AIT Alumni in eight-member State Restructuring Commission (SRC)

November 22, 2011, admin

Commission takes shape, finally

AFTER long drawn-out debate, the major parties have finally formed an eight-member State Restructuring Commission (SRC) to recommend the Constituent Assembly a best possible model to federate the country. The parties had provisioned the commission in the Interim Constitution 2007 to recommend on state restructuring, one of the most contentious issues in the process of drafting the new constitution. 

A meeting of the UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPNUML and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) held at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction also decided to rotate the post of coordinator of the commission among its members in their alphabetical order. A Cabinet meeting on Tuesday later endorsed the commission, whose meetings will be coordinated by the Ministry of Federal Affairs. The commission is assigned to present its report within the next two months. 

As per the TOR, the Commission will have to recommend restructuring the state mainly on the bases of “identity and capability” and taking into account the opinions and aspirations of the State Restructuring and Devolution of State Power Committee of the CA. 

 

The eight members in the commission are Malla K Sundar and Stella Tamang from the Maoists and Ramesh Dhungel and Sabitri Thapa from the NC, Bhogendra Jha and Sarbaraj Khadka from UML, and Krishna Hachhethu and Surendra Mahato from SLMM. 

Sundar, a member of Nepal Bhasa Manka Khala, is a prominent activist of the Newari language and culture. He had contested in the 1992 general elections from Kathmandu-2 as a Jana Morcha candidate. Tamang is a central committee member of Nepal-Tamang Ghedung and founder chairperson of Nepal Tamang Woman Ghedung. She was also a steering committee member of NGO Forum for World against Racism. Dhungel is associated with Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University, while Thapa is a doctoral candidate of political science at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and is associated with Ratna Rajya Campus, Kathmandu. Jha teaches economics at a campus in Janakpur

Khadka is the general secretary of Rural Reconstruction Nepal and holds PhD in natural resource management from Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. Hachhethu teaches political science at Tribhuvan University and Mahato is the vice president of Nepal Bar Association, Central Region. The parties choose to go for a rotational system for the coordinator post as each of them staked a claim to the post. As the recommendations of the commission would be important while finalising nitty-gritty of federalism, parties were unwilling to miss the opportunity of putting their stamp on the blueprint for federalism through their appointee. Leaders said the commission will have to prepare its report in line with the discussions held in the Constituent Assembly (CA) and on the bases identified by the CA Committee on State Restructuring—identity and capability. The Madhes-based parties were opposing formation of the commission fearing that it would curtail the jurisdiction of the CA. 

Indigenous lawmakers’ caucus in the parliament had similar objection to the formation of an experts’ panel and blocked the amendment to the constitution. On November 18, the government withdrew the bill to amend the constitution tabled in the parliament for the formation of an expert panel. On Friday night, the parties had singed a two-point deal to form the commission, instead of the proposed “expert panel”, by Monday. Briefing the last minute negotiations, leaders said SLMM had proposed Prof Krishna Khanal as coordinator of the commission after the parties failed to reach an agreement on a common candidate. But the Maoists objected to the proposal, saying the coordinator should be from the indigenous community recommended by the party. The NC had recommended former UN Assistant Secretary General Kul Chandra Gautam for the post.