The government is considering restructuring the Department of Federal Affairs and General Administration and restricting the Department largely to political decision-making functions, while delegating its various powers to its subordinate institutions and provincial and local governments.
A committee headed by Deputy State Secretary Basanta Adhikari is preparing, among other things, a change in the name of the ministry.
“We proposed changing the name of the ministry to” Department of Federal Affairs and Personnel “, Adhikari told the Post.
The Ministry has as Contact Ministry between the federal government and the municipalities as well as the ministry is also responsible for the operation and management of the federal authorities. It acts as an intermediary for development work and service delivery by local governments and helps to strengthen the capacities of provincial and local governments.
“The main reason for recommending restructuring the ministry is to limit the ministry entirely to policy-making, as the issue of transferring officials keeps the ministry on less pressing issues,” he said. The committee plans to deliver its report to the ministry within a week.
On the recommendation of the committee, the ministry will delegate the task of transferring local government staff to the state governments. The committee also recommended that the Department of Civil Personal Records be given responsibility for transferring officers to department heads. It has also suggested changing the name to Department of Civil Servant Management and Records.
If the committee’s recommendations are implemented, there will be another governing body under the ministry under the three levels of government, known as the Department of Federal Affairs and Inter-Level Coordination.
As most of the tasks are shared, the ministry’s staff will be reduced, Adhikari said. 172 people are currently employed in the ministry.
The federal government has the department for local infrastructure development and agricultural roads (Dolidar) under it in the Local Infrastructure Department.
The department is involved in planning and supporting the construction of rural roads at the local level, irrigation and river control, water supply and sanitation, suspension bridges, housing and construction, and rural energy, among other things.
However, federal affairs experts say the continuation of this institution under a different name is an attempt to involve the federal government in development work at the local level.
“Local offices of this department have been opened in several districts that violate the principle of federalism,” said Khim Lal Devkota, a member of the national assembly who has studied federal affairs, in a recent interview with the Post.
Even after the country introduced federalism, most state resources are concentrated in the federal government, although budget allocations to provincial and local governments have also gradually increased.
However, Adhikari said they had suggested minimizing the department’s role as executor of development projects. “This department is only charged with coordinating with local governments in running development projects at the local level,” he said.
To restructure the ministry, the committee made an amendment to the Federal, Provincial and Local Law (coordination and mutual relations) – 2020 and business rules of the Nepalese government. “In order to implement the restructuring of our ministry, a change in the legal provisions is necessary,” said Secretary General Adhikari.