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Nepal govt unveils ambitious economic, governance plan

Publication Date : 17-10-2012

 

The government has unveiled an ambitious plan styled as “Immediate Governance and Economic Action Plan-2012”, incorporating 200 important initiatives under 15 important public sectors.

The 23-page plan, endorsed by the Cabinet last week, aims at high growth rate and promotion of good governance, while helping people reap benefits, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.

The plan set out clear-cut mandates, timelines and measuring rods to achieve its goals.

According to the plan, the government will buy eight aircraft—two for the international routes and six for the domestic sector—for Nepal Airlines within six months.

“Those who fail to initiate the purchase process (of the aircraft) within a month will be fired,” the plan states.

However, given the lengthy procurement process, one month’s time looks unrealistic.

Giving a thrust to self employment programmes, the plan envisions creating employment opportunities to 15,000 youths by investing 3 billion rupees (US$35.38 million).

As the current UPA government ’s flagship project in India—National Rural Guarantee Scheme—the new plan further aims to guarantee 100 days of employment for poverty identity card holders. Chief Secretary Leelamani Poudel, who played a key role in preparing the plan, admitted that the project is ambitious.

He, however, said the targets are not unachievable. “The government wants to bring about changes by doing small things that can yield better and positive results,” he said.

The plan also envisages three separate think tanks—security, foreign policy and strategic affairs—within six months.

To give a boost to “Nepal Investment Year”, the action plan talks of organising an Economic Summit, identify 50 bankable projects within the next six months and honour people investing over 1 billion rupees with the Prime Minister National Award.

In a bid to streamline International non-governmental organisations (INGOs), the document says such international organisations working in Nepal must make public their annual budget, their work and programmes, expenses and human resources.

The government has also decided to revive Saja Yatatayat and has instructed authorities concerned to resume the bus operations in Kathmandu and other major cities across the country within one year.

Further, 25 Integrated Service Centres will be set up across the country, which will provide services in areas of citizenship, land affairs and development work under one umbrella. According to the plan, vacant positions of VDC secretaries will be filled within a year.

“Any local development officer failing to take action against any village development secretary not performing his duties well will be removed from office,” the plan says.

Akin to the National Development Service (NDS) during the Panchayat era, the government has made at least three years’ internship in public schools mandatory for anyone seeking the Master’s degree in science, humanities, information and technology, education and management streams.

The government has further made it mandatory for students of health, agriculture, forestry and engineering to work in Nepal for at least two years before they pursue diploma, bachelor or master degree courses abroad.

The plan further has it that except for the Foreign Secretary, no other government secretary will be allowed to spend more than 50 working days outside the country. It also bans observation visit for government officials and ministers.

Ministers and secretaries must follow the protocol while attending foreign programmes and accepting invitations to the UN or bilateral and multilateral forums.

The plan restricts government-sponsored programmes, and calls for austerity measures while spending money in public functions.

“Government sponsored meetings and seminars should not exceed more than one hour and such programmes must be held before or after the office hours or during public holidays. Rituals and formalities like taking seats, badge distribution, welcome speech or vote of thanks should be avoided,” the plan states.

It has put a ban on using children to welcome VIPs in functions.  It also aims to build five public restrooms and a cafeteria in Singha Durbar, while rain water will be harvested and the administrative hub lighted with solar energy.

Ambassadors for foreign mission will be chosen from among career diplomats in the foreign ministry, former chief secretaries, secretaries and eminent personalities.

*US$1=84.79 Nepali rupees

 

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