Until 1990, Nepal was an absolute monarchy running under the executive control of the king. Faced with a people”s movement against the absolute monarchy, King Birendra, in 1990, agreed to large-scale political reforms by creating a parliamentary monarchy with the king as the head of state and a prime minister as the head of the government.
Nepal”s legislature was bicameral consisting of a House of Representatives and a National Council. The House of Representatives consists of 205 members directly elected by the people. The National Council had sixty members, ten nominated by the king, thirty-five elected by the House of Representatives and the remaining fifteen elected by an electoral college made up of chairs of villages and towns. The legislature had a five-year term, but was dissolvable by the king before its term could end. All Nepali citizens 18 years and older became eligible to vote.
The Constitution has institutionalized such significant achievements as federal democratic republic, proportional inclusive governance system with social justice, fundamental rights, unity among diversity, tolerance and secularism.
The country is advancing through the stage of implementation of the Constitution. A new era of national independence and dignity, democracy, durable peace, good governance, development and prosperity has begun. I would like to pay heartfelt tribute to martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the movements in different periods for these historic achievements. I highly commend the contribution of leaders who steered for almost a century various movements and revolutions for nationhood, democracy and people’s livelihood. I thank and congratulate all political parties, civil society, media and sisters and brothers who contributed by participating in fronts of struggle.
The political struggle for achievement of rights has mainly been accomplished with the promulgation of the Constitution institutionalizing achievements of the
struggles and people’s rights. The phase of peace process has essentially been completed after the promulgation of the Constitution. All tasks related to peace process will be accomplished once the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission for the Investigation of Disappeared Persons formed as per the Comprehensive Peace Accord complete their works. The country has now moved towards the direction of prosperity by means of equitable and sustainable economic growth. For the attainment of this objective, I would now like to present before this august House the Policies and Programs of the Government of Nepal.
The Government of Nepal has been active as per the directives of the Constitution for national independence, territorial integrity and unity and will remain committed forever to national interest, enhancement of national strength and dignity. Accordingly, with a motto as ‘Implementation of Constitution: Socio-economic Progress of Nepal and Nepalis’, the Government of Nepal will remain active in the implementation of the Constitution that started with the election of the Prime Minister. 193 laws incompatible with the Constitution have been amended by this very esteemed House and additional 138 laws will be enacted next fiscal year. Socialism-oriented governance system envisaged by the Constitution will be directed towards the destination of Happy Nepalis and Prosperous Nepal.
For the implementation of federalism and administrative restructuring, a High Level Steering Committee at political level and a Coordination Committee at administrative level have been constituted. For the restructuring of the local level, the Commission constituted to determine the number and boundary of Village Bodies, Municipalities and Special, Protected or Autonomous Areas has been working.
Since it will take some time to determine number and boundary and legal basis of local level as per federal structure, election for the local bodies, remaining without people’s representatives for last 14 years, will be held within November/December 2016 under the transitional provisions. This will help ensure democratic exercise at people’s level, rule of law and leadership of people’s representatives in local development ending the condition of absence of people’s representatives at local bodies.
Coming year will be taken as the year of implementation of Constitution and transformation of governance system. The Government of Nepal has already constituted a political committee to address the dissatisfaction about the demarcation of States and is ready to advance work by giving full shape to the Committee.
The unimaginable loss of lives and property and scenes of devastation in the country caused by the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015 and the aftershocks that followed are still fresh in our memory. The fact is clear before all of us that the Terai-Madhes agitation and obstruction at the southern border following the promulgation of the Constitution further ruined the economy of the country while we were still facing challenges created by destruction and shocks of the earthquake. While recalling the patience, dignity and unity demonstrated by the Nepali people in such a difficult situation.
The reconstruction works have now been intensified although it took some time to prepare necessary institutional and legal foundation for reconstruction due to unfavorable situation created in the country. Transfer of the first installment of the grant to be provided by the Government for reconstruction of private houses has already been started.
All eligible beneficiaries will be provided with grants smoothly with a view to completing construction of all private houses within two years. For private houses, in addition to grant of Rs. 200,000, soft loan of Rs. 300,000 will be provided without security under collective guarantee of house owners, and soft loan of Rs. 1.5 million in rural areas and Rs. 2.5 million in Kathmandu valley will be provided with security. To help build safe houses, trained technicians have already been mobilized to provide technical assistance in the affected areas. As it will take some time to build private houses damaged by earthquake, the construction of community shelters are being carried out to bring the home-less people under the roof immediately.
One House, One Employment program will be implemented in earthquake affected areas and this will be gradually expanded to other sectors.