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Ruling coalition and opposition tug-of-war over budget continues

Kathmandu, June 3: At today’s Legislature-Parliament session, both the ruling coalition parties and the opposition engaged in another round of tug-of-war over the budget proposal for the forthcoming Fiscal Year 2073-74 BS.
In the deliberation over annual estimate of Revenue and Expenditure for the next fiscal year, the ruling parties’ lawmakers termed the budget as enforceable while the opposition echoed earlier comments and criticized it of being distributive without a base.
Nepali Congress (NC) lawmaker, Deepak Giri, said increment of social security allowance in the budget was a positive aspect but it (budget) was not enough to hold local level, provincial and parliamentary elections.
CPN (UML) lawmaker, Surendra Pandey, argued that allocation of Rs 10 billion for initiating the construction of fast track with use of one’s own resources was a positive side. He called for including Chitwan and Dang under the programme to develop new cities in 20 districts across Tarai-Madhes. The programme to expand the network of motorway to every village with allocation of Rs 200 million is too ambitious, he said.
Pandey, who is former Finance Minister, suggested for amending the Public Procurement Act, increasing the capital and foreign expenditure, broadening the capacity to spend and fulfill the aspirations of the agricultural sector.
CPN Maoist Centre lawmaker, Hitraj Pandey, spoke of the failure of the budget to focus on taking into confidence the private and cooperatives for creation of national capital resources. The budget has not prioritized completion of the remaining works of the peace process, Pandey stressed.
Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) Nepal lawmaker, Sayendra Bantawa, said that in overall, the budget remained all encompassing and centralized on implementing the new constitution. He demanded correcting the provision on budget allocation in name of statesmen by adding the names of former late PM Surya Bahadur Thapa, Marichman Singh Shrestha and RPP Nepal leader Chandra Bahadur Gurung in the list.
Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) lawmaker, Parasuram Tamang, expressed his dissatisfaction over the government’s reckless distribution of medals to purported post-quake rescuers on basis of photos uploaded on social networking site, Facebook, with claims that they were involved in rescue and relief operation.
Anuradha Thapa Magar of the Nepal Workers Peasants Party (NWPP) said the Nepal Academy had turned into a centre for the political parties to recruit new cadres.
NC’s Manmohan Bhattarai made a forecast that the expected budget results on capital expenditure, foreign assistance, agriculture and hydro power sector will not come true. He said the expectation the budget had with the private sector for economic prosperity will not be obtained and that prosperity will not come by merely mentioning the word.
CPN (UML) lawmaker, Keshav Badal, said the budget highly prioritized cooperative and that it stressed on implementing the new constitution.
Another lawmaker, Asha Chaturvedi, said the budget was like a daydream and called for focus on implementation phase.
Madhes-centric parties boycott session
Meanwhile, the dissenting parties based in Tarai-Madhes boycotted today’s House Session. Immediately after the session kicked off, lawmaker Shivaji Yadav aired the disgruntled parties’ reservation over the government’s apathy towards addressing their demands a year after the agitation started in the southern plains.
He said it was unfortunate that the Tarai-Madhes agitation was linked up with a neighbouring country. The peaceful agitation has entered a new phase, Yadav said.
The parties have continued to boycott the parliamentary proceedings, and have not participated in the discussion over government’s policies and programmes including the budget.