•      Sat Jul 13 2024

Parliamentarians show serious discontent on budget

Meeting of House of Representatives

Kathmandu, June 19: Members of the federal parliament have voiced protest over the budget presented by the government for the upcoming fiscal year 2081/82 BS.

At House of Representatives (HOR) meeting on Tuesday, the lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction over the budget by demonstrating actions such as tearing apart annual development programme, returning its copies to government through Speaker and observing silence in protest.

Today’s meeting discussed the headings of budget appropriated for Ministry of Home, Foreign Affairs, Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, National Planning Commission, Office of Vice President and Office of the President under the Appropriation Bill, 2081 BS.

Most of the lawmakers expressed their dissatisfaction during the discussion on various topics of the Appropriation Bill. Not only the opposition but also the ruling party lawmakers were among those who expressed their serious reservation.

The lawmakers raised the issue of excessive budgetary allocation in the electoral constituencies of some ministers ignoring the most needed areas, unfair and indiscriminate allocation of budget without assessment of resources, and inclusion of petty-amount projects in the federal budget against the basis and criteria of project classification prepared by the government itself.

Similarly, the lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction over the issue of several projects being set up on the basis of power and accessibility, and the budget being distributed indiscriminately without prioritizing the projects.

President of Rastriya Prajatantra Party Rajendra Lingden expressed his dissatisfaction during the discussion on various headings of the Appropriation Bill in the meeting. He tore apart the annual development programme booklet of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport for the upcoming fiscal year.

Lawmaker from main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC), Dilendra Prasad Badu observed a minute silence in the rostrum. Another lawmaker, Tejulal Chaudhary, returned the budget Red Book to the government through the Speaker, expressing serious reservation over the budgetary ignorance to his constituency.

Likewise, lawmaker Gyan Bahadur Shahi also returned the annual development programme booklet to the government through the Speaker, saying Karnali region was ignored in the budget.

RPP Chair and Lawmaker Lingden alleged that the budget allocation of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport was not objective and the budget was presented indiscriminately on the instructions of the minister. He accused the government ministers of exercising arbitrary regime in the preparation of the budget and violating budget discipline.

“What is the method and process of preparing the budget that does not have a single project in any district but dozens in the same municipality or constituency of a district?”, he questioned.

“The Minister or Prime Minister does not belong to any district and constituency, but to the entire country. It has not been reflected in the budget,” Lingden said. Badu complained that the budget has not been earmarked for road in Darchula being constructed by the Nepal Army. He also demanded allocation of budget for road access in remote areas of Darchula.

Badu demonstrated different mode of protest saying despite repeatedly raising the issue in the House for the construction of a road connecting the remote Kalapani area of Darchula, it was not being heard.

Ruling party lawmaker Shishir Khanal said the budget was against the policy of equitable distribution of resources. “The universally accepted principle of modern democracy is that the people’s representatives have a judicious, fair and equitable distribution of limited resources, but in the last two years, we have been doing injustice to the citizens”.

“The budget for the current fiscal year was more focused on Nuwakot, Salyan, Dadeldhura and Gorkha, while the budget for the upcoming fiscal year has been focused on Rolpa, Dhanusha, Gorkha and Jhapa. Isn’t mobilizing state resources in the constituency of a particular person, lawmaker or minister a new form of neo-feudalism?”, Khanal asserted.

Claiming that the budget has been allocated on the basis of accessibility and power, another lawmaker Gokul Prasad Baskota questioned whether the budget has come to meet the targets of the 15th five-year plan or of the 16th five-year plan.

Ruling party lawmaker Sudan Kirati criticized the budget terming it against the spirit of federalism and unbalanced. “It is sad to say that the budget has come against federalism and lost balance. Has the budget come with a plan to defame and tarnish the Prime Minister who is advocating for federalism?”, he questioned.

Among other lawmakers expressing reservation on the federal budget were Leelanath Shrestha, Surya Bahadur Thapa Chhetri, Bimala Subedi, Deepak Giri, Madhab Sapkota, Dr Chandra Bhandari, Sunita Baral, Tshiring Lyamu Lama (Tamang), Ramhari Khatiwada, Tara Lama, Mahantha Thakur, Prabhu Saha, Mahindra Roy Yadav, Rekha Yadav and Lalbir Chaudhary.  #nepal #HoR

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