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Nepal bills to address quake reconstruction, Madhesis

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Kathmandu: The Nepal government tabled two bills in the parliament amidst the instability in the country borne by the devastating earthquake and protesting Madhesis. The “Nepal Reconstruction Authority” bill seeks to rebuild the earthquake-hit country while another seeks to address the concerns of the Madhesis who are protesting for a constitutional amendment.

The reconstruction bill was tabled eight months after the earthquake. The delay was a result of finding a CEO for the authority that was acceptable to the two largest parties in the parliament. The erstwhile Nepali Congress government had introduced an ordinance and appointed Govinda Pokhrel as CEO, but later the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxists-Leninists), the second largest party in parliament, did not support the conversion of the ordinance into a bill.

Over $4 billion dollars was committed by International donors to reconstruct earthquake struck Nepal. However, not a penny has been spent due to the failure to construct a competent authority. Under overwhelming pressure from National and International quarters, the ruling dispensation was compelled to negotiate with other political parties to formulate an acceptable bill.

Another bill tabled in the parliament sought to resolve the simmering agitation of the Madhesis for proportional representation under the new constitution. The bill aims to amend the Constitution to ensure inclusive proportional representation of ethnic minorities in various state entities apart from the Nepal Army and redrawing the electoral constituencies based on population.

The southern plains comprise over 50 percent of the country’s population and if this bill is passed, the plains will have a majority representation in parliament after the next general elections.

However, the Madhesi leaders have opposed the move saying that were not consulted before the tabling of the bill. The agitating Madhesi parties have refused to accept the constitution amendment bill, claiming that it failed to address their concerns.

The government feels that the constitution amendment bill will address some grievances of the agitating Madhesi leading to an end to the ongoing demonstrations at Nepal-India border entry points.

Due to the ongoing agitation, thousands of Nepal-bound cargo vehicles have not been able to enter Nepal from India since the last four months. As a result, Nepal is facing a serious shortage of essential supplies like food, medicines, fuel and other items. (IANS)

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Special Drive on India-Nepal Border in Bihar to Instantly Clear Pending IGST Refunds of Exporters

The special drive to clear refunds on the spot is aimed at disposing all refund cases which are pending due to various errors

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India, Nepal, Exporters
The department's Patna unit will organize a 5-day IGST Refund Mela at all land customs stations (LCS) starting September 3. Pixabay

Central custom officials would kick off a special drive on India-Nepal border in Bihar to instantly clear pending IGST refunds of exporters.

The department’s Patna unit will organize a 5-day IGST Refund Mela at all land customs stations (LCS) starting September 3.

The special drive to clear refunds on the spot is aimed at disposing all refund cases which are pending due to various errors such as invoice details and bank particulars filed with the department.

The customs authorities have already sent more than 500 letters and emails to exporters explaining them the errors which led to withholding of their refunds and how they can get them back following a simple process.

India, Nepal, Exporters
Central custom officials would kick off a special drive on India-Nepal border in Bihar to instantly clear pending IGST refunds of exporters. Pixabay

Commissioner of Customs, Patna, Ranjit Kumar said that government is committed to ease of doing business and the IGST refund is automatically done if the data regarding details of invoices and banks are filed correctly in the system.

He, however, said that due to errors related to invoice and bank details, some of the IGST refund claims are not sanctioned.

Besides making exporters aware about errors and need to avoid them, the Customs Department would clear the pending refunds following submission of required details in prescribed format.

The Commissioner said that he will inaugurate an IGST Refund Mela in Raxaul on Tuesday.

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Office of the Commissioner, Customs, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand would also organize IGST Refund Week for rectification of errors and updation of export accounts from September 3.

In this regard, the authorities have informed exporters, custom house brokers, shipping lines and other members of the trade. (IANS)