The new constitution promulgated in 2015 ushered Nepal into an era of federal democratic republic, abolishing a 240-year-old monarchy. For centuries, Nepal was under unitary model. A strong central government always featured in the governance system in Nepal since the ancient time. Even when the country was divided into scores of principalities prior to its unification, they were governed by powerful feudal rulers. They had the whip over the matters of security, law enforcement and governance at the grassroots. The local chieftains swore allegiance to the kings and acted on behalf of the latter to make sure that raitis (subjects) are loyal to the centre and pay tax to it. This sort of unitary system operated with timely modifications and adjustments. However, the growing needs and aspirations of the people ran counter to this model of administration that increasingly became rigid and unresponsive over the years. It failed to deliver development and happiness to the citizens. So the country adopted federalism on the back of seismic political changes, aspiring to achieve economic transformation and fair distribution of wealth and resources.
Nonetheless, treading a federal path is not easy. It has hit a bump in the road, with the governments of newly created States asserting their rights and powers as outlined in the constitution. The division of rights between the three tiers of government has been a tall order despite the clear constitutional arrangements. The State governments have demanded their greater say in the matters of resource allocations and institutional set-up of civil service, police and judiciary, among others. Immediately after the formation of the present government, some States demanded to exercise their rights, putting the centre and States on a collision course. Given that the federal experiment is quite new for the country, the conflicts between the two-layers of administration are not strange. Barring some disputes, the federal government has put its best foot forward to take the States into confidence by gradually allowing them to exercise their authority and rights.
In its latest bid, the federal government has cleared the deck for completing the integration of police force in all the seven States. The other day President Bidya Devi Bhandari issued the Nepal Police and State Police (Operation, Supervision and Coordination) First Amendment Ordinance that will facilitate the Ministry of Home Affairs to step up necessary procedures to complete the halted integration processes of Nepal Police in the State Police, according to a news report carried by this daily. As per the ordinance, the federal government will oversee the Kathmandu Valley’s overall police command and operation. Though the Valley falls into Bagmati State, the police administration of the capital will not be the part of it. The present Metropolitan Police Office will be transformed into the Federal Capital Police Office. Likewise, the Metropolitan Police Crime Division Teku's operation command will also come under the Federal Police in the valley. It will also be converted into the Federal Capital Crime Division. The State Police Office has been given rights to promote and transfer police officers up to Superintendent of Police (SP). With the State governments having clear legal mandate and clarity in pushing the integration of police force, they have now greater responsibility to maintain law and order inside their territories. This marks another step in federalising the internal security apparatus of the country.