Govt doles out Rs2.85b in financial aidThe Finance Ministry has said it has so far released Rs2.85 billion in financial assistance to different individuals and institutions since the second Constituent Assembly (CA) election held on November 19, 2013.
The Finance Ministry has said it has so far released Rs2.85 billion in financial assistance to different individuals and institutions since the second Constituent Assembly (CA) election held on November 19, 2013.
The government has adopted a policy under which it distributes financial assistance to those who need state aid for the treatment of serious illness. However, most of the time, only those who are in power or powerful positions get such assistance in large amounts.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, and former prime ministers Sushil Koirala and Jhalanath Khanal are among the leaders who have received huge amounts in financial assistance from the government for their treatment abroad. On Oct 10, the government had decided to provide Rs1.5 million in medical expenses to corruption-tainted Nepali Congress leader Khum Bahadur Khadka.
However, the Finance Ministry said the distributed assistance became huge as maximum amount went to former Maoist combatants who were promised up to Rs800,000 each for not joining the Nepal Army during the army integration.
“Of the total amount distributed, around Rs2.5 billion went to the former Maoist combatants,” said Hari Sharan Pudashaini, under secretary at the Finance Ministry. They were provided the amount in two instalments.
This fiscal year so far, the government has already doled out Rs125 million, while it has received requests for an additional Rs65 million. The budget allocated by the government for the purpose stands at Rs200 million for this fiscal year, according to the ministry.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary Finance Committee has directed the government to stop providing financial assistance to institutions to conduct commemorative programmes and celebrations.
Various organizations have been receiving money to hold cultural, religious and political programmes and anniversaries, and the practice will be stopped for the time being under the instruction issued on Friday.
The House panel has also asked the government to direct the Finance Ministry to release medical treatment funds only after the bills have been submitted as per the existing rules and regulations, the committee said in a press statement.
In recent years, the government has released millions of rupees to pay for the medical treatment of high, powerful and popular persons. The VIPs who fly abroad to get better medical treatment are provided adequate expenses.
The President, Prime Minister, incumbent ministers, former ministers, leaders of the political parties and popular persons have all gone to foreign countries for medical treatment courtesy of the government.
On October 10, the government had decided to provide Rs1.5 million in medical expenses to corruption tainted Nepali Congress leader Khum Bahadur Khadka.
On March 20, in a move to stop the growing trend of leaders going abroad for the treatment of ailments when it could be done in Nepal itself, the Cabinet endorsed a proposal tabled by the Health Ministry barring people classified as VIP and VVIP from seeking treatment abroad at the expense of the exchequer for diseases that can be treated within the country.
Such persons will be permitted to go abroad for treatment with government money only if the Nepal Medical Board at the hospital decides that the case cannot be treated in hospitals in the country.
The committee’s meeting on Friday also directed the government to make the existing distribution of funds for medical treatment more practical. “The existing guideline on state treatment facilities should be amended so that only needy patients receive such benefits,” the committee said in a statement.
It has asked the government to immediately draft a new guideline on the state financial assistance and medial treatment facilities that are provided through the Ministry of Home Affairs.
For this, the government has been told to prepare a draft guideline with the involvement of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Council of Ministers and the Home, Finance and Health ministries.
The government has been given a month to submit the draft. “We will study the draft and provide suggestions and directions to the government,” the committee said. It added that it would launch an investigation into the distribution of state facilities in the past.