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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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Nepal, Pakistan agree to revitalise Saarc process

Nepal and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to revitalise the Saarc process for "greater peace, security and prosperity in the region"

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  • Nepal and Pakistan agreed to revitalise Saarc
  • This is done to promote greater peace and security
  • It will be apparently beneficial for both the nations

Nepal and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to revitalise the Saarc process for “greater peace, security and prosperity in the region” during talks that visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi held with the Himalayan nation’s leadership.

Nepal and Pakistan to revitalise SAARC process. Wikimedia Commons
Nepal and Pakistan to revitalise SAARC process. Wikimedia Commons

Abbasi on Tuesday met Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari and addressed a programme at the Saarc Secretariat here. He also held a meeting with CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” in the morning.

Bhandari and Abbasi hoped to reinvigorate the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) as an important regional organisation. The Pakistani leader said that “issues of the countries in the region should not affect the activities of Saarc and its performance”.

He emphasised the need to make Saarc “more effective” in the days ahead. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in all areas of mutual importance, including political, economic, defence and cultural fields.

On Monday evening, Abbasi met his Nepali counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli and both decided to revitalise the stalled Saarc process.

Also Read: India pulled out of SAARC meeting that is to be held in Pakistan

The Pakistani leader sought to host the 19th Saarc Summit of the regional grouping and asked Nepal to create a “favourable environment” for the same. The summit has been postponed since 2016 after a military attack on an Indian Army base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.

After the attack, India unilaterally suspended its participation from the summit. Several member states rallied behind India’s position.

Nepal is the current chair of the regional grouping. Oli’s chief political advisor Bishnu Rimal said “both leaders held a common view on taking the Saarc forum ahead as it was a common platform for all member countries and still significant”.

The step is taken to improve relationships between the two countries.

Addressing a function at the Saarc Secretariat in Kathmandu, Abbasi said peace, security and mutual friendship were essential for the prosperity of South Asia.

“Pakistan has undivided belief in the Saarc objectives, ideologies and principles,” he said, adding that Islamabad was fully committed to the Saarc charter.

Abbasi also announced doubling the scholarships provided to Nepal by the Pakistan government and proposed to set up a joint parliamentary panel between Kathmandu and Islamabad. IANS

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