Tuesday, 2 June, 2020

Realistic Budget Awaited

The Federal Parliament has endorsed the government's policy and programmes for the upcoming fiscal year 2020-21 after holding extensive discussions. This has paved the way for the Federal Government to formulate a budget which is scheduled to be unveiled next week. As the COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as a serious threat in Nepal, the new budget is expected to focus on saving people's lives from the contagion and reviving the national economy. The pandemic has challenged even many developed countries, including the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom and Japan. Because dealing with these tasks are quite challenging, Nepal, as a least developed nation, needs to work on its fiscal budget in a more careful manner. Besides expanding and upgrading health infrastructures, the impending budget will have to be able to tackle numerous economic and social challenges.

The government has also initiated the historic responsibility of returning the country's territories of Kalapani, Lipulek and Limpiyadhura. The southern neighbour has stationed its army in Nepal's territories. It is constructing a link road to connect Lipulek at Nepal-China border. Based on the historical documents, treaties and other solid evidences, those areas belong to Nepal. All the political parties have pledged to join forces with the government to reclaim the encroached territories. Defending the policy document of the government at the Federal Parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that the government would not step back from its commitment to reclaim the territories of Limpiyadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani. The Prime Minister said that it would the first responsibility of the government to return the country's land and saving lives from the COVID-19 pandemic. In its policy document, which was presented by President Bidya Devi Bhandari at the Federal Parliament last week, the government had expressed its firm determination to take concrete steps to bring those territories back. PM Oli also sought necessary support from lawmakers to deal with the contemporary challenges.  

Although the government has remained dedicated to containing the transmission of the coronavirus since the beginning, the pandemic seems to be spreading faster. The contagion has claimed two lives in the country and cases have been increasing almost daily. In its effort to contain the virus, the government has intensified screening process in the pandemic-hit areas nationwide. It has already prepared isolation wards with 57,904 beds. Of them, about 23,000 beds are on a par with the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards. As pledged in its policy document, the government is expected to lay focus on the development of education and agriculture sectors as well. The government will have to incorporate some special packages of agro business in the budget for creating jobs as well a balancing domestic demand. Managing labour market is equally vital for the government as remittance has been a major contributor for the country's gross domestic product (GDP). It is also necessary for the country to build up physical infrastructure and give continuity to national pride projects. Hopefully, the government will come up with a more realistic budget to deal with all the pressing issues. 

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