Rukum West District Court in Nepal hands down life sentences to 24 individuals in a landmark caste-based murder case.
The House of Representatives of Nepal for the first time in history has approved the annual budget for the upcoming fiscal year on a ‘split-the-vote’ or majority basis.
The budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2023/24 has been endorsed by the Parliament through a division of votes as the opposition lawmakers insisted on ensuring a clear majority in favour of the budget. “In today’s voting, the total number of honourable members of the parliament present is 255. The proposal to approve the ‘appropriation bill’ or those supporting it has garnered 147 votes and the vote against the bill is 108. Abstaining vote is zero. The proposal to endorse the ‘appropriation bill 2080’ has garnered 147 votes and the vote is thus the majority of the house while this meeting is held. I hereby announce the proposed bill has been endorsed with a majority,” House Speaker Devraj Ghimire announced at Wednesday’s meeting.
Initially, the Finance Minister of Nepal, Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat presented the budget proposal for endorsement. Following this, House Speaker Devraj Ghimire sought the opinions of lawmakers in a ‘Yes or No’ format, after which the majority expressed their support for the budget.
Chief whip of opposition CPN-UML, Mahesh Kumar Bartaula had demanded a split vote claiming on the majority lies with those standing against the budget.
“We felt that the majority of the house stands against the ‘appropriation bill’ but the announcement from the honourable speaker of the house stated that the vote in favour of the bill stands high. Therefore, expressing our discontentment over it, as per the rule of House of Representatives-29 demand for the split vote,” Bartaula said.
However, in response to demands from CPN-UML lawmakers, a split vote was conducted to ensure a clear majority in favour of the budget. The voting ended up with the endorsement.
Wednesday’s approved budget also consists of four bills, namely the Appropriation Bill, Finance Bill, National Debt Collection Bill, and Loan and Guarantee Bill. The budget has also been endorsed by the Parliament with a majority without any amendment.
Finance Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat on May 29, had presented a budget of Rs 1.751 trillion for the fiscal year 2023-24, while it was Rs 1.793 trillion for the fiscal year 2022-23.
Presenting the mid-term review report in the House of Representatives (HoR) on February 12, the then Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel had downsized the budget by Rs 244 billion (14 per cent) to Rs 1.549 trillion.
Mahat has allocated Rs 1.141 trillion (65.20 per cent) for recurrent expenditure, Rs 302.07 billion (17.25 per cent) for capital expenditure, and Rs 307.45 billion (17.55 per cent) for debt financing. Similarly, Rs 408 billion has been allocated for transfer to the provinces and local bodies.
The budget plans to generate Rs 1.248 trillion through revenues, Rs 49.94 billion through foreign grant and generate the remaining amount of Rs 452.75 billion through foreign loans (Rs 212.65 billion) and domestic borrowing (Rs 240 billion).