- One thousand ninety-three days, which is exactly three years, have been completed today since the formation of the Government under my leadership. We are holding this press briefing in a special circumstance of the dissolution of the House of Representatives and the announcement of the dates for the new election. Therefore, before presenting brief account of the works performed by the present Government, I deem it necessary to explain why the House of Representatives had to be dissolved.
- Difficulties existed right from the beginning for conducting government business. Impediments were created in different ways. Particularly for the last one year, the Government that commanded support of almost two-third majority of the Members of Parliament had to face the fate akin to that of a coalition government. While the Government had to address people’s aspiration, a situation was created when its functions were obstructed as if by a stumble.
- Constitutional bodies remained vacant almost for three years, as the appointment processes were stifled as soon as they were introduced formally. It is the Government that provides the Parliament with ‘business’. A number of Bills presented in the Parliament since February/March 2018 are not introduced to the House for discussion. Bills that are able to make their way into parliamentary committees are destined to bog into the quagmire of endless discussion, or they are made it so. Proposals submitted by the Government before the House are not presented for decision. Ambassadorial positions are vacant, but appointments are obstructed. In any case recommendations for appointment in constitutional bodies are made, then hue and cry is staged with member of own ruling party obstructs the process in the Parliamentary Hearing Committee. They even go to the extent of creating hurdles in public service delivery and development efforts by not taking action on the draft ‘Bill relating to Development’ introduced as ‘sunset law’ for ‘expedited works’ applicable for projects of national pride and on the draft ‘Bill to Amend Public Procurement Act’. It gave a sense of exercising the parallel state as inappropriate candidates were advanced in some executive positions of the public entities or appointments were not allowed. Colleagues in my own party were bent on slowing down the process to the extent possible, and when not feasible, not allowing to work in various pretexts.
- Yet, I remained alert not to let the ramifications of unsatisfied aspirations and frustration with some leaders in the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) on the legislature. I made several attempts not to take the course of ‘premature’ election by diverting difficult situations and, in that effort, I had tolerated various false accusations. Just like a constituent partner of a coalition government, leaders from my own party resorted to a different way to attack against the government, or even to topple it if possible. I made every effort until December 20 at 2 pm to convince these leaders and change the situation.
- I pondered upon several times before making a recommendation for the dissolution of the House of Representatives. Is there any possibility of an alternative government in the present context? I then made calculations: I am Prime Minister supported by 64 percent Members of the House of Representatives; there is no complaint against me in the parliamentary party. Furthermore, no demand from any member of the parliamentary party for summoning a meeting has been made. Even in the party committee, there is no demand raised for replacing the leader of parliamentary party. It was not possible either to change the leader of the parliamentary party. In such a situation, no possibility existed for any parties other than NCP to form an alternative government. Moving ahead with other methods was to take a path of enmity, which would not help preserve the political stability we have acquired. It was certain that a series of calculations and change of government in every 6-8 months would start, just like the situation we were facing until few years ago.
- Therefore, I had limited options as the Prime Minister as to whether making the remainder of the term as ‘playground of political instability’ or taking another option. I recalled my promise to the people during the last election, ‘If elected or if the coalition under my leadership garners people’s mandate, I will stop political instability and bring political stability, development and prosperity.’ Then I also recalled the past ‘unhealthy game of trust-distrust and split and equations’. Such a course of instability for the nation should not have been permitted. On the one hand, there was no alternative in the House of Representatives to form another government, while on the other, colleagues of own party did not allow the government with the support of 64 percent MPs to function! In such a complex situation, being responsible to the nation, I arrived at a decision to appeal the people, ‘to seek fresh mandate as the House of Representatives formed with your vote could not perform’.
- I have heard about objectionable accusations made against this recommendation to dissolve the House of Representatives, such as ‘unconstitutional, disregard to people’s mandate, regression…’. I am puzzled- what they are referring to as regression. Have we retreated beyond the limitations set by the Constitution promulgated by the Constituent Assembly? Are we against the strengthening of democratic republic and the social/cultural values it embraced? Have we embarked upon a different path than seeking vote from the people and conducting state affairs by their elected representatives? No. Since we have not turned the opposite side, then how can it be regression? In the past, the duration of governments were prolonged by fraudulent means. Clinging to power in such a way is in fact undemocratic! ‘The votes you casted could not deliver results as desired, let us examine again and accept whatever result comes!’ How can this statement be a regression? How can it be a dishonor to people’s mandate as it was simply a request to go for a new verdict of the people as the previous one did not work. Rather, the aspiration of those defeated in elections to achieve higher ranks, becoming Prime Minister/Ministers is undemocratic. It is undemocratic act of those who lost in internal elections and still aspire for positions of their choice without competition! Resorting to misdeeds for inappropriate gains, or ushering the country to the unknown by adopting methods other than prescribed by the Constitution count as regression! How can an initiative to obtain people’s vote in a democracy be regression?
- Election is the life of a democratic system. In a democracy, election does not break the country of parties, but unites them. It holds competition between the right and the wrong. It unites parties on their agendas. It is indeed a crime to split the party after the announcement of election under any pretexts, while it is expedient for moving forward with stronger unity to win and achieve the objectives.
- The recommendation for the dissolution of the House of Representatives is a political step taken to seek people’s fresh mandate with a view to unifying the nation and maintaining unity within parties. The proposal for fresh vote is to end the anarchy and establish political stability. It is for the continuation of unremitting journey towards preserving the Constitution, achieving national independence and realizing the national aspiration of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’. This ‘compulsive but expedient’ step—even ‘inevitable’ at this moment—is to emancipate our democratic system from the dirty game of ‘equation and coalition’.
Constitution and the implementation of federalism
- Three years ago on 15 February 2018 when I took the oath of office as Prime Minster, all tasks on implementation of federalism were pending. I had recalled, during my address to the nation on the completion of the first year in office, that, “We had constitutional provision in place for the federal, provincial and local levels when I assumed the office. But concomitant legal, institutional and physical infrastructures did not exist. Situation looked such that the headquarters are announced but there is no office for Chief of Province. There is parliament but not the parliamentary building. There is a pile of works ahead, but without workforce, law, procedures and financial provisions. Our past, therefore, should not resemble something like erasing footsteps as we tread.”
- I am recollecting now that we had set aside the first year as ‘base year for institutional management and prosperity’. We had implemented the action plan on federalism implementation facilitation through an inter-provincial coordination council. We had created a comprehensive basis and structure for revenue distribution as a part of implementing fiscal federalism. Requisite working procedures were prepared for the rates of fiscal equilisation grant, bases of conditional grants and special grants. Technical issues related to deficit budget management for provincial and local bodies, consolidated funds and funds for revenue distribution were resolved without dispute.
- We had trained 51,464 officials and staff on subjects like planning and budgeting, integrated property tax, functioning of judicial committee, procurement and public financing. And, dozens of model procedures/guidelines/instructions were prepared for functional coordination and uniformity among the levels of provinces and local bodies. A number of model laws were drafted and provided to the provincial and local levels. These initiatives have enhanced the capacity of the provincial and local bodies to a great extent.
- Let us recall, while executing federalism three years ago, there was a confusion even on the matters as what would be the number of ministries, the number of constitutional bodies, departments and offices at the departmental level, and other commissions/secretariat in federal level. There was no clarity on the number of ministries at the province, provincial-level secretariats, and directorates including financial comptroller office, divisions and offices. The classification of 753 local levels and approval of organizational structure of those levels were also pending. In such circumstances, necessary organizational structure was approved required for all provinces and local levels. Necessary human resources were provided for the federal, provinces and local levels through the completion of complex task of personnel adjustment within a year. Now, everybody considers these tasks to have been completed easily.
- Today, after three years, when we look back we have gained satisfactory achievements on such matters. Necessary provisions of policy, institutional and physical structures have been prepared for the implementation of the constitution.
- In the first year, while drafting one Bill on five days on an average, 25 laws including 16 related to the implementation of fundamental rights were adopted by the federal parliament. Dozens of Bills were tabled in the federal parliament. More than four dozens regulations and formation orders, three dozens of directives, procedures and guidelines were issued.
- In the second year, additional 30 new laws were enacted.
- In this period of three years 89 laws were enacted, including 34 laws in the third year. Hundreds of laws inconsistent with the new constitution were amended.
- In this period, the constitution has come into full implementation and has been acceptable to all.
Overall Economic Situation
- When I assumed the leadership of the government, our economy was in chaos. It was stagnant and in total disorder too. Even before the completion of one year of the formation of the government, the economy in such uncertainty became successful to take its course. In the first year of the government, nearly 7 percent of economic growth was achieved. In the second year, the growth was even more than 7 percent. The Economist, a British journal, included Nepal in top 10 countries as an emerging economy and taking the path of high economic growth. The growth rate of all sectors of economy reached more than 5 percent. All seven provinces witnessed the economic growth of more than 6 percent. In the meantime, the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced as an unprecedented not only to us but to all in the world. The pandemic brought down the very structures of the world economy. Some countries experienced negative economic growth; many others fell into recession. The economies of many countries shrunk badly. Although, our economic growth too decreased, but due to cautious policy clarity and pro-activeness of our government Nepal’s economy did not fall into trap of recession. The average economic growth of three years remained at the level of 5 percent. Now as the effect of COVID-19 is decreasing, our economy is again returning to its previous track. The economic data of the first six months of the current financial year have shown that our economy seems to be moving towards the path of high economic growth. There is high probability next year the economic growth will be achieved around at the level of 10 percent as envisaged by the 15th
- In the first six months of current year,
- BOP savings have reached NRs. 124 billion. In the same period of previous year, such balance was only NRs. 26 billion.
- The inflation rate based on consumer price index at 3.5 percent in yearly basis.
- The import has decreased by 4.8 percent whereas the export has increased by 6.1 percent.
- Remittance inflow has increased by 11.1 percent in Nepali Rupees and by 6.7 percent in US dollars.
- The total foreign currency savings have reached 12 billion 78 crores US$.
- The total expenditure of the federal government has remained NRs. 415 billion 75 crores and revenue mobilization has remained NRs. 422 billion 24 crores.
- The deposit collection of the banks and financial institutions has increased by 9.2 percent.
- The commitment of foreign assistance equivalent to NRs. 185 billion has been received.
- In the period of these three years:
- The size of public expenditure has increased by nearly 29 percent. The size of public budget has increased by NRs. 186.64 billion.
- The per capita income has increased by 23.6 percent in US dollar (from 887 to 1097) and by 35.2 percent in Nepali Rupees. More than 9 lakh population have come above the line of absolute poverty. Had there not been COVID-19 pandemic, this number would have been more than 15 lakh.
- The United Nations Human Development Report shows that, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the poverty has not increased in Nepal and there is no starvation due to the numerical increase of 5 percent in the Human Development Index.
- Except for five local levels with sparsely scattered settlement and extreme geographical difficulty, branches of banks and financial institutions have been opened in all local levels; banking services are available. Three years back the number of local levels with bank and financial institution was only 374 out of 753.
- Under the scheme of ‘Kholau Bank Khata Abhiyan’ (Open Bank Account Campaign), 68 lakh bank accounts have been opened in last one and a half year.
- The flow of loan from the banking sector to the private sector has increased by 72 percent. (It has reached NRs. 3,863 billion)
- The coverage of business tax has increased by nearly 4 lakh (52.2 percent) in comparison to three years back. This growth exhibits the economy has become more streamlined.
- The expansion of insurance service has reached 22.7 percent with increase of 8.7 percent.
- Revenue mobilization has become more than NRs. 100 billion.
- Although COVID-19 pandemic has worn-out supply chain and systems world-wise, Nepal’s price hike has not gone more than 5 percent.
- Provinces and local levels have been transferred with the financial grant of NRs. 1045 billion.
- With the operationalization of petroleum pipeline in July 2019, there has been saving equivalent to NRs. 2 billion 35 crores. This project was under discussion for two and half decades but had not come into implementation. Following seventeen months of foundation-laying jointly by myself and my Indian counterpart, this project came into operation.
Reconstruction Following the Earthquake
- Historically and archeologically important Ranipokhari, the foundation of which was laid during my previous tenure as Prime Minister, remained in the same condition until the formation of the current government. Now, the reconstruction works of Ranipokhari has been completed. Under the Comprehensive Tundikhel Master Plan, which covers the open area from Bishwojyoti Cinema hall to Tripureshwor, the work of additional beautification is taking place. I had already initiated, during my first tenure, the campaign ‘Ma Banauchhu Mero Dharahara’ (I will build my Dharahara) in order to raise the earthquake stricken Dharahara as the pride of Nepal so as to have reflection of history and shining of modernity. Before I left the government, necessary preliminary preparations were also completed for the construction works. The basis of resource collection from people’s level was also created. When I came back after two years as the leader of the government, virtually nothing was done. Now, the concrete works of 21st floor of the 22-storeyed tower has been completed. The construction of tower is being completed this year.
- The tenure of National Reconstruction Authority is coming to an end. It is also completing several projects under its responsibility. In this period:
- Private Housing: 5, 59,461 private houses have been completed including additional 4, 61,648. Three years back only 97,813 houses were completed.
- 95 percent works of 415 government office buildings which needed reconstruction, have been completed. Now only there are 19 buildings under reconstruction.
- Security Agencies’ Buildings: the reconstruction of 207 buildings, including 163 additional ones, have been completed. This is 96 percent of total construction works. Three years back only 44 buildings were constructed.
- School Buildings: Out of 7,553 school buildings under construction, the construction of 6,085 including 2,985 additional ones, have been completed.
- The construction of Nepal’s oldest Durbar High School has also been completed in this period.
- Health Institutions Buildings: 698 buildings have been completed along with 115 additional buildings.
- Archeological Heritages: the reconstruction of 565 heritages, including 485 additional heritages, have been completed. Three years back, the reconstruction of only 80 archeological heritages were completed.
- The reconstruction of vulnerable settlements which needed relocation to the safe place have been completed trough the construction of 4,720 houses. Three years back, this number was only 206.
- In this very period 12,284 landless people have been provided NRs. 2 lakh each as grant for purchasing the land in the same place.
- Repair and retrofitting of the large buildings, such as the western façade of Singh Durbar, Basantapur Durbar Square, Babar Mahal, Keshar Mahal has reached the last stage. The construction of historical Kasthamandap is being completed this year.
Physical infrastructure and urban development
- As I said the first year of this government as the year of foundation, I had mentioned the second year as the beginning of the of year of prosperity. As there was an attempt being made to establish that the election manifesto, policies and programs, the budget and its implementation lack coherence, I had distributed in the parliament a publication furnishing a complete picture of the pledges made by the government in the manifesto, the subject matters mentioned in the policies and programmes of the two fiscal years, and the budget allocations and its implementation status.
- Before entering to numbers on infrastructure development, I wish to repeat my own statement of last year, “there was time when only 10 km of road used to be blacktopped in the whole year. After the formation of this government, construction work of blacktopped road is being carried at the rate of more than 5 km every day”. Almost a year passed with the impacts of COVID pandemic on the work. Despite this, facts prove this trend even today, as during the three-year period, 5,498 km of blacktopped road was constructed by the entities including at the federal, provincial and local levels.
During this period,
- With additional 2,718 km construction, the total blacktopped strategic road constructed by the Department of Road reached 15,867 km.
- Additional 412 km blacktopped road has been constructed by the Ministry of Urban Development.
- 1,143 km road was blacktopped by all the seven provinces.
- Additional 1,225 km blacktopped road has been constructed in the local level.
- With addition of 1,463 km gravelled, 8, 419 km has been constructed.
- Length of the unpaved road has reached 9,109 km.
- During the period, more than 1,600 km blacktopped road has been constructed in Terai-Madhesh. Out of this, 516 km strategic road with 2-lane, 490 km postal road , under the Terai-Madhesh Road Infrastructure Development Program and 94 km with 6-lane road under the Trade Route Expansion Project has been constructed. About 60 km road was constructed under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, and 412 km road was constructed under the Integrated Urban Development Program.
- Number of districts having blacktopped road has now reached 72. Number of Village Council centres having access to road has reached 724. For the construction of road to link the remaining centres, the government has already allocated budget so as to start the work within this fiscal year.
- Construction work of Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel road has Budget has been allocated for the construction of Siddhababa tunnel road. Detail project reports of Tokha-Chhahare and Betrawati-Syaprubesi tunnel road are in preparatory phase.
- In three years, additional 915 road bridges have been constructed altogether at the federal, provincial and local levels. Nepal’s second longest Sisahaniya-Gadhawa Rapti Road bridge has been completed during this period. With 416 rural road bridges, the total number of road bridges has reached 3,136.
- So far 130 tuins have been displaced by constructing suspension bridges. Construction of suspension bridges remain in 5 places including at the boundary river Mahaakali. Technically, there are no more places having tuin for traversing rivers. During the three-year period, 1,423 suspension bridges have been constructed.
- Facts speak, minimum 5 km road was blacktopped every day. More than one suspension bridge was constructed every day. Construction work of a minimum one road bridge was completed every second day. Construction of one village road bridge was completed every third day.
- Enthusiastic private sector investors have begun water transport in the Koshi and the Gandaki. After Manakamana, Chandragiri and Kalinchowk, the cable car operation has been started as a campaign including in Butwal and various other parts of the country.
- During this period, construction of additional 13,085 buildings has been completed with at least 12 buildings in a day under the citizen housing building construction. Under this program, construction work of a total of 34,507 buildings has been completed. To replace 5 lakhs thatched roofs, Rs. 50,000 and low-cost woods have been provided to each household.
- Under the program for the replacement of thatched roofs by zinc-sheets, so far 6,936 houses with thatched roof have been replaced by zinc-sheets. In the current fiscal year, work is being carried to replace additional 1 lakh houses with zinc-sheets.
- Following the displacement of settlements in Bara and Parsa due to the windstorms and cyclones of 31 March 2019 (2075 Chaitra 17), 869 houses were immediately constructed and handed over to the affected families.
- 1,080 community houses and 440 community infrastructures have been constructed by expanding Terai-Madesh Prosperity Programme.
- Construction of international conference building with the capacity of 3 thousand people in Godawari and conference building with the capacity of 5 thousand in Lumbini is in the final stage. The new parliament building in Singha Durbar complex itself, Prime Minister’s official residence in Baluwatar, official residences of Ministers, Chief Minister and Provincial Chief, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the National Assembly are being constructed in Bhainsepati, Lalitpur in a speedy manner.
- Physical progress of 7 national pride projects under the physical infrastructure, as compared from Fagun 2074 to the end of Push 2077, is as follows:
- Postal road from 25 to 68.2 percent
- Kaligandaki corridor (Jomsom sector) 56 percent
- Kaligandaki corridor (Palpa sector) 20.5 percent
- Kathmandu-Terai fast track1 percent
- North-South (Karnali) Lokmarga from 12.5 to 23 percent
- Rail, metro-rail, monorail project from 8.8 to 23.2 percent
- Pushpalal (mid-hill) lokmarga and North-South (Koshi) lokmarga are also in progress.
Energy Production and Distribution
- One year ago, I had said – there has been an epochal change with having sufficient availability of electricity. The era of inflaming lamps using pine-wood sticks/local oil to kerosene is now going to be ended forever.
- During this period:
- Electricity production has reached 1,430 megawatts after having 333 megawatts added. As the 98.8 percent work has been completed in Upper Tamakoshi, 456-megawatts electricity is confirmed to be added in this fiscal year from this project itself.
- Electricity transmission lines with the capacity of above 66 kv have reached 4, 251 kilometres with the expansion of 837 kilometres. The largest electricity sub-station of the country constructed in Dhalkebar, Dhanusha has come into operation. The second largest electricity sub-station constructed in Myagdi/Parbat has recently been inaugurated.
- The population having access to electricity increased by 6 percent and has reached 90 percent . Per capita electricity consumption has reached from 110 kilowatts per hour to 260 kilowatts per hour.
- Electricity leakage has dropped from 25 percent to 15.3 percent.
- Out of three national pride projects relating to hydropower, there is no progress in the West Seti. The completion of primary works of the Budhi Gandaki has reached from 20 percent to 70 percent. The Upper Tamakoshi is going to be completed.
- The work of undergrounding of electricity wires has been started from Kathmandu.
Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation
- Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Program had been initiated with the purpose of modernising and commercialising the agriculture.
- During the period,
- grant on chemical fertilizer has been increased by over 125 percent and reached to Rs. 10 billion 68 crore and 98 lakhs.
- production of main crops has increased by 11.2 percent.
- production of fish/meat has increased by 20 percent, milk production by 19 percent and vegetables production by 9 percent.
- attained self-sufficiency in eggs and close to self-sufficiency in fish and meat.
- Irrigation facility: under the Terai-Madhesh Irrigation program, the irrigation service has expanded to more than 30,000 hectares in 3 years. Currently, irrigation facility has reached to 15 lakh hectares. During this period, there has been at least 10 percent physical progress in the 6 national pride projects related to irrigation.
- Bheri-Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project: from 20 percent to 40 Percent,
- Rani Jamara Kularia Irrigation Project: from 36 percent to 49.1 percent,
- Mahakali Irrigation Project: from zero to 16.3 percent,
- Babai Irrigation Project: from 42 percent to 52 percent,
- Sikta Irrigation Project: from 56.7 percent to 63.7 percent,
- Construction work of Sunkoshi-Marin Diversion Project is beginning. The long-overdue project for the irrigation of Chandani-Dodhara with 10 cumecs of water Nepal can withdraw from the Sarda Canal will commence immediately.
- With an addition of 9 hundred 87 kilometers, embankment construction under the People’s Embankment Programme has reached one thousand one hundred 42 kilometers.
Investment, Industry, and Commerce
- Over this period, the Government formulated and enacted the Public-Private Partnership and Investment Act and Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act. An Investment Summit was organized in March 2019. In addition to making necessary policy arrangements for the operation of businesses, supply of electricity was ensured. ‘Industry-Commerce Promotion Dialogue Council’ was formed under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister in order to have direct dialogue with businesspersons. Industrial activities have increased thanks to all these arrangements. The World Bank’s Doing Business Indicators-2020 also shows a significant improvement in business environment in Nepal.
Over this period,
- A ‘Refinance Fund’ of NRs 42 billion with the capacity of mitigating the risks equivalent to NRs 212 billion has been established to provide relief to the private sector and business community distressed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- About 60 thousand small entrepreneurs have received loans equivalent to NRs 100 billon with 5 percent interest subsidy.
- 1,212 national and 973 foreign industries have been registered.
- Investment pledges of NRs 1, 400 billion and NRs 100 billion have been received from Nepal Investment Board and Department of Industry respectively. Pledges worth over NRs 100 billion were received during time of the Investment Summit.
- Dhaubadi Iron Company Limited has been established to begin the commercial production of iron from Dhaubadi iron ore mine. After three years, Nepali people will be able to use the iron produced in Nepal itself.
- Exploration for petroleum mines in Dailekh and Phosphorus mines in Baitadi is underway.
- The increase in imports has been reduced to 8 percent, which was around 20 percent before the formation of this Government. This has decreased the overall volume of the imports. Trade deficit has been narrowing down thanks to the increase in exports.
As a whole, during this period,
- Imports have declined by 12.1 percent.
- Exports have increased by 4.5 percent.
- Trade deficit in relation to GDP ratio has declined by 9 percent.
Drinking Water and Sanitation
- I had informed on this day last year: Nepal has been declared the first open defecation-free countryin South Asia. This has lifted the country one step higher on the civilizational ladder.
During this period,
- Access to basic sanitation has reached hundred percent population.
- Under Intensive Urban Development Programme, 4 hundred 42 kilometers sewerage has been built in 20 districts of Terai-Madhesh. Construction of sewerage is a headway in the area of sanitation in Terai-Madhesh.
- 91 percent people have access to basic drinking water.
- Melamchi Water Supply Project, a national pride project with 83.7% physical progress made three years ago, is now on the verge of completion by making its way through numerous complications.
- During this period five big projectshave been completed. 95 thousand 2 hundred 41 people have benefitted from them. Melamchi and other 41 big projects are in the phase of being completed. From this, 2 million 258 thousand 212 people will be benefitted. Likewise, 37 new projects have been initiated which will benefit 826 thousand 289 people.
- Regarding rural drinking water, 179 projects have been completed. About 154 thousand 9 hundred people have benefitted from this. Other 161 projects are in the process of being completed, which will benefit 206 thousand 8 hundred people.
- Water supply is a priority including in the works of Provincial and Local Levels.
Communication and Tourism
- Starting from nothing, 4G service has been extended to 77 districts.
- Internet Subscriber Density has increased from 51.2 percent to 80.1 percent.
- Under the Rural Telecommunication Fund, free internet facilitieshave been provided in 31 districts.
- The Council of Ministers has recently made a decision to extend internet services to all schools and local service provider institutions.
- The runway of Tribhuvan International Airporthas been upgraded so that an aircraft of any size could take-off and land. This reconstruction has been completed within the specified time in forty years.
During this period,
- Out of the 53 airports of Nepal, the number of all-weather airports has increased from 29 to 36.
- Among them, the number of airports with night flight operation facilities has reached 8. Biratnagar and Surkhet Airports are being expanded in collaboration with Provinces and Local Levels.
- The system for take-off and landing through the satellite even during the times of adverse weather has been established at airports in Dhangadhi, Kathmandu, Janakpur, Biratnagar, and Bhadrapur.
- Of the National Pride Projects– the construction of Gautam Buddha International Airport has reached 98.8 percent from 50 percent. The physical progress of the construction of Pokhara Regional Airport has reached 70 percent from 15 percent. In the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic, both of these airports would have been operational by now.
Social Sectors including Education and Health
- Last year, while speaking about education, I had made a mention of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report ‘A World Ready to Learn’. The report appreciates the significant increase in school enrollment in Nepal from 12 percent to 86 percent over the first 17 years after 2000.
During this period,
- Net enrolment rate in primary level (Grades 1-8) has reached 93.4 percent from 92.3 percent.
- Net enrolment rate in secondary level (Grades 9-12) has reached 47.6 percent from 43.9 percent.
- Literary rate among ages over six years has reached 85 percent from 78 percent.
- Institutes run under CTEVT have reached 292 Local Levels. The number of such institutes has been increased to 1,042 from 570. About 65,497 students have received training from these institutes.
- Over the last one year, we have been confronting the unimaginable horror of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic, which has shaken the whole world, has raised serious questions about the availability of heath services and managerial capabilities not only of the countries like us but also of the developed ones. We started our efforts to control the pandemic through the lockdown measures beginning late March last year. Not only us, but the whole world was unfamiliar with the pandemic. We were also effortful to better understand it. Whatever efforts the Government was making were not wrong. There was no technology for PCR tests in the country; hence we had to send the swab sample of the first case abroad for such test. Numerous rumours detached from the realities concerning health equipment, tracing, testing, and treatment were widespread. We all understand now how impractical and unnecessary the demand for ‘hundred percent PCR test’ was when it was raised by those protesting under the ‘enough is enough’ campaign.
- So far, PCR tests have been done for 21 lakh people, and the process will continue as necessary.
- The number of PCR labs has reached from zero to 83. The medical supplies and PPEs required for the lab are available in ample quantities.
- As per the report until 12 February, the number of infected is 272,557, which is less than 1% of the total population. The recovery rate is 98.6%. The Covid-19 death rate is approximately 1%. The Government made arrangements to provide free-of-cost treatment for those infected with Covid-19. Ninety percent of the deaths happened after hospitalization.
- We had prepared for arranging dedicated ICUs and ventilators for Covid-19 patients. However, the number of patients who actually required ICUs and ventilators is much less than what we have prepared for.
- At present, we are at a stage of vaccinating all citizens against Covid-19, free-of-cost. We have been able to begin vaccinations in Nepal within one-and-a-half month of the start of vaccinations in the world. In the whole of South Asia, Nepal is the second country to start such vaccinations. As of 12 February, the number of persons vaccinated against Covid-19 has reached 1,88,983.
- Covid-19 reminded us of the importance of health infrastructures and hygiene. As a consequence, the number of beds in hospitals and health centres has increased from 6,490 to 8,982, a rise of 38.4% (2,492).
- This year itself, 309 local bodies – all at the same time — laid foundation stones for building basic hospitals. The construction work of these hospitals will be completed within the next two years, adding 8,000 extra beds.
- Next year, work will begin on building 204 more basic hospitals at the local level.
- Four hundred ICU beds, 300 beds with ventilators and 2000 high-dependency beds have been added.
- While fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, work has started on building 300 beds at the centre, and 50-bed communicable disease hospitals in each province.
- We were the ones who started social security programs of a welfare state. As per the constitutional provisions that warrant the state to orient towards socialism, the scope of social security has been expanded.
Over this period,
- The number of people receiving 8 different types of social security allowances has reached 30 lakhs 60 thousands, an increase of 5 lakhs.
- Social security allowance for senior citizens, which started with Rs 100 per month, has reached Rs 100 per day (Rs 3000 per month). Its scope has been expanded. All senior citizens have been provided with free health insurance of upto Rs 1 lakh.
- Citizens Pensions Fund has come under implementation under CIT. Individuals who are part of social security or other retirement funds are also eligible to participate in this scheme.
- The coverage of health insurance has reached 65 districts (an addition of 37 districts) and 636 municipalities (an addition of 377 municipalities). The number of people covered by health insurance has increased from 1 lakh 40 thousands to 25 lakhs 10 thousands.
- Setting off a new era of social security for laborers, I inaugurated the contributions-based Social Security Scheme as a national campaign on 27 November 2018. This scheme, which came under implementation on 17 July 2019, guarantees financial security for laborers. Employers are also hedged against possible risks. The scheme is based on partnership between employees and employers, and provides various kinds of benefits to the employees both before and after retirement. So far, more than 12 thousand employers and 2 lakh laborers have joined the scheme. The Governement has recently decided to include more than 30 thousand daily wage and contract-based employees under this scheme.
- The minimum wage of laborers has been increased by 39 percent. The salaries of civil servants have been increased by approximately 20 percent.
- In the Nepali Army, provisions have been made for pensions after 16 years of service.
- We have decided to provide free medical treatment for those injured during the conflict, and to honor and issue ID Cards for those who took part in various movements and struggles.
Good Governance and the Fight against Corruption
- On this same day last year, I addressed the House of Representatives, and said, “I am corruption-free, and I won’t countenance corruption.” I would like to reiterate the same commitment today: “On the question of mis-conduct or corruption, and of those whose conduct is not clean or who are corrupt, it’s not my habit to remain silent. Whether the wrong-doer will be punished will not depend on who that person is; howsoever high a position he or she may hold, or whatever so-called access he or she may have, will not matter when deciding upon the action to be taken against him or her.”
- This commitment of mine is not populism or mere lip-service; this is indeed my principled stand. That was the reason why I brought various anti-corruption agencies under the PMO. Some people said that doing so was an act of power centralization. The effectiveness and results of the work done in the past three years show that I did the right thing by not paying too much attention to such criticisms.
- Our anti-corruption bodies are waging campaigns against corruption. During this period, 1,154 cases were registered in the instances of corruption, loss of revenue and money laundering; of them, 736 cases have been filed with requisition claims amounting to Rs 4,810 crores.
- Loss of revenue: 215 cases have been filed against 755 persons (including 11 civil servants) with a requisition claim of Rs 32 billion 79 crores and 90 lakh, together with a demand for penalties and imprisonment.
- Illegal Trading of Foreign Exchange and Illegal Hundi Transactions: Cases have been filed against 440 persons with a total requisition amount of Rs 10 billion 72 crores and 69 lakhs, and demanding a penalty of three times the claimed amount as well as 3 years of imprisonment.
- Apparently, there used to be a factory for printing counterfeit VAT bills. Two hundred such firms were held up during this period, and cases were filed against 127 firms of which investigations were completed, with a total requisition amount Rs 10 billion 68 crores. Cases were filed against 52 firms which purchased counterfeit VAT bills, with a total requisition claim of Rs 4 billion 61 crores.
- This year, the CIAA filed the highest number of cases in its history. Three years ago, the number of cases filed after special investigations were 194; this year, the number has reached 441. The total requisition claim three years ago was Rs 40.6 crores, this year the amount is Rs 253.7 crores.
- Over this period, as part of the operations to reclaiming public property, 301 bigahas of plots in Siraha, Sarlahi and Bardiya were re-registered as public land. Fraudulent records of tenancy in the 110 ropanis of public land alloted for the access road to Upper Trishuli-1 Hydrolectricity Project were removed, and the public land was re-registered. The case against the occupation of 136 ropanis of land in Lalita Niwas is active. Investigations are underway in the case of 174 ropanis of land in Matatirtha. Arrangements have been made for keeping digital records of all the movable and immovable properties of the Government of Nepal and provincial and local governments.
- Financial Discipline: As per the latest report of the Auditor General, the amounts in inappropriation of the federal government were 41% in FY 2073/74 and 5.29% in FY 2074/75. In FY 2075/76, it was only 4.05%. In FY 2075/76 alone, Rs 83 billion 48 crores in inappropriation have been cleared.
- Digital Nepal for Good Governance: Digital platforms are being strengthened in order to plug loopholes of corruption and ensure prompt delivery of public service. These structural provisions are meant not just for the present but also as foundations for the future. The technical shortcomings in these platforms will be gradually removed.
- Hello Sarkar: The Hello Sarkar digital platform has been under operation for prompt reporting, disposal and management of public grievances. From now on, all complaints will be directed to the concerned public offices, and those lodging such complaints will be able to check online whether any actions have been taken.
- Nepali Port: A high-tech entry-exit record system has been launched in the immigration offices. It is interconnected with security agencies, civil aviation system and other relevant systems in order to strengthen border security. E-visas are issued through this system.
- Monitoring Portal: A portal to monitor the implementation of Government’s policies and programs for the current fiscal year has been in use for the past three years. It allows for the direct monitoring of the activities of every concerned agency. The portal is further supported by the state-of-the-art action room in the PMO.
- Public Access Model: The registers of records in land management offices have been digitized and the public have been given direct access to them. Digital records have helped reduce the problems faced by the public in availing of services in land management offices.
- Nagarik App (Citizens App): The Nagarik app identifies critical public services that often entail cumbersome procedures and allows users to avail of such services from the comfort of their homes. The app has been launched for test, and so far, it has been downloaded 4 lakh 50 thousand times. Already, three thousand five hundred users have received their PAN numbers through the app. In the near future, citizens will be able to use the app to avail of more services such as land management, renewal of driving license etc.
- National Identity Card: National Identity Card system has come into operation serving as the foundation for digital service delivery system. Country-wide campaign for a citizen registration program is underway. So far, 1.6 million citizens have registered themselves in the system. The national campaign is going on with the target of registering 10 million citizens within the upcoming fiscal year.
- Online Labour Permit System: To reduce the ordeal faced by the citizens in accessing services related to foreign employment, online labour permit system has been launched. Currently, 500 citizens are taking this service daily.
- Electronic payment system for government fees and revenue collection has come into operation. Payments for traffic fines, internal revenue and local government taxes can be made from home. Additional services will be incorporated within the system gradually.
- Vehicle Consignment Monitoring System: Under the structural improvement program, to stop revenue leakages, ‘Vehicle Consignment Tracking System’ (VCTS) has been in operation since July 17, 2019. By December 2021, a total of 1,05,022 users have been registered in the system. Twenty thousand consignments are being registered in the system daily. The system has already recorded 1,22,44,276 bills, 5,98,177 customs declaration and 5,59,726 moving (chalan) orders.
Law and Order, and National Unity
- Overall national security condition is normal and without any major problem. Criminal cases pending since years have been investigated. Criminals have been forced to stand trial and undergo punishments in accordance with the law of the land. During this period, few sad incidents related to rape and violence against women have taken place. Be it rape or murder after rape or acid attack against women, culprits in such heinous crimes shall not be let go scot-free. The government has recently promulgated ‘Ordinance Against Acid attack, Rape, and Women’s Violence’, to dispense justice with the provisions of maximum punishment to the offenders and immediate compensation for the victims.
- Ordinances have been issued to give continuity to the works related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons, in the context of transitional justice.
- During the period, Free Madhes Front which was active with the demand of a separate state, has been brought into political mainstream.
- Conflicts have been minimized by holding political dialogue with the relevant parties. The government has been calling on other political forces to engage in peaceful activities by utilizing the constitutional rights and to solve problems through negotiations.
- Last year, while addressing at the parliament, I had said, “The nation is united on the border issue. The government will protect the motherland by taking up the responsibility given by the nation in a serious manner. I would like to inform this august house that the government is engaged resolutely and actively to resolve the border problem through negotiations and to bring back the encroached land under our control”.
- The government declared to issue a new political map through the policy and programs of the current fiscal year after continuation of developments that were contrary to our desire of solving the problem through negotiations and diplomatic means. The government not only issued the new map but also submitted in the parliament the constitution amendment proposal to incorporate the new map in the state emblem. The first unanimous constitution amendment and the unprecedented unity that was evident among the political parties have made it clear how serious Nepalis are when it comes to nation and territorial integrity of the country. As a prime minister, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all for coming together as a nation in this campaign and supporting the government’s position. We are now in dialogue and are hopeful that the problem will be solved through negotiation.
Nepal and the World
- During the last three years, due to the enhanced role, identity and influence, Nepal has been well established as a country that could be seen, heard, addressed, and trusted partner in the international arena and international organizations/institutions. In the matter of foreign policy, Nepal is guided by the motto- ‘Friendship with all, enmity with none!’.
- With the establishment of diplomatic relations with additional 12 countries, the number of countries having diplomatic relation with Nepal has reached 168 in this period. Bilateral consultation mechanisms have been established with additional 15 countries.
- Nepal has been elected for the second time in the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
- Last year also I mentioned few important visits in this context. For the first time in 20 years, Nepal’s prime minister officially visited the United Kingdom and France. Our foreign minister officially visited the United States after 17 years and Russia after 14 years. The president of China visited Nepal after 23 years. The prime minister of India visited Nepal 4 times during his single term of office.
- After conclusion of Transport Transit Agreement with China, Nepal’s situation as a land locked country now has been transformed into the land-linked country. This has ended the possibility of having to face inhumane blockade against Nepal in the future.
- Among the international forums, our presence was limited to only Asia society. Now we could present our views in world renowned international forums such as, Davos Forum, Oxford University, Ho Chi Minh University, and UN Peace University.
- Had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic, we would have already launched our own world class dialogue forum – Sagarmatha Sambad.
Progress of Some Other Important Programs
- Prime Minister employment Program: In accordance with the provision we have made in our constitutions, employment has been established as a fundamental right. With the objective of implementing this provision and promoting internal employment opportunities, Prime Ministers Employment Program has been introduced in the fiscal year 2075/76. Under this program, lists of unemployed individuals are maintained at Employment Service Centers established at the local level. Employment Information System has been developed at a local level to maintain database of unemployed individuals. Such individuals have been mobilized for the employment opportunities available in the private sector and in public development and construction projects. Under this scheme, more than 200,000 people will be provided at least 100 days of employment opportunities within a fiscal year or will be paid half the minimum wages as ‘unemployment benefit’ for the unemployed individuals.
By the end of Mangsir of fiscal year 2077/78, a total of 105,000 individuals have got employment out of the total registered (743,000). During the current fiscal year additional 200,000 individuals will be provided employment under this program.
- President Education Reform Program: This program has been initiated since Fiscal Year 2076/77 (2019/2020) with the objective of improving physical infrastructures and learning facilities of the educational institutions. During last fiscal year, upon formulation of its procedures and in response to the call of proposals from the school level, approximately 3 thousand and 3 hundred proposals were received.
- In current fiscal year, upon the call for projects of up to 25 lakhs, proposals have already been received from the schools together with the concurrence of the local levels. Proposals received from the schools include construction of classrooms, IT lab, science lab etc. Necessary process has been initiated towards the evaluation of the proposals and implement them.
- President Women Upliftment Program: Under this program, women empowerment initiatives, such as through multi-dimensional women entrepreneurship development, increasing of fiscal access, technological support and assistance to marketing of the produces have been undertaken. Under this program, 174 women suffering from maternity related complications in the remotest parts of the country have been air lifted by helicopters to the hospitals.
- There are two other programs associated with the President and Prime Minister – Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Program and President Chure Conservation Program. They have been implemented as per their master plans.
- Despite widespread complaints of nothing happening in the country, latest worldwide reports have demonstrated that Nepal has made significant progress in the area of economic and social development. The international organizations and entities such as the United Nations, World Bank have brought out through their reports published in the previous years the statistics and conclusions that Nepal has done gradual improvement. Those reports incorporate the facts that doing business environment has been improved in Nepal, positive developments have taken place in the area of education, health and employment, and the environment of social security is gradually being built through reduction in crime rate.
- The Human Development Report, 2020 published by the United Nations Development Programme by including status of education, health, drinking water and sanitation and income as well as other economic and social aspects shows that Nepal’s index has increased by 5.3 per cent in the duration of three years. This index indicates Nepal’s poverty not increasing even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- During this period, Nepal has made a substantial progress on Economic Vulnerability Index (24.2 from 28.4), Human Asset Index (from 71.2 to 75) and GNI Per Capita (from 887 to 1097), the three criteria for graduation from the least developed country category as set by the Committee for Development Policy of the United Nations. As the criteria for the Economic Vulnerability and Human Asset indices are already met and there is a huge progress in the GNI Per Capita, Nepal has attained a situation to graduate from the status of least development country from next year.
- The reconstruction of Dasharath Stadium damaged by the earthquake has been completed during this period. A new stadium is constructed in Pokhara. Not only we organized the 13th South Asian Games successfully, Nepal also stood in the second position after India in South Asia by winning a total of 207 medals, including 51 gold.
- The commitment of the Government to prevent deaths from freezing cold waves has been effective during the period.
- The resolve of “No one remains hungry and no one dies of hunger” has come into practice. Our cities are now free from street children, beggars and other street people.
- An independent think tank, “Policy Research Institute” is established to provide the Government with necessary policy feedback.
Our ongoing campaigns:
- Many transformative programmes were announced to provide an experience of change in the country in the period of five years. These programmes are on the list of programmes-in-progress because we had to go to the elections “before the completion of the term”. Among these programmes, some are in the process of implementation while others are in the stage of policy and procedural preparations.
- For operating “Electric Bus” as public transport in Kathmandu Valley and all provinces involving Federal, Provincial and Local as well as the private sector, Sajha Yatayat has started procurement process for which the Federal Government has invested NPR one billion. The Kathmandu Valley Public Transport Authority is formed to arrange public transport service in a scientific manner by ending the ‘syndicate’ in the transport sector.
- The Government is doing homework to establish a chemical fertilizers factory. The Council of Ministers has entrusted the high-level team comprising the ministers for finance, agriculture and industry, commerce and supplies to study in this regard. Similarly, the task force of finance, agriculture and industry secretaries has conducted a preliminary study and is preparing a draft report.
- The second and third phase of Kathmandu Ring Road improvement and expansion work halted due to the COVID pandemic is going to start soon. Necessary work for outer ring road construction plan is also ongoing.
- I mentioned last year that there would be Nepal’s own train running from Jayanagar to Bijalpura. I wish to reiterate it today – what I said last year is going to be realized soon. The rail is coming into operation.
- Upgradation of the East-West Highway into four to six lanes to the standards of the Asian Highway and completing the Madan Bhandari Highway in time have been advanced.
- Various programmes that we wanted to start are still on:
- Electrified railway: East-West Rail, Rasuwagadhi-Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini Rail, Birgunj-Kathmandu Rail;
- Tunnel ways: Nagdhunga-Naubise Tunnel, Betrawati-Syafrubensi Tunnel, Tokha-Chhahare Tunnel, Siddhababa Tunnel, Thankot-Chitlang Tunnel, Kathmandu-Hetauda Tunnel, Khurkot-Chiyabari Tunnel and Phedikhola-Nayapul Tunnel;
- Ships and Water Navigation: Kolkota-Sahibgunj-Kalughat-Nepal water transport;
- Electricity Transmission Lines: 400 kV capacity Galchhi-Rasuwagadhi-Kerung International Transmission Line, Lapsephedi-Ratamate-Damauli-Hetauda-Palpa-Butwal Transmission Line;
- Optical Fiber: Expanding optical fiber to all provinces relating to the Digital Nepal Programme; and
- Others: Universities including Madan Bhandari Science and Technology University and large industrial zones and large hydroelectricity projects.
- The series presented above is not a complete description of the work we carried out, rather it is just a tentative info. On the basis of achievements, my confidence that ‘Nepal builds and can be built’ is even stronger now.
- The fiscal year that I presented as the commencing year of prosperity, I fell sick the same year. The year in which we had to accelerate the development work, we were harassed by COVID-19 pandemic. At the time when the nation had to unite and fight against the pandemic, my colleagues hatched a “plot” by all means on how to overthrow the government. This has certainly smashed our success and dreams. Despite the negative propaganda, I think there is no reason for the country to be disappointed, as we have already laid enough foundations and work in these three years.
- We are now in the course of elections. I hear some people still raising a question whether there will be the election. I want to stress that there will be the election. It will be free, fair and impartial. The election will be held in two phases on 30 April and 10 May 2021. It will be held on 30 April in 40 districts of 4 provinces and on 10 May in 37 districts of the remaining 3 provinces. The Election Commission has intensified its preparations in this regard. I am taking information myself regarding the status of preparations. The people have now an opportunity to vote for the party of their choice to run the Government. As the Chairman and the Prime Minister of the ruling party, I am committed to fulfilling the promises made to the people. The manipulations of those who wish to reap the benefits of instability will be shattered in the elections to be held in April and May 2021. The country will achieve political stability and a stable government. The national aspiration of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepal” will certainly be fulfilled. I also appeal to all sisters and brothers of the country to actively participate in the elections and freely choose the representatives of their party.
Singh Durbar, Kathmandu