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Nepal announces its annual budget

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Kathmandu: The Nepalese government unveiled the annual budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year on Tuesday with a total amount of 819.468 billion Nepalese rupees (about $8.11 billion) focusing on the reconstruction of thousands of earthquake-damaged infrastructures.

The annual budget was announced by Nepal’s Finance Minister Ramsharan Mahat in parliament in the presence of Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, leaders from major political parties and high-ranking officials, Xinhua reported.

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Image Source: www.ekantipur.com

Mahat said that the government has given top priority to the reconstruction of damaged infrastructures including private and public buildings as well as rehabilitation of tens of thousands of earthquake – hit people.

According to the budget, the Nepalese government has allocated 74 billion Nepalese rupees (about $733 million) to the National Reconstruction Fund set up by the government.

Highlighting the need of reconstruction efforts to be carried out in the next five years, Mahat also said that the National Reconstruction Authority will get full shape as soon as possible.

The Nepalese government recently announced its plan to set up the National Reconstruction Authority under the leadership of the prime minister which will be mainly responsible for the country’s reconstruction and rehabilitation within next five years.

“We will not let people of earthquake-hit areas feel insufficiency of budget at all,”the finance minister said.

Nepal’s National Planning Commission has estimated that Nepal needs approximately $7 billion for the reconstruction.

“The government will leave no stone unturned to revive tourism in the nation,” the minister said.

Besides deployment of government employees in the reconstruction process, the government has planned to train as many as 50,000 youths for the same. “The heritage sites which were severely damaged and shattered by the earthquake will be restored,” he added.

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The Nepalese government unveiled the annual budget after the massive earthquakes hit the Himalayan nation on April 25 and May 12 which claimed around 9,000 lives and leaving another 22,000 injured.

In addition to the country’s reconstruction, the Nepalese government has allocated budget in the areas of agriculture, education, health, tourism, infrastructure development, connectivity and construction of hydro-power projects among others.

Breaking the previous trends, the Nepalese government has not increased perks and salaries of civil servants. According to the ministry of general administration, there are about 75,000 civil servants in Nepal at various government bodies. (IANS)

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‘Delhi Metro Cruelly Killed my ‘Achhe Din” : Here is why Passengers are dumping the popular mode of travel

The author shares her take on shifting to Delhi from Kolkata and her experience with the Delhi Metro

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Delhi Metro
Delhi Metro. Wikimedia

– By Somrita Ghosh

New Delhi, November 5, 2017 : Delhi Metro cruelly killed my “acche din”.

Metro fares have been doubled in just four months, forcing me to give up my favorite mode of transport and take to crowded DTC buses.

Besides putting the new fares beyond my budget, I have also been stripped off the safety of travelling in the Metro. And I am not the only one.

My biggest shock came two days after the latest Metro fare hike. I commute daily between Green Park in south Delhi and Noida Sector 16 where I work.

As I punched my smart card while leaving the Sector 16 station, my heart skipped a beat — Rs 37 had been deducted from my card.

By the time I reached my office, the mental calculation was already done. I realized every month I would have to spend double of what I was shelling out only five months ago if I wanted to use the Delhi Metro.

When the year began, I was spending Rs 18 on my Metro ride — one way. The Metro then hiked the fares and my one-way cost shot up to Rs 27. The latest hike had taken it to Rs 37!

This was hard for me to digest. The sudden hike of almost Rs 20, that too one way, was surely going to painfully pinch my wallet.

When I landed in Delhi five years ago, my friends advised me to avail the Metro, not just because it is safe for women but comfortable too, never mind the crushing rush during peak hours.

Most important, as I realized very soon, the Metro was affordable. It was so cheap that while an auto-rickshaw would charge me a minimum of Rs 25 from my home to the nearest Metro station, the Metro charged me only Rs 18 all the way from south Delhi to Noida in Uttar Pradesh. This was too good to be true.

Since I came from Kolkata, where the minimum Metro fare was only Rs 4 and the maximum Rs 12, Delhi Metro initially seemed costly.

But I realized the full story in no time once I started using the Delhi Metro. The infrastructure, service and overall facilities provided by Delhi Metro were far better compared to Kolkata.

Delhi Metro offers free WiFi, its stations have coffee shops and the bigger ones even host fast food chains. Travel is hassle-free despite the odd technical snags that hit the Blue Line that I use.

But suddenly charging a salaried person like me Rs 40 more, or Rs 1,200 a month, just because the Metro needs to finance itself better is something I cannot appreciate.

Like numerous others, I have changed my mode of transport. It is now the DTC buses. The DTC’s frequency may not match the Metro’s and DTC rides can be bumpy too, not to talk of unending traffic jams. But do I have a choice?

(Editorial note : This article has been written by Somrita Ghosh of IANS. She can be contacted at somrita.g@ians.in)

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