House endorses Local Level Governance ActFour months after the local level units came into operation through elections in some parts, the Legislature-Parliament on Tuesday endorsed the Local Level Governance Act paving the way for the full fledged operation of the elected local bodies.
Four months after the local level units came into operation through elections in some parts, the Legislature-Parliament on Tuesday endorsed the Local Level Governance Act paving the way for the full fledged operation of the elected local bodies.
In the lack of the Act, the local bodies in Provinces 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 had been carrying out only the administrative works. The bill, registered in Parliament on May 12 for the endorsement, had been pending due to differences among the parties over a number of provisions.
“The newly elected bodies can now function effectively after the Act comes into effect,” Minister for Land Reform Gopal Dahit told the House, while presenting the bill for endorsement.
The Act, which comes into effect once authenticated by the President, has opened the door to mergers of two or more municipalities or rural municipalities if such proposals are endorsed by a majority of the councils from the respective local units. They can be merged if they deem it necessary for financial or other reasons. While formulating the local units, officials at the Local Level Restructuring Commission had argued that only 300 units are economically viable.
The bill also authorises the local governments to change their names and administrative centres with a majority decision of the council. The local level units are free to change the boundaries of the wards or upgrade them, for instance from rural municipalities to municipalities, if the they fulfil the criteria set by the government. The Act, formulated in accordance with the spirit of Constitution of Nepal, grants the local level units legislative, executive and judicial rights.
With the endorsement of the Act, the local bodies now have authority to manage teachers, staff and education up to the basic level—Grade 8—and oversee basic medical care. The local legislature has the power to formulate local laws in line with the Act drafts provided by the Centre, while the local judiciary can decide cases related to irrigation, daily wages and pastures, among others.
The smallest units among three tiers of the government will can set up their own city police force, issue land ownership certificates and collect revenue on property, besides registering births, deaths and marriages.
They are also allowed to levy the taxes on house rent, entertainment, property, tourism, among others, in compliance with the tax laws of the Central and Provincial governments.