Kathmandu, May 29
Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel on Saturday presented the annual budget plan for the next fiscal year 2021/22. The budget plan, which has a total size of Rs 1.647 trillion, has many ambitious programmes whereas it also repeats some unimplemented programmes from past years.
As the country has been hard hit by the global Covid-19 crisis, the government has allocated big sums of money to the health sector and other sectors that could be significant in helping the country rejuvenate the economy. Likewise, as Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s popularity has come down, the government has announced some popular programmes in its bid to regain public support.
Despite the pandemic, the government has targeted achieving economic growth of 6.5 per cent next fiscal year.
Here are nine key things you should know about the budget plan.
1. Priority over healthcare
- Covid-19 vaccines: Rs 26.75 billion
- Covid-19 control and treatment: Rs 37.53 billion
- Monthly allowance of female community health volunteers: Rs 12,000
- The total budget of the Ministry of Health and Population: Rs 122.77 billion
2. Big budget to education
- Amount-wise, the Ministry of Education has received the biggest chunk of the budget: Rs 180.04 billion
- Monthly salary of early childhood development teacher: Rs 15,000
3. Social security allowances
- Senior citizen allowance: Rs 4,000/month
- 33% rise on all kinds of social security allowances
4. Pork-barrel fund cancelled
- The government cancelled the Local Infrastructure Development Partnership Programme that would allow federal lawmakers to spend budget on the projects they choose and design but reduced its size.
- Whereas a constituency would get Rs 60 million up to last year, the amount had been reduced to Rs 40 million last year.
- Reason: More budget required for Covid-19 response
5. Govt staff salary
- Monthly salary up by Rs 2,000 for everyone
6. Covid-19 relief
- Income tax waiver: From 50 to 90%
- Income tax waiver: For startups for the next five years
- Refinancing: Rs 13 billion
- 100% waiver for electricity consumers consuming only 20 units per month during the lockdown/prohibitory period
- 100% waiver on the drinking water bill for consumers consuming only 20,000 litres per month during the lockdown/prohibitory period
- Licence and renewal fee waiver for sectors such as film, handicraft, aviation, media, advertising, health club, beauty parlour
7. Subsidised loans
- Up to Rs 2.5 million in loan at up to 5% interest rate with academic credentials of the level above bachelors as collateral
- Up to Rs 2.5 million in loan at a 1% interest rate for startups
- Rs 80,000 loan for students to buy a laptop
8. Infrastructure plan highlights
- East-West Highway expansion: Rs 15.34 billion
- Railway development: Rs 10.03 billion
- Kathmandu-Terai fast track: Rs 8.15 billion
- Postal Highway: Rs 6.39 billion
- Airport construction and repair: Rs 20.31 billion
- Water supply: Rs 43.54 billion
- Madan Bhandari Highway: Rs 3.20 billion
9. Some interesting projects and announcements
- The central park, from Narayanhiti to Tripureshwar in Kathmandu (Greater Tundikhel)
- Allocation for the construction of temples at Ayodhyapur, Chitwan
- Priority to electric vehicles: Renewal and road tax waiver for next five years, another plan to replace fossil-fuel vehicles in the next 10 years
- Nepal Police and Armed Police Force personnel’s allowance up by 15%