Resolution of Federalism Under Nepalese Constitution

Resolution of Federalism Under Nepalese Constitution

Question: Neighbouring nation Nepal has recently resolved the contentious issue of federalism under the new constitution. Provide a brief outline of the same.

- Nepal’s 4 ruling parties have arrived at a major deal to divide the nation into six new provinces forming borders with India

- This resolves the issue of federalism under the new Constitution

- Constitutional Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee of the Constituent Assembly has formed the agreement for carving out the 6 federal units

- The 4 major parties also came to an agreement to incorporate the citizenship clause provision of permitting children to acquire citizenship certificate in the name of the father or the mother

- UCPN-Maoist and MPRFD or Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum Domestic have signed the deal with a few reservations

- Division of the state was a prickly issue in the new constitution; with its resolution, the drafting of the constitution has now reached the final phase

- Though there was agreement among political parties regarding numbers and boundaries of federal units, there was lack of agreement on names of the federal units

- In the model agreed to be the parties, all 6 provinces have direct access to the Indian Border

- Capital district Kathmandu lies in the second province

All except this province have 3 geographical divisions:

i. Mountain Region
ii. Hilly Region
iii. Southern Plains

- The second province comprises 8 districts which lie within the southern planes bordering the nation

- Some Madhesi based parties opposed the deal demanding that terai and hilly regions should not be mixed while making the federal division of the nation

- CA will now be able to deliver the new constitution towards the end of August

- In the proposed constitution, number of members of the Upper House was raised from 45 to 51

- According to the fresh provision, province will send 8 members including 3 women, 1 Dalit and 1 Differently Abled Person or from Minority Group to the Upper House and 3 members shall be nominated by the president

- Parties failed to reach the conclusion on the issues of secularism

- Demands came from different quarters to return to Hinduism rather than secularism or mention religious freedom instead of secularism

Facts and Stats

- Nepalese parties have divided the country into 6 provinces leaving the task of delineating state borders to the federal commission

- Fresh agreement has been signed after negotiations since major issue of federalism had blocked progress in the charter since the year 2008

- Consultation without demarcation was seen as incomplete by the Madhesis

- Law makers commenced with work on the new national constitution in 2008 following a decade long Maoist insurgency which caused the deaths of 16,000 people and brought down the kingdom

- Nepal is currently one of the poorest nations in the world
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