For instance, the Karnali could be a separate province that receives development assistance from the centre and there could be 25 sub provinces in these proposed five provinces. The Eastern Province could have six sub-provinces, Central could have three, Western could have six, the Karnali three, mid-western three and far-western province four. If the country were to follow the proposed structure, the issues of ethnicities will be dealt proportionally in a federal system. Instead of treating the districts as administrative units, they need to be transformed into development units.
Soorya Lal Amatya:We cannot forget national sovereignty, integrity and unity. In a situation where we have to depend on foreigners to run the government, 13/14 provinces will be impossible for the country to handle. We have to be very careful of separatism while drawing the new map. Reconciliation, not division should be the basis of the federal republic. The five development regions should be turned to provinces and Kathmandu and the Karnali should be separate provinces. If one province has the resources, its neighbouring provinces cannot be deprived.
All the past plans of decentralisation were unsuccessful because they were never implemented and they remained in the centre. A federal state without implementation will also be a failure.
The districts already follow a system, and it would be better not to destroy that when forming a federal structure because the data available in the districts will be important in the future. Distribution of rights and responsibilities should be clear between the centre, provinces and local level. The centre should have the right to make foreign, monetary, security, military policies and also big development decisions. The provinces should be allowed to make decisions in consensus with the centre on education, health, irrigation, roads and security of the province.
Guinea pigs of the constitution
We can't afford to make this country a laboratory
BHIM PRASAD DUBEDI
Article 138, Clause A, says 'inclusive, democratic and progressive restructuring of the state shall be made to bring about an end of the discrimination based on class, caste, language, sex, culture, religion and region by eliminating the centralised and unitary form of the state.' The preamble has indentified the existing problems whereas the latter suggests the solution.
The state restructuring should have three features - inclusive, democratic and progressive. Going through the proposed drafts of restructuring, the parties have either defined these concepts in their own way or grossly ignored them. For instance, One Madhes Pradesh, Tamsaling, Magarat, Tharuhat can never be inclusive, democratic or progressive.
People also should know if the federal system is a panacea of all anomalies or just better than the centralised unitary system. Many people who are poor, uneducated and unemployed believe that the state restructuring on the basis of ethnicity and region would resolve all problems. What if the problems remain as it is or get worse? Who is going to take responsibility?
Today's Nepal is a combination of Himal, Pahad and Tarai. Therefore, people living here have social, cultural and economic relations. There are disparities but each region has its own potential strength in natural resources. However, the natural resources should be evenly distributed because this is the basis on which to run the states.
There are a number of points to be considered in state restructuring: what are the basis for restructuring the state and how to prioritise it, what should be the sharing of power between the centre and provinces, features of provinces including land area and how to name these provinces.
All castes and ethnicities have their unique cultures and tradition but no particular community has majorities in any particular areas. It would be wise to move ahead with co-option and consensus among all ethnicities in future. Naming a particular region after ethnicities would foster chauvinism, all communities should be given equal recognition and rights in the province.
We get to hear communal comments occasionally saying that a particular community does not belong to a particular place and should be sent to where it belongs. Few seem to have thought of the dangerous long term consequences of such talk. We can't afford to make this country a laboratory.
State restructuring shouldn't bring more confusion in the day-to-day lives of the people. It should factor in possible consequences to ethnic harmony. Creating provinces and sub-units will have a very long-term impact, we can't afford to get this wrong.