The budget session of the federal parliament kicked off on May 8 amid a nationwide lockdown. President Bidya Devi Bhandari is scheduled to present the government’s policy and program on May 15. As per constitutional provisions, government will have to present budget for fiscal year 2020-21 on May 28. Before that, there will be pre-budget discussions.
Before the house commencement, of 441 lawmakers and employees of the central secretariat underwent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) coronavirus tests. Untested lawmakers were not allowed into the parliament.
Speaking in the House of Representative, opposition parties’ lawmakers came down heavily against the government. President of the main opposition Sher Bahadur Deuba questioned the intent with which PM KP Oli brought the twin ordinances.
“At a time the whole country is suffering from the coronavirus, the prime minister introduced ordinances with the goal of weakening democratic norms and values,” Deuba said. (After widespread criticism, the government has already withdrawn the ordinances.)
“There was also a case of abduction of a lawmaker. Nepali Congress takes these issues seriously and concludes that the government has lost political and moral ground to remain in power,” Deuba said.
Leader of Janata Samajbadi Party Baburam Bhattarai urged Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to step down, partly over his poor health. “The government’s image has gone down because of its anti-democracy activities. The prime minister should step down to protect Loktantra,” Bhattarai said. “The efforts to split parties and the intent of capturing the constitutional council are clear dangers to democracy,” he added.
Deputy Parliamentary Party leader of ruling Nepal Communist Party Subas Nembang said both ruling and opposition parties should stand together to fight coronavirus. Nembang said along with endorsing the budget, this parliament session has a responsibility of settling the remaining issues related to the peace process.
“The law-amendment process of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission on Enforced Disappearance has reached a final stage. I am hopeful the remaining tasks of peace process will be completed in this session of parliament,” Nembang said.
The next meeting of parliament is scheduled for May 10. PM Oli is likely to address the Parliament on the day.