Friday, 17 September, 2021

Tasks Before Parliament

Fresh sessions of both the Houses of federal parliament – the House of Representatives (HoR) and National Assembly - kicked off on Wednesday. The Parliament Secretariat has already published 32-point potential business schedule for the meetings of Lower and Upper Houses. The parliament has now many important tasks to be dealt with in earnest. The House sessions followed some crucial political developments associated with the consolidation of federal democratic system. It will see the presence of two new political parties – CPN-Unified Socialist and Loktantrik Samajbadi Party (LSP). These two parties were split from the opposition CPN-UML and Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP), respectively. The CPN-Unified Socialist is the part of the coalition government led by Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba. The government is seeking the approval of the ordinance on Political Party (Second Amendment) in the ongoing session of the House. The ordinance had facilitated the creation of CPN-Unified Socialist whose lawmakers stood against the HoR dissolution.

The parliament is expected to endorse more than a dozen ordinances on oath, railway, medicine, citizenship, finance, COVID-19 Crisis Management Committee, social security and others. In more than three-and-a-half-years of HoR’s five-year tenure, it was dissolved twice. The previous government resorted to ordinances to handle the affairs of the state. The ordinances should be issued only in specific circumstances as defined by a Supreme Court ruling. However, these ordinances need the House approval ultimately for their constitutional validity. Meanwhile, the government is set to present vital Bills related to Civil Service and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), among others. There has been much debate on the pros and cons of the US grant to be spent on the energy infrastructure. Even the ruling parties are divided over it. The student wings of some coalition partners are hitting the streets against it.

However, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has made it clear that the government would coordinate and consult with major political parties before deciding on the MCC. Prime Minister Deuba made this remark while speaking at a meeting of the parliamentary party of the Nepali Congress (NC) on Tuesday. Deuba was of the view that NC-led government in the past had signed the agreement on MCC only after making a detailed study on it, according to the news report of this daily. The PM said that MCC is an assistance meant for the infrastructural development of country. The PM has rightly said that the political parties need to forge cooperation and consensus on the issues having broader implications. It has become essential for the political parties to have common position on the matters of national interest, economic development and foreign policy.

Meanwhile, the government has also decided to inform the parliament about the diplomatic note sent to India regarding the disappearance of Jay Singh Dhami in the Mahakali River of Darchula district. With the reinstatement of HoR, Nepal’s constitution and federal politics has come on the right track. Now the onus is on all political parties represented in the federal parliament to keep the constitutional spirit intact and let the House run smoothly. Parliament is the supreme people’s elected body bound to address their concerns and aspirations. The parties must not forget this fact. Therefore, they should make the parliament the vibrant seat of democracy to fix the burning problems facing the nation.