Fate of leave travel allowance program uncertain

Published On: November 21, 2017 04:25 AM NPT By: Arpana Ale Magar

Cabinet, tourism ministry have differences over the program's framework

KATHMANDU, Nov 21: Leave tourism allowance, a program introduced by the government to support domestic tourism industry, has fallen into uncertainty due to differences between the cabinet and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA). 

Because of the differences between the ministry and the cabinet, a budget of Rs 500,000 allocated for the program in Fiscal Year 2016/17 frozen. Tourism ministry officials say the budget froze because of the cabinet. “

"Last year, the cabinet asked us to revise the framework for leave tourism allowance program to prevent the same person enjoying the facility repeatedly. However, the ministry found the direction difficult to implement," Deepak Gyawali, a joint secretary at the MoCTCA, sai“. "There will be no one in the ministry to enjoy the facility if the cabinet's direction isis implemented."

According to Gyawali, as secretary and joint secretaries have to go on foreign trips on a regular basis and officers and non-gazzeted first class officers accompany mountaineering expeditions as liaison officer, only office assistants are available to enjoy the leave tourism allowance. 

Despite differences with the cabinet on the framework, the ministry has allocated Rs 10 million for the program this year.“

"Though we are yet to prepare new framework for leave tourism allowance, we will send it to the cabinet soon. We are hopeful that the cabinet will understand the probl”m," added Gyawali.

The ministry plans to send the framework to the cabinet for approval after the provincial and parliamentary election.

The tourism ministry introduced leave travel incentive program to boost domestic tourism.
Dandu Raj Ghimire, joint secretary of MoCTCA, said as paid leave to promote domestic tourism is a universal practice, the government has to cooperate with the tourism ministry. Speaking with Republica, Ghimire sai“: "The program has given positive results so far. Gradually Nepalis are adopting travel culture and the number of domestic tourists is also on the ri”e." 

Ghimire also said that increased movement of domestic tourists is necessary to make tourism industry sustainable.

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