Local reps, stakeholders oppose bills curtailing rights of local govt

Published On: July 21, 2017 03:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 20:The newly-elected local representatives and other stakeholders have opposed some of the provisions in some local-level related bills currently in parliament for curtailing the constitutional rights of the local government. 

Mayors, chairpersons of rural municipalities, former mayors and VDC chairpersons have demanded that the local government be given all constitutional rights through the laws to be enacted. Experts and stakeholders have demanded that some provisions in the Local Governance Bill, Bill on Natural Resources and Financial Commission, Inter-governmental Financial Management Bill and Civil Servants Adjustment Bill be revised. The bureaucracy has been accused of being rigid on providing newly introduced rights to the local government. 

“The government is asking the local units to swim after tying their hands,” said local level expert and former lawmaker Krishna Prasad Sapkota at an interaction on Thursday. 
He accused the government of allocating very small budget to the local level and drafting laws curtailing the constitutional rights of the local government. 

According to the experts, the bills which are currently under discussion in parliament are more regressive than the previous laws. “The government used to allocate up to 50 percent share of revenue collection to the local level even though the local bodies were ineffective. But the share of the revenue to the local level has been proposed to be downsized after the new constitution entrusted the local government with more power,” said Sapkota. The Inter-governmental Financial Management Bill has proposed allocating only five percent of the revenue collection to the local government. But experts have claimed that the Local Self Governance Act enacted 20 years ago had proposed allocating up to 50 percent of the revenue collection from electricity and minerals to the local government. 

Chief of the Local Level Restructuring Commission, Balananda Paudel argued that the proposed bills have breached the constitutional jurisdiction granted to the local government. “The bills tabled in parliament are regressive and also have curtailed the constitutional rights given to the local government,” he said. 

President of the Municipal Association of Nepal, Dormani Paudel is of the view that the government curtailed the triumph of people achieved after the struggle for two decades for local governance. “We protest against the tendency of the bureaucrats to issue directives to the local government,” said Paudel. 

Dhulikhel Mayor Ashok Byanju objected to the local development ministry's over ruling the executive rights of the local units. Changunarayan Mayor Som Mishra said that the local representatives should unite for collective bargaining with the central government. Ishwar Pandey of Bhimsen Rural Municipality, Gorkha, said the local units are facing staff management problem after the district coordination committees overruled their authority. 

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