Nepal Today

Friday, July 19, 2013


                                                                                    PRACHANDA BAIDHAYA MEET
Kathmandu, 19 July: Chairman Prachanda held discussions Friday with CPN Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidhaya after inviting the latter Thursday for talks on related issues.
Prachanda heads the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) Coordinator and UCPN (Maoist).
The coordinator of the four-party  body asked Baidhaya
to join the November elections.
Kathmandu, 19 July: The government will keep casino s in a tighter grip as per the new Casino Regulation endorsed by the Cabinet on July 11. The strict measures reflect its policy to clamp down on casino s habitually defaulting on government taxes and disregarding the rule barring Nepalis from entry, Sangam Prasaid writes in The Kathmandu Post..
According to the Casino Regulation 2013 governing casino s and electronic gaming (mini casino s), only foreign passport holders may play at the casino s in five-star hotels. Nepalis are not even allowed to enter the casino s, according to the new regulation.
Another strict measure the government has adopted is related to the operation of gaming houses and payment of royalty. The Financial Bill 2013-14 has doubled the existing royalty amount to be paid to the government by the casino s and electronic gaming houses.
Under the bill, a casino is now required to pay Rs 40 million as annual royalty fee to the government from Rs 20 million earlier. For electronic gaming, the annual royalty fee has been fixed at Rs 30 million.
Besides, operators must deposit the royalty amount equivalent to one year’s royalty fee at the Tourism Ministry as bank guarantee. “If Nepalis are found playing or entering the casino , the government will seize the deposited amount,” said a senior official of the Tourism Ministry. The royalty should be paid to the ministry, which has been given administrator rights, within two months of the start of the new fiscal year.
“We are in the process of publishing the regulation in the Nepal Gazette soon,” said Purna Chandra Bhattarai, joint secretary at the Industry Division of the Tourism Ministry. “As there was no specific law on casino s earlier, the new regulation will bring these gaming houses into the legal net and enhance social safeguards.” Earlier, the casino s used to be governed by the Gambling Act 1963. Among other measures, only five-star hotels or resorts are allowed to operate casino s. The government has enforced tighter measures for electronic gaming. As per the new regulation, only four-star properties will be allowed to operate electronic gaming or mini casino s.
Ministry officials said that a number of such operators in Kakkarbhitta, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Nepalgunj and Dhangadhi will have to shut down their gaming houses after the regulation is officially enforced. Casinos should not be located within a 5-km distance of international border points and they should not be operated in the periphery of religious sites, according to the regulation.
An expert committee will be formed under the Tourism Ministry which will be entrusted with field supervision, monitoring and inquiry task of the casino s and electronic gaming houses, the regulation said.
A paid-up capital of at least Rs 250 million is required for the operation of casino s while the capital for electronic gaming has been fixed at Rs 150 million. Casino and electronic gaming operators are required to pay an application fee of Rs 500,000 and Rs 200,000 respectively.
The new regulation says that operators need to pay Rs 20 million to obtain a casino operating license while the fee for electronic gaming is Rs 10 million.
Operators need to renew their licenses annually by paying 50 percent of the operating license fee. Casinos can be operated in joint investment with foreign companies, the regulation says. Operators must set a limit for chips or gaming. Operators must pay the client after windfall tax is levied on them. The operators should allocate 2 percent of their profits to corporate social responsibility. There are 10 casino s in the country, eight in Kathmandu and two in Pokhara.
Casinos seek flexible regulation
The Casino Association of Nepal has said it would request the government to adopt some flexibility in the Casino and electronic gaming regulation. The association’s President Kishore Silwal said under the new regulation, none of the casino s will be able to operate. The government has doubled the casino royalty fee and imposed a number of stricter control measures. “If the new regulation is enforced, the government would not need to shut them down as they will close automatically,” he said. Bhawani Rana, managing director of Hotel Sneha in Nepalgunj, said electronic gaming was introduced to attract tourists from bordering Indian towns and promote border tourism, but the new regulation has been a major setback. The new regulation has allowed electronic gaming only in four-star properties, but it is currently being operated in hotels below the four-star standard.

Kathmandu, 19 July: The Prime Minister’s Office has released a 136-page good governance report highlighting the major achievements of multiple
sectors over a year, The Kathmandu Post reports.
According to the report, 8,995 conflict-hit people received compensation amounts from the state while 10,512 victims of natural disasters were provided relief.
Families of 3,030 conflict-affected people received self-employment training and the relatives of 10,249 people who died or disappeared during the decade-long insurgency were compensated.
As many as 12,064 Nepal Army personnel were deployed for peacekeeping operations in various conflict flashpoints worldwide. In the period, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority settled 5,466 cases.
According to the report, 1.3 million hectors of land received irrigation facilities with 300,000 hectors irrigated throughout the year. Around 2.18 million people are getting various kinds of social security allowance and the country has a total road length of 52,000 km including new tracks.
The report claims that 83 percent people have access to drinking water. The number of FM radio stations has reached 475—328 of which are operating regularly.
“There is significant improvement in primary education with 91.5 percent enrolment. The rate in the lower secondary level is 86.6 percent. The total literacy rate above the age of six has reached 65.9 percent.”
In all state-run health institutions, people have free access to 42 kinds of medicine. An integrated public health programme has been implemented in seven districts that fare poorly in human development indices.
The report stated that the government has furnished 458 replies to the UN Human Rights Commission and Committee on the accusation that it had disappeared a number of nationals or violated their human rights.
Kin of several victims had lodged complaints with the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission and Committee, seeking justice.
The state has been accused for either disappearing or violating the human rights of, among other people, Dev Bahadur Maharjan, Chakra Bahadur Katwal, Charles G Shobraj, Devi Prasad Dhital, Mukunda Sedhai, Kebal Raut, Krishna Yadav, Rudal Yadav, Lorik Yadav, Surya Prasad Sharma, Suvadra Chaulagain, Tej Bahadur Bhandari, Sarita Tharu, Yubraj Giri, Jitman Basnyet, Top Bahadur Basnyet, Sabit Basnyet and Milan Nepali.
The claims
•    8,995 conflict-hit people compensated
•    12,064 Army personnel deployed for peacekeeping operations worldwide
•    CIAA settles 5,466 cases
•    2.18 million get social security allowances
•    FM radio stations number 475
•    458 replies to UN Human Rights Commission and Committee
•    83 percent people have access to clean drinking water
•    91.5 percent enrolment in primary education



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