Hriti Foundation organized a discussion program on the budget of the Karnali Province Government for Fiscal Year 2021/22. The budget has been reviewed in the 53rd series of Hriti Foundation's regular discussion series 'Let's Speak' on June 21, 2021. The virtual session was joined by the youth, intellectuals and students from 10 districts of Karnali Province.
Reviewing the budget, most of the participants said that the budget of Karnali was the same as last year. Stating that the provincial government has given continuity to the programs that could not be implemented and failed in previous fiscal years, which they said was not appropriate to continue. Reviewing the budget, author Madhav Chaulagain said that the budget covers a wide range of areas and in the review of the last five budget speeches since the beginning, he added that no significant change or improvement in the economy could be noted.
"Even though there are some ways to meet the aspirations of the people, there are also programs to address them," he said. In the past, there were big programs that would make a big difference in resolving infrastructure and tourism issues. But what was written in the budget more than four years ago has not been done anywhere; it has not been moved forward.
He said, "The current trend is that most of the schemes seem to be based on the national plan rather than the suitability on the ground." The current budget has not been disclosed in detail. Some things that can be started immediately have not been done yet, such as establishing state radio, television, vocational training, mining, and the preservation of language, literature and art building various irrigation projects, building an international conference centre in Birendranagar. It seems that such things have disappeared without anyone noticing.”
Speaking on the discussion, economic journalist Govinda Khatri noted that ambitious programs such as replacing thatched roofs with corrugated sheets, building helipads at each local level, Chief Minister's Dalit Women's Income Generation Program and Integrated Settlement Development Program have not been implemented. He added that the provincial government's inability to spend the budget in the past years would not be justified no matter what plans and programs are brought in the new budget. He also noted that the provincial government had spent less than 50 per cent of the budget in the previous fiscal year.
Participants said that this year's budget did not give continued importance to the issues addressed by the provincial government in the past. They expressed displeasure at the fact the new budget ignored programs such as Digital Karnali and Organic Karnali.
The participants in the program said that most of the current budget has been linked with the Chief Minister's Office and expressed apprehension that this could continue in the coming days, despite the office inability to spend the budget in the past.
On the positive side, they noted that a good budget has come in the field of tourism with the slogan of making Karnali. The participants suggested the provincial government should aim to 100 per cent of the budget by focusing on the implementation of all the programs.