A meeting of the Inter-province Council underway at Singha Durbar on Sunday. The meeting is attended by the prime minister, ministers, secretaries, top officials and chief ministers of the seven provinces among others. Photo: Dipesh Shrestha/Republica
KATHMANDU, Dec 10: While complaining that the failure on the part of the federal government to introduce necessary federal legislations on time had greatly hampered their day to day work, chief ministers (CM) of various provincial governments have asked Prime Minister KP Oli to introduce the legislations including those related to federal civil servants and the federal police at the earliest.
During the first-ever Inter-Province Council (IPC) meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers in the capital on Sunday, chief ministers Sher Dhan Rai of Province 1, Lal Babu Raut of Province 2, Dor Mani Paudel of Province 3 and Prithvi Subba Gurung of Province 4 also complained that lack of adequate autonomy and provision of necessary civil servants had made them unable to deliver services to the people in their provinces.
Chief ministers Shanker Pokharel of Province 5, Mahendra Bahadur Shahi of Karnali province and Trilochan Bhatta of Sudur Paschim province are scheduled to put forth the problems they are facing in their day to day work at the IPC meeting that will continue on Monday. All cabinet ministers, secretaries of all the ministries and other senior government officials were present during the IPC meeting, which is mandated to ensure coordination between the federal and provincial governments.
Province 2 Chief Minister Raut told media persons that they informed Prime Minister Oli that the provincial governments were experiencing various problems due to lack of necessary cooperation on the part of the federal government.
“We put emphasis on formulating necessary laws, adjustment of civil servants and coordination between the federal and provincial governments,” he said.
Delay on the part of the federal government to introduce the Federal Civil Service Act and the Federal Police Act has made provincial governments to form the Provincial Public Service Commission to recruit civil servants and form provincial police organization.
According to Raut, the prime minister told them that some problems have surfaced since federalism is a new exercise in Nepal. “He has asked us to work together with the federal government to resolve the problems seen in the implementation of federalism,” he further said.
Province 1 Chief Minister Rai, according to sources, said that lack of provincial Public Service Commission and necessary mechanism in place to ensure coordination between the federal and provincial governments had made them unable to carry out daily business in an effective manner. Similarly, the chief minister of Province 4, Gurung, asked the federal government to grant authority to the provincial governments to collect taxes.
Gurung also demanded a secretariat to ensure coordination between the federal and provincial governments and supply much-needed civil servants to the provinces.
The meeting dwelt largely on issues related to policy-making, formulation of laws, natural resources distribution and human resource management as well as other issues raised by the chief ministers. All chief ministers have common grievances with the federal government such as lack of adjustment of civil servants, lack of adequate budget allocation and delay in formulating the Federal Police Act and formation of a natural resource commission.
Although a gathering of chief ministers of all provinces held in Pokhara earlier in September had demanded immediate convening of the IPC meeting, the OPMCM had shown no interest to convene the meeting immediately. The IPC meeting on Sunday comes amid the federal government and provincial governments appearing at odds lately, with inordinate delay on the part of the federal government to formulate the Federal Police Act and the Federal Civil Service Act.
Frustrated over the inordinate delay in the formulation of necessary laws, various provinces including Province 2 had even formulated the Provincial Police Act and even started recruiting necessary civil servants on a contract basis to carry out their daily business.
Addressing the meeting at the outset, Prime Minister Oli said since the implementation of federalism was a new concept in Nepal they should learn from the experiences made so far and strengthen the process of implementing federalism. He also asked all chief ministers to work together with the federal government to strengthen the exercise of federalism in Nepal.
Prime Minister Oli also assured the chief ministers that all necessary federal laws will be in place by mid-March through the winter session of the federal parliament.
“The office of the chief ministers, offices of the provincial ministers and their residences were not even in our imagination until some time ago. We may have experienced some difficulties while addressing several of such issues,” the prime minister said. “No one becomes a champion immediately after joining a game. He becomes a champion as he continues playing. Federalism is a similar game for us. But we will come out as champions.”