April 28: The government has decided to give regular holidays for two days a week starting from May 15. A meeting of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday took a decision to this effect on a trial basis, Government Spokesperson Gyanendra Bahadur Karki informed during a press meet on Wednesday.
Karki, who is also the Minister for Communications and Information Technology, declared public holiday on Saturdays and Sundays after a fortnight. The minister further said that the cabinet meeting agreed to fix office hours from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm during the weekdays.
He shared that the cabinet decided to give holidays for two days a week with the belief that it would reduce fuel consumption.
Although the cabinet meeting took such decision to reduce fuel consumption with the objective of easing the pressure on declining foreign exchange reserves, the Council of Ministers has ironically approved foreign visits of high-ranking government officials.
The cabinet meeting approved a delegation led by Energy Minister Pampha Bhusal to visit Bangladesh and Education Minister Devendra Poudel’s visit to the UK. Likewise, Labour Minister Krishna Kumar Shrestha has been given the go ahead to visit Malaysia.
Similarly, the cabinet meeting also approved India visit of National Planning Commission’s Vice Chairman Bishwonath Poudel and South Korea visit of Forest Secretary Dr Prem Narayan Kandel.
Likewise, Health Secretary Dr Roshan Pokharel has been granted permission to visit Norway to attend a programme.
The concept of two-day holiday a week was implemented by the government more than two decades ago. The provision was implemented on July 17, 1999 during the tenure of then then Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai. Such decision was taken upon the recommendation of the then Administrative Reform Commission in 1991 with the objective of reducing administrative costs. The provision was revoked almost after three years without conducting a study on its impact.
Recently, the government had floated a similar concept but to boost the tourism sector that has been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Experts had suggested the government to give two days holiday in a week in order to promote domestic tourism.