6-7 states official NC positionThe ruling Nepal Congress has proposed six- or seven-state models of state restructuring on the basis of identity and capability.
With the official proposal of the largest party in the Constituent Assembly, the debate over federalism is expected to hot up as ruling partner CPN-UML has floated a similar federal model already. However, the opposition UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based parties have stood for 10 or 14 states.
The federal roadmap was floated during the NC’s Central Working Committee meeting on Saturday. Tabled by party’s Minister for Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs Narahari Acharya, the document is titled “major perspectives of Nepali Congress on key issues of constitution”.
Party President and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel briefly touched upon the proposal. The NC said that state powers would be divided among the Centre, provinces and local government units.
The proposed states will be all-powerful, based on pluralism and reflecting the federal, democratic and republican character. The party will table the document in the upcoming meeting of the Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee of the CA.
The states would be formed on the basis of capability and identity, the party said in the proposal. While carving out states, matters like use of and access to natural resources, administrative viability, economic capability and physical infrastructure were taken into account, said the party. In case any state wants to change its name, the state assembly should endorse it by a two thirds majority followed by another two-thirds majority of the federal parliament. Similarly, if any state goes for a change of its Capital, the federal parliament would decide it on the recommendation of the state government.
“Two prime regional languages spoken in a particular state apart from Nepali will be accredited as state languages. Prime cultural festivals in a particular state would be considered as state festivals,” read the proposal.
Permanent residents of the state would get priority while using, benefit-sharing and partnering in natural resources. On local governance, the party has floated Gaunpalika, Nagarpalika and districts, which will oversee development and security issues. The rights and limitations of these structures remain to be defined. The state government would set the criteria for the number and delineation of local structures. Every state government would form a high-level commission to decide the name of their local structure, number and constituency delineation.
“Regarding the state government, the name, number and delineation of constituencies will be decided within a year. But the present structure of local bodies will continue until another decision is made by the states. The state government will conduct the elections of the local bodies until the new set-up comes fully into effect,” said the proposal.
The special structural region that the state forms should be endorsed by the state assembly and announced by the state government.
To resolve any debate or dispute arising between the Centre and the state, and between the states, a mechanism at the highest level led by the prime minister comprising ministers for Defence, Home, Finance, Federal Affairs and chief ministers of the states would be formed. The constitutional court would have the final say over all legal and constitutional disputes.
The party backs the parliamentary system of governance while the prime minister elected by a majority of the lower house exercises executive powers.
The head of state would be the president elected by an electoral congress combined of central and state assemblies.
Size of the central Cabinet would not exceed 10 percent of the total number of parliamentarians.
The party has proposed 175 constituents for first-past-the-post elections to form
the lower house but 75 of the candidates come from proportional and inclusive quotas.
The size of state assembly would be 25-50 while state-level elections will be based on widely inclusive representation.
The size of the state Cabinet will not exceed 20 percent of the total strength of the state assembly.
“The constitutional court will remain for 10 years after the promulgation of the
new constitution to settle disputes between the Centre and states, between the states, state and local units,” said the party.
Chief justice of the Supreme Court would chair the court.
- Gaunpalika, Nagarpalika and districts
- Size of central Cabinet not to exceed 10 percent of total number of parliamentarians
- 175 constituents for first-past-the-post elections to form lower house
- Size of state assembly 25-50
- Constitutional court to settle disputes between Centre and states