PM Oli calls for Inter-State Council meeting on Sunday

Sep 7, 2018-Amid the increasing grievances of the provincial governments—especially over jurisdiction, non-availability of civil servants, and taxation—Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has called for a meeting of the Inter-State Council on Sunday, marking this meeting to be the first time representatives of provincial governments will be sitting together with representatives of the federal government.

The provincial governments have been at odds with Kathmandu for months, accusing the federal government of being reluctant in decentralising the capital’s authority as per the spirit of federalism.
Provincial governments have been complaining that even after six months of their formation, most provincial governments are still poorly staffed—and in some cases severely understaffed—as the federal government fails to depute enough officials to the provinces.

Provincial governments have been complaining that the human-resource constraint has affected their daily operations, resulting in poor service delivery.

The one-day meeting, chaired by the prime minister, is scheduled to discuss the report prepared by the PMO secretaries who had visited the provincial headquarters in the first week of August to monitor organisational set-up, policies, laws and resource management.

“The meeting will discuss a gamut of issues that the provincial governments have been grappling with,”

said Bishnu Rimal, chief political advisor to the prime minister.

The provinces have been jostling with four major problems: clarity in jurisdictions of the three tiers of governments; meager budget for development works; central government not handing over infrastructure, properties and documents to the provincial governments; and lack of cordial relationship and cooperation among the three tiers of government. There are also serious disagreements over the Provincial Police Act, the Provincial Civil Service Act and the Provincial Treasury Controller Office.

Prakash Jwala, the minister for financial affairs and planning for Karnali Province, said provincial governments are suffering due to the inaction of the federal government.

“All three governments are dancing to their own tune, but the federal government needs to focus on and develop cordial relationship and cooperation between them,” he told the Post.

Even though six out of seven provinces are headed by the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), chief ministers of the ruling party are not happy with the way the federal government has been handling affairs with the provincial governments.

On Thursday, Gandaki Province Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung convened a meeting of all seven chief ministers in Pokhara to discuss their woes, most of which have been blamed on the federal government’s reluctance to devolve power to the provinces.

Article 234 of the constitution stipulates an Inter-State Council to settle political disputes between the federation and a state and disputes between states. The council includes the prime minister (as chairperson), the home minister, the minister of finance and the chief ministers of concerned state members.

Source: Kathmandu


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