President unveils ambitious policy and programmes
President Bidya Devi Bhanadri unveiled the annual policy and programmes of the powerful communist government led by K P Sharma Oli on Monday. However, the document does not include any specific programme of the communists. Instead, it appears to be the continuity of the past programmes of the previous governments. Even the main opposition party in the parliament, the Nepali Congress, did not criticise the document, which looks practical and as expected by the people. Finance Minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada seemed to have worked hard to avoid many of the programmes which could not be implemented. The document also does reflect the strength of the government that it enjoys nearly a two-thirds majority. Although some of the targets of document like achieving the growth of two-digit, doubling the per capita income of the Nepalis, making Nepal self reliant in agro-products and ending the practice prevalent among youths to fly overseas as migrant workers look ambitious, they can be achieved if the government and private sector work in close coordination. Likewise, the government has targeted to produce 5,000 MW power in five years and 15,000 MW in 10 years. The government has also announced to complete the construction of the Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast track, postal highway and mid-hill highway in five years and build a fourth express highway—Madan Bhandari Highway -- from Shantinagar of Jhapa to Rupal of Dadeldhura. The government has made ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’ its longterm goal while providing equal opportunity, right, security and dignity will be guaranteed to all citizens. According to the document, the federal government will pay attention to the development of provinces and local levels, to empower them and to enhance their effectiveness and dignity. “All three levels - federation, province and local - were full of authority and all have common responsibilities and duties bequeathed by the time,” the President said while unveiling the document in the joint session of the parliament on Monday. “All organs, entities, structures, and institutions of the state were determined to empower the people and to build a prosperous and modern Nepal.” The government also hinted it would not tolerate any forces which try to disturb communal harmony and national integration. “The expressions and activities appearing in different forms aim at disrupting social harmony and even questioning national integrity are not only unacceptable but also punishable,” the President said. The President said that activities aimed at weakening of national unity, dishonoring of national integrity in any form and pretext, and disparaging patriotism could not be tolerated under any circumstance. In social sector, the government has committed to making basic education compulsory and free, end all kinds of violence against women and establish a 15bed hospital in each local level. According to the document, Nepal’s foreign relations will remain balanced and responsible based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, the Panchasheel, international or thematic multilateral/ bilateral agreements and covenants. Stating that the government has followed the policy of strengthening national unity by nurturing goodwill based on social and cultural equality and tolerance by earnestly recognising the country’s ethnic, linguistic, religious, cultural and geographical diversities, President Bhandari maintained that activities aimed at weakening of national unity, dishonoring of national integrity in any form and pretext, and disparaging patriotism could not be tolerated under any circumstance. “We are aware of Nepal’s sovereignty and national interests. We take pride on our history that never accepted anyone’s domination. Rich history and fundamentals lie behind our national pride,” said Bhandari, adding that as a truly independent and sovereign nation, the country was independent in its domestic and international policy, decision and role. The government will unveil its budget on the basis of the policy and programmes on coming Tuesday.