Former Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has said time has come to evaluate the budget based on facts and figures. Participating in today’s meeting of the House of Representatives on annual estimates of the fiscal year 2020/21, the former PM Bhattarai viewed the budget brought in a traditional fashion would not be capable to solve the problems facing the country at present.
“The budget has not given due attention to the concept of preparing base for the socialism by supporting the industrial capitalism. Leaving every sector to market and handling all issues by the State are unconvincing,” he said, adding that the country is still not able to increase the development expense on the one hand and depend largely on foreign aid on the other. Similarly, internal revenue is insufficient for expense, Dr Bhattarai added. Also the leader of the Federal Socialist Party, Dr Bhattarai further blamed the government did not pay adequate attention to make the federalism functional and robust. Allocation of resources for implementation of fiscal federalism was meagre, according to him. Although the health sector needs at least 10 percent investment, it was ignored. Private sectors must not be encouraged to commercialize the health sector but the State needs to intervene with it.
He underscored the need of bringing immediate and long-term relief package for the minimization of coronavirus. The former PM suggested the government to ensure arrangement for creating jobs to those returned from abroad in the wake of COVID-19. Collection of data from local levels and distribution of relief package with integrated approach could be adopted. At least one million poor families need to be provided Rs 5,000 cash every month, he suggested. Calling upon the government to lay a special focus on infrastructure development, he was of the views of taking efforts to make States efficient and capable, carrying out improvements in administrative sector, downsizing the number of employees in the center and further strengthening of army and police force.
Durga Poudel said the government preparations for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic seemed inadequate. The budget allocated for the containment of pandemic was not sufficient and it (budget) could not take up the issue of rescuing Nepalis left stranded in foreign lands in the wake of COVID-19 crisis. According to Prem Suwal, the budget is not able to create a base for socialism. It has presented no bases for materializing the post-quake reconstruction and development works. The government did wrong by bringing the budget being dependent on loan and grants.
As Pampha Bhusal said, the budget now smaller in size compared to previous one is realistic. Dr Minendra Rijal of the Nepali Congress said the budget set no priority to prop up economy hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. Budget released for health sector was not enough to ward off the present health crisis. He demanded the government ensure ample budget for people’s health security. Matrika Prasad Yadav voiced for ending the production relations based on capitalism. He demanded free discussions on the budget.