NT: Nepal: The term of the Parliament will end soon but lawmakers have intensified efforts to pass a bill relating to pay and perk for former VIPs, with a provision of pay and perks for former members of Parliament as well.
If lawmakers seeking pay and perks for former MPs succeed in their attempt that could substantially increase financial burden on taxpayers. A sub-committee of the parliamentary State Affairs Committee will discuss the issue tomorrow.
Among law makers who have requested that an arrangement be joined in the bill to regard previous PMs according to VIP convention, give them treatment cost, travel stipends and different offices are Sanjay Gautam, Tapta Bahadur Bista, Rajiv Bikram Shah, Nar Bahadur Chand of Nepali Congress and Kalpana Chaudhari of Nepal Democratic Forum.
Minister of State for Information and Communications, Bist however, said he had not registered any such amendment proposal. Shah said all SAARC countries were providing pay and perks to former MPs and there was no reason why Nepal should not do so.
Lawmaker Kalpana Chaudhari said the state should at least provide treatment cost to former MPs. “All former MPs are not rich. Some sell tea and betel leaves to make ends meet. This is deplorable,” she said.
Tuladhar said there were some MPs in the SAC that believed that only former presidents and vice-presidents should be treated as former VIPs. The bill defines former VIPs as former presidents, vice presidents, and prime ministers/chairs of Council of Minister.
CPN-UML Chief Whip Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal said office bearers of Former MPs Forum had requested his party to insert provision in the bill to provide pay and perks to former MPs, but the UML rejected their proposal. “We ought to be liberal in regarding previous MPs according to VIP convention however that does not mean we ought to go for giving them annuity,” Dhakal stated, including that his gathering legislators had not enrolled any change to the bill.
CPN-Maoist Centre Chief Whip Rekha Sharma said her party was yet to come up with an official stance on NC lawmakers’ proposal to list former MPs in former VIP lists but she believed listing former MPs as former VIPs could increase burden on the Nepali taxpayers.
NC Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha said his party was not in favour of providing allowances to former MPs. “But we also want to debate whether the state should bear the treatment costs of former MPs who are treated in government hospitals,” he said and added that it might be appropriate to treat former MPs as per the VIP protocol.