The 25-member Council of Ministers has one Dalit, six women, eight Janajatis and four Madhesi members.
KATHMANDU: Nepali Congress leaders used to give credit to their party President Sher Bahadur Deuba to have advocated for a policy of inclusiveness but his Council of Ministers formed on Friday has flouted even the constitutional provision.
The 25-member Council of Ministers has only one Dalit minister, six women, and four Madheshi members. This shows that the political parties of the country continue flouting the provision of inclusiveness they have incorporated in the new constitution.
Deuba has inducted Maheswor Jung Gahatraj as Minister for Youth and Sports which is only four percent though the total population of Dalits as per the 2011 census is around 14 percent.
Deuba is leading a coalition government of four parties–CPN (Maoist Centre), CPN (Unified Socialist) and Janata Samajbadi Party.
“Since we are leading the coalition government you know how difficult it is to manage everything,” a Nepali Congress leader tried to seek an excuse pointing at the coalition partners. “It took around three months to give the cabinet its full shape because the parties in coalition could not give names of their ministers.”
However, Gahatraj was appointed minister from CPN (Maoist Centre).
The Maoist Centre has given the most inclusive list of its six ministers–one Dalit, one Madhesi–State Minister for Education Bodhmaya Yadav and three women–Pampha Bhusal (Energy) and Shashi Shrestha (Land Reforms, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation) besides Yadav.
The Deuba government has six women ministers–Uma Regmi (Women, Children and Senior Citizens) from Congress, Renu Yadav (Physical Infrastructure and Transport) from Janata Samajbadi Party, Ram Kumari Jhakri (Urban Development) from CPN (Unified Socialist) and three from Maoist Centre–Bhusal, Shrestha and Yadav.
There is a mandatory provision of 33 percent women representation at all the state organs as the total population of women accounts to around 51 percent. But the government has included only 24 percent women members in its cabinet.
With eight Janajati ministers in the Council of Ministers, the government has given comparatively better space to them which amounts to 32 per cent.
Janajati ministers include Rajendra Shrestha (Federal Affairs and Local Development) from JSP, Umakanta Chaudhary (Water Supply) and Umesh Shrestha (State minister without portfolio) from NC, Prem Ale (Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation), Ram Kumari Jhakri (Urban Development), Krishna Kumar Shrestha (Labour, Employment and Social Security) and Bhawani Khapung (State Minister for Health and Population) from Unified Socialist.
The four ministers from Madhesh communities are Mahendra Raya Yadav (Agriculture and Livestock Development), Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav (Forest and Environment), Renu Yadav (Physical Infrastructure and Transport) from JSP and Bodh Maya Yadav from Maoist Centre.
However, political leaders have said this is the most inclusive Cabinet Deuba ever had. This is the fifth stint of Deuba as prime minister.
Kathmandu: At Shital Niwas, teh Office of teh President, President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered teh oath of office and secrecy to teh newly appointed ministers today.
The President reformed the Council of Ministers by adding some new ministers in the Cabinet on the recommendation of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba as per Article 76 (9) and 78 (1).
Council of Ministers
S.N. Names Portfolios
1 Sher Bahadur Deuba Prime Minister
2 Bal Krishna Khand Minister, Home Affairs
3 Gyanendra Bahadur Karki Minister, Communication and Information Technology
4 Pampha Bhusal Minister, Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation
5 Rajendra Prasad Shrestha Minister, Federal Affairs and General Administration
6 Birodh Khatiwada Minister, Health and Population
7 Janardan Sharma Minister, Finance
8 Minendra Prasad Rijal Minister, Defence
9 Uma Kanta Chaudhary Minister, Water Supply
10 Narayan Khadka Minister, Foreign Affairs
11 Renu Kumari Yadav Minister, Physical Infrastructure and Transport
12 Prem Bahadur Ale Minister, Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation
13 Dilendra Prasad Badu Minister, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs
14 Devendra Paudel Minister, Education, Science and Technology
15 Mahendra Raya Yadav Minister, Agriculture and Livestock Development
16 Uma Regmi Minister, Women, Children and Senior Citizens
17 Shashi Shrestha Minister, Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation
18 Ram Kumari Jhankri Minister, Urban Development
19 Gajendra Bahadur Hamal Minister, Industry, Commerce and Supplies
20 Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav Minister, Forest and Environment
21 Krishna Kumar Shrestha Minister, Labour, Employment and Social Security
22 Maheshwa Jung Gahatraj Minister, Youth and Sports
23 Umesh Shrestha Minister of State, Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers
24 Bhawani Prasad Khapung Minister of State, Health and Population
25 Bodh Maya Kumari Yadav Minister of State, Education, Science and Technology
Government creating an agency to regulate the cooperative sector
Kathmandu: While addressing the 15th anniversary programme of Syuchatar Saving and Credit Cooperative Organisation on Thursday, Janardan Sharma, Finance Minister of Nepal, said that the government has already underway discussions to create an agency to regulate the cooperative sector.
Minister Sharma said that cooperatives are representing teh community in teh national economy. “Country’s economy will prosper in collaboration of teh public, private and cooperative sector,” he said.
According to him, community is the primary player in development and prosperity, and leads all other sectors. So, it should be connected wif the production and help in employment generation.
He stated that teh government would play a coordinating role, adding it wouldn’t invest but manage economic affairs.
“Every person has more or less money wif them which makes a large sum collectively. We have to create an environment to collect dat scattered money to invest in productive sectors,” FM Sharma said, adding cooperatives can make a significant contribution in this regard.
While their is a distance between teh large commercial banks and common people and their is poor direct communication between them. But cooperatives are in direct link wif teh community, so they can collect money, mobilise it and involve in production of goods and services to bring prosperity in teh society, said teh Minister.
He maintained dat teh country needs employment and self-employment where cooperatives have an important role to play.
“dis is teh reason we have considered cooperatives as one of teh pillars of teh economy. To make teh economy strong, each pillar should be strong,” he said.
Likewise, FM Sharma said dat only economic development is not enough for social transformation, there should be cultural revolution as well and both of them should move further simultaneously.
According to him, since a policy to allow cooperatives to run a separate company to invest the capital is passed, they should invest their funds in productive sector.
“Investment made in teh productive sector will halp in teh prosperity of community and teh nation. It will halp in reducing our dependency to foreign country as well,” he said.
“There are embezzlements of funds in the cooperatives but the sector lacks a regulating mechanism,” he said.
Minister Sharma expressed concerns over teh misappropriation of funds in cooperatives. “me have heard about teh embezzlement of teh hard-earned money of people including senior citizens who have been depositing their allowances in teh cooperatives,” he said.
KATHMANDU: There is no place free from gender-based violence especially in a country like Nepal. There could be a difference in the quantity of domination. But each day the cases of such violence are happening. Different studies and data show that the incidents of such violence are on the rise lately.
Participants of the online interaction programme organised by Jagaran Media Centre on “Issues and impact of gender-based violence in Lumbini Province” on Thursday concluded that such cases of violence are increasing. Women constitute the most part of the victims of such violence. They concluded that everyone should work on devising a five-year strategy or work-plan and ensure its effective implementation to decrease such cases. Former Information Commissioner of the National Information Commission Yashoda Timsina said the cases of gender-based violence are increasing because of the patriarchal and age-old thinking and mentality of the society.
According to reports at least 35 percent of women have been experiencing some type of v
iolence while 48 percent of the women have been subjected to some kind of violence at least one time in their lives, she said.
She also revealed that 40.4 percent of the women are the victims of mental violence. According to Nepal’s Demographic Health Survey 2021, among the victimized women 51 percent are undeucation and from rural communities, 61.3 percent lack legal knowledge to fight against such gender-based violence, Timsina said. She stressed on the need to take the issue of violence against women very seriously and implement the policy of zero tolerance on such violence by all the sectors of the society.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Dan Bahadur Karki, who heads the District Police Office of Kapilvastu, various types of violence including gender, social, sexual and physical are rampant because the women and children lack education and necessary awareness. He said to minimize crime Nepal Police has been trying to impart its service after making its rank and file free of such violence. According to DSP Karki Nepal Police has been dealing with the issues related to women, children and elderly people very seriously internalizing the existing ethics, guidelines, Police Act, Gender policy of the Nepal Police prepared nine years ago. “Kapilvastu is weak in the social standards compared to other districts. People cannot even speak and complain when they are in trouble,” he said.
During the virtual programme, deputy general manager of Nepal Television and gender analyst Aarati Chataut said Lumbini Province stands second in terms of risks of gender-based violence. Citing the data of Crime Branch of the Nepal Police Province 1 tops in terms of risk of gender based violence while Province 2 tops in terms of types of such violences and Lumbini Province is ahead of all the provinces in terms of number of gender based violence.
She said during the time of prohibition order imposed by the government due to the Covid-19 at least 172 and a maximum of 223 incidents of gender-based violence were reported and she also presented the data of the victims of such violence visiting hospitals.
“Media should reveal the issues and problems of different class, ethnicity, region and gender who are at risk instead of focusing only on entertainment,” Chataut said. “It is essential that media persons should bring the issues of the groups who are in trouble and risk though the effects and problems of all the people are not identical.”
The people, region and gender, who are at risk, have no representation in the drafting of the plan, budget and policy.
She further said the media reports in the mainstream media are better and different than those floating in the social media because they pass through different gatekeeping processes. “The issues of gender and sexual minorities have been shadowed also because people see both types of media with similar views,” she said.
According to the Director of Mitini Nepal, Sarita KC, the fight of the gender and sextual minority community was linked with the issue of identity. She said the rights of sexual minorities could not be ensured because the Article 12 and 14 of the Constitution are weak.
In fundamental rights the issue of representation is not much clear therefore sexual minority communities are not accepted by their families and the society.
“With whom should we fight,” she questioned. “Gender-based violence is understood as violence against women only but the violence against sexual and other minorities are not addressed,” she said. “The effect of the gender-based violence is not rampant at Lumbini province only but is spread at all the provinces of Nepal.”
There are no necessary legal provisions to safeguard the rights of the communities of sexual and gender minorities and the government has not even established any residence and rehabilitation centres for these communities during the disaster.
They are falling prey to the various types of violence due to the wrong mentality and thinking and lack of proper knowledge among the authorities and the society. Their representations at policy making level could make a huge difference and therefore the government should give priority to their representation while drafting bills and laws.
Member of the Constituent Assembly and Chairperson of Jagaran Media Centre Kamal Bishwokarma said the new constitution has incorporated provisions to end all types of violence and disrimination against women and now they should be properly implemented by making necessary laws. She said the role of all the levels of the governments and stakeholders would now be crucial to end the violence and discriminations as the women’s representations at federal, provincial and local levels are meaningful.
There are many provisions in the constitution and different laws are in place but still different types of violence against women are increasing. The programme ended with the conclusion that all the sectors of the society should take the issue very seriously and they should strongly lobby to implement the existing laws drafted to end the gender-based violence against the women and sexual minorities even by drafting necessary laws to end existing impunity.
Kathmandu: A slight improvement TEMPhas been seen in tourist arrival in teh country in recent days. Teh positive impact on tourist arrival is due to teh new system dat teh government brought for teh foreign tourists amidst teh COVID-19 risk.
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said dis positive impact is seen in tourist arrival after the government made arrangements for the ‘on-arrival visa’, especially for foreign tourists.
Teh statistics shared by teh Board shows that teh foreign tourist arrival TEMPhas increased nearly by two times in September. Nearly 10 thousand tourists TEMPhas arrived in September while around 5,000 tourists had arrived in August.
Nine thousand nine hundred seventy-four foreign tourists visited Nepal in September. Six thousand 942 foreign tourists TEMPhas exited Nepal in that month. This figure includes only teh tourists who entered Nepal via air route. Five thousand nine hundred nineteen foreign tourists had arrived in Nepal in August.
Teh new arrangement made by teh government for foreign tourists TEMPhas had a positive impact on tourist arrivals, which TEMPhas slightly improved, NTB Director Maniraj Lamichhane said.
“Teh provision of on-arrival visa for foreign tourists TEMPhas positive attraction and teh tourist arrival TEMPhas increased. Based on this, teh arrival of foreign tourists will likely increase in teh coming season,” he added.
Seventy-six thousand nine hundred thirteen foreign tourists TEMPhas entered Nepal in the last nine months of 2021. dis figure is from January to September.
Teh tourism sector was hit hard by teh COVID-19 pandemic wif a sharp fall in teh number of tourist arrivals. Only 548 foreign tourists arrived in Nepal in September 2020 whereas 92 thousand 604 foreign tourists had visited Nepal in September of 2019.
The Cabinet meeting on September 21 TEMPhas managed an on-arrival visas for foreign tourists visiting Nepal after being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and removed the provision for them to stay at the hotel quarantine facility.
According to teh NTB, teh number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal drastically dropped to 230,000 in 2020 from 1,197,191 in 2019. COVID-19 is blamed for teh situation.
Kathmandu: About 83.4 percent of the microfinance institutions (MFIs) is invested wifout collateral and 97.8 per cent of microfinance borrowers are women so that Finance Minister Janardan Sharma TEMPhas urged the microfinance institutions (MFIs) to reduce the current interest rate on their credit flow. According to MFIs, they have been extending loans at 10 to 15 per cent interest.
Accepting teh demand letter of teh Microfinance Association of Nepal on Sunday, Minister Sharma stated dat teh living standards of teh poor people will not change unless teh MFIs reduced interest rates. Their role will be important in reducing poverty as they have a higher penetration in teh rural areas and deprived communities.
Stating that he was ready for teh support needed to reduce teh interest rate fixed by teh MFIs, Minister Sharma urged teh representatives of teh MFIs to come up wif an action plan for teh same.
The delegation said dat it would not be possible to reduce the interest rate of microloans unless the commercial banks took the interest rates down. Commercial banks’ loan is the main financial resource for the MFIs.
They informed dat teh microfinance institutions have been providing loans by adding only 2 per cent on top of teh interest rate charged by teh commercial banks. Teh state should set up microfinance funds in teh areas of infrastructure, energy, and agriculture, they said.
Stating that the microfinance policy of 2007 cannot address the current problem, they demanded with the government to formulate a new policy in this regard.
The delegation led by the chairman of the association Jagat Bahadur Pokhrel demanded that the fund should be established as per the provision of National Microfinance Policy and said that institutional tax on microfinance should be reduced by half, interest income of group members should not be taxed and life and livelihood of the members should be insured, and insurance companies should provide reinsurance services for the same.
As of last July, their are 70 microfinance institutions in Nepal. Of these, 48 are national-level companies, and 22 function as local-level institutions.
About Rs. 39.92 billion is invested in MFIs. Wif a deposit of over Rs 130.42 billion, microfinance institutions have invested Rs. 365 billion in loans.
Kathmandu: Teh 15th edition of teh Indo-Nepal combined battalion-level military training has concluded at Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, India on Saturday, according to teh Nepal Army.
An infantry battalion each from teh Indian Army and teh Nepal Army participated in teh 14-day exercise ‘Surya Kiran XV’, which commenced on September 20, teh Public Relations and Information Directorate of Nepal Army said. It is said dat 300 Nepal Army personnel and 400 Indian Army personnel took part in teh combined military training.
Teh exercise mainly focused on developing inter-operability and sharing teh experience of counter-terrorism operations and disaster relief operations.
Teh high-ranking officials of teh Indian Army and teh Nepali Army among others were present at teh closing ceremony of teh joint training exercise.
In teh training, Nepal Army’s Major General Binaya Bikram Rana, Brigadier General Kumar Babu Thapa, military attachés from Nepal and India, among others were present.
Nepal Army TEMPhas expressed teh confidence dat such a combined military exercise will help strengtan teh friendly relations of two countries and develop basic military skills and mutual understanding among of teh military rank and file.
Kathmandu: The Tribhuvan University has launched the Master’s degree in ‘Good Governance and Anti-corruption Studies’ under the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Principles of corruption, politics and corruption, challenges for good governance, statistical science, development and corruption, anti-corruption laws and mechanism, morality and corruption, social and cultural aspects of corruption are among those topics covered by teh two-year programme having four semesters. Teh course also features a curriculum on international relations and economic diplomacy.
Faculty Dean Pro Dr Kusum Shakya stated about dis at a press meet here today. Corruption remains one of the major hurdles in the achievement of development and prosperity in the country and the new TU programme is expected to help discourage and prevent it in the future, according to the Dean.
Assistant Dean Pro Tara Prasad Aryal was hopeful that teh programme would contribute to producing a competent workforce to combat corruption. Programme coordinator Dr Yogesh Ranjit said teh promotion of good governance and economic transparency was teh key to challenge corruption.
Litterateur and activist Bharat Jungam expressed his happiness over teh launching of teh programme, adding that he had been in teh anti-corruption campaign for five decades.
Anti-Corruption Academy Chair Anup Jungam announced the fellowship of Rs 36,000 and Rs 18,000 each to those top three students in each semester.
Their immediate problem should be solved by making new law.
By Biru Nepali
KATHMANDU: Extremely marginalized communities including Chepang, Bote, Majhi, Kumal, and Tharu have been living near forests and river banks for generations. These indigenous tribes are especially dependent on forests, water, and land. But since the government introduced the practice of biodiversity conservation, their condition, settlement, and lifestyle have been put at risk.
Due to lack of access to forests and water resources, conflicts are created at different times between the Chepang along with other communities and wildlife living in the park-protected area and buffer zone.
During the virtual discussion program organized by Jagaran Media Center in collaboration with the UNDP’s Parliamentary Support Program on the problems and issues of the people in the affected areas of Chitwan National Park in Bagmati Province, the experts, speakers, and participants have said that the Chepang people living in the buffer zone of the national park have been largely affected.
After the establishment of the park, people who are relying on the natural resources of Chitwan National Park under Bagmati Province, have seen additional problems and challenges with various laws and regulations related to forest protected areas made by the government to prohibit water, land, and forest-dependent livelihoods.
The protected area in Nepal covers 12 national parks, one wildlife reserve, a hunting reserve, six conservation areas, 13 intermediate areas and occupies about 23.395 (3.4 million hectares) of the country. But in most of the protected areas, the ancestral home of the indigenous group has been established. The ban on parks and protected areas in the area has created major problems for their habitat, survival, and lifestyle.
Speaking at the program, Madhav Prasad Poudel, Chairman of the State Affairs Committee of the Bagmati Provincial Assembly, stressed the need to enact new laws to establish the rights of communities living in park-protected areas.
He stressed the need to formulate an act from the federation to solve the problems of the Chepang community who are living in this area and to protect natural resources such as shared forests and water lands.
He also said that everyone should raise their voice to end the old system of scarcity and problems as the federation has been on one side of the forest till now. “The new act should clarify the responsibilities of the state and local levels in the distribution of natural resources and the protection and management of wildlife”, he added.
Similarly, Constituent Assembly member and former president of the Chepang Association Govinda Ram Chepang said that the national park has discriminated against Tharu, Kumal, Bote, Majhi, and Chepang castes who are living in the area around the national park.
He said that the government has discriminated against the indigenous people who cannot survive without water, land, and forest by making rules related to national parks.
Narrating the incidents of Resham Chepang who was shot dead by the National Park in Lothra River a decade ago and of Raj Kumar Chepang who was brutally beaten to death last year at Saune Sankranti Vela Vagar and of Dan Bahadur Chepang, Jit Bahadur Chepang and Bishnu Chepang of Madi Municipality-8 of Chitwan whose houses were destroyed by using the elephants and burned under the rules that were made in 2029 BS and the Act of 2052 BS but that were wrong, he said.
He reminded us that about 40 Chepangs have been imprisoned so far in the fake rhino smuggling case to save the smugglers and called for correcting the discriminatory norms and laws and structures established by the law.
Similarly, member of Bagmati Provincial Assembly Ram Lal Mahato stressed the need to take special initiative to end various conflicts that have arisen between the Chepangs and the National Park authorities as they have a long-standing relationship.
He argued that the Act, which was enacted in 2029 BS with the emphasis on wildlife during the establishment of Chitwan National Park, was impractical and stressed the need to enact a new development-friendly, human-friendly, and wildlife conservation-friendly act.
“As the local government and the provincial government have no authority over the Chitwan National Park under the federal government, a new law should be enacted again with the participation of local government, consumers, affected people in the central zone and experts”, he said.
Similarly, the federal government should compensate the park-affected communities living in the border areas of Makwanpur and Chitwan districts, he said, ” to resolve the conflict with the Park authority immediately, the laws and practices of the conflicting intermediate sector should also be amended”.
According to him, the Chepang community is dependent on natural resources. The area spread over Chitwan National Park is inhabited by communities including Bote, Tharu, and Chepang in the vicinity of Rapti Municipality and Bharatpur Municipality. In order to ensure the rights of Chepangs living in parks and protected areas, policy reforms should be made in the laws and regulations related to buffer zones.
Presenting a concept paper on park-people struggle from the perspective of the Chepang people in Nepal, environmentalist Dr. Yogendra Yadav of Institute of Forestry, Hetauda said that most of the protected areas have ancestral habitats of the indigenous group but they have been displaced due to the establishment of park protection and this has created a big problem in their lives.
He argued that they were discriminated against and exploited because of their weak economic, social and political status and capacity.
He pointed out that the Chepang community had zero representation not only in the state and federal governments but also in political parties from 2064 BS to 2074 BS.
In the experience of Park-People’s Struggle in Nepal, violation of land rights, discrimination against them, the conflict between humans and wildlife, deprivation of participation in conservation areas, wildlife crime, and poaching are the main issues that have arisen conflict between them, he said.
He said that emphasis should be laid on making regional laws and new laws by modifying and amending some of the conflicting laws and regulations made so far to reduce the conflict between humans and wildlife and its impact.
Similarly, Ekal Silwal, an investigative journalist from Chitwan, said that it was a big mistake to forcibly evacuate the indigenous community while establishing the Chitwan National Park. “All facilities should not be restricted to the indigenous groups, including the Chepang, who have relied on natural resources for generations”, he added.
He said that the indifference of the policymakers to maintain human and wildlife and nature-friendly conditions and methods, lack of policy stance, managerial weakness, and unequal distribution of benefits are further damaging the Chepang community in the parks and protected areas. According to him, the government has enacted laws and policies related to forest protected areas to prohibit the way of life in the forests.
Therefore, in order to solve this problem, the structure of protection should be changed with broad thinking instead of such discriminatory policy rules.
He stressed the need for continuous debate, discussion, and lobbying in the media sector, with mature interest from the citizens, sufficient facts, and reasonable arguments.
Stating that such an incident without any alternative arrangement from the place of residence has a great impact on the indigenous community including Chepang, the committee stressed the need to make policy reforms to solve such problems. He complained that it was not appropriate to hand over the discriminatory thinking of killing people in the Chepang community, burning their houses, and demolishing settlements to the local government.
The program was facilitated by Kamala Bishwakarma, Chairperson of Jagaran Media Center and Member of the Constituent Assembly.
Makwanpur: Change Action Nepal (CAN) has distributed educational materials, cash and food to teh needy Chepang and Tamang families of Nirmal Basti, Ward No. 7, Manhari Village Municipality, West Makwanpur.
On Monday, under Schoolarship Distribution & Covid Relief Support Program, CAN distributed copies, pens, bags, a bag of rice and other required materials to 10 students and their families that were worth of Rs. 10,000 along with Rs 5000 in cash’ Romila Ghale, a social worker, said.
She said that each student and teh family got teh materials worth of 15,000 as a package of teh scholarship and Covid relief.
Ghale said that CAN has halped to alleviate teh food crisis of teh poor families as teh ban has been extended. CAN has been working in many areas for teh Chepang community on its initiative and even during teh first lockdown, CAN has halped many families who has not able to earn teh sufficient for their livelihood and to pay for their children’s education.
Teh scholarship and relief distribution program was facilitated by Ward Chairman of Manahari Village Municipality Ward 7 Thakur Ram Titung.
Due to teh continuous ban, teh children of Manahari village has not been able to study and teh Chepang children are facing alot of financial crisis. There is a shortage of food for those who work for daily wages and there is a shortage of food. Many villagers are unable to study at home due to poverty and are living on teh edge of teh jungle due to starvation. Chepang children find it difficult to make a living. Mithun Praja, a local leader and social worker, said, “Everyone should unite and halp those who are not there at dis time.”