Karnali's Plan For Change


With the current fiscal year (2022-23) about to complete, the provincial governments are now busy preparing their respective policy documents and budget for the next fiscal year. The federal government has recently unveiled its budget based on its policy and programmes that had been endorsed by the parliament earlier. The federal budget is now under discussion in the parliament. An effective implementation of fiscal federalism is a must for making the federal system of governance a success. This can be possible only through proper cooperation and coordination among all the three-tier governments—federal, provincial and local.

The Karnali Province government on Sunday presented its policy and programmes for the upcoming fiscal year 2023-24. In its policy paper, the government has prioritised education, health, employment and infrastructure development. The province has come up with the slogan of ‘Infrastructure for education, health and employment’ in order to bring about the much-needed socio-economic transformation in the lives of the people. It has given continuity to its fruitful policies and programmes launched in the previous and current fiscal years.

Although the Karnali Province is abundant in natural resources, including rare herbs and scenic beauty, it is still considered socially and economically backward and underdeveloped. Many poor people living in some outlying parts of the province often grapple with a scarcity of food.  The level of awareness among the local residents is much lower than that of others. Such areas are found falling far behind other regions in terms of education, healthcare services and job opportunities. A difficult topography of the province is one of the main reasons for the plight of the locals. Owing to lack of job opportunities in villages, there has been a growing tendency among the locals, especially youths, to leave for cities, including Kathmandu, and abroad in search of a job and better prospects of life. To tackle the rising problem of unemployment, the provincial government has declared a prosperity initiative under which it aims to generate at least 10,000 jobs every year. This is part of its poverty eradication drive. 

Agriculture is another important economic sector the province can develop. When this sector is commericialised, it could be a mainstay of the local economy. Because the province holds vast potential for organic farming, the provincial government is now planning to develop it into an organic province. The government has unveiled a plan to carry out a feasibility study on the establishment of organic fertiliser factories within the province. It has embraced the policy of supporting the people, companies or groups involved in agriculture by helping them transport and market their products. The government is also willing to give continuity to the programmes related to agriculture and livestock insurance, income generation for the landless and marginalised communities. Besides, it is mulling to provide interest subsidies for medium and small-scale industries. Meanwhile, the provincial government plans to develop Chhinchu-Mehalkuna section as an industrial corridor.

Considering a huge tourism scope of the province, the government will focus on building up necessary tourism infrastructures. It aims to encourage investors to invest in big hotels and other tourism-related facilities.  The government will develop the Sinja Valley into a special touristic site, preserve the Dullu and Jajarkot palaces and upgrade the Surkhet Airport.  Similarly, it has a plan to connect Muktinath through a road linking the Karnali Corridor, Bheri-Karnali Corridor, Rara Limi, and Kailash Manasarovar. It is said that well planned is half done. So, the government must formulate its development plans and programmes prudently.

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