GYAN P NEUPANE
KATHMANDU, June 3: Dismayed by the number of the proposed central government ministries, lawmakers have demanded to keep the number of ministries under the central government low in the federal set-up.
The Federal Administration Restructuring Committee led by Minister for General Administration, Keshab Kumar Budhathoki, submitted a report to parliament’s State Affairs Committee on Friday, proposing 18 ministries under the central government.
Arguing that there should be fewer ministries under the central government, lawmakers in today’s parliament meeting said that the number of ministries proposed by the committee was high. They advised the minister-headed committee to limit the number of ministries under the central government to 10 to 15. Arguing that there will be provincial governments to serve the people, the lawmakers said there is no need for as many ministries under the central government as proposed by the minister-led committee.
“A jumbo Cabinet will not be affordable. It cannot be sustained by the system. That’s why we should limit the number of central government ministries to 10 to 15,” Gangalal Tuladhar, a lawmaker from the main opposition CPN-UML, said at the meeting.
He said that the new constitution has fixed the number of central cabinet members at up to 25. “The constitution has clearly stated that the number of the cabinet members will be up to 25. That includes the prime minister, deputy prime ministers, ministers, state ministers and assistant ministers,” he further said. “But if there are to be 18 ministries under the central government as proposed, the number of cabinet members will go beyond 25. So, we have to rethink about it.”
Another lawmaker Prem Suwal argued that the there should not be more than 10 ministries under the central government. “We have limited resources. So, the number should not be more than 10,” said Suwal.
However, another committee led by the Ministry of General Administration (MoGA) has also submitted a proposal to create 16 ministries under the provincial governments at the same meeting.
Suwal also said that the provincial governments will be directly linked to the people and the central government will be making policies so it would be better to keep the number of central ministries low.
Lawmaker Bikram Bahadur Thapa also expressed his dissatisfaction over the proposed number of ministries under the central government. “I suggest that the committee rethink the number of ministries under the central government,” said Thapa.
Lawmaker Yubraj Gyawali, too, questioned the logics behind creating 18 ministries at the central level.
“It is clear that there should be as few central ministries as possible,” said Gyawali.
Several other lawmakers stressed keeping the number of central ministries low. They also advised the committee to give “short and sweet” names to the ministries.
First appeared in Republica national daily