KATHMANDU: The meeting of the House of Representatives (HoR) on Wednesday held discussions on principles and priorities of budget and programmes to be included in the appropriation bill for the fiscal year 2022\23.
Attending the session, lawmakers stressed the need for balanced development activities and economic distribution. Suggesting that a common understanding should be reached to bring the budget, they stressed that it should prioritise agriculture, energy and tourism and lead the country toward economic independence.
The principles and priorities of budget presented in Tuesday’s HoR session by Finance Minister Janardan Sharma has focused on maintaining fiscal discipline, the proposal of budget allocation in the projects that are feasible in terms of finance and technology and cutting government expenditure on non-productive area.
Similarly, they have emphasised building an independent and socialism-oriented economy while focusing on social justice and rural development, generating job opportunities for immigrant youths within the country and increasing agricultural production.
On the occasion, ruling NC’s whip Pushpa Bhusal Gautam expressed the hope that the budget would help make strides in rural development and in the sectors of energy and tourism while increasing agricultural production. Poor people and Dalit backward communities within the Kathmandu Valley should also be addressed in it, she said.
Similarly, Haribol Gajurel from the CPN (Maoist Center), a coalition partner in the incumbent government, criticised the principles and priorities of budget as not mentioning the subject of land reforms while suggesting that there should be wide discussions among political parties, both ruling and opposition, before making government’s policies and programmes.
Former Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal, CPN (Unified Socialist) leader said the coalition government should bring a ‘socialism-oriented budget’ in line with the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
He suggested formulating a budget on the basis of the Directive Principles of the State included in the constitution.
He stressed the need for modernising and the mechanisation of agriculture. Khanal reiterated increasing agricultural production for minimising food import. He said the tendency of fragmentation of cultivable land should be stopped and the farmers be provided with improved breeds of seed and fertilizers. He further added that investment in agriculture research should be boosted and the minimum price of agriculture produce determined.
The former Prime Minister also suggested establishing agricultural market in every ward of the local units, and linking the farm produce to the national and international market.
He laid emphasis on the development of industries based on agriculture, tourism, minerals, forest and water resources for taking the country ahead towards industrialisation and creating employment opportunities. “Nepal itself should construct large hydroelectricity projects,” he stated.
Leader Khanal suggested converting the petroleum-run vehicles into electric ones to reduce import of petroleum products and ultimately the burgeoning trade deficit.
Reiterating the need to take a policy of increasing the domestic consumption of electricity and selling only surplus electricity, he said that it was important for the government to pay special attention to the expansion of transmission lines.
Urging to implement progressive tax system, he said that the leakages of electricity should be tightened by widening the scope of taxes.
Furthermore, pressing for the earliest completion of expansion of East-West and North-South Highway, he viewed that Mahakali Corridor should be built in Western part of the country and Mechi Corridor in the East.”It is important from the national security viewpoint. The border security would be further strengthened by Mahakali and Mechi Corridors,” he said.
Uma Shankar Aragariya from the Loktantrik Samajwadi Party stressed the need for prioritising agriculture and resolving problems facing farmers like that of a lack of fertilizers and seeds. Main opposition CPN (UML)’s Khagaraj Adhikari emphasised the transformation of tourism and culture into national capital while criticising the incumbent government for increasing the trade deficit.
Also, Samina Hussein from the CPN (Unified Socialist), an alliance partner in the government, underscored the need for agriculture development. The lower house will next meet at 1:00 pm today.
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