to amend constitution every now and then," said the leader.

The government has announced CA polls date for November 19 and the Election Commission has announced to enforce election code of conduct starting July 22. The HLPC meeting on Saturday had urged the government not to take any decision which will have long-term impact.



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