Nearly eight months have passed since UNMIN was established but even now it has not been able to complete the logistics to establish its office. It has finally managed to establish a desk and five regional offices in houses provided by the government in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Biratnagar, Nepalganj and Dhangadi.
The full recruitment has still not been completed. By this month, UNMIN had hired nearly 772 staff related to arms-monitoring and elections, of whom 65 are international. There are still a lot to be recruited as district election advisors, of which 75 will be international posts.
UNMIN chief Ian Martin said they would need more than 1,000 workers to run the operation at full capacity. According to the UN, the mission will have 1,080 workers in total. Around 133 will be international posts while 947 will be Nepalis. However, the level of benefits will not be the same for the local and international staff.
Besides the monthly salary, international staff will get a daily allowance of $108 per day for the first month, after which they will get $80 every day. The international workers will get a daily allowance of about 12 percent of their monthly salary.
The professional Nepali staff will get nearly Rs 19,000 for one child's annual education while the international staff at the same level will get around $12,000 for the education of up to two children.
There was also inequality in the field allowance until recently, when Nepali staff refused to go to the field if they were not paid the same as the foreigners. Nepalis used to get a daily field allowance of $22 while the international staff received $81.
There has been a constant question over the quality of international staff who were hired as Nepal experts because they were from the west and spoke English.
Usually, the UN assigns two kinds of missions in conflict-ridden countries: peacekeeping and political. UNMIN's mission is political. It has already signed a 'States of Mission Agreement' with the Nepal government but even now there is no clarity about the nature of the work.
It seems UNMIN will stay longer than four months more. The Maoists do not want UNMIN to extend its stay. "Billions of rupees have come in the name of UNMIN, their cars have been left unused while our PLA don't even have one ambulance," said Maoist deputy commander Janardhan Sharma.