Govt reduces number of ministries, yet number of ministers remains same

Published On: January 27, 2023 01:30 PM NPT By: Nagendra Upadhyaya

SURKHET, Jan 27: In the four-point agreement reached between the two parties before the formation of a new government, the ruling CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Center) had agreed to reduce the number of ministries to seven. It took two weeks for the Council of Ministers to fulfill the pledges made in the agreement due to the delay in implementing the agreement to remove one ministry from the existing eight. 

Chief Minister Raj Kumar Sharma appointed two ministers in his cabinet on January 12. As it was difficult to reach an agreement to reduce the number of ministries, the two ministers were left without ministerial portfolios for two weeks.

An unusual scene was seen when Chief Minister Sharma finalized his cabinet on Wednesday evening. The participation of Dalit community and women is zero in Sharma's cabinet, which advocated inclusiveness, backward areas and communities. The government, which has not represented Dalits and women in any of the seven ministries including the Chief Minister, on late Wednesday evening appointed a woman as a state minister from the Dalit community.

According to the agreement between the two parties, the number of ministers has been increased to eight despite the reduction in the number of ministries. The UML Standing Committee member and Parliamentary Party leader Yam Lal Kandel said the responsibility to implement the agreement between the two parties will be the responsibility of the party that is leading the government. “An agreement has been reached between the two parties to reduce the number of ministries from eight to seven,” Kandel said.

“Inclusivity could have been ensured even within the seven ministries. Dalits and women members could have been appointed to the cabinet,” he said. “There has been no discussion between the two parties on the matter of appointing a state minister."

Binod Shah, minister for Economic Affairs and Planning and Chairman of  CPN-UML Karnali Province, said that UML did not agree to appoint a state minister. “This is against the agreement reached between the two parties. The UML does not agree to this,” he said.

Shah also said that since the state minister cannot participate in the cabinet meetings, the appointment of a state minister won’t serve the purpose of inclusion.

Bimala KC, Chairman of Karnali Province of the Maoist Center, said that the Minister of State has been appointed representing women and Dalits to make the cabinet inclusive. "Despite being a minister of state, she has a lot of work," she said. 

KC said that it would be better if she became a cabinet minister, adding that the opponents could not appoint women and Dalit candidates as ministers. “If they can’t give space to women and dalits, there is no point in protesting now.”

The two ruling parties had agreed to form a seven-member cabinet including the Chief Minister. While the Maoist Center would take four ministries, the UML is supposed to take three ministerial portfolios. 

According to the agreement, Binod Shah has been appointed as Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning, Tek Raj Pachhai as Minister for Social Development and Jeet Bahadur Malla as Minister for Industry, Tourism, Forest and Environment from the UML. 

Similarly, Mangal Bahadur Shahi has been appointed as the Minister for Physical Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, Bhim Prakash Sharma as the Minister for Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperatives, Krishna Bahadur GC as the Minister for Internal Affairs and Law and Urmila Bishwokarma as the Minister of State for Physical Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources from the Maoist Center.


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