January 6, 2019 07:51 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Jan 6: A high-level commission headed by former Special Court chairman Mohan Raman Bhattarai has suggested to the government to mandate all three tiers of government—federal, provincial and local—to register and monitor non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs), however, should not be allowed to deal directly with provincial and local governments.
The commission, formed by the government to probe malpractices and irregularities and offer suggestions to the government on how to run the Social Welfare Council under the federal setup, has prescribed to the federal government to deal with INGOs itself. The SWC, the body responsible for overseeing I/NGOs, their funding and their activities, submitted its report to the prime minister a few weeks ago.
“We have suggested that the federal government itself should coordinate with the INGOs,” said Bir Bahadur Rai, member-secretary of the commission, adding, “Both provincial and local governments can register, coordinate and oversee NGOs.”
NGOs have to register with the provincial government and their activities will be regulated by that government if these cover more than one local unit. NGOs working within a single local unit, however, will be registered at the local unit itself. “Local governments can register, monitor and coordinate NGOs if they are confined within a single municipality or rural municipality,” said Rai.
On the federal structure of the SWC, the commission has recommended ending the practice of appointing political leaders and party cadres, mostly those close to the ruling parties, as vice-chairperson, member-secretary or treasurer at the SWC Board.
The suggestion to reject political appointments to the SWC Board, according to one commission member, was floated as most such appointees from political parties were found to be involved in irregularities and also ineffective in their work.
The commission has suggested appointing an executive director with a civil service background.
The government had to suspend SWC officials including Member-Secretary Dilli Prasad Bhatta on the charge of involvement in huge financial irregularities while endorsing I/NGO projects. The commission, however, remains indecisive about taking any action against Bhatta and company.
“Without naming who [ CIAA or any other body] should investigate their involvement in irregularities, we have recommended to the government to further probe the officials and book them in accordance with the law,” said Rai. The commission’s report is under discussion at the Office of the Prime Minister and it will be put into effect once the government endorses it.