KATHMANDU, Feb 24: The government has fixed 18 ministries, including the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM), at the central level, under the new federal setup.
A cabinet meeting held at the prime minister's official residence at Baluwatar amended the regulations on performance appraisal for the government and fixed the number of ministries including the OPMCM at 18. Prior to the decision, there were 31 ministries, including OPMCM.
“So, now the number of ministries will be 18, with the OPMCM included,” Minister for Population and Environment Lal Babu Pandit told reporters following the cabinet meeting.
The cabinet decision comes two days after leaders of the ruling left alliance--CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center)--agreed to bring down the number of ministries to 18 at the federal level and a day after they agreed to divide the ministerial portfolios on a 60:40 ratio.
Besides the OPMCM, the proposed 17 ministries are the ministries of finance and planning; foreign affairs; defense; physical infrastructure and transport; health and population; federal affairs and general administration; information and communications; law, justice and parliamentary affairs; culture, tourism and civil aviation; education and sports; home affairs; forest and environment; water resources and energy; industry, commerce and supplies; labor, employment, women and children; urban development, drinking water and sanitation; and agriculture, cooperatives and land management.
The decision will come into effect after the government endorses the proposal on the jurisdictions of the 17 ministries, according to OPMCM officials.
“Today, the number and names of the ministries have been endorsed. But a directive fixing the jurisdictions of the new ministries is yet to be endorsed. Only after the directive is approved by the cabinet will the decision come into implementation,” said Secretary Khag Raj Baral, who oversees the administrative committee at OPMCM.
The committee had proposed 15 ministries at the center. “We had proposed 15 ministries and prepared a directive on the jurisdictions of those ministries. But now that the cabinet has fixed 17 ministries excluding OPMCM, we have to come up with a new directive,” Baral said.
Meanwhile, the cabinet meeting decided to appoint CPN-UML leader Bishnu Prasad Rimal as the prime minister's chief political advisor.