June 16: All the seven provinces have introduced the budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY 2021/22) in line with the constitutional provision. The size of the budget of Bagmati Province is the biggest among all the provinces while Gandaki Province has presented a relatively small-sized budget.
The budgets introduced by all the seven provinces have prioritized prevention and control of COVID-19 and given continuity to old programmes of infrastructure development. Some states have allocated budgets for health infrastructure by scrapping programmes previously brought by the center to please the lawmakers, while others have continued similar programmes for the upcoming year.
The Bagmati Province has brought a budget of Rs 57.72 billion for the upcoming fiscal year, which is more than the current fiscal year’s budget by Rs 6 billion. It has scrapped the parliamentary constituency infrastructure development programme.
The Bagmati Province government had been allocating about Rs 2.5 billion for the directly elected state assembly members as well as those elected under the proportional representation quota of each constituency under the heading of the infrastructure development programme. Kailash Prasad Dhungel, Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning, informed that the government has canceled the infrastructure development programme for the upcoming fiscal year and allocated the budget instead for the health sector.
It has allocated Rs 32.46 billion budget for the health sector. The budget has set aside more funds for recurrent expenses than the capital expenditure. Bijay Kumar Yadav, Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning of Province 2, has allocated Rs 33.79 billion for the upcoming fiscal year.
The budget focuses on COVID-19 control and treatment, road construction, irrigation, employment and education. Most of the big old plans have been given continuity.
Gandaki Province has reduced the size of the budget compared to last year. The province has brought a budget of Rs 30.03 billion. In the budget presented by Chief Minister Krishna Chandra Pokhrel Nepali, the state government has announced to provide Rs 5,000 as monthly relief to those who have lost their parents to COVID -19. Similarly, families who have lost their members to COVID-19 will be provided a relief package of Rs 50,000 each.
Lumbini Province has introduced a budget of Rs 40.95 billion for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget has provided 33 percent annual tax exemption to public transport entrepreneurs. The budget has also made an arrangement that no penalty will be fined if the tax is paid within three months of the Fiscal Year 2021/22. It has allocated a huge amount of budget in the field of agriculture and health.
The Karnali Province government has also introduced a budget emphasizing on the health sector and infrastructure programmes. The budget brought by Gopal Sharma, Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning, is more focused on improving the lives of the citizens by improving the health sector.
It has allocated Rs 535 million for the prevention of COVID-19 pandemic and funds have been allocated to purchase vaccines for every citizen of the province. The budget has provision to provide free education to the children of the martyrs’ family. The government has decided to run a model school in each local unit for the development of the education sector. A budget of Rs 395 million has been allocated for this programme.
The Far Western Province Government has brought a budget of Rs 30.33 billion for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget presented by Prakash Bahadur Shah, Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning, is less by Rs 3.5 billion than the current budget. It has reduced current expenditure by Rs 4 billion and the capital expenditure has been increased by about Rs 1 billion.
Shah said that the budget has prioritized the improvement and expansion of health services and construction of infrastructure. A budget of Rs 2.48 billion has been allocated for infrastructure development.
Similarly, a budget of Rs 5.12 billion has been allocated for the construction of roads, major infrastructure and mega projects for the upcoming year. The state will provide free medical treatment to the families of the injured and martyrs of the people's movement and armed conflict.
Likewise, a budget of Rs 100 million has been allocated to make the families of conflict victims self-reliant.
And Rs 960 million has been allocated for the infrastructure development programme. In the Far-western Province, there are 32 state assembly members under a direct poll system. The province government has allocated Rs 30 million to each member of the state assembly. Meanwhile similar kind of programme has already been scrapped by the central government.