Kantipur Madhesh Manthan concludes with dialogues on federalism and its interpretation in NepalThe fifth and the final session highlighted the importance of decentralisation of power for the successful implementation of federalism.
The fifth and the final session of the Madhesh Manthan organised by Kantipur Media Group discussed federalism in Nepal, its various interpretations and its implementation.
The speakers for the session titled ‘Practice and Experience of Federalism’ were Lal Babu Raut, chief minister of Madhesh Province, Krishna Khanal, professor of Political Science at Tribhuvan University, Bimala Rai Poudyal, member of National Assembly, and writer and analyst CK Lal.
Chief Minister Lal Babu Raut said that the federal structure has no meaning if the federal government does not take the implementation of federalism seriously.
“The federal government is misguided by its centralised mindset. This has hindered the effective implementation of federalism,” he said. “We still don’t have the required laws. The peace and security of the province could be improved with the help of the federal government but there is no cooperation to form laws that will allow the formation of the provincial police.”
The centralisation of Kathmandu and its monopoly has become a challenge to federalism, said Prof Khanal. “Nepal is practising democratic federalism. The power of our federalism is in its democracy,” he said. “But it is apparent that the federal government is working on foundations that are anti-federalism. But I don’t see the provincial governments asserting their authority either.”
Some of the experts argued that the constitution of Nepal itself was designed not to empower the provincial governments. “The constitutional design of the provinces is defective,” said writer CK Lal. “Therefore, I don’t see the provincial government functioning effectively even if there are legal and other instruments in place.” He claimed that none of the political parties seeks effective implementation of federalism because they themselves do not accept it wholeheartedly.
National Assembly member Poudyal said that federalism had promised ‘Singha Durbar in every village’ but that the Singha Durbar is still in Kathmandu hinting at the centralisation of power in the federal structure in Nepal.
“When these issues are raised in the National Assembly, they say it isn’t the time to review federalism,” said Poudyal. “Federalism is not only a political issue. The parties must exercise federalism themselves but that is not happening.”
Madhesh Manthan’, a day-long brainstorming programme focusing on the sustainable development, prosperity and transformation of Madhesh Pradesh, was organised by Kantipur Media Group in collaboration with the Madhesh Province government, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Information and Communications and the Province Assembly Secretariat. The programme held in Janakpur on Saturday was inaugurated by Dr Ram Baran Yadav, Nepal’s first president.
The programme ran five different sessions on varied topics ranging from governance to social transformation of the Madhesh Province.