From the Kathmandu Press: Tuesday, February 12, 2019

All major newspapers carry stories of the new civil service law which bars the government employees from criticising the government. News of the Prime Minister Employment Programme, which will ensure a minimum of 100 days of job opportunity for people from the working age at their own local level has also been covered in most newspapers. News of the government being urged to pick independent experts for transitional justice bodies has also been discussed in the papers.

Here is a summary of important, ignored and interesting stories from the cover pages of national broadsheets:

KP Sharma Oli


Government to provide jobs

The Kathmandu Post reports that the government is rolling out a scheme that will guarantee minimum days of employment for citizens in a move that aims to deal with unemployment and discourage labour migration from the country.

The Prime Minister Employment Programme, which is set to be unveiled this week, will ensure a minimum of 100 days of job opportunity for people from the working age at their own local level.

The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, which will implement the scheme, has identified 13 sectors, including national pride projects, where unemployed youths will be working as part of the scheme.

In order to secure minimum days of work, a candidate will have to first register at the Employment Service Centre (ESC), which will be established in all the 753 local units. The Employment Coordinators to be deployed at all the centres will keep records of the unemployed population at their units.

Govt urged to pick independent experts for TJ bodies

Annapurna Post and Republica report that rights bodies and conflict victims have urged the government to begin consultations on transitional justice-related law and appoint competent professionals to fill the leadership void in transitional justice bodies without further delay.

The government on Wednesday extended the terms of the TJ bodies—Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons— by another year, and asked the incumbent commission members to continue in office until mid-April. The government wants to finalise the TJ-related laws and reshuffle the existing commissions by that date.

The leadership void has caused confusion at the TRC, which has received more than 63,000 complaints about conflict-era cases.

 Government tightening leash on manpower agencies

Kantipur, The Himalayan Times and Republica report that Parliament’s Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights has endorsed an amendment proposal for the Foreign Employment Act 2007, with minor revisions. Under the amendment, foreign employment agencies will need to hike their security deposits within six months.

According to the revised provision endorsed by the committee, any manpower agency supplying below 3,000 workers abroad in a year requires Rs 5 million as a security deposit and a bank guarantee of Rs 20 million. Similarly, those sending 3,000 to 5,000 workers abroad need Rs 10 million as a security deposit and a bank guarantee of Rs 30 million. The amendment proposes that a manpower company that can send more than 5,000 workers abroad annually should deposit Rs 20 million as a security deposit and Rs 40 million as bank guarantee, within six months.

The parliamentary panel has also proposed scrapping the registration of any foreign employment agency failing to send a minimum of 100 people abroad in a year.


Red panda breeding centre established

Nepal Samacharpatra reports that a red panda breeding centre has opened in Sandakpur Rural Municipality in Ilam. The locals of the rural municipality decided to open a breading centre after the endangered animal came under threat from hunters, dogs and other wild animals. Cameras were installed in the jungles to control the poaching of red pandas.

6 Ministries have two secretaries each

Annapurna Post reports that six government ministries currently have two secretaries each under their payroll. This happened after the governments plan to reduce the number of ministries from 31 to 21. However, the performance of the ministries hasn’t improved even though the ministries have two secretaries.

A dispute has been created between the secretaries. When giving a responsibility to one, the other feels s/he is not being treated fairly. The lower level employees are confused about whose orders to follow.

Finance Ministry, Ministry of Commerce, Industries and Supply, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Ministry of Health and Population and Ministry of Energy Water Resources and Irrigation have two secretaries each.

Nepali immigrants sue Trump administration

File: Donald Trump

The Kathmandu Post reports that a group of Temporary Protected Status holders from Nepal and Honduras sued the Trump administration for its decision to terminate TPS designation for the two countries, arguing the decision was unconstitutional and motivated by the administration’s anti-immigrant sentiments.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday by a law firm representing three Nepalis, three Hondurans and three children—one Nepali and two Honduran—who were born in the United States. As per the US citizenship laws, children born in the country automatically qualify for US citizenship.

The lawsuit alleges the Trump administration violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) by departing from past practices when deciding whether to continue or terminate a country’s TPS designation, and adopted a new interpretation of the TPS statute without any formal announcement or explanation.


Ashoka Pillar losing its shine due to negligence

Kantipur reports that the Ashoka Pillar has been gradually deteriorating for the past few years. Archaeologists say that the increasing pollution level and direct contact with harmful particles in the air is weakening the pillar day by day.

UNESCO’s consultant and stone conservator, Constantino Meucci, and his team had carried out a detailed study of the pillar from 2013 to 2016 and submitted its study report. The study was conducted using infrared cameras and installing other modern equipment on the pillar. The study found that particles of cement, gypsum, crystal and small stones were found sticking to the pillar. Sulfur, smoke, dust and plastic pieces were also found on the outer layer of the pillar.

Archaeologists argue that the various chemicals will affect the stone in the long run. They underscore immediate measures to protect and preserve the historic pillar.

The locals blame the LDT for not taking proper initiatives to preserve and protect the historically important arts and artefacts of Lumbini.

One doctor to look after 1200 patients

Rajdhani reports that at an average a doctor working in remote areas of Nepal looks at over 1200 patients. Most remote areas do not have much working staff, thousands of patients have to wait for their turn with the doctor. This is because only 2,500 doctors are available with the government which is why most people in remote areas go to the headquarters for medical help. The government is in the process of trying to hire more doctors.

Published on February 12th, Tuesday, 2019 10:00 AM

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