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Battle over Nepal budget

world Updated: Nov 14, 2010 00:01 IST
Utpal Parashar

As if the ongoing stalemate over electing a new prime minister was not enough, political parties in Nepal are now busy fighting over presentation of the country’s annual budget.

The budget was to be presented in mid-July, but has got delayed due to the political deadlock. Nepal faces a crisis if it is not tabled within this month.

Despite officials saying that there’s not enough money to pay salaries, the opposition Maoists are insisting that the caretaker government of Madhav Kumar Nepal should not table a full-fledged budget.

Being the largest party in parliament, Maoists could prevent it from getting passed. But that hasn’t deterred the government, which is getting ready to table it next week.

Finance minister Surendra Pandey disclosed that a NRs 350 billion budget has been prepared and it would be tabled in parliament on November 19.

“It is not a right move,” United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) vice chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha was quoted by the Republica while reacting to the government move.

On Saturday, Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) chairman Jhalanath Khanal urged all parties not to obstruct presentation of the budget.

Wary that there could be obstacles from opposition parties, the government is also seeking legal opinion on getting it passed through an ordinance.