Despite lawmakers’ pressure, govt in mood to scrap Constituency Development Programme

KP Sharma Oli addresses a House of Representatives meeting.

Kathmandu, May 15

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has hinted at scrapping the Constituency Infrastructure Special Programme, which allows lawmakers to spend budgets in any projects they like in their constituencies every year.

Lawmakers of various parties, however, want the government to increase the budget upto Rs 100 million for the Programme from existing Rs 30 million.

Though lawmakers of ruling parties CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre and main opposition party Nepali Congress piled pressure on the government to allocate Rs 100 million for the Constituency Infrastructure Special Programme, the government is not in any mood to continue the pork barrel spending as Minister for Finance Yubaraj Khatiwada has suggested stopping the allocation of budget for the programme.

Speaking on the issue during a recent Parliament meeting, Minister Khatiwada, however, said, “This is a political issue. The issue will be solved through discussion at the political level. The Prime Minister himself will deal with it. I will not comment on this.” A source close to the PM claims that Oli has already endorsed Khatiwada’s suggestion.

Therefore, some UML leaders have accused the Finance Minister of convincing the Prime minister to cut budgets. “Not only Rs 100 million, the Finance Minister influenced the Prime Minister to stop even Rs 30 million that was being provided through lawmakers currently,” complain some of them.

The lawmakers have formed a lobby group under the coordination of House of Representatives member from Khotang Bishal Bhattarai to advocate for the continuation of programmes.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has assured the lawmakers of providing budget if they come up with at most three development programmes for their constituencies, and direct monitoring will be conducted for the programme.

Published on May 15th, Tuesday, 2018 11:17 AM

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