Monday, 2 October, 2023

Full Sized Cabinet

FINALLY, the federal Cabinet has got full shape, with 25 ministers, including three state ministers. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Friday inducted 16 new ministers and two state ministers. President Bidya Devi Bhandari appointed and designated the portfolios of the ministers at the recommendation of the Prime Minister as per Article 76 (9) and Article 78 (1) of the Constitution of Nepal. After having sworn in by the President, the ministers assumed their office on Friday itself. Two more coalition partners -- CPN (Unified Socialist) and Janata Samajwadi Party — have joined the government. Now the national politics has taken due course, ending the lingering uncertainty. On July 13 this year, Deuba was appointed the new PM in line with the Supreme Court’s historic verdict of reinstating the House of Representatives for the second time. Two leaders each from Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre) -- Bal Krishna Khand, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, Pampha Bhusal and Janardan Sharma -- had been given the portfolios of Home Affairs, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation and Finance, respectively.

Addressing the first full meeting of the Council of Ministers held at Singha Durbar on Friday evening, Prime Minister Deuba directed all the ministers to work as per the public aspirations with much enthusiasm and honesty. The Cabinet meeting has decided to approve the criteria 2078 prepared to make public expenditure economical and effective and reorganise the different committees of the government. Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, who has been assigned to work as the government’s spokesman, asked all the employees to work in a more dedicated manner. Similarly, Minister for Health and Population Birodh Khatiwada expressed his commitment to making Nepal free from COVID-19 as early as possible.

There are a myriad of pertinent national challenges before the five-party coalition government. Reviving the COVID-hit economy is one of them. The pandemic has dealt a severe blow to Nepal’s already unstable economy. Most economic activities in the country have nearly come to a halt owing to this global public health emergency coupled with political instability. With such an unprecedented economic stagnation, the number of poor and jobless people has increased considerably since the outbreak of the pandemic. In such a situation, the government now needs to accord topmost priority to attaining early economic recovery. Focus should be on creating jobs through massive investment in infrastructure sector.

Though the country has lately witnessed a significant fall in the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, the risk of the pandemic being resurged is still there. The government has to step up measures to deal with this deadly viral disease and help resume all the economic and other sectors. Formed in special circumstances, the government should prove its mettle in delivering services and goods to the public. It should also avoid unnecessary controversies and ensure that the inclusive democratic constitution is implemented in letter and spirit. It needs to focus on maintaining good governance and rule of law in the country. This is necessary to earn public trust in the government’s performance and activities. It should reach out to all political forces to muster consensus and cooperation essential to realise the grand nation-building tasks.