Govt to declare ‘Decade of Agriculture Revolution’In a major push to the agriculture sector, the government has said the next 10 years will be declared “Decade of Agriculture Revolution”.
In its policies and programmes presented at the Parliament on Sunday, the government said it will prioritise contract farming, farm mechanisation as and cooperative-based farming to enhance production and productivity.
“The government will increase investment in agriculture and related infrastructure, provide and streamline subsidy for agriculture revolution,” said Finance Secretary Yubaraj Bhusal.
Amid farmers struggling to get appropriate price for their produce, the government announced it would fix reference prices for key products. It will also introduce targeted programmes for “women farmers” considering their increased role in the sector.
Besides agriculture, the government has also given top priority to the energy sector. Under the slogan “Ujyalo Nepal, Sambriddha Nepal”, the government has planned a plateful of initiatives for the energy sector — from operating existing power projects in full capacity, expediting the construction of new projects and cross-border transmission lines to introducing new Electricity Act.
Bhusal said the biggest focus will be given to completing the transmission line projects to end load-shedding in the next three years. Completing the Dhalekebar-Muzaffarpur Transmission Line within a year and constructing two more cross-border transmission lines will be other priorities of the government.
In a major policy initiative, the government has also announced that Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will be unbundled into three entities looking after production, transmission and distribution.
It also plans to conduct detail project report (DPR) study on Budhi Gandaki, Nyalsingadh, Uttarganga and Naumure hydropower projects.
The government has declared promulgating the new Electricity Act, and restructuring the Water and Energy Commission into Water Resources Commission.
As far as the irrigation sector is concerned, the government aims to start the construction of Bheri-Babai Diversion Project from the next year, while feasibility studies and DPR of Kaligandaki-Tinanu and Sunkoshi Diversion Project will also be initiated.
Aiming at second generation reforms, the government has announced it will introduce a number of the new policies and Acts to create investment-friendly environment.
The long-awaited new Industrial Enterprise Act, new Foreign Investment Policy and Act and Special Economic Zone Act will be introduced.
The government will prioritise establishing import substituting and export industries in order to reduce the ballooning trade deficit, which has already reached Rs 505.8 billion as of first 10 months of the current fiscal year.
The policy and programmes also promised implementing recently-submitted recommendations of the Parliamentary Probe Committee on the Petroleum Sector, which has asked for a separate Petroleum Act to guide the sector, among other suggestions.
Amid complaints about substandard roads, the government has announced contracts will the awarded on condition that contractors will be responsible for repair and maintenance for 10 years.
“Such a provision is being made for the first time to ensure contractors do quality work amid complaints roads are damaged within a few months after completion,” said Bhusal. “We are ready pay additional amount to the contractors for repair and maintenance.”
The government also aims to start the construction of the Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track road.
The government has also said drinking water will be made available to all the people within the next three years.
“For this, existing drinking water projects will be implemented at top gear,” states the policies and programmes document.
It says the government will take initiatives to operate Nepal Airline Corporation (NAC) under public-private partnership modal. “Additional planes will be arranged for domestic and international flights,” it says.
The government has also the announced establishing an “employer bank” in partnership with the private sector, which will provide loans easily to the youths for self employment, Bhusal said.
- “Ujyalo Nepal, Sambriddha Nepal”
- Road contractors to be made liable for repairs for 10 years
- Driking water for all in three years
- Nepal Electricity Authority to be unbundled
- ANC to be operated under public-private partnership
- Employer Bank to be established
- Industrial Enterprise Act, Electricity Act, SEZ Act to be introduced