Wednesday 17th April 2024
Wednesday 17th April 2024
गृहपृष्ठPoliticsAmend constitution to strengthen nationalism: Speaker Sapkota

Amend constitution to strengthen nationalism: Speaker Sapkota

KATHMANDU : Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota has said that an initiative should be taken to amend the constitution based on necessity so that nationalism will be strengthened during an interview with the National News Agency on the occasion of Nepal’s Constitution Day.

Nepal marks Asoj 3 as its Constitution Day. The constitution promulgated in 2015 has been hailed as the most democratic and inclusive national charter Nepal has ever had. In this connection, the parliament has tried to rise above the traditional format and expects to meet people’s aspirations in line with the constitution’s spirit.

According to speaker Sapkota, “Nepal is currently in the phase of implementation of the constitution in full scale. Many laws contradicting the constitution were scrapped and new framed to suit the changed context. The parliament became successful to bring numerous laws to implement the constitution in the last three years. Following the elections in local, State and federal levels, the governments are formed and are now operational.

The bill on coordination among the local, state and federal governments has been passed, which will not only facilitate but also accelerate various activities at all three layers. The passage of the bill has paved the way to unknot problems surfacing among the governments.”

The constitution has so far been amended twice- first for making it proportional and second for incorporating the revised map of the country.  Speaker Sapkota argued that the provision of 33 percent women’s participation in the State apparatus has been implemented well. There is a 33.83 percent participation of women in the federal parliament. In the local level, the provision of women as either chief or deputy chief is fully materialized. Similarly, Dalit people are ensured participation with privileges. The policy and provision of inclusive and proportional representation has been fully enforced, he underscored.

Responding to a question on the state governments’ complaint of not having necessary laws for inter-state coordination, Speaker Sapkota admitted that some have still not been made. However, it does not mean necessary laws are not made to implement the fundamental rights within the stipulated time frame.

Similarly, Speaker Spakota lauded the second amendment of the constitution, reasoning that it gave constitutional recognition to Nepal’s revised map that included Lipulek, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani. Similarly, discussions were underway to address the grievances of Madhesh-centric political parties. Their demands and voices are given space in the parliament as well. The constitution is amended as per the need and relevance, which needs broader discussion.

In response to a question whether the constitution addressed people’s aspiration over these five years since its introduction, Speaker Sapkota said, “Although the views of the people were raised in the parliament, there is still a lot to do in order to address their demands.”

Speaker Sapkota said, “The country has already adopted the federal system. We have been facing problems with the coronavirus pandemic in recent periods. The local levels except some local levels have been carrying out works significantly to battle against coronavirus. There might be huge losses in the country during this pandemic if there were not local levels. The representatives of local levels have been working day and night in people’s happiness and pain. The people have been feeling its presence and thinking that federalism is necessary for the country.”

Responding to a query over unnecessary activities of the state governments, he said that there is a gap in coordination and difficulties have surfaced in attempting to carry out activities during the recent period. He further said that activities like calling for meetings of speaker and deputy-speaker of states, exchanging their experience, improving weaknesses and making necessary coordination are still yet to happen properly.

Speaker Sapkota expressed his belief that lack of coordination is the reason behind disputes between the federal and state governments, and added that the federal and local government have been able to move ahead based on past experience but it is natural for problems to surface in the course of running state government as it is still new in the country.

Similarly he said, “First of all we have to find problems that are making coordination between the three-levels difficult, and move ahead towards the path of resolving them. Discussion should be held on their issues in letter and spirit of the constitution. We should find out whether or not the questions raised by state levels have any relevance and the genuine problems and concern should be resolved.”

The Speaker opined that problems might surface in course of running state and local governments in the beginning as federalism is new practice in our country and such problems should be resolved soon. He said, “I think there are some problems and weaknesses on the issue of guidelines. We from the side of the federal parliament have made policies, plans and programmes. We have not been able to work due to some circumstances.

The federal government should create an environment conducive to collaborate with the state and local governments as per the Constitution. State and local governments are not the units of the same government. The constitution has clearly mentioned it. The state and local governments can take suggestions from the federal government, which should play the role of guardian.”

Responding to a question regarding the implementation of the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution, the Speaker said that the constitution has given much importance to the right to education, food, health and shelter.  “We are in a challenging situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and have given special emphasis to health-related matters at present. Despite this, we have not been able to provide accessible and affordable health services to the citizens. It is the duty of the state to resolve the most common and general of the problems faced by the citizens since we are practising the socialism-oriented state envisaged by the constitution. The state should work towards ensuring the fundamental rights of the people.”

The Speaker emphasized that it was the duty of the government and the state apparatuses to implement the constitution in its letter and spirit. It is in the trying times like at present that a gate to new possibilities should be opened. Even the constitution can be developed to a new level.

Asked to make a self-assessment regarding his role as the Speaker looking at the present situation of the constitution’s implementation, Speaker Sapkota said issues are moving ahead as delineated in the constitution and he is working to further enhance the role of the parliament and make it effective as per his commitment. “We are keen in making the parliament more responsible towards the people. Several topics mentioned in the constitution have been implemented while others are on the way of implementation. Overall, we are heading towards the positive direction. Any shortcomings and lacuna should be rectified,” he added.

In his message to the people on the occasion of the Constitution day, the Speaker praised the constitution saying that it has incorporated the basic aspirations of the people as well as all dimensions of the democratic norms and values. It is oriented towards building a new state system and towards achieving socialism.

“All should move ahead as per the spirit of the preamble of the constitution. All should get opportunities and there should not be any discrimination. Constitution Day is a day to make a commitment to provide equal opportunity to all and fulfill the goals of the constitution. It is also a day to evaluate past weaknesses, move ahead by correcting them, and work keeping the people at the centre. We should move ahead by becoming more sincere.” [The interview was taken by reporter Ramesh Lamsal.]

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