Nepali Times
Constitution Supplement
Federal fix

With only five months left to write the constitution the outstanding issue is the modality of federalism to be adopted. The drafts of political parties submitted to the Committee on Restructuring of State and Distribution of State Power reveal considerable differences in the number of provinces proposed and their basis.

The Maoist model (above) proposes 14 provinces and sub-provinces, with 800 to 900 districts so people will have easy access to district headquarters. Most of the proposed provinces would be named after ethnicities, though the Maoists insist they are based on the idea of 'nationalities'. There are still internal differences within the party on proposed state boundaries. Regional, topographical and administrative viability have also been considered.?
The UML (below) has proposed 15 provinces on the basis of ethnicity as well as linguistic, cultural, geographical and historical factors. The party's draft takes into consideration economic viability, infrastructural development, natural resources and administrative accessibility.

The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum has a one-point agenda of the One Madhes Prades, comprising the Tarai from Jhapa in the east to Kanchanpur in the west, with the Siwalik hills as the northern border. The proposed province (below, shaded) comprises 18.5 per cent of the country's total area. The party has not elaborated on the hill and mountain regions. It acknowledges 'ethnicity, language, culture, geographical and historical continuity' as the major basis for creating provinces, and notes the need to consider economic interrelation, infrastructural development, natural resources and administrative accessibility.

The NC has proposed that federalism reflect geographical, cultural, ethnic identity and demographic diversity, taking into account economic viability and co-relation, and regional and local autonomy with decentralisation. Its proposal envisions dividing the nation into federal, provincial and local structures, but opposes the idea of ethnicity as the major basis. However, its concept paper is silent on the shape, size and number of provinces to be created. The party has stressed the need to form a State Restructuring Commission to demarcate provincial structures.

1. Arthur
Thank you for the maps! It seems that there is a good deal of convergence between the UML and Maoist boundary proposals (leaving aside the names, distribution of powers between levels and the proposed consolidation of VDCs and Districts into 800 or 900 local governments at market centres approximating to ilakas). Can we have some discussion/explanation of the differences between these two maps (and between both of them and the third map), and how to resolve those differences? TERAI: Both UML and Maoists agree on Western and Eastern parts of Terai as separate states. Both Maoists and MJF agree on single Madhesh state including the areas UML has listed as Lumbini, Bhojpura and Mithila. If the people in each of these areas are asked to choose which of the overlapping proposed states they would prefer their area to be included in, why should this not be resolved easily? i.e. Those in the West decide whether they prefer a separate state as proposed by the UML and Maoists or to be part of a Madhesh state as proposed by the MJF. Those in the East make the same (but independent) decision. Those in each of Lumbini, Bhojpura and Mithila likewise make the same independent decision. MOUNTAINS: UML proposes to continue to administer the Mountain areas from the Hills (as Maoists proposed earlier). Maoists now propose a separate Mountain state in the West and a Sherpa State. Again, can this be resolved easily by asking the people in each of the proposed Mountain States to choose whether they prefer a separate State or to be included in the corresponding Hills State nearest to their area? HILLS: UML proposes a Sunkoshi State extending the Maoist proposed Sherpa State into parts of Tamasaling hills districts. Also a Gandaki State (with a rather odd shape) from parts of the Maoist proposed Magarat, Tamuwan and Tamasaling. Also extending the Eastern Terai State to include part of Limbuwan. Can the people of each of these areas be asked to simply choose?

2. pwlas
federalism in case of nepal is useless discussion .. it's like repainting a car while no one is capable of driving it.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)