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Consensus expected to summon budget session of Federal Parliament



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By Narayan Prasad Neupane, Kathmandu, Apr. 28: The sixth session of the Federal Parliament (House of Representatives and National Assembly) has been delayed due to the adverse situation resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19 and intra-party dispute in the ruling Nepal Communist Party.    

As per the Constitution of Nepal, the Minister for Finance is supposed to table the annual budget on Jestha 15 (end of May) in the Federal Parliament meeting.    

Chief Whip of the Parliamentary Party of NCP Dev Prasad Gurung said that it’s already time to summon the budget session as per the constitutional provision on budget and schedule for pre-budget discussions. As per the Constitution, the parliament should meet for pre-budget discussions15 days before the finance minister tables the budget.    

Government’s policy and programmes are presented prior to the budget. He said, “This is a time of crisis. The House meeting is summoned at the recommendation of the government. Work should be done through the management of available time. It’s the time to summon the budget session,” he added.    

As per the Constitution of Nepal, the President summons and prorogues the House Session on the recommendation of the government.    

Likewise, Chief Whip of Nepali Congress Pushpa Bhusal said that there should not be any further delay to call the House Session since there are vital issues to discuss including the corona-induced threats on economy and our economy’s priorities.    

She added that no discussion had been held with the Speaker on calling the House session. It should be called soon even to discuss on various issues including reform of economy affected by the COVID-19.    

Lawmaker Laxman Lal Karna argued that the house session could be called by this month even by observing social distancing as it needs for discussing and passing the budget. He added that though none has held talks regarding to summon the House, it expected to hold intensive talks on budget programmes.    

The bicameral house has 275 members. The upper house has 59 members. It may be noted that the budget session was summoned on the same day today last year. But no signal has been seen so far.    
The President had also addressed a joint session of both the Houses on May 3 last year.    

There is representation of Nepal Communist Party (NCP), Nepali Congress, Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, Federal Socialist, Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, Janamorcha and Rastriya Prajatantra Party in the House of Representatives. Chhakka Bahadur Lama is an independent lawmaker in the HoR.    

Lawmakers from NCP, NC, Federal Socialist and three nominated lawmakers represent the National Assembly. Officiating General-Secretary at the Federal Parliament Secretariat Gopalnath Yogi said, ‘We are in ready position for the commencement of parliament session. But we are not informed yet about it.’    

There are 10 thematic committees under HoR, four under NA and two joint committees. Secretary at the NA, Rajendra Phunyal, shared that the NA is in ready position if Federal Parliament session is called. He added, “An arrangement of seats at the parliament has been made by maintaining physical distance. We are in ready position.”