‘Local bodies must get adequate budget’
May 27, 2017-
The parliamentary Finance Committee on Friday directed the government to allocate adequate resources to the local bodies by creating specific criteria in the budget to be announced on Monday.
In its 37-point directive, the house committee has stated that the local bodies be considered as a basis for budget allocation to empower them, thus commissioning development tasks.
The directive from house committee came one day after President Bidya Devi Bhandari presented the government policies and programmes that will form the basis of the annual budget for the fiscal year 2017-18, which will be presented in Parliament next Monday.
The government has stated that in the next fiscal year, it will allocate a big chunk of funds to empower the newly formed local bodies, conduct provincial and federal elections, build national pride and other major infrastructure projects while also giving continuity to post-earthquake reconstruction works.
“There needs to be specific direction for mobilisation of allocated resource and expenditure mechanism for the local bodies,” the committee said, “The budget should be based on federalism and reconstruction. Common Nepali people should be able to feel the budget.”
Additionally, the finance committee also directed the government to take stock of the implementation status or situation while allocating resources to national pride projects such as the Kathmandu-Tarai expressway, Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project, Postal Highway and Mid-Hill Highway.
The concept of ‘national pride’ project was first introduced in 2012 in a bid to expedite construction of schemes considered crucial for the country’s sustained development. Since then, 21 projects have been categorised as ‘national pride’.
In a bid to facilitate people living in the northern belt of the country, the committee has directed resources to be allocated for the construction of Himali (Himalayan) Highway. “Like the Postal Highway in Tarai and Mid-Hill Highway in the hill region, a highway from Taplejung, spanning all the way to the west in Darchula, needs to be developed,” the committee said, “A concept of Himalayan City also needs to be incorporated into the budget.”
It has directed the government to accord priority for the development of an integrated settlement in earthquake-affected areas along with easing the process of allocating grant for quake survivors.
The committee has also directed the government to focus on introducing policy and programmes that can help discourage imports of agriculture products.