Govt withholds cabinet decisions, again

Published On: November 16, 2018 07:51 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, Nov 16: The government did not make public the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers meeting held on Thursday. This is the second time the government has kept cabinet decision a secret, breaking with the three-decade-long tradition of making cabinet decisions public immediately after the meeting through the government spokesperson. 

Government spokesperson, Minister for Information and Communication Technology Gokul Baskota said that the decisions taken on Thursday will be made public next week in line with the government’s new policy. While unveiling the cabinet decisions taken on Sunday, Minister Baskota said that cabinet decisions will be made public only on Thursdays, at least after 48 hours after the cabinet meeting. 

“The cabinet also made some appointments today (Thursday). You can explore using your sources. It is an opportunity for the journalists to find out and write about the decisions prior to the weekly press briefings. The government won’t take action against you (journalists) for making the decisions public,” Baskota said.

Civil society members and media stakeholders had criticized the government for not making the Cabinet decisions public immediately after the Cabinet meeting earlier this week, breaking the tradition of transparency adopted after the restoration of democracy in 1990. Defending the new policy of publishing Cabinet decisions once a week, Baskota argued that the new policy will help disseminating only matured information through the media. 

“Cabinet decisions will be made public but only after the maturity period. The democratic government cannot restrict information dissemination and won’t do it,” Spokesperson Baskota claimed. 

Baskota also revealed that Prime Minister KP Oli has warned his ministers not to disclose the decisions of the Cabinet to the media, following newspaper reports on Cabinet decisions citing various ministers. “The Prime Minister has warned the ministers and told them not to disclose information on Cabinet decisions,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the government has decided to provide Rs 1 million to the family of Rambilas Mahato who was killed in a clash with ruling party cadres in Sarlahi last month. Similarly, the Cabinet meeting held on Sunday also approved temporary staffers’ positions at various ministries in addition to civil servants. 

The meeting also extended the term of the committee to study the environmental impact and relocation of affected families to be replaced by Budhigandaki Hydropower Project in Gorkha. The meeting also decided to transfer the land owned by King Birendra and his family in Kamaladi, Gokarna and Bhaktapur to Nepal Trust, said Baskota.


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