Laxmi Capital News
Govt 'shelves' decision to reduce age threshold for elderly allowance

 The government has shelved the decision of theprevious government to lower age threshold for elderly allowance to 65 years.

The populist decision, which drew flak from all quarters,of former government of Sher Bahadur Deuba, had not entered into implementationeven though it has already been two months since the decision was taken.

Sources close to the government told Republica that thedecision has been put on hold, considering the additional financial burden thatit puts on the government. 
Implementation of the decision to lower threshold for elderly allowance wouldhave added a liability of Rs 13 billion to the government. The decision wouldhave made an additional 500,000 eligible for the allowance.

Another controversial decision of distributing additionalgrants of Rs 100,000 to quake victims made by the previous government is,however, not in the meeting minutes of the cabinet decision, according toChiranjibi Paudyal, an information officer at the Office of the Prime Ministerand the Council of Ministers (OPMCM).

Cabinet meeting minutes published on the website of OPMCMdoes not include the decision.

Though the erstwhile Minister for Physical Infrastructureand Transport, Bir Bahadur Balayar, had informed media persons about bothdecisions after the cabinet meeting of January 24, Chief Secretary Lok DarshanRegmi did not write the decision of such grants on the meeting minutes,officials say.

Talking to Republica on Friday, Finance Minister Yub RajKhatiwada said that they have not received any such decision made by theprevious government.

Asked why the decision of distributing additional grantsto quake victims was not written in meeting minutes, former minister Balayarsaid he has also heard that the chief secretary has not included it in themeeting minutes. “The chief secretary did not receive my phone when I calledhim repeated times to get an update about the decision. I will let you knowafter talking to Regmi,” Balayar added.

Breaching the general practice of seeking prior approvalof the finance ministry before announcing decisions that put additionalfinancial burden on the state, the Deuba-led cabinet had decided to increasegrants for quake survivors and reduce age threshold for elderly allowancewithout calculating the financial burden. 

In the white paper on country's economic status issued onFriday, Finance Minister Khatiwada criticized the past governments for makingthe treasury empty through fiscal indiscipline and providing budget for severaldecisions made on whims or to serve political interests. “Several decisions ofthe previous governments put long-term financial burden on the state. Thegovernment is not in a position to implement such decisions,” reads an excerptof the white paper.

Source : My Republica, 2nd April 2018

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