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Prime Minister Dahal leaves for Uganda NAM Summit

Published Date : January 18, 2024

Kathmandu, Jan 18: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has left for Uganda, leading a Nepali delegation to attend the 19th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). He left here early this morning via Qatar Airlines.    
   

The NAM summit is being held in Kampala, capital city of Uganda, on January 19-20. PM Dahal-led delegation comprises his daughter Ganga Dahal, Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud, Foreign Secretary Sewa Lamsal and senior officials of Nepal government. 

PM Dahal is scheduled to address the summit that is being held under the theme, ‘deepening global cooperation for shared global affluence’ on Friday. He is attending the special ceremony to be organized by the Ugandan President in honor of the visiting delegation chiefs same day.    

In course of the summit, the PM will be holding bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the attending countries. Foreign Minister NP Saud had already left for Uganda for the ministerial meeting on the run up to the main event of the NAM summit.    

It is said the 19th summit is to dwell on the ministerial report, review implementation status of the 18th NAM summit and pass a Kampala declaration.    
    
Nepal is a founding member of NAM and has been attending the NAM summit actively since establishment. Non-alignment is one of the fundamental foreign principles of Nepal. NAM was established in 1961.   

PM Dahal will return home on January 21. 

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Educational institutes closed with rising cold

Khajura (Banke), Jan 18:  The institutional and community schools at Nepalgunj have been closed for three days in the wake of increasing cold of late.

The schools in Nepalgunj sub-metropolis were closed from January 17 to 19 to save children from severe cold, said Gorkha Bahadur Thapa, chief of education division at the sub-metropolis. “Increasing cold has affected teaching learning activities badly, so we decided to close schools for some days,” he added.


The cold wave continued for a week has hassled daily lives. Smog and fog have also caused sheer inconvenience.

Ministry begins discussion on labour migration policy

Kathmandu, Jan 18: The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security has begun discussion with experts and stakeholders on initial draft of the labour migration policy.

During the discussion programme the Ministry organized, Labour Minister Sharat Singh Bhandari, informed that government was for a policy on labour migration in order to make the domestic and foreign employment dignified. The policy is also essential for promoting and incorporating labour issues in the forthcoming five-year plan and making systematic this sector, he added.

Secretary Kewal Prasad Bhandari informed that the draft would be amended based on the suggestions garnered by the taskforce. The Ministry is effortful to ensure health and social security as major agenda in the labour migration policy.

The stakeholders and experts furnished suggestions during the programme.

The government had formed a taskforce under the coordination of labour expert Dr Ganesh Gurung to draft the labour migration policy. The taskforce has begun discussion on the draft policy.

CM Karki urges NRNs to invest in Koshi Province

Dharan, Jan 18: Chief Minister of Koshi Province, Kedar Karki, has urged the Non-Resident Nepalis to invest in Koshi Province.

At a mobile bus handover programme organized here on Wednesday, CM Karki vowed the province government would protect and promote investment in the province.

The mobile bus was handed over to Nepal Red Cross Society, Sunsari for blood collection. It was provided with the assistance of NRN Association. “Here is huge potential for investment. You can come and explore the uncharted territory, “he called NRNs, vowing protection of capital, labour and technology.

According to him, even NRNs have vital role on country’s development. The government would not leave any stone unturned to create favourable atmosphere for capital mobilization. Unity among the Nepalis living in the country and abroad is important for Nepal’s development, he underlined.

CM Karki also thanked the NRNA for its assistance of mobile bus.

On the occasion, NRN Association’s Chairman Dr Badri KC said although they were living abroad, they continue extending utmost support to Nepal and Nepalis and help create investment.

Sunsari chapter Chairman of Nepal Red Cross Society, Umesh Thapa, expressed happiness over the assistance received from NRN.

DPM Khadka assigned Acting PM

Kathmandu, Jan 18: President Ramchandra Paudel has assigned Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Purna Bahadur Khadka to work as Acting Prime Minister during the absence of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ in office.

Issuing a press statement today, the President’s Office informed that as PM Dahal left for Uganda leading a Nepali delegation to attend the 19th NAM summit being held in Kampala, Uganda early this morning, the President asked DPM Khadka to carry out responsibilities of PM Dahal.

Households suffering wildlife menace waiting for compensation

Gulmi, Jan 18: Farmers in Gulmi district have been waiting for compensation and relief for the damages caused by wild animals to their crops and cattle.

The wild animals not only damaged crops but also attacked domestic animals and human. But the households suffering the damages have not been compensated yet.

Although the victim households submitted applications at District Forest Office, seeking compensation and relief, the Office did not pay attention to it, said Bishnu Prasad Pantha from Chhatrakot rural municipality-4.

The Directive relating to the relief and compensation for damages caused by wild animals has mentioned well that the sufferers are entitled to the compensation and relief, which, however, is limited to word. 

Chitra Kala Thapa from Resunga municipality-3 also shared similar plight. “It has been long she applied at forest office for relief amount after tiger preyed her goats. The office has not responded yet,” she added

On the other hand, the Division Forest Office, Gulmi informed that it had not got the amount to be distributed in compensation though the government had asked the Province Forest Directorate for it.

District Forest Officer Pankaj Thakur informed that applications for the relief were sent to Banke National Part for the release of amount in case of those received before the new directive. The amount would be deposited directly at sufferers’ accounts, he added.

The Division Forest Office has recorded deaths of 68 domestic animals in the attack of wildlife while crops belonging to 11 households were damaged in the fiscal year, 2079/80.

As per directive, the household suffering human injury and loss is entitled to relief amount ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 1 million, while in case of cattle injury and deaths, the household gets Rs 10,000 to 30,000 in compensation.

Similarly, the household whose crop is damaged by the wildlife can claim compensation of as much as Rs 10,000.

Interview: Departure in IT sector essential for national prosperity, asserts Minister Sharma

            Kathmandu, Jan 18: It has been a year since the present government led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ assumed office. The government has accorded high priority to enforcement of constitution, strengthening of federalism, economic recovery and reform, investment promotion, employment creation, improved public service delivery with citizen-friendly governance, corruption control and introduction and implementation of laws, policy and programmes. In this regard, Rekha Sharma, leading the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology largely responsible for bridging government and people, has played a significant role to forward government policies and priorities with proper implementation.  She has also taken initiatives to bring reform in communication and IT sectors in the changed context. With the assumption of office, Minister Sharma has underscored the need for making IT more credible, safe, and accessible to ease people’s lives and provide public service delivery effectively in line with e-governance concept.

            The following is the edited versions of an interview Minister Sharma and Spokesperson of government gave to Krishna Adhikari, Feature News Chief, and journalist Ashok Ghimire from . It is focused on evaluation of the past one year and the future plans of the ministry.

            It has been a year since the present government led by Prachanda came to power. What are the efforts from your side to translate people’s hope of good governance, prosperity and social justice into action?

            The government has been working actively for good governance, prosperity and social justice since its formation a year back. In line with commitment made by Prime Minister ‘Prachanda’, government has taken firm actions to realize effective service delivery and economic prosperity. New initiatives were launched to maintain good governance. During this period, government actions on fake Bhutanese refugees, Lalita Niwas land grab, gold smuggling, loan sharking and citizenship issues were exemplary ones. These actions are solid examples that all are equal before law, and lawlessness is not accepted. The federal democratic republic is people’s system and none has the right to indulge in wrong deeds. It is a further testament that anyone involved in wrongdoing faces legal action.

            People were facing much hassle even for receiving common services. Farmers were deprived of chemical fertilizers in time, resulting into decline in agro production. But, this past year saw no shortage of fertilizers and seeds, which contributed well to historic increase in rice production. Equally worth mentioning is the availability of textbooks to students at community schools this year. The textbooks were supplied to all schools before the start of academic year. The compulsion of people standing in line for hours to receive ‘No objection letter’, driving license, passports also ended. The slack public service delivery has changed to ensure relief to citizen.

            However, the PM, during evaluation of government’s one year in office, commented that the government performance was not up to the mark. It is his decency to admit government performance still slow off the mark and commitment to improvement. The government has continued efforts to protect political achievements and conclude transitional justice via national consensus. Over all, government’s activities in the last one year have made people hopeful.

            What are MoCIT’s priorities in the sector of good governance and service delivery?

            This Magh 3 (Jan 17) is the day I completed one year in office. IT sector is changing every day, but laws are old to regulate new dimension of mass communications. I attached priority to law making. Cyber security has emerged as a new challenge, for which to address, we brought Cyber Security Policy. Even a Directive on Use and Operation of Social Network Sites was issued. Bills on Media Council and Mass Communications are under consideration. Frequency Policy has been drafted. Regulation relating to property management of telecommunication service providers which have not renewed license was amended. The Advertisement Regulation was also amended in a bid to strengthen communications by making advertisement market transparent. Many issues relating to ministry and its subordinate agencies were left unaddressed for years. Some even prompted written complaints. Investigation was launched on these issues. One among those was complaint on tax evasion by ISPs, to which we probed. Similarly, investigation on non-implementation of ADMS has been concluded. These initiatives are catalyst to ensure good governance to the people. Wrongdoers are not spared; we are aware that none would involve in breaking rule.

            Guarantee of quality IT service along with citizen’s access to service is present urgency. How is the Ministry advancing activities to minimize ‘digital divide’?

            Of course, guarantee of quality service delivery is imperative to reduce digital divide. Digital divide is caused due to peoples’ deprivation of IT access. The Ministry has forwarded together the awareness and capacity building of youths on how IT could be utilized for income generation. Via Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), various programmes as ‘youth tech expo’, ‘digital champion were launched to entice youths to IT. Even an IT exhibition is in the offing. We are planning to conduct nationwide IT training. Once these activities are conducted, it would certainly help reduce digital divide.

            Needless to explain, IT has significant role on service delivery. Model districts are announced via Nepal Telecom in a bid to improve IT quality and access to IT. To this regard, 19 districts including quake-hit Jajarkot and Rukum Paschim have been declared model districts and implementation units set up. It counts much in providing service in the far-flung villages. IT infrastructures have been dubbed prerequisite to prosperity by the Ministry. High speed internet (FTTH) has already been expanded to 74 districts. Dolpa and Humla are getting internet service within this fiscal year. Mugu is in the list for next year. Laying down of optical fibers along the Mid-Hill Highway has been intensified. It is over in the Koshi Province; is being completed in Sudurpaschim and Karnali Provinces soon, while Gandaki and Lumbini Provinces have witnessed legal snags with court case. The Ministry has written to the courts, requesting them to accord prior rights to the pending cases and conclude soon. It bears significance in terms of service dispensing. Ministry is working for it.

            What’s your observation on Nepal’s IT service, production and export potential?

            Once the eight sectors envisioned by the Digital Nepal Framework- digital infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, energy, tourism, economy and urban infrastructures are developed, Nepal can realize huge success. Adoption of IT in these sectors will certainly ensure positive results. However, it is worrying that implementation status of Digital Nepal Framework introduced in 2076BS is poor. We’re trying how it can be made effective. In a year, we can realize some changes in IT sectors.

            Restructuring of state-run media has surfaced for long. How are you forwarding it?

            The organizational restructuring is essential both at ministry and its subordinate bodies. The bill relating to public service broadcasting is under discussion at parliament committee. Once the bill is passed, Nepal Television and Radio Nepal will undergo restructuring. Restructuring is not an emotional subject. It needs certain rule. Similarly, draft of the Media Council bill has been for forwarded to Law Ministry for study. Consensus is being built on draft of the Mass Communications bill. Both of these are being taken to the Cabinet. We are planning of making Gorkhapatra and its sister publications worth reading. The  is a news bank. RSS has recently launched news service in mother language. The mother languages are gradually being included and increased in the State-run media. The RSS must be developed as a media house capable to produce news for the media in the country and abroad.

            State-run media are not mere media of panegyric. They must act as bridges between government and people. Their role is important to share people’s problems with government and reach government’s good initiatives to the people.

            The issue of the misuse of social sites is becoming complex, and the Ministry is taking moves to systematize it. Is this sufficient? What are the ways to relate social sites to income generation and the livelihood of citizens?

            Society without the presence and use of social sites has become unimaginable now. However, the consequences of the misuse of social sites are cause for concern, and the issue should be addressed amidst these situations. The Ministry has issued Directive on Use and Management of Social Networking Sites in the absence of a dedicated policy regarding social sites.

            The Directive highlights the dos and don’ts for social site users. The drafting of a bill aiming to systematize social sites has neared the final phase. We wish to ensure the participation of mass stakeholders in the process of enacting laws. On one hand, the potentiality of connecting social sites to income generation should be considered positively, while on the other hand, we have to gear up for curbing their misuse.

            What are the plans of the Ministry to internationalise Nepal’s identity through films?

            Film, being a source of entertainment, remains one of the most effective means of communication. It is capable of reflecting the real situation of the time and can be used as a tool to convey messages to society. Nepali films should be connected to our customs, culture, and languages. First of all, they should be competitive in the internal market. The Ministry is working to make the Film Act, 2026BS abreast with time. The role of the Nepal Film Board is vital in promoting the Nepali film industry.

            If we could arrange film shooting in tourist spots, it could have a huge impact on the international film industry. The process of establishing a film city in Dolakha has been initiated. Overall, Nepal itself is like a hub for filmmaking due to its natural beauty. The Ministry plans to attract the international community to choose Nepal for cinematography and increase the quality and standards of Nepali films.

            It is said that the absence of security printing at home causes a huge capital and information flight. What endeavors is the Ministry undertaking to ensure security printing facilities at home?

            Security printing services should be available within the country, as it is related to country’s prestige. Bearing in mind the cost the country faces while seeking security printing services from outside the country, a bill regarding security printing is in parliament. Unfortunately, whatever works are carried out in security printing in Nepal, they are under questions of the regulatory bodies. We are committed to finalizing the bill in this regard as soon as possible.

            What are the ways to make the postal service relevant and effective in the changing context?

            The postal service cannot sustain itself in a traditional way. In government policies, programmes and the budget, the provision of additional post offices has been scrapped, and the concept of ‘one municipality, one post office’ has been forwarded. The Ministry plans to provide ‘smart postal services.’ Advancements in road infrastructure, vehicles, and information technology have demanded transformations in postal services. Regulations regarding additional post offices are in the process of decision. The postal service should be enriched by IT innovations as per the needs of time.

            Finally, what programmes capable of addressing people’s needs and concerns directly are the Ministry introducing ahead based on the experiences of one year in office?

            The MoCIT is the body to represent the existing era and generation. Information, technology, and mass communications can influence the conscious and youth generation the most. The Ministry has its own significance. The IT sector was quite new. After one year of experience in the office, I am quite confident that this is the time for a departure in IT, and in the absence of such a departure, it would not open avenues for the prosperity of the nation.

            It is necessary to have proper policies, programmes, and budget management to establish the IT sector as an indispensable part of prosperity. We have realized IT is an emergency service and the field capable of competing globally. Transformations in IT will transform people’s lives. Deliveries in IT are possible by staying within the country.

            The development of the IT sector will lead to the creation of more jobs, discouragement to youth exodus for employment and encouragement to the return of those who have been abroad for career opportunities. In the end, I expect impartial assessments of the Ministry from all quarters. I hope such evaluations will provide moral strength for the Ministry to perform more substantively in the days to come.

Three arrested for demanding ransom

            Chitwan, Jan 18: Three persons have been arrested on the charge of demanding Rs 1.5 million in ransom, issuing life threat to the victim.

            Police arrested Saroj Sunar, 27, of Bharatpur Metropolitan City-21, Deepak BK, 26, of ward no 1 and Sagar BK, 25, of ward no 26.

            They had been threatening Karan Gupta of Rupandehi district, currently doing business at Bharatpur Metropolis-1, using an Ncell number.

            Spokesperson at the District Police Office, Chitwan, Deputy Superintendent of Police Shreeram Bhandari said investigation into the case was underway.

Role of journalism crucial to guide country: Minister Bhatta

            Chainpur (Bajhang), Jan 18: Minister for Internal Affairs and Law of Sudurpaschim Province, Shiva Raj Bhatta, has said the role of journalism is significant to guide the country.

            Inaugurating the orientation organised for RSS correspondent of Sudurpaschim Province at Kanchanpur from today, Minister Bhatta mentioned, “The role of journalists and journalism is crucial to change the society and nation.”

            He clarified that journalists know what direction to lead the society and how to change the society, so those involving in journalism profession should be independent and responsible due to this.

            Similarly, Mayor of Bhimdutta municipality, Padam Bogati, laid emphasis that journalists themselves should involve to make journalism profession responsible and dignified.

            He also urged journalists to start their career being independent.

            Likewise, RSS Executive Chairperson Dharmendra Jha said training for correspondents has been started to take RSS to a height from a new way.  

            Stating that RSS has given priority to different mother languages of the country, Chair Jha mentioned that RSS has started news service in mother language and it would be continued in coming days.

            Eighteen reporters have been participating in the two-day Sudurpaschim Province-level orientation related to news writing. 

Trade deficit can be reduced through energy production: DPM Shrestha

            Kathmandu, Jan 18: Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, has emphasized that hydroelectricity is the major means for reducing trade deficit and taking the country ahead towards prosperity, and the government has kept it in main priority.

            Addressing a programme organised on the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the Independent Power Producers’ Association, Nepal (IPPAN) here today, he said the country’s energy sector can take a leap only through a meaningful initiative of the government and the private sector.

            DPM Shrestha stressed on the need of increasing the consumption of energy within the country, stating that the government is effortful in reducing the trade deficit by selling the surplus power. Reiterating that the government is committed to creating an environment conducive for investment in the energy sector, he said the present government is active in realizing the desire of Nepali people for economic prosperity.

            “Economic prosperity, social justice and good governance are the main priorities of the government,” he said. Stating that Investment Summit is being held in coming April, DPM Shrestha maintained the bodies concerned would be consulted for legal and structural improvements for bringing foreign investment in the energy sector.

            According to him, although an agreement has been made to export 10,000 megawatts electricity to India in 10 years, the topic of increasing the domestic consumption of power is the major priority.

            Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, said the private sector has a contribution of 60 percent in the energy sector of the country and the national motto of building a prosperous Nepal would be fulfilled only through partnership between the government and the private sector.

            He reiterated that the government is committed to addressing the demands put forth by the private sector and it has moved ahead respecting the appropriate ones. The Energy Minister presented the data that the energy production has increased from 800 megawatts to 3,000 megawatts over the last decade and electricity has reached 98 percent households.

            He called for thinking in a new way from today alone for bridging the gap in energy production during the monsoon and the dry season, stressing on creation of environment for speeding up the under-construction projects, keeping in priority the reservoir-based projects and for moving ahead the concept of energy mixture.

            Minister Basnet maintained that the government has not seen the energy sector only as infrastructure, but also accepted it as the main basis for economic prosperity, urging the private sector to put in investment without any qualms.

            “I draw your attention, why could not the works be carried out in a notable way even for more than 10 years after taking the production license? I call upon IPPAN for taking up responsible initiation on this,” he said, urging the private sector to fulfill its responsibility. The Energy Minister assured the private sector not to worry much about the power purchase agreement issue, saying, “You come forward that you will do certain amount of work. Come forward completing the works that need to be done from your side. The Ministry shall facilitate in creating a conducive environment for that. The government is ready to address the demands of the private sector.”

            IPPAN president Ganesh Karki said the country’s energy sector is moving forward on a progress trajectory and urged the government to address the demands related to power purchase agreement and the like. He also called attention of the government for addressing the security challenges of the energy sector.

Newa Dey Daboo welcomes RSS news service in Awadhi language  

            Kathmandu, Jan 18: Newa Dey Daboo has extended its gratitude to the Rastriya Samachar Samiti RSS) for initiating its news service in Awadhi language.

            Issuing a press release today, Daboo said the RSS’s move of starting the news service in other mother tongue adopting the sentiments of constitution of establishing inclusive state is welcome step.

            The organisation expressed the belief that such act would play basic role to institutionalize federal democratic republic in Nepal, requesting the RSS to start news service in other mother tongue spoken in the country including Nepal Bhasa.

Agriculture Act to be brought soon: Minister Bhusal

            Kathmandu, Jan 18: Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development, Dr Beduram Bhusal, has said that preparation was underway to bring Agriculture Act soon in order to resolve the problems of agriculture sector.

            Minister Bhusal said so addressing the agro-biodiversity and indigenous crop exhibition organised by the Second National Agriculture Biodiversity Day and Week Ceremony Committee here today.

            Stating that the country should be made self-dependent by developing and expanding agriculture sector for economic transformation, he laid emphasis on the need of increasing agro production modernizing the sector through the use of technology.

            The Agriculture Act would help for the same, mentioned Minister Bhusal, adding different varieties of indigenous crops of the country should be preserved.

            He expressed the view that agro production should be increased by utilizing achievements gained in the sector of agriculture research and agriculture science.

            Traditional types of wooden wares, food crops, fruits, seeds as well as other goods have been put on display in the expo.

Rural municipality vice-chair Joshi dies

            Bajura, Jan 18: Maina Joshi, the vice-chairperson of Swami Katik Khapar rural municipality in Bajura district, passed away this morning. She was 50.

            Ailing from cancer for long, Joshi died at her house at Swami Kartik Khapar rural municipality-4, said the rural municipality chairperson Bharat Bahadur Rokaya. She was elected the rural municipality vice-chair from the Nepali Congress in the local election held in May 2023.

            She was also the Nepali Congress Bajura district working committee member.

Parliamentary committee directs Ministry to submit papers related to TERAMOCS

            Kathmandu, Jan 18: The House of Representatives, Education, Health and Information Technology Committee has directed the government to submit to documents related to Mobile Device Management System (MDMS) and Telecommunication Traffic Monitoring and Fraud Control System (TERAMOCS).

            A meeting of the committee held today directed the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to submit to it the papers related to policy decision, purchase process, payment and rationale of implementation concerning MDMS and TERAMOCS from the start.

            It also decided to ask for the ministry-level investigation report on these topics and the court decisions related to the same and to take further decision on the basis of consultations with experts.

            The committee’s this decision comes after discussions it held with Minister for Communications and Information Technology Rekha Sharma, Ministry Secretary Ram Krishna Subedi, among other officials of the Ministry today.

            In the meeting, Minister Sharma shared that the Ministry is studying the policy decisions made by the previous governments and the works carried out by the implementing bodies. She said the Ministry will cooperate in the investigations to be carried out by the authorized agency into the topic of any said irregularities in the implementation of these systems.

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All educational certificates of TU to be provided online 

            Kathmandu, Jan 18: The Tribhuvan University, Office of the Controller of Examinations, Balkhu, has made preparations to provide all services related to distribution of educational certificates through online from January 29, said Examination Controller Pushpa Raj Joshi.

            The Office would carry out activities related to educational certificates online and send it at the respective regional offices of the Office of the Controller of Examinations so that no one has to visit its Balkhu Office.

            Joshi shared that students can get different types of services including transcript, provisional certificate, re-totaling, copy of any educational certificate through online from this January 29 after filling form to get the service by paying its charge from e-payment.

            “We will send educational certificates of students at the respective regional offices of the Office of the Controller of Examinations within a week which will remove the student’s compulsion to visit Balkhu office for the same,” he added.

            The educational certificates would be sent at the regional offices for the time being and it would be sent at the respective campuses from coming May where the student can get it within five days.

            Joshi explained that around 1,000-2,000 visit the Balkhu Office every day for educational certificates. Student can fill the online form at Office of the Controller of the Examination’s website www.tuexam.edu.np.

            TU has its regional offices in Biratnagar, Pokhara, Nepalgunj and Attariya and Balkhu.

Intergovernmental relations needed, chief minister says

      Dang, Jan 18 : Chief Minister for Lumbini Province Dilli Bahadur Chaudhary has said that coordination and cooperation between the three layers of government is needed for the implementation of federalism.

      At a meeting of Lubmini Province Coordination Committee on Thursday, Chaudhary said the province government was in talks with the federal government and the Prime Minister about the rights of the province.

      On the occasion, Chief Minister Chaudhary opined against the trend of giving cash grant from the province and local governments adding that effectiveness of such grant has decreased. He viewed that economic development driven technology should be implemented instead of such cash incentive programmes.

      During the meeting, the participants asked the province government to facilitate in the areas of forest, river-based resources and revenue collection.

      Likewise, Vice Chairman of Province Planning Commission Dr Nahakul KC said that the province government was working to implement the projects in an integrated approach.

Society loosing discipline, Oli says

      Kathmandu, Jan 18: CPN (UML) Chairman KP Sharma Oli has said that our society is gradually loosing discipline.

      Addressing the second meeting of the Nepal Sports Federation at the UML central office on Thursday, Oli said there is no other sector in the country as disciplined as the sports sector adding that the sportspersons should fully abide by discipline.

      “Now other sectors are less disciplined except the sportsperson. Discipline is needed in other areas too like in the sports. We should take discipline as a social norm,” the former PM said while urging all to follow disciplined life.

      In his address to the sportspersons, Oli said that the country was in difficult time and all should work to safeguard the country from hard times.

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NAC wide-body  resumes flights after technical maintenance

      Kathmandu, Jan 18 : A wide-body aircraft of the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has resumed its regular operations following maintenance. The aircraft had been grounded since last Monday but resumed its services on Thursday after undergoing necessary technical repairs. According to Ramesh Paudel, spokesperson for NAC, the aircraft was grounded due to issues with the flight control sensor.

      The required aircraft parts were sourced from Britain. On Thursday, the aircraft had departed for Dubai, carrying 267 passengers at 4:00 pm. The NAC owns two narrow-body and two wide-body aircrafts for its international air services. One narrow-body aircraft has recently been sent to Israel for repair, it is said.

Thorough preparation for project of national pride imperative-Minister Jwala

      Kathmandu, Jan 18: Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Prakash Jwala has called for a thorough preparation before identifying any project of national pride.

      During a meeting of the National Concerned and Coordination Committee, National Assembly on Thursday, the Minister stressed the need of conducting proper studies, assessments, and ensuring budgetary commitments before selecting and implementing projects of national importance.

      Otherwise, challenge will appear during the implementation and this is the case regarding some projects of national pride in the country.   Some projects of national pride have been selected haphazardly, he said. “But this time, such thing will not recur as a team comprising the National Planning Commission Vice Chair and Chief Secretary among others was formed at the direction of the Prime Minister to review and set criteria for the classification of projects,” the Minister said. According to the revised criteria, projects with a budget exceeding Rs 50 billion are now classified as national projects, he added.

      The meeting drew the Ministry’s attention towards the urgency to implement the projects of national pride effectively, conclude ongoing projects on time and accelerate the construction of the North-South corridor.

      Committee president Dil Kumari Thapa Rawal (Parbati) expressed concerns over the lack of expected progress in regard to the projects of nation pride. She insisted on structural reforms and clear criteria for announcing the project of national pride.

PM Cup Cricket: Madhes Province stuns APF

      Kathmandu, Jan 18: The Madhes Province team has defeated the Armed Police Force (APF) club by five wickets in a match held today under the Prime Minister one-day national cricket tournament.

      Chasing the target of 247 ruins for win, the Madhes Province team completed the challenge at the loss of five wickets.  This is so far the first time the Madhes Province defeated APF in the PM cricket tournament.

      To steer the team to victory, Rupesh Singh of Madhes province gathered 72 unbeaten with four boundaries and three sixes by facing 72 throws. Pawan Sarraf contributed 64 runs while Niraj Yadav made 52 runs to the team.  Likewise, Anil Shah scored 29 runs and Abhisekh Tiwari 17 runs to the winning team.

      Amar Rautela and Rohit Poudel took two wickets each for APF while Mausam Dhakal sent three batsmen to pavilion.  Invited to bat after losing the toss at the Kirtipur-based TU Cricket Ground, APF had gathered only 246 at the loss of nine wickets.

      Asif Sheikh made the highest contributions to the team with 59 runs. Likewise, captain Rohit Poudel scored 58 runs. Likewise, Amar Rautela made 49 runs, Sandeep Jora 20, Sumeet Maharjan nine, Bhuwan Karki eight and Lokesh Bam six runs.

      Rupesh Singh and Pradeep Paswan of Madhes province took three wickets each.

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One year of communications minister: Focus on policy reforms and good governance promotion

      Kathmandu, Jan 18: Minister for Communications and Information Technology Rekha Sharma said she made efforts for legal, policy and structural reforms ini the first year of her tenure at the ministry.

      At a press meet organized at the ministry today on the occasion of completing first year of her term, Minister Sharma expressed her strong confidence that Nepal’s communications and information technology sector can be restructured through legal and policy reforms.

      The minister informed that the ministry itself has carried out study and investigation on some issues under the zero tolerance policy to implement the pathway of good governance, social justice and prosperity put forth by Prime Minister Pushpa kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.

      It may be noted that Minister Sharma had assumed the ministerial responsibility on January 17 last year. The communications ministry has the scope of work related to mass communications, information technology, postal service, printing, telecommunications and film.

      Minister Sharma, also the government spokesperson, clarified that the government was moving ahead for implementation of the constitution and enabling federalism, economic reforms and revival, investment promotion, employment creation, service delivery reforms, citizen-friendly administration and corruption control with the agenda of good governance, social justice and prosperity.

      The minister informed that the frequency policy-2080 was issued by revising the frequency policy (amendment 2077) to discourage the tendency of occupying the frequency license, ignoring revenue payment and unwilling to function.

      With the policy in place, the net neutrality policy will come to effect since 16 July 2024. The ministry has expected to discourage tendency of paying no or nominal revenue for frequency after obtaining license.

      Likewise, the regulation relating to the management of asset of unlicensed telecommunications service providers was also amended. It will manage assets and automatically return unused radio frequency.

      Meanwhile, the ministry has also amended and enforced the Advertisement Regulations Act-2080 to address grievances on growing leakage and opaqueness in ad industry.

      In order to end the practice of voluntarily charging amount by foreign channels on television broadcasting, the ‘A la carte’ price system has been brought into action. In the meantime, various policies and laws, including directive on managing social networking sites use, 2080 and national cyber security policy, 2080 were approved and are on implementation stage.

      Other necessary policy and law are under formulation process. The security printing related bill and public broadcasting service bill are on discussion in the parliamentary committee while Nepal Media Council related bill has been sent to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs after taking consent from the ministry of finance.

      The drafts of mass communications bill and social media (management and regulation) bill have been prepared and sent to ministry of finance for consent. Principle agreement has been obtained for formulating the telecommunications bill and information technology related bill to address innovative technology emerging in information technology and telecommunications sector.

      Among other bills under discussion for formulation and revision are related to film sector, national advertisement policy, 2080, national broadcasting regulation, 2080 additional postal regulation, 2074.

      The minister further informed that necessary works have been taken ahead as per the recommendation of the high-level committee. Taking into consideration the committee’s recommendations, a national cyber security policy was formulated first time this year, she shared.

      Likewise, investigation into the public procurement of the MDMS system was done by forming a probe committee. Minister Sharma highlighted the need of maintaining transparency along with necessary policy and legal arrangements on the system despite its necessity in the country.

First year of communications minister: RSS featured on achievement

      Kathmandu, Jan 18: The progress report of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has featured the reform initiatives taken by various agencies, including Rastriya Samachar Samiti.

      The ministry has unveiled a consolidated progress report today on the completion of a year since Minister Rekha Sharma took the ministerial berth.

      The ministry report has noted that the RSS has started publishing news bulletin on mother language and enforced a subscriber directive to expand the service base.

      RSS news contents have been provided for free till mid-February to the media outlets from Jajarkot, Salyan, Rukum East and Rukum West districts– the districts affected from Jajarkot earthquake, the report mentioned. In its bid to establish RSS as an information bank, entire news bulletin of the RSS have been digitalized. 

      The Ministry has also stated that photo exhibition on ‘Our Culture: Our Heritage’ was organized on the occasion of Republic Day, 2080. Established in 2018 BS, the RSS has been providing news services from 6:00 am to 10:30 pm every day and the news service include Nepali service, English service, audio-visual service, photo as well as the international news service.

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Australian ambassador calls on Vice President, discusses various matters

      Kathmandu, Jan 18 :  Australian ambassador to Nepal, Felicity Volk, on Thursday called on Vice President Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav.

      During the meeting held at the Office of the Vice President in Lainchaur, matters relating to bilateral relations, economic cooperation, Nepali Diaspora and tourism were discussed, according to the Office of Vice President.

      On the occasion, the Vice President has expressed his happiness over the deepening and broadening of bilateral relations on the basis of mutual trust, understanding and cooperation since its establishment on February 15, 1960.

      The Vice President lauded Australia’s decision to increase its Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Nepal, particularly acknowledging Australia’s valuable contribution to Nepal’s community forest program and sustainable forest management.

      He also highlighted the close coordination between Nepal and Australia in various regional and multi-sectoral forums and their commitment to the conservation and development of multilateralism, supporting a just, equitable, inclusive, and rules-based global order.

      The ambassador said the people to people and the governmental relations between the two countries is consolidated and deeper. As she said, presently, Australia is a home to 120,000 Nepalis including 60,000 students. The ambassador said she is effortful to encourage Nepali graduates in Australia to get back to home and contribute to the development of Nepal.

      She also proposed an idea of increasing the number of international students in Nepal through implementation of a ‘dual degree’ programme between academic institutions in Nepal and Australia. “Recently, the Kathmandu University and Crown Institute of Australia signed a memorandum of understanding to this regard.”

Acting PM Khadka discusses about overall country’s security in view of NA polls

      Kathmandu, Jan 18: Acting Prime Minister Purna Bahadur Khadka held discussions today with key officials regarding overall situation in the country.

      The meeting took place on Thursday at the Ministry of Defence, with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Narayan Kaji Shrestha; Chief Secretary Dr. Baikuntha Aryal; Chief of Army Staff, Prabhu Ram Sharma; Home Secretary Dinesh Bhattarai; Acting Defence Secretary; Nepal Police Chief Basanta Bahadur Kunwar; Armed Police Force Chief Raju Aryal; and Additional Chief Investigation Director of the National Investigation Department.

      During the meeting, the officials briefed the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence on the security preparations and the overall security situation, with a focus on the upcoming National Assembly elections scheduled for January 25.

      The Acting Prime Minister underlined the need for prompt and reliable security arrangements, especially considering the upcoming upper house elections. He highlighted that security is a multi-dimensional aspect and should be addressed accordingly with special consideration.

      Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Shrestha urged the authorities to give special attention to security arrangements in light of the elections, taking into account potential challenges, despite the overall normalcy in the country.

President Paudel issues ordinance

      Kathmandu, Jan 18: President Ramchandra Paudel has issued Fiscal Procedures and Financial Accountability (First Amendment) Ordinance, 2080 on Thursday.

      The President issued the Ordinance in accordance to the Article 114 (1) of the Constitution of Nepal at the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, according to the Office of the President.

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