High Level Interaction Programme on Intergovernmental Relation – Province No. 1, Biratnagar

Nepal Administrative Staff College (NASC), Centre for Federalism Studies (CFS) conducted a “High Level Interaction Programme on Intergovernmental Relation” at Biratnagar, Province No. 1 on 21 Poush 2076. The programme was hosted by Mr. Bishnu Prasad Lamsal, Senior Director of Studies, Nepal Administrative Staff College. Thirty-eight participants participated including Chief Minister Serdhan Rai, Minister Hikmat Karki, Speaker Pradeep Bhandari, Deputy Speaker Saraswati Pokharel, Chair of Parliamentary Committees, Members of Provincial Assembly, Principal Secretary, Secretary of OCMCM, Secretary of Provincial Assembly and other senior bureaucrats of Province Government.

Mr. Bishnu Prasad Lamsal, welcomed and introduced the roles and functions of Nepal Administrative Staff College and Centre for Federalism Studies. During his welcome remarks, he highlighted the key aspects of implementing federalism.

Dr Bipin Adhikari, speaking on the programme as Constitution Expert, highlighted that Nepal’s federal system is unique, has some complexities, need to work more and need to see are we moving in right direction as provisioned by the constitution. He clarified the constitutional spirit of cooperation, co-existence and coordination. Furthermore, he opined that the constitution speaks about three levels of government but not which one is the first level, meaning all levels have their own position. He also stressed to more forward from emotion to objective. He briefly highlighted the pertinent issues of intergovernmental relationship in the proposed bill of intergovernmental relationship tabled in National Assembly of Federal Parliament. He urged Province Government take initiatives to interact more for finding a good solution in disputed issues.

Hon’ble Sherdhan Rai, Chief Minister of Province No. 1, thanked NASC for organizing the interaction as it is very important programme on ‘intergovernmental relationship” and all participants for their meaningful presence. He said that, Nepal cannot copy from others because of its own conditions and limitations. He briefly highlighted the status of Province Government on exercise of constitutional rights,   engaging federal/province/local governments in dialogue, issues on federal laws, improving relationship among all governments, need of more research on implementation of federalism and making better laws for effective functioning of federalism.

Hon’ble Hikmat Karki, Minister of Internal Affairs and Law, thanked NASC for relevancy of the interaction programme. He highlighted that Nepal does do not have history of federalism and have to start from ground level. He said that federal government has to be more liberal towards implementation of constitutions and create an environment of trust and mutual cooperation for minimizing conflict and promote harmony.

Expressing her remark, Hon’ble Deputy Speaker Saraswati Pokharel thanked NASC for organizing important to event. Sharing her idea, she further elaborated that the federal government is more controlling as a guardian and there is some problems in thinking, function and behavior of federal government.

Principal Secretary Suresh Adhikari broadly highlighted on current issues that Province Government is facing. He shared that issues on budget, law making process, natural resources, facilities, land, foreign assistance and human resource management are some critical issues that have added challenges to Province. He also stressed on more dialogue and learning sharing for improving understanding of all levels of government.

MPs Laxmi Tiwari, Jayaram Yadhav, Sarbodhwoj Sawa and others expressed about the issues and complexities in implementing the federalism with three levels of government. Furthermore, they shared that because of the lack of proper coordination, cooperation and coexistence, there arises the question on sustainability of the federalism.

Trilochan Pokharel, Director of Studies, NASC facilitated floor discussion and summarized the key points during the workshop. He further said a complied report of interaction in Provinces will be prepared after having interaction with other Provinces. That report will be shared to federal and province governments and will be used for reference on making common understanding.

Hon’ble Pradeep Kumar Bhandari, Speaker of Provincial Assembly, at the closing remarks, thanked all participants and expected more such type of interactions in future. He stressed that all level of governments do not have choices than to work together in a mutual way for delivering constitutional commitments to the citizens.