The pre-budget consultation programme with the members of Federal Parliament and Government of Nepal was organized on Friday, 21 May 2021 with an objective to present Citizen’s Charter of Demands (CoDs) to share them the major findings of independent studies by thematic experts to be incorporated in the budget for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2078/79 of Government of Nepal. The CoDs included issues of women and inclusion in four different sectors: a) Education and nutrition b) Health c) Labor, employment and social security and d) Agriculture and allied sub-sectors were identified by analyzing and reviewing the government’s actions, policies, and budget documents from gender and social inclusion perspective.
A team of national experts were engaged to lead the development of sector specific CoDs who organized consultations with women’s right groups on 14 and 19 May, 2021. Through the consultations, key asks, critical issues women face and issues of inclusion including possible areas of intervention for ensuring gender responsive budget (GRB) were identified to incorporate in the CODs. The major highlights of the CoDs were presented in the sector-wise separate consultations for respective parliamentary committees. There were altogether 51 participants in the programme.
Education and health sector
Mr. Ram Prasad Thapaliya, Secretary Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, highlighted that the allocated budget has not achieved the intended result. With adoption of federal system of governance, the demand side has been extended and strengthen so they have started demanding specialist, technician and equipment which is a good effort to make education system focused.
Hon’ble Manakumari GC, member of Education and Health Committee, stressed that the local government is facing extreme level of challenges to mitigate the present crisis of COVID-19 which has adversely affected vulnerable groups such as people with HIV AIDS, people with disability, health volunteers, early childhood development teachers. She stressed that the government must ensure the humanitarian and recovery assistance reaches to those most in need.
Dr. Rajan Khanal, Executive Director, NASC, highlighted that the international commitments and resource allocations in the context of federal Nepal should also be analyzed from the perspective of Gender Responsive Budgeting indicators and the upcoming budget should set the targeted programmes on access to fundamental health, medicine, access to health staff and health infrastructure. He also highlighted that the government has adopted the policy of acknowledging the issues of GRB and GESI in terms of SDG goal 3 as well as earlier MDG goals. He also discussed on the need of reserve fund/pool of fund necessary in Covid-19, or in any catastrophe or disaster or health pandemic, rather than making the ad hoc financing which fails to capture the differentiated needs of various social group. He also raised the issue of the gap in source of revenue during the preparation of the modality/projection of financing in health sector.
Agriculture and allied sub sectors
Hon’ble Bhupendra Bahadur Karki, member of Agriculture, Cooperatives and Natural Resource Committee, highlighted on the need of having provisions for grant and loan to farmers of underprivileged groups to promote commercial farming. Similarly, he highlighted the importance of schemes such as agricultural insurance to compensate losses and risks.
Dr. Yogendra Kumar Karki, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, acknowledged to the sharing meeting and assured that the ministry would own to take forward the recommendations from the CoDs. He also assured of taking necessary initiatives to take them at the province and local level since they are currently in the budget formulation process.
Dr. Rajan Khanal expressed concern on making upcoming budget women and other marginalized group responsive in agriculture sector. For this, he suggested on having a holistic and integrated effort to facilitate agriculture production market and consumers with appropriate financial and non-financial instruments including effective agriculture information and communication system.
Labor, employment and social security
Hon’ble Binda Pandey, member, Industry, Commerce, Labour and Consumer Welfare Committee, highlighted on the need of updating the GRB template in light of federal context.
Mr. Binod Prakash Singh, Joint-secretary, Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security, raised the problems of implementation while there are sufficient and well expressed policies in place. He emphasized on the need of supporting and developing social entrepreneurship, which he believed will contribute for the prosperity of country from the grassroots.
Dr. Rajan Khanal highlighted the multi-faceted contribution of migrant workers including on remittance earning and technology transfer. He recommended mainly to focus on skill development of migrating workers for better opportunities abroad and better utilization of returned migrant workers.
The programme was organized by NASC under the project ”Strengthening GESI-GRB in Federal Nepal’ in collaboration with UN Women.