Lawmakers change bill to suit them

Published On: September 18, 2017 07:20 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sep 18: Lawmakers have added a provision to the Bill on Provision of Perks for Former Office Bearers, allowing former parliamentarians to receive free medical treatment, just a month ahead of the expiry of their term. 

A sub-committee under the State Affairs Committee (SAC) of parliament passed the bill on Sunday adding the provision. SAC will discuss the bill before tabling it in the full House for endorsement. 
“Provisions have been added to the bill allowing former lawmakers to receive free medical treatment at government hospitals and making former members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) and members of federal parliament equal in state hierarchy,” said Shyam Prasad Dhakal, a member of the sub-committee. 

The bill hasn’t fixed any limit to the amount that state should bear for the medical treatment of former lawmakers. According to the Former Members of Parliament club, there will be over 1,000 former MPs after the term of the incumbent lawmakers expires on October 21. 

The incumbent lawmakers’ term is set to expire on October 21 due to a constitutional provision.

Article 296 (1) of the new statute has stated that the term of the incumbent lawmakers will expire a day before the nomination for the new election to the federal parliament. The Election Commission has set October 22 as the nomination date for the federal parliament and provincial assembly elections. 

Ruling Nepali Congress (NC) lawmakers Tapta Bahadur Bista, Sanjay Gautam, Nar Bahadur Chand, Rajib Bikram Shah and Nepal Loktantrik Forum lawmaker Kalpana Chaudhary had registered their amendments to the bill demanding medical expenses, transportation expenses and other perks for former MPs and CA members. 

But the SAC sub-committee rejected the demands for transportation expenses, stating that it would be costly for the state. 

The original bill registered by the government had defined presidents, vice presidents, prime ministers, speakers, chairmen of the National Assembly and chief justices only as former office bearers. But the sub-committee added former CA members and lawmakers also to the list.

The sub-committee didn’t change the original proposal in the bill for monthly allowances of Rs 50,000 and 40,000 for former presidents and vice-presidents, respectively. Likewise the bill’s proposal for Rs 200,000 for former presidents and Rs 75,000 for various other former top officials as house rent allowance has also been endorsed by the sub-committee. 

But the parliamentary panel has proposed providing one million rupees to former presidents and Rs 350, 000 to former vice presidents, former prime ministers, former chief justices and former speakers for house maintenance instead of a house rent allowance if they have their own house inside the Kathmandu Valley.

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