Our parliamentary candidates are making false promises of local development although the constitution has limited their role to just policy-making and facilitating. -Hari Roka
KATHMANDU, Nov 10: Though the new constitution has limited the role of the federal parliament to making national policies and laws and formulating national projects, most candidates for the parliamentary elections have been found making promises to voters for local development projects including roads and electricity.
Most candidates for the federal parliament visiting Yashok Bazar in Panchthar district promised to build Tamor drinking water project for the locals during their recent poll campaigns. With the new constitution delegating most of the local development tasks and budget to the local units, such promises made by the candidates are false, according to experts.
“The new constitution has not assigned the task of development to parliament members as was the case in the past. Our parliamentary candidates are making false promises of local development although the constitution has limited their role to just policy-making and facilitating,” said former lawmaker and analyst Hari Roka.
Roka also said that even the political parties have failed to understand the spirit of federalism. “The election manifestoes of most of the political parties are based on centralized governance system. The parties and candidates are interpreting federalism as decentralization,” he claimed.
Under the constitution, the paliament deals with defense and military, management and operation of national security forces, peace, central planning, central bank, financial policies, monetary and banking policies, foreign grants, aid and loans, foreign and diplomatic affairs, international affairs, customs and taxes, federal civil service, judicial service, and other government services, among other things. Schedule-5 of the new constitution has listed 35 powers to the federal parliament which are only related to the national planning, policy making, law making and so on.
“The new constitution has given limited role to the members of federal parliament. The promises made by parliamentary candidates to their voters do not match their role defined in the constitution,” said constitutional expert Bhimarjun Acharya.
According to Acharya, the lawmakers however have access to resources of the state to allocate budget for their constituencies as well. “However the lawmakers would get some funds for their constituencies as they were receiving before,” Acharya told Republica.
He suggests that the candidates for parliamentary election should lay out their long-term policies for the development of their area and the country and national planning instead of local projects and plans.
Both Roka and Acharya said that most of the candidates lack the knowledge about the constitutional powers of lawmakers and their role as members of parliament.